Autumn Leaves

Professor Billie J. Swalla, FHL Interim Director

September marks the end of summer and back to school for the University of Washington. Go Dawgs! We won the first five football games handily, so it looks like we'll have a great season. Football, cider and Marine Biology courses are in the air at FHL. It’s time to reflect back on the productive summer of 2013.

Summer 2013 at FHL was a usual vibrant, intellectual, and research-intensive experience. I’ve started a new series to highlight research at FHL called “FHL Research Tide Bites.” These “Tide Bites” will be sent out on the first of every month to our Resident Scientists, our Advancement Board, and to news agencies. Through this mechanism, I hope to increase the research visibility of Friday Harbor Labs. Our September Tide Bites made the front page of the San Juan Islander and we hope that this foreshadows more visibility for FHL research. Read more...
Check out the September and October “Tide Bites."

Making a Difference

Kevin Schofield, FHL Advancement Board Chair

As I write this, Summer Session B 2013 has just concluded. I had the privilege of visiting the Labs on several occasions over the past three months, and as is always the case during the summer, the place was buzzing with activity. The resident and visiting researchers were pursuing some fascinating projects, and the Centennial has been busy as well taking out teams of faculty and students to conduct experiments and collect specimens. Read more...

Thank you Laura

Kevin Schofield

Laura Long has recently concluded her term as Chair of the Communications Committee for the Friday Harbor Labs Advancement Board. She served in this capacity for several years, notably through a time when all organizations' approaches to communications changed dramatically due to the influences of digital publishing and social media. Laura provided tireless, thoughtful and deft service to the Advancement Board and to the Labs in her capacity as Communications Chair, and I would like to personally acknowledge her significant contributions and thank her for selfless service. Laura created the FHL e-newsletter and served as both editor and designer over the years. We are fortunate that Laura continues to serve on the Advancement Board and that we can count on her to share her experience and wisdom going forward.

A Few Questions about FHL

Dr. Ken Sebens, Former Director, FHL

Some of the questions I have been asked recently about the Friday Harbor Labs are: How did you survive the recent years of budget cuts? Why is FHL still so affordable? How were you able to improve the physical plant during the economic downturn? Why do students keep coming to FHL from everywhere else, when other marine labs are having trouble attracting them? Why does the University of Washington spend money to maintain a marine laboratory that hosts so many non-UW users? Is FHL going to become completely self-supporting? The answers are: FHL suffered the cuts along with the rest of UW, because we want to encourage visitors, many grant proposals submitted, expanded course offerings and financial aid, because it is good for UW too, and ‘no’. Read more...

Fish Swimming 2013

Dr. Paolo Domenici, Instructor

The Fish Swimming course was taught for a sixth time at Friday Harbor Labs this summer. The course is typically very international as it has attracted students from more than twenty countries around the world over the years. This year we had twelve students, coming from the USA, Canada, the UK, Brazil, Australia, Italy, Spain, Denmark and France. The first part of the course was lecture based, and students were introduced to the principles of fish swimming, in terms of hydrodynamics and kinematics, as well as to the energetics of exercise and to behavioural and ecological aspects of fish locomotion. In the second part of the course, students worked in groups of three. Each group developed a project, which was discussed with the instructors. Under the instructors’ supervision, students set up the projects, carried out the experiments, the data analysis, the statistical analysis, and wrote the project reports. This year the students came up with four challenging projects, all of which gave interesting results. Read more...

Polyps and cukes and crabs, Oh My!

Dr. Rachel Merz, Research Mentor

Mark Levine-Weinberg, Leah Lee and Samantha Chavez joined me as three of this summer’s NSF REU/Blinks/BEACON undergraduates who did research at Friday Harbor. They worked on very different projects, which arose from fundamental observations each of them made in the field and the questions that they developed from those observations. The process began by all of us using a low tide series to visit a number of habitats around San Juan Island (Cattle Point, False Bay, Eagle Cove, Garrison Bay, Argyle Creek and the dock). In each setting the students followed their curiosity to explore the habitat and develop a sense of the organisms living there.


Dr. Trish Morse and Dr. Billie Swalla

The E. S. Morse Institute and the Japan/US Scholar Exchange Program has entered its second year and numerous activities have occurred.

An “Agreement on Academic Exchange Between Friday Harbor Laboratories, University of Washington and Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo” was signed by the FHL Director and Dean of the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Science for a period of five years. This is for implementation for exchange of ideas in research areas of mutual interest.

A major grant was secured by Professor Koji Akasaka, Director of the Misaki Marine Biological Station (MMBS) of the University of Tokyo supporting the MMBS – Friday Harbor Laboratories exchange program. The funding came from the Mikimoto Pearl Company, and they will provide $26,000 as the Mikimoto-Morse Scholarship and will be available every year for a period of four years. We will try very hard to match this generous Japan contribution here in the USA!

This year the program founders (Hoshi, Omori and Morse) named three Honorary Fellows as members of the E. S. Morse Institute. This honor is to celebrate the scholarly contributions of these scientists who over their lifetimes involved exchanges between our two countries involving the Friday Harbor Laboratories. The first Honorary Scholar was Professor Arthur Whiteley. Read more...

Professor Richard Earl Norris, April 13, 1926 - July 17, 2013

It is with great sadness that we share the news that Professor Richard Earl Norris passed away on July 17, 2013. Richard was an admired and highly respected member of the FHL community. His contributions to Friday Harbor Laboratories spanned decades and he will be greatly missed by all of us at the Labs. His family published a lovely tribute in the Journal of the San Juans at the time of his passing. You may read their tribute here.

In the News

"Ocean acidification center another example of state leading the nation"
by Sandra Hines, UW Today

Washington’s governor and state legislators in the last session created a hub at the University of Washington to coordinate research and monitoring of ocean acidification and its effects on local sea life such as oysters, clams and fish. Based on what’s learned, the center will marshal efforts to improve the ability to forecast when and where corrosive waters might occur and suggest adaptive strategies to mitigate the effects. Read more...

"Mantas, devil rays butchered for apothecary trade now identifiable"
by Sandra Hines, UW Today

Scientists with the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories have discovered enough differences in the filters to be able to identify the giant manta and eight of the devil rays using the part from inside their mouth that has been dried and is being sold. Read more...

Photo credits: Pacific oyster, E Timmins-Schiffman | Giant manta, S Kajiura