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February 15, 1999

Regional Ocean Sciences Bowl comes to UCSC

By Tim Stephens

The Northern California Ocean Sciences Bowl returns to UCSC this month, with 16 teams from 13 high schools brandishing their knowledge of marine sciences in a fast-paced academic competition. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the Earth and Marine Sciences Building on Saturday, February 20, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The team from Aptos High School took first place in last year's regional competition for the National Ocean Sciences Bowl.
Photo: Thomas Tworek, Gold Coast Galleries

UCSC is one of 18 sites across the country hosting regional competitions as part of the second annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl. The regional winners will travel to Washington, D.C., in April to compete in the national finals. Winners at both the regional and national events will receive prizes such as scholarships, research cruises aboard oceanographic vessels, behind-the-scenes tours of aquaria and research facilities, and computer equipment and laboratory supplies for their schools.

The competition is meant to broaden the awareness and understanding of the critical value of ocean research among high school students, educators, parents, and the public, said Lisa Borok, project coordinator for the Northern California regional competition. The event also helps high school students interested in ocean studies to learn more about possible careers in oceanography and marine sciences, Borok said.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to excite and encourage high school students interested in ocean sciences and bring them into personal contact with marine scientists from UCSC and other Monterey Bay institutions," said Gary Griggs, director of the Institute of Marine Sciences. Griggs and biologist Lynda Goff, associate vice chancellor for undergraduate education, will be the keynote speakers at this year's event.

Last year, a team from Aptos High School in Santa Cruz County won the Northern California competition and placed fourth overall in the national finals. Teacher Greg McBride, who coached the team, said enrollment in his oceanography class doubled after his team's strong showing last year. He is returning to the competition this year with two teams from Aptos High.

Each team consists of four students plus one alternate and a coach. The format of the competition is similar to the game show Jeopardy with students competing to answer multiple-choice or short-answer questions within the broad category of the oceans. Questions are drawn from the scientific and technical disciplines used in studying the oceans, such as biology, chemistry, geology, physics, and atmospheric science. Other questions will address the role of the oceans in economics, history, and culture.

The judges, scorekeepers, and other officials at the event will be faculty, researchers, marine managers, and others from numerous regional institutions, including UCSC, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, U.S. Geological Survey, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, California State Parks, and Long Marine Laboratory.

The National Ocean Sciences Bowl was started in 1998 by the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE) in honor of the International Year of the Ocean. This year, CORE is sponsoring the event in partnership with the National Marine Educators Association and the National Science Teachers Association. The Northern California competition is sponsored by CORE, the UCSC Office of Admissions, the Institute of Marine Sciences, the Friends of Long Marine Lab, and the University of Southern California Sea Grant.

The following schools will be represented in the Northern California Ocean Sciences Bowl:

Read about and see photos of last year's competition

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