CORVALLIS, Ore. - Twenty teams from Northwest high schools will test their knowledge of marine sciences on Saturday, March 6, during the annual Salmon Bowl competition at Oregon State University.

This is the largest field ever for this growing event, during which high school teens compete to see who knows the most about tsunamis, undersea earthquakes, marine biology, hypoxia and other oceanography-related topics.

The four- and five-student teams will compete for a chance to represent the region at the 13th annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl this spring in St. Petersburg, Fla. 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.

Interest in the Salmon Bowl, which is sponsored by OSU's College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, is growing each year.

"The recent tsunami warnings on our own West Coast are yet another reminder of how the oceans have such an enormous impact on our lives," said Joy Irby, a graduate student in oceanography and one of the co-coordinators of the event. "Issues ranging from climate change to the closure of ocean salmon fishing have heightened the interest of many Northwest residents in our oceans, and that interest is shared among many high school students."

About 100 volunteers, including faculty, staff and students in the OSU College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, will help host the event.

"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," said Jenna Halsey, also a co-coordinator and COAS graduate student.

The public is invited to watch the round-robin, single-elimination event, which will be held on the OSU campus from 8 a.m. to 5:30 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 eight 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: The aphotic zone is a part of the water column where photosynthesis cannot occur because of: A) carbon dioxide; B) Oxygen; C) Nutrients; or D) Sunlight.

Here's another, slightly tougher: Which of the following is not a vertex of the Bermuda Triangle? A) Bermuda; B) South Florida; C) Cuba; or D) Puerto Rico?

And finally, a bonus question. Good luck. Fishes that spend most of their lives in freshwater but migrate to the ocean to spawn are referred to as what?

The correct answers are D) sunlight; C) Cuba; and catadromous fishes.

Competing teams include:


Astoria High School (two teams)


Benson Polytechnic, Portland (three teams)


Clatskanie High School


Crater Renaissance Academy (two teams)


Crater Academy of Natural Sciences


Hidden Valley High School, Grants Pass (three teams)


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 (two teams)


Skyview High School, Vancouver, Wash.


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

Click photos to see a full-size version. Right click and save image to download.


Pete Strutton, 541-737-2065