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Friday Harbor Laboratories

Map of Friday Harbor Laboratories
The Friday Harbor Laboratories (FHL) provide facilities for research and instruction on many aspects of marine biology and oceanography. FHL provides direct access to salt waters that are relatively free from pollution and to diverse intertidal areas of rock, sand and mud. The uplands and tidelands include: Point Caution, Argyle Lagoon, Garrison Bay, and False Bay, on San Juan Island; Parks Bay and Cedar Rock/Squaw Bay on Shaw Island; and Iceberg Point and Point Colville on Lopez Island. Developed areas constitute approximately 10% of the total land area. The topography of the developed site ranges from 420 feet to sea level. Most of the campus has a fairly uniform slope of 10%, but a few areas exceed 40%. One small area has been officially identified as a wetland. Primary use takes place between April and Labor Day. The resident population of the laboratories ranges from 210-250 in the summer to fewer than 50 in the winter.

Map of FHL Properties
San Juan Islands. Research facilities are located on a 484-acre site on the east side of San Juan Island, north of the town of Friday Harbor.
Scott Schwinge, 206-543-1484,
1,856 acres
FHL has 78,586 gross square feet of space in 66 buildings. The buildings range from 27 sq. ft. to 5,000 sq. ft. Extensive laboratory facilities for marine biology are provided in Fernald Laboratory and eleven laboratory buildings, for a total of 24,319 assignable square feet. A large dock provides moorage, storage and diving facilities and is protected by a floating breakwater. Floating docks located adjacent to the main pilings are equipped with live boxes. Lecture halls can accommodate audiences of up to 75 persons. The library contains 15,000 volumes and also provides direct connections to main campus library services and collections. There are relatively few offices. FHL includes the Helen R. Whiteley Center, an academic retreat center for UW faculty with 5 offices and 7 associated cottages.
Specialized equipment includes centrifuges, oscilloscopes, microscopes, and molecular biology equipment for lab work as well as a 58-foot research vessel and other equipment related to specimen collection. Computer equipment is available.
Housing types vary widely. Some are not winterized.
The UW owns 1,727 acres and leases 129 acres.
General operating funds and research grants/ contracts.
Recent Usage
Research: FHL is an integral part of research programs in zoology, health sciences, fisheries, botany, and oceanography. Instruction: Classes are taught in the spring, summer and autumn quarters in zoology, botany, fisheries, and oceanography. Non-UW: A significant number of the researchers are visiting investigators.
Usage Fee
Moderate fee.
Telephone, 206-543-1484; fax, 206-543-1273; and e-mail:
By Washington State Ferry or local airlines.
Unique Environment
The plant community ranges from very dry to moist types. Most of the site is heavily wooded, with Douglas fir predominantly. Hawks, eagles, herons, song birds, and sea birds are all present. Many species of fish are present in the salt waters surrounding FHL. Representatives of nearly all major groups of marine algae and invertebrates are found in the intertidal zone and in adjacent waters with depths down to 660 feet. A tidal range of about 12 feet exposes diverse intertidal areas of rock, sand, and mud.
Kenneth P. Sebens, Director. Richard R. Strathmann, Associate Director. Scott Schwinge, Administrator.