The Penguin Bowl

Hosted by YSU, STEM College and Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Due to re-organization by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, there will be no NOSB competition for the 2022-2023 academic year. For more information please go here. Please check on our Facebook page (coming in January 2023) for updates and information.



Penguin Bowl logo

Surfing Pete



The National Ocean Sciences Bowl is a competition for high school students on topics related to the study of the oceans. It is a round robin, double-elimination academic tournament consisting of written and oral questions about the oceans and Great Lakes. It is managed by The Consortium for Ocean Leadership, which represents 92 oceanographic institutions, universities and aquaria. The NOSB was first conducted in 1998 in honor of the International Year of the Ocean. Past prizes have included trips to Panama, Costa Rica, Alaska, the Southampton Oceanography Centre in England; the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies on Catalina Island, California; the Florida Keys; Hawaii; the Great Lakes Field Station; cruises on research vessels; visits to oceanographic institutions and aquaria; scholarships; scientific equipment and books.


High schools (or other groups of H.S. grade students) organize teams of five students (four players and one alternate) and a coach to compete in the Penguin Bowl regional competition at either Youngstown State University (odd-numbered years) or the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium (even-numbered years) on a Saturday in February (or early March). The first-place winners from the Penguin Bowl and 24 other regional competitions will meet in April in a coastal city for the national championship. Round-trip transportation and room & board are paid by the NOSB! Field trips during the Finals are also provided to contestants.


After over a decade of being free, the Penguin Bowl must now charge a registration fee. The fee is $250 per team. The fee includes a Friday Night Party and sleepover. Thanks to support from the YSU STEM College, new schools are eligible for the STEM Dean Crèche Prize, which will cover the first-time registration for up to four A-Teams per year. A new school is defined as one that has not competed in NOSB since 2014. (NOTE: If you register a B-Team and it does not compete, or use any resources, the registration fee will be returned).


Every student participating will receive prizes for competing. The top four teams will win significant prizes. Registration is limited to 16 teams. You must register on-line through Eventbrite. Registration will be on a first-come first-served basis. Only one team per school can have a confirmed slot prior to one month before the event. If there are any slots open after registration closes a school may have a second team compete, based on a waiting list. If you want to bring two teams register both teams on-line as soon as possible. You will also need to print and fill-out the Coach Form and the Student Form. Please contact Dr. Felicia Armstrong (330) 941-1385 if you need more information.


The first thing to do is form a team of five students and a coach. Most teams will represent their high school with a teacher as coach. However, home-school groups, 4-H clubs, scouting or other troops are invited to participate. Coaches are not restricted to teachers. Parents, other adults or college students are encouraged to volunteer as a coach. You must register on-line (completely) to secure a place. Changes can be made later.  If you do not have all five students determined, you can make up a name when you register and change it later. (NOTE: This doesn't apply if you want to also submit a B-Team application.) For more information, contact Dr. Felicia Armstrong at (330) 941-1385 or via email at For volunteer information, please contact Dr. Colleen McLean at Each registered team will receive passwords to a website ( )with practice questions and other information that is restricted to Penguin Bowl participants. Registered teams may also be able to participate in lectures and practice competitions in the months leading up to the Penguin Bowl.