CORVALLIS, Ore. – Sixteen teams from Northwest high schools will test their knowledge of marine sciences on Saturday, Feb. 21, during the annual Salmon Bowl competition at Oregon State University.

These four- and five-student teams will compete for a chance to represent the region at the 12th annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl April 25-27 in Washington, D.C. The national competition is a program developed by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership to raise student interest in ocean sciences as a potential field of study and a career choice. The national event will be held at the Smithsonian Museum.

Interest in the Salmon Bowl, which is sponsored by OSU’s College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, is growing each year, according to Pete Strutton, a faculty member in the college and adviser for the event.

“Issues from global climate change to tsunamis have captured the attention of the public and made people look at the world’s oceans in a new, more comprehensive way,” Strutton said. “We’ve seen first-hand some of the impacts of climate change along the West Coast, including low-oxygen ‘hypoxia’ zones, harmful algal blooms, declining fish stocks and unpredictable weather patterns.

“The Salmon Bowl is a fun way to encourage student interest in the marine sciences, and to get students to think about what may happen in the future,” he added. About 100 volunteers, including faculty, staff and students in the OSU College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, will help host the event.

The public is invited to watch the Salmon Bowl, held on the OSU campus from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Burt Hall, Wilkinson Hall and Gilfillan Auditorium. All three facilities are located roughly at 26th Street and Monroe in Corvallis. Admission is free.

Neah-Kah-Nie High School, which has won the Salmon Bowl a record seven times, will return to defend its title.

Competing teams will tackle questions about the global carbon cycle, phytoplankton, ocean currents, tsunamis, undersea earthquakes, fisheries, climate and other issues.

Care to test your own knowledge? Here is one sample question: Coral islands that form in the open ocean and enclose circular lagoons are called? A) mid-ocean ridges; B) barrier islands; C) atolls; or D) pelagic islands.

Here’s another, slightly tougher: Of the following marine mammals, which has the greatest challenge conserving body heat? A) sea otter; B) walrus; C) sei whale; or D) blue whale.

And finally, a question Jacque Cousteau would appreciate: The only ocean zone that is deeper than the abyssopelagic zone is this zone which includes deep sea trenches and canyons. It is called what? A) hadal zone; B) epipelagic zone; C) bathypelagic zone; or D) mesopelagic zone.

The correct answers are (atolls, sea otter and hadal zone).

Competing teams include:
•Astoria High School (two teams)
•Benson Polytechnic, Portland (three teams)
•Clatskanie High School
•Crater High School, Central Point
•Crescent Valley High School, Corvallis
•Hidden Valley High School, Grants Pass
•Lebanon High School
•McMinnville High School
•Neah-Kah-Nie High School, Rockaway Beach (two teams)
•Oregon Coast Aquarium (a team from Newport-area high schools)
•Seaside High School
•Skyview High School, Vancouver, Wash.

For more information on OSU's College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, visit the college website at:

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Joy Irby