[FHL Tide Bites] An Intertidal Compass!

from “Tide Bites“, the monthly newsletter from Friday Harbor Labs

An Intertidal Compass!

by Julia Sigwart

Dr. Julia Sigwart is an Associate Professor and the Associate Director of the Queen’s University Marine Laboratory in Northern Ireland. She is currently back home on the west coast on an extended research sabbatical at University of California, Berkeley, funded by the European Commission. Her research on the evolution of chitons and other marine creatures covers many different aspects, from fossils to neurobiology, which provides a good reason to do all sorts of fun experiments all over the world.

The black Katy chiton Hatharina tunicata (iron teeth not shown).
The black Katy chiton Katharina tunicata (iron teeth not shown).

When you are trying to find your way home from a new place, you probably reach for your phone or GPS to ask for directions. Other animals don’t have the option of technology, but they do manage some extraordinary navigation. Birds, sea turtles, termites, and many other animals have a magnetic “sixth sense” that allows them to detect the Earth’s magnetic field, and align their direction on a migration path. This ability to sense magnetic fields, or having an “internal compass,” is termed magnetoreception.

Pioneering work on animal magnetoreception was done at Friday Harbor Labs starting in the 1980s using the seaslug Tochuina tetraquetra (formerly called Tritonia diomedea). Special equipment at FHL called a Merritt coil can manipulate electric currents to determine the force and direction of the magnetic field inside a cube that measures 6 ft on each side. This way, we can change which direction is “north” inside the experimental cube. Two members of our team, Drs Shaun Cain and Jim Murray, use this equipment for their research and for teaching a summer Neuroethology course (which will be offered again in summer 2017). In these experiments, we aimed to test for a magnetic sense in other, more primitive molluscs.

[Read the full article at FHL Tide Bites]


[UW Today] “Our closest worm kin regrow body parts, raising hopes of regeneration in humans”

Think marine biology isn’t related to human health? Read a profile of the research done by Professor Billie Swalla and UW Biology doctoral student Shawn Luttrell on the regeneration properties of the acorn worm.

A new study of one of our closest invertebrate relatives, the acorn worm, reveals that this feat might one day be possible. Acorn worms burrow in the sand around coral reefs, but their ancestral relationship to chordates means they have a genetic makeup and body plan surprisingly similar to ours.

[read the full article]

 

An intact, live acorn worm. The head is on the far left, and the worm will be cut in the middle.
An intact, live acorn worm. The head is on the far left, and the worm will be cut in the middle.

Tide Bites #38: Undergraduate Research on Larval Phase fish at Friday Harbor Labs

Aquatic & Fishery Sciences alumni Daniel Geldof writes about his undergraduate research at Friday Harbor Labs related to the larval phase of the young soft sculpin (Psychrolutes sigalutes). Read all about his research and learn more about just how different life is for very young fish in the latest issue of “Tide Bites”.

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Friday Harbor Labs
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First sighting of invasive European green crab on San Juan Island

Friday Harbor Labs was recently in the news due to the first live European green crab caught after 19 years of monitoring for the arrival of this invasive species? Why is this a big deal? What part did FHL and Washington Sea Grant researchers play in this? How can you help? Read more through the most recent issue of the FHL Tide Bites newsletter.

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Friday Harbor Labs info sessions

Spend fall quarter studying at the UW’s marine field station in the San Juan Islands. Get started by attending one of our info sessions this quarter.

INFO SESSION I: Marine Biology and the Humanities

When: Tuesday 4/12, 3:30 – 4:30 pm

Where: Thompson Hall, Rm 234

RSVP: https://catalyst.uw.edu/webq/survey/marbiol/299813

Start here if you want to learn more about courses in the humanities and introductory courses in marine biology for students of any major. Hear about the courses and living experience from faculty and students including creative writing professor and award-winning poet Richard Kenney, FHL Associate Director Megan Dethier, and FHL alumnus and English major Zack Bivins (winner of this year’s Oceans 180 competition).

