UW Today

October 7, 2015

Student collaboration leads to first results describing sick sea star immune response

Students in the Ecology of Infectious Marine Diseases course do surveys for eelgrass disease.

A group of young marine-disease researchers from around the country has contributed key information about sea stars’ immune response when infected with a virus that is thought to cause a deadly wasting disease. It’s the first time researchers have tracked how genes behave when encountering this naturally occurring pathogen, which could help explain how sea stars attempt to fight the virus and why they develop lesions and appear to melt.

September 14, 2015

A more acidic ocean will bend the mermaid’s wineglass

Mermaid's wineglass algae.

New research from the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories shows that a more acidic ocean can weaken the protective shell of a delicate alga. The findings, published Sept. 9 in the journal Biology Letters, come at a time when global climate change may increase ocean acidification.

May 4, 2015

Puget Sound’s clingfish could inspire better medical devices, whale tags

Northern clingfish.

Researchers at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories are looking at how the biomechanics of clingfish could be helpful in designing devices and instruments to be used in surgery and even to tag and track whales in the ocean.

March 12, 2015

Naturally acidic waters of Puget Sound surround UW’s Friday Harbor Labs

photo of dock in sunshine

For more than 100 years, marine biologists at Friday Harbor Laboratories have studied the ecology of everything from tiny marine plants to giant sea stars. Now, as the oceans are undergoing a historic shift in chemistry, the lab is establishing itself as a place to study what that will mean for marine life. And the…

August 1, 2014

A unique lab class: UW students explore nation’s largest dam removal

students walking on sand

A spring research apprenticeship course had nine undergraduates living at Friday Harbor Labs and studying what will happen to sediment released by dam removals on the Elwha River.

May 21, 2014

Marine apprenticeships give UW undergrads role in animal-ancestor breakthrough

Three people on beach with buckets

Comb jellies – and not sponges – may lay claim as the earliest ancestors of animals, according to new research in Nature.

December 19, 2013

Sinuous skeletons, glowing blue and crimson, leap from lab to art world


Fish “stripped” to their skeletons and stained for UW research are now part of an art exhibit at the Seattle Aquarium.

September 19, 2013

Mantas, devil rays butchered for apothecary trade now identifiable

Side view of manata ray swimmming

Dried filters from the mouths of filter-feeding rays started appearing in apothecary shops in recent years, but there’s been no way to know which of these gentle-natured rays was being slaughtered. Now scientists have discovered enough differences to identify the giant manta and eight devil rays using the dried filters.

April 11, 2013

Space-age domes offer a window on ocean acidification

photo of dock

At Friday Harbor Labs, students are conducting a three-week study on the effects of ocean acidification using a strategy that’s midway between a controlled lab test and an open-ocean experiment.

February 18, 2013

Mussels cramped by environmental factors

Drawing of wave with menancing face and startled mussels on shore

The fibrous threads helping mussels stay anchored are more prone to snap when ocean temperatures climb higher than normal.