Each year, The Great Lakes Bowl, a quiz show style competition for high schoolers, is held at the University of Michigan, one of the many regional competitions of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. And each year, a team of students and researchers from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, volunteers at the event. This year’s theme is “Our changing ocean: science for strong coastal communities.”

“The Great Lakes Bowl was a huge success this year!” said Alison Gould, a graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology, who served as regional coordinator for the event for her second year. “Thanks to the nearly 100 volunteers that dedicated most of their Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016 to the event – including many EEB graduate students and lab techs.”

The day consists of four rounds of competition in the morning, round-robin style, and then teams are seeded into a single-elimination bracket based on their morning scores for the afternoon rounds, according to Gould, who has been part of NOSB for over a decade. She first got involved in the Sea Lion Bowl as a master’s student at San Francisco State University.

“This year's winning team was Dexter High School, the defending (and frequent) champions of our regional bowl. They won the final round of competition against Troy High School. Dexter's team will go on to compete at the national competition in Morehead City, N.C., April 21-24 against the winning teams from the 25 other regional bowls. Our regional competition expanded from 16 to 20 participating teams, as interest in the competition has grown. We hope that new high schools will join the competition in future years.

“This competition is especially rewarding because of the students that participate -- seeing their excitement and dedication to the knowledge of marine and freshwater science, technology, policy and conservation is really inspiring,” Gould said.

According to their website, the NOSB is an academic competition and program that addresses a national gap in environmental and earth sciences in public education by introducing high school students to and engaging them in ocean science, preparing them for ocean science-related and other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers, and helping them become knowledgeable citizens and environmental stewards. 

The ocean is an ideal interdisciplinary teaching tool for STEM that puts study in a real world context. Working in the ocean environment poses challenges that push the innovation, engineering, and technology development needed in our workforce. But ocean science is not a course generally offered at the high school level. The NOSB is one of the only ways students gain exposure to ocean science and related careers as they are beginning to chart their course in life, NOSB’s website states.

With appreciation to the following EEB volunteers, who served in many roles such as moderators, rules judges, science judges, timekeepers, scorekeepers or runners:

Research lab technicians: Rachel Cable, Duhaime lab; Chris Cook, Kling lab and Jason Dobkowski, Kling lab; graduate students: Shawn Colborn, Leslie Decker, Alison Gould, Jon Massey, Marian Schmidt, Clara Shaw, Jeff Shi, Pascal Title; and John Marino, EEB alumnus, who is a jointly appointed research fellow in the U-M Department of Statistics and with the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University.

EEB is a regular sponsor of the Great Lakes Bowl. The department received a nice thank you card from Heritage High School, Saginaw, Mich. The note reads, "Thank you EEB! Thank you for sponsoring the NOSB Quiz Bowl! It was such an amazing experience for us since it was our first time competing. We can't wait to come back next year!"