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Students from 15 high schools compete in regional marine science competition hosted by GCRL

The University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory hosted students from 15 high schools in the southeastern regional competition for the 2016 Hurricane Bowl on Feb. 27.  The Hurricane Bowl is an annual ocean science competition where teams of four or five students answer trivia questions and thought-provoking team challenge questions. Southeastern states such as Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and Tennessee are represented at the competition.

“The schools practice tirelessly all year for the competition,” said Aaron Lamey, Hurricane Bowl regional coordinator. “Only one of the 23 teams will have the chance to advance and travel to North Carolina for the National Finals.”

The all-day competition began at 8 a.m. and continued until Oxford High School became victorious and was named regional champion. For 2016, it was estimated that 2,000 students from more than 300 high schools would compete throughout the nation.

Lamey, a marine educator at the GCRL’s Marine Education Center, oversees the competition and recruits teams to compete each year. Through a diversity grant, he is also able to help recruit and prepare teams from underrepresented schools.

“It’s a great opportunity to encourage and support students to pursue careers in ocean sciences,” Lamey said. “We take great pride in reaching out to those who are considered underrepresented and giving them equal opportunities.”

This year’s competition marks the 19th year the GCRL’s Marine Education Center hosted the regional event. The theme of the 2016 National Ocean Sciences Bowl and  local competitions was “Our Changing Ocean: Science for Strong Coastal Communities.” According to officials with the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, the theme was chosen as a timely and relevant topic due to escalating populations, erosion, flooding and storm impacts being among the stressors that impact our nation’s coasts. Read more