Test your knowledge: National Ocean Science Bowl biology

Here are some more sample questions from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership‘s popular National Ocean Science Bowl (NOSB). These questions come from the Biology section.

Good luck!

1) Northern elephant seals come ashore during the spring and summer to do what? a) Mate b) Eat c) Give birth d) Shed their fur

2) The habitat of blue whales, tunas and swordfishes is best described as: a) Benthic b) Littoral c) Estuarine d) Pelagic

3) Intensive aquaculture of which of the following organisms has contributed to loss of mangroves around the world? a) Tilapia b) Cod c) Salmon d) Shrimp

4) Lophelia (LO-fee-lee-ua) coral reefs in the North Atlantic are being primarily damaged by: a) Pfiesteria b) Poisoning c) Rising temperatures d) Trawling

Syzygy and Supermoons

OK, just in case you are playing some pub trivia this summer I want to mention the phenomenons of syzygy and supermoons. In celestial terms, syzygy refers to when three heavenly bodies (for instance the sun, the moon, and the Earth) are aligned. This alignment typically enhances tides to an exceptional level. In marine science, it can also refer to the highest of the high tides during one tidal period.

Now, on to supermoons. They would be the syzygy when the moon is at its closest approach to the Earth (or, in its perigree).

The image above is from the supermoon this past March. The picture was taken is Egypt (If anyone would like to sponsor a trip for this Beach Chair Scientist to someday visit Egypt please let me know. It is a bucket list trip for my husband and I).

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Who has the longest commute in the sea?

An animal lives to eat and breed. In order to do this, some animals that call the ocean habitat ‘home’ have to travel great distances to find food or reach a particular breeding ground. Here is a breakdown of some of the most impressive migrations in and around the sea.

Perhaps the longest migration of any mammal on Earth, the gray whales travel 12,000 miles round trip. They spend the summer months in the Bering Sea area between Alaska and Russia. Eventually they make their way to the west coast of Canada and the United States and finally end up in the quiet lagoons of Baja California during the winter months. In the spring they make their way back to the Bering Sea. Also, notable is the migration of the humpback whales. They can travel up to 5,000 miles.

Arctic terns fly over 25,000 miles to the Southern Ocean. Sooty shearwaters travel 64,000 miles over the Pacific Ocean in figure eight patterns.

Leatherback sea turtles travel over 3,000 miles to get to their nesting beaches.

Here is a video from PBS’ Jean-Michel Cousteau Ocean Adventure that gives a nice overview of the migration of the gray whale.

Image (c) mistertoast.blogspot.com

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More than One Week

Tomorrow is the final day for National Environmental Education Week! It is a special week in schools because all of those children with an aptitude for understanding concepts with examples about nature have finally been able to comprehend all those complex topics they might otherwise have found overwhelming simply because the examples used in class do not inspire them to learn.

The concept of infusing environmental education in all parts of the classrooms is a concept that is few and far between. And, at this point is set aside for this very special week. It is not even part of the requirements for a school to be listed as LEED certified. That is simply based on how the school is constructed. And, one could hope that the students are going to absorb the fact that their classroom lightbulbs are better for the environment than the other school down the block but I doubt it.

I rarely get on a soapbox on this blog but I want to take the time to ask you what does it mean for a school to be green? To me, it should mean integrating environmental themes throughout the year. In recent years an eighth learning style has been identified. This new learning style is the ‘naturalistic’ and many students would benefit greatly from year round green in the classroom. If you would like to learn more on how to integrate environmental themes in the classroom check out these websites:

It’s as easy as A, B, Sea: K for Knot

Knot is a measure of nautical speed. More specifically one knot equals one nautical mile per hour. One nautical mile equals 6,080 feet.

The term knot came from how sailors calculated speed. They threw a log with a rope attached to it overboard. The rope had knots evenly spaced (every 47 feet and 3 inches). Therefore, by calculating the knots let out in a specific time frame (every 28 seconds) the speed was calculated.

