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. Effective 2011, there are two rates - UW Budget Rates and Public 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. 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 five small power boats, and a limited number of tanks and weights for specific projects approved by the Diving Safety Officer (DSO). 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 or Craig Staude 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

Student Housing

Students enrolled in FHL courses or research apprenticeships will be assigned to double-occupancy rooms in FHL dormitories (Dorms A, B or C) and must subscribe to a full meal plan in the FHL Dining Hall. Most dormitory rooms are double occupancy with a few single rooms which generally fill up very quickly. Click here for more information about student housing.

Kitchen Units

The following shared housekeeping facilities on campus are available for rent to visiting researchers, faculty and graduate students pursuing independent study or working as a research/teaching assistant: twelve apartments with studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units (note: there is only ONE three-bedroom housing unit on campus), twelve cottages, eight duplex units, and sixteen rooms in FHL's graduate housing facility. All units include basic furniture and are equipped with dishes, silverware, and pots and pans. Space is assigned as available. Course instructors have high priority in the assignment of housekeeping units.

Non-Kitchen Units

Dormitories and huts are non-housekeeping units. Central washroom and toilet facilities are available to the occupants. Spring, Summer and Autumn Quarter occupants of these units must subscribe to a full meal plan at the Dining Hall. Dormitory rooms are mostly double occupancy with a few single occupancy. Beds, dressers and desks are provided. Fifteen wooden huts accommodate one or two persons each. All are provided with electric light and heat, double bed, dresser and desk. Space is assigned as available.


Laundry facilities include metered washers, dryers, irons and ironing boards. Visitors are encouraged to provide their own linen and bedding. Bed kits can be rented by those unable to bring their own. There are a few cribs and high chairs available for family living quarters. Advance notice is required for bedding, cribs and high chairs.

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.

Fees and Rates

Facilities Use and Laboratory Fees

Individuals, including guests, using Wi-Fi, FHL laboratory, computers, printers, library facilities and other common use facilitites will be charged either a Laboratory or Facilities use fee. Effective 2011, there are two rates - UW Budget Rates and Public 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.

(See How to register as a Student for tuition fees for students enrolled in classes.)

Information on field trips, short courses, and conferences can be found on the Conferences and Field Trips page under the Visiting FHL menu button.

Housing Rates

Effective 2011, there are two rates - UW Budget Rates and Public 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.

Students enrolled in classes or research apprenticeships can find their housing Costs for the duration of the class in the Students menu list.

FHL Dining Hall

The Dining Hall is located in the center of the campus. People in housekeeping units may choose to sign up for a 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 these occasional meals.

Effective 2011, there are two rates - UW Budget Rates and Public 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.

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)

FHL Meal Card System: To encourage people in housekeeping units to participate at the Dining Hall, meal cards (equivalent to two dinners per week) will be provided that can be redeemed for any meal or beverage, in one dollar increments. One meal card will be issued for each researcher staying in a housing unit with kitchen. UW and non-UW grad students who are not on the FHL meal plan will receive a meal card (equivalent in value to one lunch per week.) The cost of meal cards is added to the housing bill. Be sure to sign up for meals one meal prior (earlier is preferred), so that staff can anticipate preparation of extra meal(s). Bring your meal card to the Dining Hall for payment at your first meal.

Conferences and field trip organizers should contact Laurie Spaulding ( to discuss menus and rates.