The San Juan archipelago, perhaps most famous for its pod of southern resident killer whales, is also home to the UW’s world-renowned biological field station, the Friday Harbor Laboratory (FHL).
Built in 1910 on the former Point Caution military reserve, FHL has grown from a single building to a sprawling campus with over a dozen specialized laboratories.
A waterfront trail, which meanders past the stand-alone research buildings, serves as a timeline of the facility’s growth. The farther along the trail you go, the newer the labs become. Eventually, the trail dead ends at the newest addition: the Ocean Acidification Environmental Laboratory (OAEL).
Interest in ocean acidification at the UW began with professor of oceanography Richard Feely. Through his work with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Carbon Program, Feely highlighted worrisome trends in ocean chemistry and inspired scores of scientists to take a closer look.
“Ocean acidification was really off the radar for everyone 20 years ago,” said Emily Carrington, a professor of biology at the UW and the OAEL’s first director. “Largely because of [Feely’s] efforts and many others, the University of Washington and Washington State [University] are at the forefront of ocean acidification research, regionally and globally.”