Friday Harbor Laboratories

Facilities Overview


Working and Living at FHL

This PDF booklet provides full details about working and living at FHL.


Create a Repair or Fabrication Work Order

Here you can place work orders for repairs or fabrications directly with the FHL Maintenance Dept. Please be sure to specify a budget number in the work description when the work will be charged to a budget.



The teaching and research laboratories include eight one-story buildings of about 1,500 square feet each and three larger two-story research buildings. Running sea water free from metallic contamination is delivered to plexiglass aquaria and water tables through polyethylene or PVC pipes and fittings. Walk-in cold rooms, a microtechnique room, and a shop are available. Analytical equipment for general use includes centrifuges, computers, scintillation counter, particle counter, a high performance liquid chromatograph, nucleotide sequencer, PCR thermocyclers and other equipment for molecular biology, spectrophotometers, culture chambers, fluorescence microscope, video equipment, scanning laser confocal microscope, and electrophysiological equipment. A scanning electron microscope and transmission electron microscope may be used by investigators who have or can obtain appropriate training.



The FHL stockroom provides most reagents, labware, photographic materials, and small items of equipment at a nominal charge to students or investigators. Persons needing unusual materials, large quantities, or special equipment should make their own arrangements in advance. Contact Jeannie Meredith for Stockroom assistance.


Lab Equipment

Various lab equipment is available for common use.

Contacts for various equipment

ITEM CONTACT PERSON (click to email)
Autoclave Billie Swalla
Boats Kristy Kull
Centennial (Research Vessel) Meegan Corcoran
Chemical analysis (HPLC, etc) Jack Bell, Michelle Herko
Computers & Video Alan Cairns
Confocal Microscope, MRC-600 Billie Swalla
CT Scanner (Microphotonics Skyscan 1173) Adam Summers
Diving Pema Kitaeff
Flow Cytometer (Guava easyCyte HT) Emily Carrington, Kristy Kull
Flow Visualization Water Tunnel (RHRC 1520-H) Adam Summers, Emily Carrington
Flume: Vogel-LaBarbera Flume (<30 cm/s) Emily Carrington
Flume: High-speed Flume (0.5-4 m/s) Emily Carrington
Imaging Room Microscopes Billie Swalla
MTS Material Property Tester Adam Summers
Molecular Analysis (Gels, etc) Billie Swalla
Neurophysiology Equipment James Murray
Rapid Prototyper, Z-Corp Adam Summers
Scanning Electron Microscope and Critical Point Dryer Adam Summers
Spectrophotometer (Bio-Tek μQuant Universal Microplate) Billie Swalla
Transmission Electron Microscope Victoria Foe
Wind Tunnel Emily Carrington

Note that many items not on this list are available in the FHL Stockroom.

The R/V

A 58-foot steel research vessel, the R/V CENTENNIAL, is available for classwork and research. It is equipped for dredging, net hauls, ROV and CTD deployment and water sampling. Its 19.5 ft. beam permits comfortable interior spaces including a laboratory, a large sorting table and covered outdoor areas, with total passenger capacity of 34 people. The CENTENNIAL is equipped with modern electronics and research equipment. Please contact Meegan Corcoran for additional information and scheduling.


Facilities for Boating and Diving

Rowboats are available for recreational and research purposes, and several outboard-powered boats are available for research. Use of the rowboats requires a rowboat orientation session with Boating Safety Officer Kristy Kull. Use of motorboats requires a WA State Boater Education Card and checkout by Kristy Kull.

Anyone intending to SCUBA dive at FHL must obtain permission from Diving Safety Officer (DSO) Pema Kitaeff by emailing her a brief description of the proposed work in advance of their arrival to FHL. Permission is generally granted only to independent investigators and students whose research projects require diving. While at FHL, UW-certified divers working on FHL-approved projects may use a limited number of FHL tanks and weights. The DSO can provide check-out dives as well as local study-site information as well as check-out dives.

A floating dock is equipped with live boxes and a tidal station that is maintained in cooperation with the National Ocean Survey (NOAA).

Boating & Diving Manuals, Forms, and other Resources



The library provides a core collection of books and journals dealing with marine biology and zoology. The library also provides access to the full UW Libraries collection of e-journals and databases.

The library is part of the UW Libraries, a system of over 7 million cataloged items. Materials not owned by the Friday Harbor Library may be requested for copy or loan from the other UW Libraries. An online request form for materials is available on the Friday Harbor Library's web page:

Library Requests

Maureen Nolan is the librarian for the Friday Harbor Library, but is at the Seattle campus most of the academic year. You may contact her anytime for assistance at or by phone at (206) 685-2126.


Common-Use Computer Facilities and E-Mail

There are 30 iMac computers that can boot into Mac OSX or Windows 7. These are available for common use by students or researchers in three locations: computer lab, library and lecture hall. All of these computers have access to networked black-and-white postscript printers. All machines are equipped with CD/DVD burners. Flash drives and writeable DVDs and CDs can be purchased in our stockroom. Digital cameras, video projectors, and two scanners are also available. Some computers can perform video capture with available firewire or USB adapters.

Software installed on the common use computers include Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Photoshop, web browsers and various analysis programs.

Our campus is linked to the Internet via a fiber cable that goes through the main campus at the UW. All buildings including housing units have wireless access. Ethernet connections are available in nearly all lab buildings.

Local e-mail accounts are not provided. Visitors are encouraged to use web-based mail accounts through their parent institution, or a commercial provider such as GMail.

