Unalaska Students Aim To Make Waves At Tsunami Bowl
Local students participating in the 2016 Tsunami Bowl left Wednesday for the annual competition in Seward. The team this year consists of Amelia Napper, Taylor Holman, Dustin Ruckman, Bridget Nalam, and Brian Conwell.
The Tsunami Bowl is Alaska’s version of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, a nationwide marine sciences competition. Unalaska has been attending since 2005.
The Unalaska team arrives in Seward Thursday night and will present their project on Friday morning in front of a crowd of other students from around the state. The competition requires each team to write a research paper, then make a presentation explaining their project to the other competitors and attendees.
This year’s topic is “Coastal Resilience in Alaska,” prompting students to describe a plan for their community to bounce back after a natural disaster.
Under the guidance of science teacher David Gibson and SeaGrant marine biologist Melissa Good, Unalaska’s team has been successful in years past and hopes to build on what they've learned. Here's Gibson.
“We have a lot of returners this year, so they kinda know the process. I think we should do a little bit better than we have in past years," Gibson said. "Their paper seemed to go a little bit smoother in terms of what we were actually researching, their presentation, they’re getting better at staying on topic and matching what the judges will be looking for.”
The team has constructed a proposal to implement more safety countermeasures in case Makushin Volcano erupts. They have written a paper detailing the background information they’ve gathered about previous eruptions of the volcano and current safety protocols for volcanic areas, among other things.
The other part of the competition is the quiz bowl. This is a Jeopardy-like competition in which two teams of four face off to see which has the greater knowledge of marine sciences. Questions range from things like the names of fish fins to the creation of hydrothermal vents.
“They should do better int eh quiz bowl competition since they all, except for one, have seen the quiz bowl before, so they should be a little bit more comfortable, and a year older and have more knowledge,” Gibson said.
Teams are ranked based on their scores in the three categories—paper, presentation, and quiz bowl—and the winners have opportunities for scholarships and marine science programs.