OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - If you know which phylum has stinging cells called nematocysts, you might have done well in the Hurricane Bowl on Saturday.
The ocean science academic competition features 20 teams of the brightest and best high schoolers from all over the southeast region.
"Our specific school spends two hours a week studying. We do slide shows, presentations and group projects," said Katie Hamfeldt from the Ivy School in Chattanooga.
The trivia tournament is a combination of multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions in the realm of ocean science. Teams of four work together to answer the questions, but the team dynamic is not always the most agreeable.
"I really like my team," Katie said. "It's a little difficult sometimes when you disagree on your answers, but overall, you just kind gotta let go and have fun."
The team from Taft High School in Pensacola was one of the first teams to compete.
"Each person has their own strength and its all different. Like, I like cnidarians and sponges, and one girl loved whales and mammals."
But when it's all said and done, most of the competitors are in the competition for their love of the ocean. Stephen Mitchell competed in the hurricane bowl when he was in high school. He says he didn't know anything about marine science beforehand.
"It really just changed my career path," said Mitchell. "I got really interested in it and decided to join marine science and get a degree in it at USM, and here I am."
For the first time in the Hurricane Bowl's history, the teams got to visit Deer Island to collect water samples and track birds.