Summer is coming to an end, although you wouldn’t know it from the weather in Washington, D.C. right now. For students across the country, summer ending means returning to school, and, for the luckiest ones, it also means preparing for this year’s National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB). Those of you familiar with the NOSB know that for more than 20 years, this academic competition has given students across the country (even in landlocked states) the opportunity to learn about the ocean and has connected them with mentors and like-minded peers. The NOSB fills an important gap in high school curricula, which doesn’t typically include oceanography, in addition to providing key career mentorship. Last year’s Finals theme, Our Ocean Shaping Weather, proved to be particularly relevant considering the devastating 2017 hurricane season: While students studied the complex relationship of the ocean and atmosphere, from El Niño events to sea-level change, people across the southeastern U.S. and the Caribbean experienced the impacts of this relationship firsthand.
I’m reminded of this as we watch Hurricane Florence gain strength over the Atlantic this week and hope for the safety of all impacted by this and other powerful storms this season. I am awed when I think back on the NOSB community’s response to last year’s hurricanes. Even those of you familiar with the NOSB might not be aware of how the community came together when Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast. Damage to host institutions caused the cancellation of two regional NOSB competitions, effectively preventing Texas teams from participating. However, the NOSB community responded to the challenge with sportsmanship and inclusion, inviting Texas teams to another regional competition and helping raise travel funds for the impacted teams.
The value of the NOSB extends far beyond a dollar amount, far beyond the participating students’ high school years, and far beyond the ocean community itself. NOSB students learn more than just marine science — they learn to think critically, collaborate with others, and communicate their ideas, all of which prove useful to them regardless of their career path. Our Alumni Spotlights over the past year have clearly illustrated this. I’m heartened that the next generation of the blue workforce (and beyond) will include NOSB alumni who no doubt will apply the skills—and passion for the ocean—they learned from the NOSB to all varieties of ocean-related challenges. Who knows, maybe the next big innovation in hurricane forecasting and prediction will come from an NOSB student!
Vice President and Director, Research & Education and Director, NOSB
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
As Nelson Touts Red Tide Research At Mote, Another Potential Bloom Is Detected
A University of South Florida underwater glider, an autonomous robot that collects subsurface data vital to understanding how the ocean works, discovered elevated levels of chlorophyll in the middle of the West Florida Continental Shelf during a mapping exercise. This could mean a new batch of red tide could be brewing west of Tampa. The underwater glider measures Gulf temperatures, salinity, chlorophyll, water particles and oxygen, and is part of the effort to better understand toxic algae.
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