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Students to Tackle Shrinking Sea Ice at Ocean Sciences Bowl


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 18, 2009

Fairbanks, Alaska—High school students preparing for the 2010 Alaska Region National Ocean Sciences Bowl will not only have to answer dozens of questions about ocean science, but also one big one: How will shrinking sea ice affect Alaska’s coastal communities?

A record 21 teams will meet in Seward Feb. 5-7 for the competition, also called the Tsunami Bowl. The competition consists of two equally weighted parts: a tournament-style academic competition designed to challenge students' knowledge of ocean sciences and a research project that has both written and public speaking components. This year the research project focuses on receding sea ice and Alaska's coasts.

Some teams are looking at how specific communities will be affected by shrinking sea ice. For example, the team from Cordova High is researching the problems facing Barrow, while the Mountain Village team is looking at how receding ice is affecting local subsistence activities. Other teams are taking a broader approach. Soldotna High School is studying how reduced sea ice affects polar bears and the Kotzebue team is looking at how global change may affect shipping.

"We are very excited about this year’s research project. Each of the teams has picked a unique way of looking at how thinning and receding sea ice may affect Alaska's coastal residents," says organizer Phyllis Shoemaker of the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. "We are looking forward to hearing each team's oral presentation when they come to Seward in February, as well as having a spirited competition in the quiz bowl."

Up to 21 teams representing 16 Alaska high schools plan to compete in the 2010 Tsunami Bowl. New schools include Hoonah High School and Ketchikan High School.

"This year's Tsunami Bowl will have lots of new blood, with two new schools and several new coaches joining us for the first time. This is the first year of participation for about two-thirds of the students," says Shoemaker.

The winner of the Alaska Region competition will compete in the finals, scheduled to take place in Florida in April 2010. Following is a list of teams for the 2010 Alaska Region National Ocean Sciences Bowl:

Anchorage; South Anchorage High School
Copper Center; Kenny Lake High School
Cordova; Cordova High School (two teams)
Eagle River; Eagle River High School
Hoonah; Hoonah High School
Juneau; Juneau-Douglas High School (two teams)
Ketchikan; Ketchikan High School
Kodiak; Kodiak High School
Kotzebue; Kotzebue High School
Mountain Village; Ignatius Beans Memorial School Complex (two teams)
Petersburg; Petersburg High School
Seward; Seward High School
Soldotna; Soldotna High School
Unalaska; Unalaska City School (two teams)
Wasilla; Mat-Su Career and Technical High School (two teams) and Wasilla High School

Sponsors of the 2010 Alaska Tsunami Bowl include the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences and Seward Marine Center, Dolly Dieter, The Glosten Associates, Prince William Sound Science Center, Norseman Maritime Charters, Seward Fisheries/Icicle Seafoods, Kenai Fjord Tours, Kenai Fjords National Park, Ocean Alaska Science and Learning Center, Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Aurora Energy Services.

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