March 4, 2013

MIT Sea Grant hosts the 16th annual Blue Lobster Bowl at MIT

CAMBRIDGE, MA - March 4, 2013 - MIT Sea Grant College Program organized and hosted the 16th annual Blue Lobster Bowl (BLB) at MIT on March 3, 2013. The tournament this year, re-scheduled due to the historic blizzard Nemo, included 126 participants from 12 Massachusetts high schools and was free and open to the public.

The student teams were split into divisions and tested in classrooms across campus through quick-answer buzzer questions and thought-provoking team challenge questions. MIT Sea Grant research scientists and partners also offered information to students on marine science and ocean engineering careers. The winning team from Lexington High School will compete against 24 other regional champions in the 16th Annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in April 2013.

MIT Sea Grant's Kathryn Shroyer, regional co-coordinator for this year's event says, "The BLB is a fun way to get young people interested in the study marine science, and it's more than just memorizing a bunch of facts. The tournament helps challenge students to work together as a team to learn and solve problems." Students train the entire academic year preceding the tournament, which Shroyer says is part of the value this program offers in providing teachers with a platform to focus on marine science, a topic often lacking in high school science curriculums. Veteran BLB coach and Lexington High teacher, Sarah Damassa, has seen members of her past BLB teams continue their studies of marine science at the university level. She notes, "Our BLB team combines intense studying/learning with lively camaraderie and team spirit. The students thoroughly enjoy practices, having fun even while working to build their oceanographic knowledge base. I have been fortunate to work with extremely talented students, who organize and run their own practices, mentor new students, and support each other's growth as NOSB competitors."

This year's competing schools included: Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, Brookline High School, Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, Chelmsford High School,
Lexington High School, Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, Marblehead High School, Newton North High School, Newton South High School, North Andover High School, Phillips Academy, and Shrewsbury High School.

BLB question topics include marine biology, chemistry, geology, physics, navigation, geography, and related ocean history, literature, and public policy. In addition to the opportunity for the winning team to travel to the National Finals, teams vie for a variety of prizes, including money for study materials and educational trips. BLB participants are eligible to apply for ocean science summer internships at the MIT Sea Grant College Program. The BLB is part of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB), which is a program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership based in Washington, D.C. Through this educational forum, the NOSB strives to encourage and support the next generation of marine scientists, policy makers, teachers, explorers, researchers, technicians, environmental advocates and informed citizens, to be stewards of the ocean. Many past NOSB participants have moved on to pursue college degrees and careers in ocean science. In 2013, approximately 2,000 students from over 300 high schools will participate. For more information, visit

The mission of the MIT Sea Grant College Program is to employ innovative research, education and outreach strategies to responsibly use and sustain the vital marine resources of Massachusetts. The issues manifested and addressed locally are global in nature, and are thus widely applicable. Compelling challenges demand our attention as a solo entity, and in partnership with other groups living and working on the coasts and at sea. MIT Sea Grant brings the substantial intellectual abilities of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and our sister universities to bear on ocean-related challenges requiring an extraordinary technical contribution. In meeting these challenges, we expand human understanding of the ocean and establish the infrastructure to sustain the initiatives and talent pool needed to address complex issues of critical and fragile marine resources.

The 16th annual Blue Lobster Bowl organized and hosted by MIT Sea Grant. (Video by Andrei Ivanov and Lillie Paquette)