Jon White – From the President’s Office: 04-15-2019

2019-04-16T09:50:27+00:00 April 15, 2019|

Invasive species spotted in DC: Orca, sea lions, lobsters, manatees, sturgeon … oh my!

While the Potomac River is the closest thing we have to the ocean in D.C., this weekend more than 100 high school students from across the nation came to the district to compete in the 22nd annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) Finals. Congratulations to Albany High School (Albany, California), our first-place team, on their second national title. Congratulations are also in order to the Ketchikan High School team (Ketchikan, Alaska), winners of the prestigious James D. Watkins Sportsmanship Award. I know all of our competing teams (many named for aqueous animals) enjoyed Finals and are returning home even more excited about their futures as they relate to marine science and the ocean writ large.

For the past 22 years the NOSB has educated the next generation of ocean leaders, giving high school students the opportunity to learn about ocean science — a topic often not covered in formal curricula. An academic quiz bowl-style competition, the NOSB tests students’ knowledge of scientific and social issues related to the world’s ocean, lakes, and rivers. The nail-biting finishes, incredible teamwork, and exemplary sportsmanship are as impressive and entertaining as any high school, college, or professional sporting event I’ve ever attended. These young men and women are phenomenal, and I am honored to be associated with them and with the NOSB program that ADM James Watkins and Dr. Rick Spinrad created over two decades ago.

For this year’s theme, Observe the Ocean; Secure the Future, NOSB students studied the technology needed to observe the ocean; how and why scientists gather ocean data; the challenges of processing and analyzing large, complex data sets; and how ocean observations help address crucial societal needs. Teams also presented science recommendations on a piece of legislation in the Science Expert Briefing (SEB), a mock congressional hearing that enhances the critical thinking elements of the competition and focuses on real-world skills. A HUGE thank you to the NOSB’s sponsors, many committed volunteers, regional coordinators, coaches, parents, and staff for making this season a success – none of these events would be possible without you.

Congratulations and well done to every team who competed this season in our regional bowls and at Finals. You inspire me and give me confidence that the future of our ocean is in exceedingly capable hands. And don’t forget to keep in touch!

Study Looks to Iron from Microbes for Climate Help
Distributing iron particles produced by bacteria could “fertilize” microscopic ocean plants and ultimately lower atmospheric carbon levels, according to a new paper in Frontiers. “It is important that we explore ideas for climate change mitigation that can supplement the effects of decreasing carbon emissions,” said David Emerson, a senior research scientist at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and author of the paper.

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