Technical support is provided by two part-time technicians who are available weekdays. Contact Alan Cairns for more information


Synoptic Collection

A collection of preserved marine animals and plants is available as an aid to identification and location. In addition, files of collecting and study-site surveys and color transparencies of local marine life and habitats are maintained for reference and study.


Restrictions on Exotic Species

Most imports of marine species into Washington State for research are illegal without a permit from the Washington State Department of FIsh and Wildlife. Permits, if granted, will require strict quarantine, with no contact with the FHL seawater system.


Housing Facilities

Housing for Faculty and Researchers

The following facilities with kitchens are available for rent to faculty and visiting scientists: twelve (studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom) apartments, twelve two-bedroom cottages, and eight (one- and two-bedroom) duplex units. Note that there is only a single three-bedroom unit on campus. For graduate students pursuing independent study or working as research/teaching assistants, we have three Graduate Dorm buildings, each of which has five-six single bedrooms, two shared bathrooms, and a shared kitchen. All units with kitchens include basic furniture and are equipped with dishes, silverware, pots and pans. Units are assigned as available, with course instructors have high priority.

Housing for Enrolled Students

Students enrolled in FHL courses or research apprenticeships will be assigned to Standard (non-graduate) Dormitories or Huts, generally in double occupancy rooms. These units do not have kitchens, and during Spring, Summer and Autumn Quarters, residents must subscribe to Full Meal Plans at the Dining Hall. Shared restroom and shower facilities in two of the three dorm buildings serve residents of the nearby Huts as well as all the dorm rooms. Standard Dorm rooms are mostly double occupancy with a few single occupancy; each room is furnished with beds, dressers and desks. The 15 Huts are small buildings, each approximately 125 square feet, furnished with one or two beds, a small desk, dresser, and electric heater. The Huts are a short walk from washrooms and toilets in the dorm buildings.


Dining Hall

The Dining Hall is located in the center of the campus. People in units with kitchens may choose to sign up for a full meal plan during their stay, or they can enjoy an occasional meal when desired. Please sign up at the Dining Hall one meal prior (earlier, if possible) in advance for occasional meals.

Meals are served at follows:

Breakfast 7:45 - 8:15 a.m.
Lunch / Brunch 12:15 - 12:45 p.m.
10:00 - 10:30 a.m. (Sunday brunch)
Dinner 6:00 - 6:30 p.m.
5:00 - 5:30 p.m. (Sunday)



Laundry facilities include coin washers, dryers, irons and ironing boards. There are a few cribs and high chairs available for family living quarters; please let us know in advance if you'll be needing those.

Because the laboratory grounds are a biological preserve, cats and dogs are not allowed. Those who wish to bring pets must seek housing off-campus or board their pets at local kennels.

Researcher & Scholar Rates

For all costs, researchers and scholars should refer to our Standard Researcher Rates or, if paying expenses directly from a University of Washington budget, our UW Budget Researcher Rates. If you're unable to view theses files, download the Adobe Acrobat Reader software and try again.

Visiting groups should refer to our section on Conferences and Field Trips for information on group costs. Students enrolled in FHL courses or research apprenticeships can find information on Student Costs in the Students menu list.

Below is further explanation regarding some of the costs on our researcher rate sheets.

Housing & Bedding

The price for a housing unit includes pillows and blankets (not linens) for all beds. We offer optional bed kits, each consisting of a set of sheets for one bed plus a towel. If you wish to use our linens, we'll charge a weekly fee per kit, covering our weekly linen exchange. If you don't wish to use our kits (or exchange service), you may bring and wash your own linens and towels. Please notify the FHL Facilities Coordinator ( or Kathy Cowell (Whiteley Center, prior to your arrival if you don't plan to use FHL bed kits.


Apartments, cottages, duplexes, and grad dorms have kitchens stocked with essential cooking and dining utensils; standard dorms and huts do not. Those staying in units without kitchens must subscribe to Full Meal Plans in the Dining Hall. Those staying in kitchen units may either sign up for Full Meal Plans or purchase Regular Meal Cards (see below) to use for occasional meals when desired. We'll add charges for meal plans/cards to your housing bill.

Regular Meal Cards: To encourage people in kitchen units to participate at the Dining Hall, we issue Regular Meal Cards to those staying on campus for three or more days and not subscribing to the Full Meal Plan. For each professional researcher or scholar, we issue and charge for a card equivalent in value to two dinners per week. For each graduate student, we issue and charge for a card equivalent in value to one lunch per week. The cards may be used toward any food or beverage in the Dining Hall.

If you are not on a Full Meal Plan, be sure to sign up for meals 24 hours in advance, so kitchen staff can plan for extra meal(s). You may use your Regular Meal Card or a credit/debit card for payment in the Dining Hall.

Conference and field trip organizers should contact Laurie Spaulding ( to arrange for meals ahead of time, and discuss menus and rates. Students enrolled in FHL classes or research apprenticeships can find their dining costs for the duration of their classes under Student Costs.

Facilities Use and Laboratory Fees

Researchers, Scholars, and Guests (see below) will be charged a Facilities Use Fee unless they are students or have a lab space (the charge for which covers the Facilities Use Fee).


During quiet periods on campus, we sometimes have extra housing units available to accommodate visitors who are not coming as Researchers or Whiteley Scholars, but as Guests of staff, researchers, scholars, or students at FHL. All such visitors will be charged the Guest rate and a Facilities Use Fee for their housing units.

Boat and Diving Fees

For details, refer to our page on Boating and Diving Fees.