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USGS Scientists Support the National Ocean Science Bowl's 10th Annual Spoonbill Bowl
The Spoonbill Bowl is a regional competition in which high-school students boost their knowledge of marine science and compete as a team against other schools for the opportunity to participate in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB). The competition is organized by the University of South Florida (USF) College of Marine Science and takes place on the campus of USF St. Petersburg.
Now in its 10th year, the 2014 Spoonbill Bowl consisted of 17 teams from high schools throughout Florida, from Gainesville to Naples. During the competition on Saturday, February 1, students answered questions about the ocean drawn from such diverse scientific fields as geology, chemistry, biology, and economics. The Eastside High School team from Gainesville won first place and will travel to Seattle, Washington, to compete in the NOSB finals on May 1–4. This is the third time that Eastside High School has represented the region in the national competition (for example, see April/May 2011 Sound Waves article "USGS Assists in Regional Competition in Florida for the National Ocean Sciences Bowl)".
Ocean acidification is the theme of this year’s NOSB, and Lisa Robbins, research oceanographer at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center in St. Petersburg, Florida, was invited to kick off the event with a keynote address on her latest ocean-acidification research. She gave her talk, “Going to the top of the World to Explore Ocean Acidification,” on January 31, the eve of the competition. Robbins’ work on changes in ocean chemistry resulting from excess atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) has taken her from the West Florida shelf to the Arctic Ocean on multiple research cruises to collect vital oceanographic data that will help answer important questions about the impacts of climate change on the world’s ocean and its ecosystems. (For example, see Sound Waves articles “Research Cruises Collect Measurements on the West Florida Shelf for Modeling Climate Change and Ocean Acidification,” April 2009, and “Unprecedented Rate and Scale of Ocean Acidification Found in the Arctic,” November/December 2013.)
After her talk, Robbins quizzed the students about ocean acidification, rewarding those who gave correct answers with things that she had picked up during her trips to the Arctic. “These students are smart, and they are enthusiastic about marine science. We should encourage the marine scientists of tomorrow!”
Kara Doran, a USGS oceanographer at the St. Petersburg center, has served as a moderator each year since attending USF College of Marine Science as a graduate student. Doran said, “The students competing in the NOSB Spoonbill Bowl always impress me with their knowledge of the ocean and their enthusiasm for the competition. It is encouraging to know that a new generation of informed and passionate scientists are coming behind us to carry our science into the future.”
Theresa Burress, librarian and outreach coordinator contracted to the USGS, has participated as scorekeeper for several years. She also provided educational resources to each of the coaches and students, including information about the latest coastal and marine science and field activities happening at the St. Petersburg center. Christian Haller, USGS student employee and student at the College of Marine Science, volunteered for the first time this year as a runner.
St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center scientists and staff have supported this event since 2005, when St. Petersburg first began hosting the regional competition (see “USGS Participates in CORE’s National Ocean Sciences ‘Spoonbill’ Bowl”). Local partners include the USF College of Marine Science, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center, the Florida Aquarium, and Mote Marine Laboratory.
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USGS Scientists Support the National Ocean Science Bowl’s Spoonbill Bowl
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