The Sea Lion Bowl is one of 25 regional ocean science competitions, the winners of which compete in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB). These competitions are sponsored by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, a nonprofit organization representing over 100 leading ocean research and education institutions with a mission to advance research, education and sound ocean policy, in partnership with the local host institutions. Northern California’s Bowl originated in 1998, during the International Year of the Ocean, to encourage high school students and teachers to learn about the ocean and ocean exploration. At the time the project was called the ‘Sea Otter Bowl’ as it was hosted in Monterey at the Monterey Peninsula College. When the event moved to San Francisco in 2010 the name was changed to the Sea Lion Bowl, led by San Francisco State’s Center for Science and Mathematics Education (CSME). From 2014-2017 the Sea Lion Bowl migrated down the peninsula to Stanford University’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences. Since Fall 2017, the Sea Lion Bowl has resided at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB)’s College of Science.
The Sea Lion Bowl hosts between 150-200 high school students and their coaches in an all day competition at CSUMB.
Teams of students come from many high schools throughout Northern California to compete in the quiz show-like competition. Here, students answer marine science questions in the fields of Biology, Geology, Chemistry, Geography, Marine-Policy, Oceanography, and Ocean Technology on the level of undergraduate marine science majors. It is truly awe-inspiring!
What is the NOSB?
A national academic competition for high schools on topics related to the study of the oceans — the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB®). The NOSB was first conducted in the winter and spring of 1998 in honor of the International Year of the Ocean. NOSB is an outreach program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
Why was it started?
This competition is intended to increase knowledge of the oceans on the part of high school students, their teachers and parents, as well as to raise the visibility and public understanding of the national investment in ocean-related research. Specific objectives of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl are to:
- Broaden students’ and teachers’ 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;
- Help 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;
- Give oceanographic research programs the opportunity to develop new links with their local pre-college community and open student’s eyes to ocean-related career options; and
- Reach out to new students and communities to boost participation by populations under-represented in the ocean sciences.
A formal evaluation of the program was conducted by Howard Walters, Ed.D., Ashland University, and Kristina Bishop, Ed.D., The College of Exploration, during 2002-2004. The evaluation indicates the NOSB program has had a significant positive impact on marine science education at the high school level and has increased awareness of marine science careers.