Ocean acidification may be a winning topic for some Alaska high school students. Four of them, from the Kodiak High School Tsunami Bowl team, have focused on the subject for a state science competition coming up in early February. If they win at the state level, they’ll go on to Washington, DC, in April to compete nationally.
The Kodiak students’ paper is called “Projected Effects of Ocean Acidification on the Marine Ecosystem and Social Structure of Kodiak.” The team is solidly in fourth place so far out of the 11 teams in Alaska that submitted papers, according to Tsunami Bowl co-coach Switgard Duesterloh, a former fisheries scientist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
“Co-coach Kevin Lauscher, a first-year KHS freshman earth science and photography teacher, said the team did more than just hit the books for information in the extensive paper.
“We tapped into our local community of scientists and we did use them as a source to really make it relevant and specific to Kodiak,” Lauscher said.
The competition demands knowledge of many different scientific fields — physics, biology, oceanography, earth science, ocean technology and chemistry — and a few others like local history and economics.
The Tsunami Bowl team has been preparing for Seward each week since November in two-hour sessions. The practices involved team discussions, ocean sciences lectures by Duesterloh and practicing their presentation, which is on PowerPoint slides. Beyond that, the team has been doing a lot of independent study.”