ECU Institute for Coastal Science and Policy Hosts Regional Ocean Sciences Academic Bowl

GREENVILLE, N.C. (Jan. 12, 2011) — East Carolina University’s Institute for Coastal Science and Policy and the Division of Continuing Studies have the honor of hosting the 2011 Blue Heron Bowl, which is the regional competition for the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. Coordinated by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, NOSB is a national academic competition that quizzes high school students on topics related to the study of the oceans and Great Lakes. This is the first year ECU will host North Carolina’s competition, which will now rotate every second year between ECU, UNC Wilmington and UNC Chapel Hill. The Blue Heron Bowl will be held Feb. 26, from 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., with opening remarks beginning at 8 a.m. in Bate 1032.

The competition consists of 18 teams competing in timed, round-robin and double-elimination sessions that include multiple choice and short answer questions within the broad category of ocean sciences. Questions are drawn from the scientific and technical disciplines used in studying the oceans, including physics, chemistry, geology, atmospheric science and biology, as well as from topics on the contributions of the oceans to national and international economics, history and culture.

Teams include four students, one alternate and a coach. The round-robin portion of the competition will be held from 8:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. in various rooms in Bate. Semi-final, double-elimination rounds will take place from noon – 5 p.m. in Bate 1031 and 1032. A final showdown with “participant choice” judges will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Bate 1032, and the awards ceremony will follow at 6 p.m., also in Bate 1032.

One winning team, two runner-up teams and a “most sportsmanlike” team from the Blue Heron Bowl will each receive a prize, and be provided transportation and room and board to the NOSB competition held April 29 – May 1 in Galveston, Texas, where they will compete against 24 other regional winners.

Winning team members of the national competition also will receive a prize. Past prizes have included trips to Southampton Oceanography Centre in England; the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies on Catalina Island, California; the Florida Keys; the Great Lakes Field Station; cruises on research vessels; visits to oceanographic institutions and aquaria; scholarships; scientific equipment and books.

Goals of the NOSB competition are to increase knowledge of the oceans and to raise the visibility and public understanding of the national investment in ocean-related research. Specific objectives include broadening student’s and teacher’s awareness of the latest scientific research on the oceans and the critical impact of the oceans on global climate and weather, economic well-being, history and culture; helping teachers use the oceans as an interdisciplinary vehicle for teaching biology, chemistry, geology, physics and mathematics by giving them access to marine science education and scientific professionals; giving oceanographic research programs the opportunity to develop new connections with their local pre-college community and open student's eyes to ocean-related career options; and reaching out to new students and communities to boost participation by populations under-represented in the ocean sciences.

Ultimately, the success of the Blue Heron Bowl requires the concerted efforts of many volunteer staff and sponsors. Sponsors help offset the costs incurred, while volunteers serve as moderators, scientific judges, rules judges, timekeepers and scorekeepers. Sponsorships and volunteer opportunities are still available for the Blue Heron Bowl. Interested parties should contact Dr. Jeffery Alejandro, Division of Continuing Studies, at 252-328-9197 or by e-mail at, or Kay Evans, Institute for Coastal Science and Policy, at 252-328-6220 or by e-mail at For additional information about the Blue Heron Bowl, go to