What do spicules, present in the phylum Porifera, act as a primitive form of? The average person probably doesn’t know the answer to this question. However, members of the Unalaska Tsunami Bowl team know. They would tell you without hesitation that spicules act as a primitive form of a skeleton.
The Unalaska Tsunami Bowl team presented to the community on Tuesday, January 30th in the High School Auditorium. For the last couple months, the team has been preparing a science research project titled, “The Impacts of Windstorms on Dutch Harbor.” They have also been preparing for the quiz bowl competition mentioned above sponsored by the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB).
The team’s research project examined the nature of windstorms, how windstorms impact our community, and what can be done to mitigate those impacts. One of the many points they brought up was that windstorms can be a contributing factor to coastal erosion. Many villages on the western coast of Alaska, such as Newtok, Shaktoolik, and Shishmaref, are literally washing into the ocean because of a combination of melting permafrost, decreasing sea ice, and bigger waves due to stronger windstorms.
In order to combat the deleterious impacts that windstorms can have, the team recommends community outreach to spread the dangers of wind, continuing to build wind-resistant infrastructure, and constructing a sea wall for the city. After the team’s presentation, they grouped up to compete in a quiz bowl round against a community team. They answered a barrage of questions touching on everything from biology to meteorology to geology.
The team will be presenting and competing in Seward next week at the state Tsunami Bowl. Wish them luck!