Spring Ahead

Professor Billie J. Swalla, Interim Director of FHL

We’ve started Daylight Savings Time, and everyone suffers a small case of jetlag as their biological clocks shift to adjust with the daylight hours. It’s always interesting to me as a biologist that my body senses light and adjusts my internal neural and digestive rhythms accordingly. We work most productively when we are in sync, so I hope that we all sync up soon.

The search is on for a new FHL Director! I would like to thank everyone who I have worked with in the past 18 months at Friday Harbor as Interim Director. I could not have faced the daunting challenges of my position without an excellent staff and supportive faculty who have the best interests of FHL foremost in their thoughts. The dedication and professionalism of our staff is simply amazing and is greatly appreciated by the many researchers and students that we host each year. I am very proud of our many accomplishments and look forward to working at FHL in the coming years.

Persons wishing to provide input to the FHL Director search committee can use the catalyst site or email Andre Punt aepunt@uw.edu, the chair of the committee. If you are interested in meeting with the full committee, please contact Suzanne Zitzer at sezitzer@uw.edu or 206-221-8456.

Changes are happening all over the FHL campus! I walk into my office and the light comes on, as if I’m one of the Jetson’s. We’ve installed new lights that are on timers and motion sensors to be sure that lights on when needed, but off at night to save energy. Most marine labs in Europe already have these types of lights, so I’ve worked around them there. However, there are a few stubborn ones near the apartments that sometimes refuse to come on no matter what, so I always keep a flashlight handy when going home at night. These new lights are part of the ESCO “Greening Up” grant that is being done on campus by McKinstry. The savings to the State of Washington will be substantial over the next 10 years.

Part of the ESCO program was the purchase and installation of a new dive compressor for FHL. This will greatly enhance the diving program at FHL and we are pleased to keep our facilities running smoothly. This state-of-the-art compressor can mix Nitrox (nitrogen and oxygen) or air fills. Our old compressor was given to Shannon Point Marine Lab, in Anacortes, which will allow them to do their own air fills in their dive program, so everyone wins. We were happy to have this new capacity when the Three Seas Program arrived from Northeastern University on March 24, kicking off our busy spring and summer season.

Congratulations to our newest PhD completed in 2014, Emma Timmins-Schiffman. We wish you many continued successes! Emma has described her research in the April #8 Tide Bites, also included in this newsletter.

Dr. Emma Timmins-Schiffman (PhD School of Aquatic and Fisheries Science)
"The Effects of Ocean Acidification on Multiple Life History Stages of the Pacific Oyster, Crassostrea gigas: Implications for Physiological Trade-offs."
February 5, 2014

Committee members: Advisor Steven Roberts (SAFS & FHL), Jonathan Davis (SAFS & Taylor Shellfish), Carolyn Friedman (SAFS & FHL), Lorenz Hauser (SAFS), Billie Swalla (Biology & FHL)


On March 30, our UW Spring students ferried in. The UW ZooBot classes and the FHL Marine Sedimentary Apprenticeship students arrived, bringing the number of students on FHL campus to over 50 this spring. We welcome the students to our campus and look forward to an exciting and productive 2014 spring quarter.

FHL campus will see other changes when fire mitigation begins in September this year. The FHL campus will see the removal of trees and brush on campus, to protect the campus and buildings on it during a possible forest fire. This will give our campus a more open look and will be much easier for our crew to maintain and manage. In anticipation of this happening in the fall, we are doing some campus cleanup now to be ready for the work to ensue.

Finally, I would personally like to thank everyone for the kind cards, letters and flowers that I received after the death of my Mother in February. My mother was an amazing person and lived everyday to its very fullest. In fact, as a teenager, I was easily annoyed by her positive spirit in the face of any sort of adversity. However, as frequently happens, I find that I’m turning into my mother. Whenever I stretch to find the “silver lining” in any situation, I smile at her presence in my life. Also, she liberally used exclamation points! Yes, I’m my mother’s daughter.