Director's Report

By Professor Billie J. Swalla, Director of FHL

The trees are budding and birds are singing, it’s spring in the Pacific Northwest! We’ve had some beautiful sunny days and a wet winter, causing the madrones to bloom a cacophony of white flowers across the FHL campus. It has been one of the warmest springs on record, with sea water and air temperatures averaging 3°C higher than normal. Climate change is happening, and FHL is monitoring those changes in the air and seawater.

San Juans STEM Center: an update

By Derek Smith

The San Juan Island School District’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) program is wrapping up its 2015-16 academic year. We’re already planning for the coming years after many successes from the K-12 students, including teams competing in the state-wide Orca Bowl at UW and others demonstrating their underwater vehicles at FHL's annual Open House. Formal classes offered in the first year have included: Materials Engineering using 3D printers and industry-standard Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) software; Robotics using Vex, Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), and quadcopters to cover land, air, and sea; Digital Photography using DSLR still and video cameras as well as Photoshop and FinalCut Pro editing software; Video Game Design and Programming using Unity platform to create novel games, and Automotive Foundations spanning generations of 1960s, 70s, and 80s combustible engines to hybrid vehicles and even the all-electric Tesla and Nissan Leaf. The high school students enrolled in these courses have been exposed to high-level academic concepts and principles and participated in engaging and innovative experiential learning opportunities.

A Family Experience at FHL

By Lynda Barckert

As a parent I have always been keen to learn what makes my offspring tick. So when my son declared his determination to keep returning to FHL for further study opportunities after spending a quarter there in the undergraduate ZooBot program a couple of years ago, I sat up and took notice. My son’s enthusiasm for the FHL experience piqued my curiosity — I wanted to see this place for myself! So last August, my husband, daughter and I came to FHL from Chicago to visit my son for a few days while he conducted some independent undergrad research in the weeks after the regular summer class session ended.

Orca Bowl 2016

By Véronique Robigou

Two teams from Friday Harbor High School competed at the Orca Bowl on February 27, 2016 on the University of Washington's main campus in Seattle.
Team A: Kendra Pew, Fiona Sutherland, Cole Thomas, Corbin Williams, and Echo Wood
Team B: Jaclyn Domenech, Kai Herko, Joseph Kaden, Cheri Lanham, and Annamarie Thomas

Advancement Board Chair Report

By Kevin Schofield

My term as Chair of FHL's Advancement Board is coming to an end, and I find myself reflecting on how much change has occurred at the Labs over the last three years. Of course the biggest change has been our new Director, Dr. Billie Swalla, who has now settled into her position and is driving new initiatives. Among those are renovations to buildings and facilities on campus, as well as catching up on deferred maintenance on the research vessel Centennial. We also have a new center for imaging at Friday Harbor Labs, and the new marine biology major at UW will soon bring additional relevance to the Labs.

FHL Student Support

By Rachel Anderson

Every year at this time, the staff at FHL are busy expertly preparing for the upcoming summer sessions. Over the past few months, students and research fellows have received both their acceptances and the news of the financial support they will receive. Some students have been to the Friday Harbor Labs before and eagerly anticipate returning. Others have only heard about the life-changing experience that awaits them. We look forward to welcoming one and all to San Juan Island these next few months!

New Administrator Mark Tetrick

By Billie Swalla

FHL’s new Administrator Mark Tetrick described his new position on San Juan Island as his “dream job” when he interviewed last fall along with two other stellar candidates. We hope that he still feels that way after four months of immersion in FHL budgets, MOUs and staff H.R. issues!

Mark has extensive experience and highly developed skills in program and project management, operational and capital budget development and oversight, human resource administration, staff development, and strategic planning and implementation. Mark’s last position was at UW with IACUC, the office that is in charge of vertebrate animal welfare for the University.

Program Coordinator Bernadette Holthuis

By Meegan Corcoran

In January of 2015 FHL warmly welcomed Bernadette Holthuis, the new Program Coordinator and assistant to the Director. Although Bernadette is new to the position, she certainly is not a stranger to the Labs.

After graduating from Davis University with a Bachelor’s in Zoology in 1985 Bernadette spent her first summer at FHL as a student in the embryology course, which she describes as the best course she has ever taken.

UW's 2016 Scientific Diving Course at FHL

by Pema Kitaeff

University of Washington researchers have been conducting work underwater since the early days of SCUBA diving, throughout the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Only recently — since 2010 — has UW offered an opportunity to obtain a scientific diving certification in an intensive two-week summer workshop at Friday Harbor Labs.

The UW was one of the first organizational members in the American Academy for Underwater Sciences (AAUS), which is the standard-setting body for scientific diving in this country.

In the News

Hakai Magazine: FHL instructors Megan Dethier and Tom Mumford are interviewed at Botany Beach (British Columbia) about the uniqueness of the site, which prompted a University of Minnesota seaside marine station from 1900-1907, and what the site provides for FHL's ZooBot courses each spring.

• Monterey Bay Aquarium's Research Institute captured images of this beautiful deep-sea jelly and named it Crossota millisae to honor FHL's Claudia Mills' decades of jelly research. Check out its beauty and unusual reproduction on MBARI's Facebook page.

UW Today : Scientists recommend an immediate plan to combat changes to West Coast seawater chemistry. The panel included UW researchers Terrie Klinger and Jan Newton, who co-direct the WA Ocean Acidification Center and FHL's Ocean Acidification Environmental Lab.

• In our Spring 2015 e-Newsletter, we shared a student-made video by two FHL Marine Biology Quarter students that were inspired by reading Moby Dick. Adam Summers went on to collaborate with these two UW English students, and their video about Clingfish won a science communication contest!

• Adam Summers gave a TedxSanJuanIsland talk on bioinspiration and what we can learn technologically from animals.

• The WA SeaGrant article which featured FHL's Emily Carrington and Laura Newcomb was re-printed by the San Juan Islander in December.

Coming Events

Paul Illg Distinguished Lectureship
Dr. Todd Oakley, an evolutionary biologist and professor at UC Santa Barbara, will present two lectures.
Public lecture: Monday July 11, 7:30pm San Juan Community Theater, "Taking the fork in the road: Adventures in the origins of biodiversity."
Scientific lecture: Wednesday July 13, 7pm FHL Commons, "Let there be light!: The evolutionary origins of light sensitivity in animals."

Drew Harvell book signing and documentary
Drew has authored a new book titled "A Sea of Glass," about the quest to find the living counterparts of the Blaschka glass models. She will give a book talk and signing and show the award-winning documentary which she collaborated to make, Fragile Legacy, at the San Juan Community Theater on July 20.

Jazz at the Labs
Saturday, August 20