News Release

REF NO.: 185

SUBJECT: Students learn about the science of undersea volcanoes in underwater robot competition

DATE: April 29, 2010

From April 30 to May 1, teams of local high school students will use underwater robots, known as remotely-operated vehicles or ROVs, to navigate the precarious terrain of active undersea volcanoes. Seventeen high schools from across the province will gather at the Fisheries and Marine Institute’s flume tank to vie for the right to compete with students from all over the world in an international contest to be held this summer in Hawaii.
This year’s competition theme is undersea volcanoes and the role that ROVs play in their science and exploration. The focus of the competition missions is the Lo’hi seamount, an active undersea volcano rising more than 3,000 meters above the seafloor, located off the coast of Hawaiis’ Big Island.
 “The goal of the competition is to encourage students to learn science, technology, engineering and math by showing them how these subjects can be applied in the real world,” said Dwight Howse, head of the School of Ocean Technology at the Marine Institute. “We are extremely pleased to be able to offer students the opportunity to explore the advanced technologies being used in ocean activities and showcase the career opportunities that these technologies afford them. We would also like to acknowledge the tremendous support of our sponsors. Their support was crucial to the overall success of the competition.”  
In addition to the underwater mission, teams will prepare technical reports, poster displays and engineering presentations that describe their vehicles and how they function. Local marine technology professionals will volunteer as judges for the competition.
The first and second place teams overall in the regional competition will advance to the international contest, taking place June 24-26 at the University of Hawaii at Hilo in Hawaii.
The public are invited to view the competition live from the Marine Institute’s flume tank viewing area, on Friday from 7- 9 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Free parking is available.
The media are also encouraged to send representatives to the opening reception at the Marine Institute, Friday, April 30 at 6 p.m. where Dr. Ray Gosine, vice president, research pro tempore, Memorial University; Ms. Kim Keating, technology team leader, Facilities and Projects Engineering, SunCor Energy; Mr. Adam Viscount, facilities engineer, Programmatics, ExxonMobil; and Mr. Glenn Blackwood, executive director, Marine Institute will speak.
The event will conclude with an awards banquet on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the Marine Institute’s cafeteria.
The 2010 MATE Newfoundland and Labrador Regional ROV Competition is organized by the Marine Institute and supported by local sponsors, including the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, SunCor Energy and ExxonMobil. The Newfoundland and Labrador event is one of 16 regional competitions held by the MATE Centre across Canada, the United States, Hong Kong and Scotland.
Supported by the National Science Foundation’s MATE Center and the Marine Technology Society (MTS) ROV Committee, the competition encourages students to develop science, technology, engineering and math skills by showing them real-world applications of these subjects.

- 30 -