 

INFO SESSION II: Marine Biology and Research

When: Tuesday 4/26, 3:30 – 4:30 pm

Where: Ocean Sciences Building, Rm 425

RSVP: https://catalyst.uw.edu/webq/survey/marbiol/299825

Start here if you are interested in research relevant to science majors. Learn about 15 credit ‘research apprenticeships’ in marine sediment and the pelagic ecosystem (PEF) from Oceanography Professor Andrea Ogston and PEF staff Rachel Wold.
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Why Study at Friday Harbor Labs?

  • Explore the marine environment of the Salish Sea where your classroom is a marine preserve, and the boats are just steps away from your dorm.
  • Fall courses for students at all levels and majors: intro marine biology, creative writing, environmental literature, and oceanography are just some of the topics.
  • Get to know your teachers with class sizes frequently less than 20 students.

Orca Pod - by Chelsea Lincoln

Explore FHL

WATCH

“A Very Sticky Fish”: award winning video created by autumn 2015 students in the FHL 305: Biology of Fishes course.

Student profile of Susan Harris (’15) and her experience with FHL

READ

Working and Living at Friday Harbor Labs

Information about the town of Friday Harbor

Autumn 2016 course list

TALK

UW Marine Biology Adviser: Joe Kobayashi: jkob@uw.edu

Friday Harbor Labs Adviser: Stacy Markman: fhladmin@uw.edu

 

Courses may be applied to a Minor in Marine Biology. Check with your major adviser to see if they can apply to your major.

Application deadline for autumn quarter is May 15.


Drew McWhirter: Becoming a Certified Scientific Diver

Drew McWhirter diving around the San Juan Islands

There was never any doubt that Marine Biology minor and Oceanography major Drew McWhirter loved the ocean. While living on Oahu for three years in middle school, he surfed, paddled canoes, snorkeled, played water polo and was a junior lifeguard. While he always wanted to learn how to dive, it wasn’t until he got into the colder waters of the Pacific Northwest that he decided to get started. In less than a year, Drew was conducting research of his own as a certified scientific diver.

Drew spent his spring quarter in 2015 studying marine invertebrate zoology and botany (zoo/bot) at Friday Harbor Labs (FHL), and he learned that FHL offers an annual summer course which certifies students as ‘AAUS Scientific Divers’. The American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) sets the standard for scientific diving that is recognized by OSHA for marine biologists and other scientists to conduct research underwater. Before starting on the certification at UW, students must already have their open water certification along with a minimum of 20 logged dives, but Drew hadn’t ever dived before. To get started, Drew first connected with the UW Underdawgs, a group for students, faculty and alumni interested in recreational SCUBA diving. Through the group, he was connected with a basic open-water certification class in Seattle as well as potential partners to start logging dives with. He spent the first part of summer diving off Alki in West Seattle with a variety of people: other marine bio minors, fraternity brothers, connections from FHL, and even a chef he worked with.

kelp forest underwater“It’s such a thrill being able to breathe underwater. Regardless of what you’re seeing, everything blows your mind. It’s like taking a step on a new planet.”

 

Close up of a bull kelp
Drew McWhirter
The focus of Drew’s research: nereocystis leutkeana (bull kelp)

By late July, Drew was ready to get started with the more advanced skills included in the UW Scientific Diving Course at FHL. Under the instruction of FHL Dive Safety Officer Pema Kitaeff, he learned advanced safety skills, underwater research methods, and how to plan and communicate with your partners. He started putting his skills into practice through the ‘Ecology Between and Below Pacific Tides’ summer course at FHL with a research project on the growth and survival of young bull kelp (nereocystis leutkeana). The certification allowed Drew to measure and compare the growth of kelp in the lab and out in the field at 1 Mile Reef. This period of intensive training is just a start for Drew, and he hopes to get back to more scientific research underwater after graduating this spring.