Test your knowledge: Social science of the ocean

Here are some more sample questions from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership‘s popular National Ocean Science Bowl. These questions come from the Social Science section.

Good luck!

1.) How often have men descended to the Challenger Deep? a) Once b) Twice c) Three times d) Never

Map showing the location of the Mariana Trench...

Image via Wikipedia

(The Challenger Deep is 36,000 feet deep along the Mariana Trench.)

2.) In 1933, the US tanker Ramapo encountered the highest wind wave ever measured reliably. How tall was this wave? a) 12 meters b) 34 meters c) 42 meters d) 54 meters

3.) Which of the following is NOT an example of human-made structure designed to stabilize the shoreline? a) Breakwater b) Jetty c) Tibia d) Pier

Answers can be found here.

Test your knowledge: Coral reefs

Fishing in the Maldives

Image via Wikipedia

Every once in a while it is fun to test your knowledge and see if you are as smart as you think you are in a certain subject. Today it is time see how well you know coral reefs. Have fun with these ten questions …

  1. It has been found that some coral reefs have been growing since a) 10 million years old b) 50 million years ago c) 1 million years ago.
  2. Single coral organisms, called polyps, can live on their own. true or false?
  3. Coral reefs are typically found in which zone of the ocean? a) the twilight zone b) the sunlight zone c) mid-day zone
  4. Coral reefs are simply coral colonies that have joined together. true or false?
  5. Corals are a) insectivores b) carnivores 3) herbivores.
  6. Corals are a) endangered b) threatened 3) extinct.
  7. What is credited to the diverse colors of coral reefs?
  8. Coral reefs support over a) 10% b) 25% c) 50% of life in the oceans.
  9. Corals are closely related to a) horseshoe crabs and spiders b) sea anemones and jellies c) crabs and shrimp.
  10. Corals will die immediately if they do not feed off the byproducts of photosynthesis of the algae they host. true or false?

Find your answers here.

Test your knowledge: National Ocean Science Bowl sample question

The National Ocean Science Bowl is a high school challenge program run by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership and is dedicated to preparing the next generation of scientists, teachers, policy makers, environmental advocates and concerned citizens to “continue the exploration and develop strategies for managing the oceans’ resources.”

Here is a sample question taken from their resources page to test your knowledge:

This national marine sanctuary, sometimes called The Galapagos of California, is home to kelp forests, sea lions and blue whales. a) Stellwagen Banks b) Channel Islands c) Monterrey Bay d) Olympic Coast

The answer is the Channel Islands, a set of five islands off the coast of California.

Image (c) oceanleadership.org.

5 questions to test your ocean knowledge.

What causes ocean dead zones? a) Fertilizer run-off b) Sewage run-off c) Animal waste from farms d) All of the above

What is the world’s saltiest ocean? a) Atlantic b) Pacific c) Indian d) Artic

What is the world’s shallowest ocean? a) Artic b) Atlantic c) Indian d) Southern

What percentage of the world’s oceans are overfished? a) 50% b) 65% c) 75% d) 80%

How much of the earth is covered in water? a) 68% b) 71% c) 75% d) 79%

Click here to get the answers from Planet Green (Discovery Channel).

Do you have another great question? Check out www.beachchairscientist.com and enter your request or e-mail info@beachchairscientist.com.

Answers to “Test your knowledge of sea stars”

Answers to “Test your knowledge of sea stars” from December 31, 2009.

True or False: Sea stars are fish. They are echinoderms, a group of invertebrates. Invertebrates have no backbones. All fish have backbones.
True or False: Sea stars are closely related to sea cucumbers, sea urchins and brittle stars.
True or False: Sea stars have a flexible skeleton.
True or False: Sea stars breathe through gills. They breathe through a water vascular system. You can see the tube feet (a main component of the water vascular system) on the underside of the sea stars.
True or False: Sea stars can regenerate most body parts.

Congrats to all those that got them correct!