Autumn Quarter at Friday Harbor Labs

Hyejoo Ro is junior pursuing a B.S. with a major in Aquatic & Fishery Sciences and a minor in Marine Biology. She spent the entire autumn quarter 2016 at the UW’s marine field station taking courses under the ‘Marine Biology Quarter’. Friday Harbor Labs is now accepting applications for autumn 2017 courses. Courses are available for students at any level with an interest in taking a full schedule of courses in a unique setting on the Salish Sea. Find out more at the new Friday Harbor Labs website.

The dock at FHLThe Salish Sea is a unique environment. Friday Harbor is a wonderful place to explore the diverse array of marine life that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Not only does Friday Harbor Labs immerse you to a beautiful environment, but also provides students with a plethora of resources for marine sciences. I had the chance to spend fall quarter of my sophomore year that the Labs. While I was at Friday Harbor, I was enrolled in the marine biology quarter.

I took classes that fulfilled my major requirements, and explored what it takes to conduct research in the marine sciences field. The classes were a unique experience at Friday Harbor Labs because of the small, and intimate class sizes (no more than 16 students). This allowed me to get extra help when needed, and develop a strong connection with my professors and TA’s. Since we were located so close to the Puget Sound, many lab sessions involved going into the field to observe, and catch specimens (fish) to bring back to the Labs. This provided a better understanding of the organisms because we were able to see the habitat a fish was adapted to, and we were able to keep the fish alive, throughout the quarter, and observed how it moved and behaved.

Research was a whole other experience at the Labs. There are many different researchers at the Labs from all over the world. Friday Harbor Labs provided an intimate setting for me to speak with researchers about their projects, and how they got to be where they are. I was also able to participate in scientific research during the quarter. The research my team and I conducted was on eelgrass stressors, specifically small invertebrate grazers. We took part in the process of what it takes to conduct research in marine science. We quickly learned that the scientific method is not easy. Luckily we had a lot of support from our classmates, and most importantly, our mentors.

Overall Friday Harbor Labs is a community that serves to fulfill an immersive marine biology experience. I am glad that I took advantage of the facilities Friday Harbor Labs has to offer. I was in a place where people are passionate about the marine life, and willing to share passion and knowledge to students.