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National Ocean Sciences Bowl Competitors Tour Laboratories in Woods Hole, Massachusetts

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National Ocean Sciences Bowl students get to see what life is like inside the manned submersible Alvin
Above: National Ocean Sciences Bowl students get to see what life is like inside the manned submersible Alvin while visiting the WHOI Exhibit Center. Photograph by Nancy Soderberg. [larger version]

Three teams that represented Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School in a regional round of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl received a special tour of marine laboratories in Woods Hole, Mass., on April 5, 2006. The school's Team A had won the regional event, called the "Blue Lobster Bowl," on March 4, and they went on to take first place in the 9th Annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) at Pacific Grove, Calif., on May 13-15. The national event challenged competitors with questions related to ocean biology, chemistry, geology, physics, navigation, geography, related history, literature, and more. (Learn more about NOSB at the NOSB web site.)

The tour for the Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School students, their coach Doug Grant, and their chaperones was sponsored by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). The visitors were inquisitive and curious throughout the day-long tour, which was facilitated by USGS scientist Chris Polloni. The tour began at the WHOI dock, where Marga McElroy of WHOI's Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering Department led the visitors aboard WHOI's research vessel Atlantis, which supports the manned submersible Alvin and other deep-submergence vessels, and then to dockside laboratories housing REMUS (Remote Environmental Monitoring Units), ABE (Autonomous Benthic Explorer), and other autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and accessories.

Next was WHOI's Quissett Campus, which houses numerous facilities, including the USGS Woods Hole Science Center. USGS scientist Brian Buczkowski joined WHOI's Ellen Roosen and Jim Broda to give the visitors an overview of the campus' expanded core facilities and sampling laboratories. Then the students visited the USGS center, where half of them "flew" through three-dimensional depictions of the sea floor around Puerto Rico at the USGS Geowall exhibit and spoke with geologist Uri ten Brink about his studies of earthquake and tsunami hazards in the Caribbean region. The rest of the students met with USGS scientists Bill Waite, Rachel Horwitz, and Sandy Baldwin, who introduced them to USGS research on gas hydrates and the center's GHASTLI (Gas Hydrate and Sediment Testing Laboratory Instrument) laboratory.

Kate Madin, Curriculum Coordinator for WHOI's Academic Programs Office, picked up the group at the USGS and took them up to WHOI biologist Darlene Ketten's new necropsy laboratory, where Scott Cramer explained what had been done with a beaked whale that had just been brought in and processed.

The team had lunch at the Buttery in Fenno House, where they met John Farrington, Scientist Emeritus and former Dean of WHOI, and James Yoder, WHOI Vice President for Academic Programs and current Dean, who welcomed the team to the campus and congratulated them on their competition in the NOSB.

After lunch, the team went to the WHOI Visitors Center, where Kathy Patterson hosted them and gave them the option to take home some special ocean-related gifts.

The tour ended where it had begun, with USGS scientist Kathy Scanlon leading the group back to the dock area for a special guided tour of the unmanned submersible Alvin. WHOI engineer Rod Catanach briefed the teams on the operational aspects of the submersible and answered detailed questions.

According to Doug Grant, the students' advisor, the teams chatted about the visit all the way home. Grant expressed sincere appreciation for everyone's efforts to make the visit a memorable experience on short notice.

The NOSB is sponsored by the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE), which seeks to expand students' interest in ocean sciences as a college and career possibility.

Related Sound Waves Stories
Ocean Science Is Academic to Spoonbill Bowl Participants in Florida
April 2006
USGS Participates in CORE's National Ocean Sciences "Spoonbill" Bowl
April 2005

Related Web Sites
Woods Hole Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
non-profit research facility
National Ocean Sciences Bowl
Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education
Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE)
association of U.S. oceanographic research institutions

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Publications June 2006 Publications List U. S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
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