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REF NO.: 174

SUBJECT: Newfoundland and Labrador Students Learn about “Hot Springs in the Seafloor” in Underwater Robot Competition

DATE: May 2

              On May 2-3, 2008, teams of high school students will compete using underwater robots, known as remotely-operated vehicles or ROVs. Thirteen 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 San Diego, California.
            The ROV Competition is organized by the Marine Institute and supported by local sponsors, including the Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development, D.F. Barnes Group, Husky Energy, Marport and Exxon Mobil.
            “This is our second year supporting the MATE ROV competition,” said Art Garland, president of Orphan Industries, the D.F. Barnes Group subsidiary that manufactures products for ROV clients worldwide. “For us, this isn’t just a nice thing to do. We want to see these young people going after high-paying jobs in engineering and marine technology. If we can help them explore those career paths through sponsorship, then that just benefits us in the future.”
             Local marine technology professionals volunteer as judges for the competition, evaluating the students’ ROVs, poster displays, and engineering presentations. The following schools are participating in the Newfoundland and Labrador Regional MATE ROV Competition:
           Heritage Collegiate
           Prince of Wales Collegiate
           St. James High School
           O’Donel High School
           Stephenville High School
           Carbonear Collegiate
           St. Lawrence Academy
           Holy Spirit High School
           Ascension Collegiate
           Elwood Regional High School
           Gonzaga High School
           Marystown High School
           Lakewood Academy
            “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.”
            The focus of the competition is hydrothermal vents, which are like hot springs in the seafloor, discharging continuous streams of hot fluids from deep beneath the Earth’s crust into the surrounding cold ocean water. The ROV competition is designed to present junior high, high school, community college, and university students with the types of challenges that scientists and engineers face when working in these extreme environments.
            The Regional ROV Competition is one of 15 regional contests managed by the MATE Center and held across the U.S. and Canada, as well as in Hong Kong and Scotland. The top two teams from this regional competition along with a team from Eric G. Lambert School in Churchill Falls and the Eastern Edge Robotics team representing provincial post-secondary institutions will participate in the international competition, which is organized by the MATE Center and the Marine Technology Society’s ROV Committee. It will be held June 26–28, 2008 at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), in partnership with Ridge 2000, an interdisciplinary research program that is designed to study the biology, chemistry, geology, and geophysics of Earth’s ocean ridge systems. Ridge 2000 is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and hosted at Scripps.
            The competition will be held from 9 a.m to 4 p.m., on Saturday, May 3 at the Marine Institute with the closing banquet taking place at 5:30 p.m., at the Marine Institute’s cafeteria.
            For more information about the MATE Center and the ROV competition, visit the MATE Center at     

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For more information, please contact Stephanie Barrett, public relations and communications officer, Fisheries and Marine Institute at 778-0677or or Kimberley Thornhill, educational marketing co-coordinator, Fisheries and Marine Institute at 778-0544, 691-9221or  


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