On Saturday, February 22, students from Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica, California, won the LA Surf Bowl, a regional ocean science academic competition that is part of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB). The LA Surf Bowl, which was hosted by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is part of a nationwide competition that tests students’ knowledge of ocean science disciplines through buzzer-style, multiple-choice questions and open-ended team challenge questions. The Santa Monica High School team will join winners from 22 other regional bowls April 16-19 in Long Beach, Mississippi, for the NOSB Finals, where they placed second last year. Students on the championship team include Teddy Berger, Rosalind Jewett, Emily Chase, Sara Akiba, and Ireland Neville (team photo below). They are coached by Ingo Gaida.

The NOSB, a program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, is building our next generation of marine scientists, policy makers, teachers, explorers, researchers, technicians, environmental advocates, and informed citizens by educating them in timely and relevant ocean science topics that are already a part of our future. This year’s competition theme, Understanding Human, Economic, and Environmental Resiliency in the Gulf of Mexico, let students explore the many fascinating and complex functions of the Gulf of Mexico, America’s “living laboratory,” while also connecting scientific processes to the many people who call the Gulf their home. From its role in regulating global ocean temperature to its importance as a home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, the Gulf provides researchers with the opportunity to study the intersections of oceanography, biology, geology, chemistry, and the social sciences across both large- and small-scales.

This year’s theme is especially relevant as 2020 marks the 10-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill — considered to be the largest marine oil spill ever — and comes as we reach a critical turning point in Gulf research: Ten years on, scientists who have been studying the environmental and social impacts of the spill are now synthesizing what they’ve learned about response, restoration, recovery, and resiliency, and how they can apply that knowledge to other events.

“Economically, ecologically, and culturally, the Gulf of Mexico is a valuable resource where you can really see how closely linked science and society are, so we’re thrilled that NOSB students got the chance to focus on it this year,” said Kristen Yarincik, director of the NOSB at the Consortium for Ocean Leadership. “Giving students the opportunity to learn about some of the groundbreaking research going on in the Gulf as well as the social implications of that work is key to the mission of NOSB — We want to help students become thoughtful, ocean-literate citizens who understand the broader value of scientific research, even if they don’t become scientists. Congratulations to all the brilliant students who competed this year, and we can’t wait to see all of our regional winners in Mississippi.”

The 2020 National NOSB program is made possible through the following major sponsors:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Gulf Research Program

Wendy & Eric Schmidt

Deerbrook Charitable Trust

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Shell Exploration & Production Company

Lockheed Martin

American Honda Foundation

Sharon and Wayne Sternberger

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory

IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society

MacGregor Norway AS

Marine Technology Society

A complete list of sponsors can be found here: http://nosb.org/about-nosb/sponsors/. For more information about NOSB, visit www.nosb.org.

Submitted by Abby Ackerman

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