UNCW Student's Ocean Sciences Video Selected as Top 10 Finalist in International Competition

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

A video produced by a UNCW undergraduate student in Professor Joseph R. Pawlik’s marine biology lab is one of the 10 finalists in the 2015 Ocean 180 Video Challenge, sponsored by the Florida Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence.

“This program provides an amazing mechanism for world-wide science education outreach, and it does it in an entertaining and approachable manner,” said Pawlik, a professor in the Department of Biology and Marine Biology and at the UNCW Center for Marine Science.

Senior Jack Koch, an honors student majoring in marine biology, produced the video, and senior Kentre Horton, also a marine biology major, was the narrator. The animation sequences were put together by Koch using his own cameras and laptop computer. Not only will the video teach students about symbiosis, Pawlik said, but also about the scientific method.

The goals of the video challenge are to broaden the reach of scientific knowledge through educational opportunities and assist scientists in sharing groundbreaking research with the public more effectively. Video submissions covered a broad range of research topics and ocean fields and were judged by a panel of experts in the fields of science and communication. The top 10 submissions will be evaluated by more than 50,000 middle school students in 25 countries. The students will vote to determine the winning video abstracts, which will be announced in March.

The subject material for the video challenge must be chosen from a recent scientific publication. The UNCW video, entitled “The maid did it! The surprising case of the sponge-cleaning brittlestar,” focused on the brittlestar and its symbiotic relationship with the gray tube sponge.

“We had recently published the last chapter of my former Ph.D. student's research on this topic. The discovery contained in this publication proved to be a surprise to us, so it was a good choice for the video,” Pawlik said. “We also hope it will inspire enthusiasm for research in marine biology.”

A majority of the submissions were produced by research programs at the University of Hawaii, University of Washington and University of Miami, Pawlik said. “Some of these were done with the help of video production companies, and ours is an amateur production,” he added.