Finalists Named in 2016 Ocean 180 Video Challenge

Students From Around the World Will Choose Winners

MELBOURNE, FLA. —Coral reefs, seals, dolphins and more are the focus of the short videos that comprise the finalists in the 2016 Ocean 180 Video Challenge.

For the third consecutive year, the Florida Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence, known as COSEE Florida, announced the finalists of its Ocean 180 Video Challenge. The video contest is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation to Florida Institute of Technology.

The competition taps into the competitive spirit of scientists and encourages individuals and teams to submit three-minute – 180 second – video abstracts communicating the key findings and implications of a recent peer-reviewed paper to non-scientists. Finalists’ videos are available at and include closed captioning in both English and Spanish.

The top entries, as selected by a panel of science and communication experts, will now go before a team of more than 35,000 student judges who will determine the winners. Over the next four weeks, students from 1,600 middle school classrooms in 11 countries and all 50 U.S. states will screen the videos, provide feedback to the scientists, and vote for their favorite films.

Contest winners will be announced on Feb. 23 during a special town hall session at the 2016 Ocean Sciences Meeting in New Orleans.

The Ocean 180 Video Challenge helps scientists hone their video storytelling skills and explore novel approaches to communicating their latest discoveries with diverse audiences.

“Far too often science is conducted in a bubble and researchers put little effort into engaging with general audiences,” said 2016 finalist John Burns of the University of Hawaii. “Developing media products for middle school students is a great way to educate them on scientific issues and also show that while scientific research is a lot of work, it is a fun and exciting career that allows you to make new discoveries about the world we live in.”

According to 2016 finalist Amber Thomas, whose video described her graduate research at the University of New England, the program offered her team an opportunity to inspire future scientists.

“I remember being a middle school student and learning about the discoveries that scientists had made in the past and thinking that all the cool discoveries had already been made. I was in college before I realized how much there was still left to learn about the world,” Thomas said. “Talking about science with middle school students gives them a better idea of what scientists do and what things still need to be explored.”

Competition finalists, including the names of the team members and their institutional affiliations, are listed below in alphabetical order. Questions regarding the Ocean 180 Video Challenge may be directed to or to Richard Tankersley at COSEE Florida, 321-961-3895.

  • A Very Sticky Fish… Adam Summers, Ian Stevens, and Zach Bivins, University of Washington
  • Can Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) Cooperate When Solving a Novel Task? Kelley Winship, Dolphins Plus; Holli Eskelinen, Dolphins Plus; Stan Kuczaj, University of Southern Mississippi
  • Gotta Go Mom’s Calling: Dolphin Mothers Use Individually Unique Acoustic Signals to Call Their Calves Brittany Jones, University of Southern Mississippi and Dolphins Plus; Holli Eskelinen, Dolphins Plus; Stan Kuczaj, University of Southern Mississippi; Jill Borger-Turner, University of Miami
  • Harbor Seal Pups – Diving Into Rehab Amber Thomas, University of New England; Parker Young, Unbox Science
  • Hiding in Plain Sight: Mimicry in a Juvenile Deep-Sea Squid Ben Burford and Kyra Schlining Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
  • Marine Defaunation: Animal Loss in the Global Ocean Douglas McCauley, University of California, Santa Barbara; Christopher Hanson, Industrial Light & Magic
  • The Creative Dolphin: What Dolphins Do When Asked to Vary Their Behavior Holli Eskelinen, Dolphins Plus; Stan A. Kuczaj, University of Southern Mississippi
  • The JetYak Fiametta Straneo, Lonny Lippsett, and Ken Kostel, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • 3D Under the Sea John Burns, University of Hawaii; Cliff Kapono, University of California San Diego


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