Juneau science fair winners head to international contest

Posted: Monday, March 03, 2003

A pollution-detecting experiment that used mussels earned first place in the Southeast Alaska Regional Science Fair for Carl Brodersen, a senior at Juneau-Douglas High School.

Brodersen, 18, designed an experiment that used the production of byssal threads, strands that allow mussels to attach to rocks, in Pacific blue mussels as a pollution indicator.

The science fair was air held Saturday in the Marie Drake gymnasium at JDHS.

Nellie Olsen, 17, a junior, tested whether lichens can be used as bioindicators of air quality in Juneau. She took second place in the fair. Carly Garrison, 16, and Lindsay Perkins 15, both sophomores, won third place. They tested how the distance from fresh water streams affects the distribution size of Pacific blue mussels.

The four winners will travel to Cleveland in May to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. More than 1,200 students will compete at that fair for scholarships, internships, field trips and the grand prize: a trip to the Nobel Prize ceremonies in Stockholm, Sweden.

The judges bestowed honorable mention to Andrew Pendleton, 16, a junior who tested the effects of topography and vegetation cover on GPS location accuracy, and Clay Werthheimer, 16, a freshman who studied how long-term exposure to crude oil affects the survival rate of amphipods, flea-like invertebrates that inhabit coastal areas near Juneau.

The winners were chosen from 90 projects in the first round of the fair, which took place Saturday morning. More than 80 volunteer judges narrowed the field of entries to 10. A second panel of judges then picked the top three projects to send to Cleveland.

The trips to Cleveland will be paid for by the Southeast Alaska Science fair, with support from several corporations and local businesses.

2003 is the 10th year the science fair has been held in Juneau, but the first year it has had a regional fair status, which means it can send winners directly to the international fair. In previous years, winners had to compete in Juneau and Anchorage before qualifying for the international fair.

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