Friday Harbor Laboratories

Facilities Overview


Working and Living at FHL

Click on this link to download a PDF article for full details about Working and Living at FHL.


Create a Repair or Fabrication Work Order

Click here to enter a work order with the FHL Maintenance Dept for needed repairs or fabrication. Please be sure to specify a budget number in the work description when the work should be charged to a budget.



The teaching and research laboratories consist of 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 Laboratories provide 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.


Lab Equipment

Various lab equipment is available for common use. Click here to see a list of the equipment and the contact person for each item.


Marine Equipment

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 Fred Ellis ( for additional information and scheduling.

Rowboats and outboard-powered boats are also available. The floating docks are equipped with live boxes. A tidal station is maintained in cooperation with the National Ocean Survey (NOAA).


Facilities for Boating and Diving

Divers certified by the University of Washington may use a limited number of tanks and weights for specific projects approved by the Diving Safety Officer (DSO). Those with a Washington State Boater Education Card and who have been checked out by Boating Safety Officer Kristy Kull may use our small motor boats for diving. Study-site information as well as check-out dives are provided by the DSO. Anyone intending to SCUBA dive at the Laboratories must obtain permission. Contact the Diving Safety Officer, Pema Kitaeff at with a brief description of the proposed project in advance of your arrival at FHL. Permission is generally granted only to independent investigators and students whose research projects require diving. For additional infomation and forms related to boating and diving at Friday Harbor Labs click here.



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:

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. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these files. If you are unable to view them, please download the Adobe Acrobat Reader software for your computer and try again.

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

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

Housing & Bedding Rates

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 will charge a weekly fee per kit, covering our weekly linen exchange. If you do not wish to use our kits (or exchange service), you may bring and wash your own linens and towels. Please notify Bernadette Holthuis ( or Kathy Cowell (Whiteley Center, prior to your arrival if you do not plan to use FHL bed kits.

Dining Rates

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. Charges for meal plans/cards will be added 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 one meal prior (earlier is preferred), so that staff can anticipate preparation of extra meal(s). You can 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 Student Costs for the duration of the class in the Students menu list.

Facilities Use and Laboratory Fees

Individuals, including guests, using Wi-Fi, computers, printers, library or other common use facilities will be charged a Facilities Use Fee unless they have a lab space (the charge for which covers the Facilities Use Fee).

Guest Rates

During quiet periods on campus, we sometimes have the space to accommodate visitors who are not coming as researchers or Whiteley Scholars, but rather as guests of staff, researchers, scholars, or students at FHL. All such visitors will be charged guest rates for their housing units, in addition to a Facilities Use Fee for each adult.

Boat and Diving Fees

Dive cylinder fills are $10/air and $20/nitrox. Use of motorboats requires a WA State Boater Ed card and a checkout from the BSO. For more information, click here.