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Every year the Consortium for Ocean Leadership sponsors 25 regional high school competitions focused on marine science topics. Winners from these regional events then converge on a single location for the National Finals Competition.

In 2011, the finals competition was held at the Texas A&M University Galveston campus for the first time ever. Planning for this event included the development of artwork to represent the theme of Human Responses to Ocean Events. Sanctuary Advisory Council member/artist Jacqui Stanley stepped up to this task.

Full color painting of a reef scene at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.  In the painting, the artist shows divers checking on scientific equipment on the reef.
NOSB painting by artist/council member Jacqui Stanley

Using a research cruise photo as reference, she created this painting that shows divers checking on semi-permeable membrane devices (used to detect the presence of hydrocarbons) in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This then became the centerpiece of the competition logo and appeared on the program cover as well as event t-shirts. The painting itself was auctioned off to raise funds for the NOSB program.

A collage showing a coral reef painting in the center flanked by a t-shirt design and a program booklet that incorporate the painting into their design.
T-shirt and program designs developed using Jacqui's
artwork and given a Texas flair

Of course the competition itself was important, but this multi-day event also included a speed-dating-style career opportunities fair, dinner at the Aquarium at Moody Gardens with guest speaker Sylvia Earle, and field trips to local ocean science destinations.

One of those field trips was on board the R/V MANTA. Students who selected this trip learned about how the research vessel is used and took a short trip offshore to conduct water sampling activities. They also visited the NOAA Fisheries sea turtle facility and the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network rehabilitation facility.

Click on any picture below to see a larger, hi-resolution image
Photo credits: FGBNMS

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On Board the R/V MANTA
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Students seated around a table in the galley (kitchen area) of a boat.
The NOSB students receive a safety briefing at the start of their field trip on board the R/V MANTA.

Looking down the port (left) side of a boat at a group of people clustered along the railing with a line hanging overboard.
Half of the students collected plankton by trailing a net alongside the MANTA while it was stopped.
A plankton net trailing in the water
Currents and waves made for a lot of water action as the plankton net trailed alongside the MANTA.
Students gathered in a circle on the back deck of a boat looking at one student holding a refractometer up to his face for reading.
Students learned to use a refractometer to determine the salinity of water in their sample.


Students in life vests gathered to one side of a boat.  One student is holding a water sample.  Another is holding a clipboard on which they've just recorded data.
Smiling students talk about the water sample from which they've just collected and recorded data.

Students gathered around an electronic meter attached to a cable that has been suspended into the water. One student is watching the cable over the side of the boat. Another student's hand and clipboard are visible in the bottom left corner of the image.
Half of the students collected water chemistry data using a hydrolab instrument suspended over the side of the boat. A digital display gives them live data.
A woman in a blue shirt closing the lid on water sample as she stands next to a microscope and a petri dish on a counter.
A TAMUG grad student prepares the water samples for viewing under a microscope in the dry lab of the R/V MANTA.
 Two hands place a petri dish with a water sample under the lens of a microscope.
A sample of water retrieved during a plankton tow is placed under a microscope for better viewing.
A large screen TV monitor showing images of phytoplankton from a nearby microscope. Heads of two people are visible just below and in front of the screen.
The view from the microscope is projected onto the large TV screen in the galley of the MANTA.
The back of a blue t-shirt that says Phytoplankton Dynamics Laboratory.  The word Phytoplankton is artistically displayed using various shapes of plankton.
It's all about the Phytoplankton when you are a student in the Phytoplankton Dymanics Laboratory at TAMUG.

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At the NOAA Galveston Lab
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Students seated around a large u-shaped table arrangement in a large meeting room.
After lunch, students were welcomed by Roger Zimmerman, NOAA Galveston Lab Director, then treated to a presentation about sea turtles.
A group of students standing near an indoor pool
After visiting the NOAA turtle facility, students learned more about the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network (TMMSN) rehabilitation facility.
A woman wearing blue rubber gloves holds up a preserved dolphin lung as she talks
In the TMMSN necropsy lab, students were shown some preserved organ samples. This is a section of a dolphin's lung.
A young man looking into a microscope set on a table next to a computer.
This sample is a partially disected dolphin heart.

weather report observations cool stuff get wet

Juvenile blue tang (fish).  Bright yellow body with irridescent blue marking around eye and at top edge of dorsal fin.
National Marine Sanctuary logo - a stylized whale tail above waves