2008 MATE International Student ROV Competition
"Diving to the Deep: Uncovering the Mysteries of Mid-Ocean Ridges"
InterRidge sponsored $250 awards for two teams that participated in the annual MATE International Student ROV Competition, held at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, in June 2008. This year, the theme was "Discovering the Mysteries of Mid-Ocean Ridges," sponsored in part by the USA Ridge 2000 Program. Student teams built ROVs for missions that simulated work at hydrothermal vents, such as measuring temperature at a black smoker, collecting sulfide and basalt samples, collecting vent crabs, and recovering an ocean bottom seismometer. A total of 51 teams from 5 countries (Canada, China, Russia, UK, USA) competed in the event. The competition was organized in two groups: "Ranger" teams, which consisted mainly of high school students, and "Explorer" teams which included college and university students. Donna Blackman (IR Steering Committee member) and Stace Beaulieu (IR Coordinator) judged the technical reports and posters. Specifically, we were looking to see how the students compared their ROV and mission tasks to the real science that is conducted at hydrothermal vents. We also looked for their discussion of the importance of teamwork and cooperation and gave an extra bonus when they included an international component in their description of research at mid-ocean ridges.
For the Explorers, the InterRidge Award for Hottest Hydrothermal Vent Team went
to Flower Mound High School, Flower Mound, Texas (USA). The Flower Mound High School team compared their ROV, "Petsuchos", to the French ROV Victor 6000 working at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. In particular, they pointed to the use of ROV Victor 6000 in multi-disciplinary studies of the Rainbow hydrothermal site. To quote their report, "... we can see how the use of the unmanned ROV can help with the scientific exploration in extreme environmental conditions." Click HERE for report.
For the Rangers, the InterRidge Award for Hottest Hydrothermal Vent Team went to
a group of students sponsored by the New York City Home Educators Alliance
(USA). They compared their ROV, "gROVer", to the Canadian ROV ROPOS working at the Juan de Fuca Ridge. They met with Dr. Ed Mathez, curator at the American Museum of Natural History, to learn about the collection of the black smoker chimney on display at the museum. To quote their report, "In the process of preparing for the competition, we researched a team that brought black smokers to the surface. We learned that, while our missions are very different, the challenges and obstacles we face are very similar." Click HERE for report.
We also awarded an overall Honorable Mention to the Ranger team from Edgewater
High School, Orlando, Florida (USA). This team's poster was the most effective
in conveying to a general audience the importance of research at mid-ocean ridges. They compared their ROV, "Caprimulgus", to MBARI's ROV Tiburon working at the Juan de Fuca Ridge. As part of their fundraising and outreach, they set up a booth at a local farmer's market at which they practiced presenting and answering questions about their ROV and educated visitors about ROVs and mid-ocean ridges. Click HERE for report.