Learn more about scientific diving

The first step is to get open-water certified through a local dive shop (certification options include PADI, NAUI, SDI and SSI). Or, if you’re already a certified diver from another environment, try a local orientation to get acquainted with waters in the Pacific Northwest. Connect with the UW Underdawgs to get recommendations for classes through local dive shops (which sometimes offer discounts to the Underdawgs and for UW students). Friday Harbor Labs offers an AAUS certification course annually in the summer. This is a non-credit training course taught over two weeks. You must be medically cleared, have your own equipment, and you must show a logbook with a minimum of 20 dives in order to take the class.

Apply now for the 2016 Scientific Diving Course at Friday Harbor Labs (deadline: April 15)

Contacts and Resources


Video of FHL field trip to Botanical Beach

[Out of This World: the Minnesota Seaside Station]

Click the link above for a great video shadowing the 2015 students of Friday Harbor Labs’ “Zoo/Bot” quarter on their multi-day camping trip to Botanical Beach on Vancouver Island. Find out what makes Botanical Beach special, what it has to do with Minnesota, and what UW students do there.

This trip is an annual part of the zoo/bot quarter, and there is still time to apply to study at FHL in spring 2016 (deadline: February 1).


Scientific Diving (AAUS) Certification Course at FHL August 2016

FHL Dive Cert 2016We’re pleased to announce that we will be able to offer a course this August. It will be a two-week intensive course starting August 15th (so students will need to arrive by the afternoon of August 14th) and ending Saturday August 27th. Cost details are still being finalized, but the total will be approximately $2500 (including room&board, DAN Basic Life Support, Rescue and Nitrox, and AAUS scientific diver certification). Students will complete a minimum of 12 dives during the course.

Applications will be due by Friday April 15th, but you may apply any time before that date.

Please contact the UW DSO Will Love, wlove@uw.edu, or contact me, Pema Kitaeff, pema@uw.edu, with any questions you have about this course or about becoming a scientific diver.

[Application & more information about the class]

[AAUS: American Academy of Underwater Sciences]


Study at Friday Harbor Labs in Spring Quarter

 

Spend spring quarter studying in residence at the UW’s marine field station at Friday Harbor Labs.

FHL promo crop

 

  • Explore the marine environment of the Salish Sea where your classroom is a marine preserve, and the boats are just steps away from your dorm.
  • Courses for all levels from introductory marine biology to advanced research apprenticeships.
  • Get to know your teachers with class sizes frequently less than 20 students.

Spring Courses

Courses may be applied to a Minor in Marine Biology. Check with your major adviser to see if they can apply to your major. Application deadline for spring quarter is Feb. 1.

Marine Biology Quarter (select 3-5 courses from the list; 12 cr. minimum)

Students starting their exploration of the marine environment build a schedule of courses from the list below. Full course descriptions.

  • FISH/OCEAN/BIOL 250: Marine Biology (5 cr.) no pre-reqs
  • FHL 333: Science Writing for Diverse Audiences (3, 5 cr.) no pre-reqs
  • Q SCI 381: Intro to Probability & Statistics (5 cr.) MATH 120 or placement score required
  • OCEAN 330: Marine Biogeochemical Cycles (5 cr.) pre-req: OCEAN 210; OCEAN 295, BIOL 200 FHL 490: Marine Sciences Seminar (1 cr.) no pre-reqs

Zoo-Bot Quarter (3 courses with optional seminar; 16-17 cr.)

A fixed schedule of three integrated courses, including an individual research project mentored by FHL faculty and instructors. Pre-req: appropriate background in biological sciences and a high interest in solving questions. Full course descriptions.

  • FHL/BIOL 430: Marine Zoology (5 cr.)
  • FHL 440/BIOL 445: Marine Botany (5 cr.)
  • FHL 470: Marine Biology Research (6 cr.)
  • (optional, but recommended) FHL 490: Marine Sciences Seminar (1 cr.)

APPLY

Spring or summer application deadline: February 1, 2016

Current UW undergraduates only need to submit an online application form and transcript copies.

Application

Orca Pod - by Chelsea Lincoln

Explore FHL

WATCH

Student profile of Susan Harris (’15) and her experience with FHL

READ

Working and Living at Friday Harbor Labs

Information about the town of Friday Harbor

TALK

UW Marine Biology Adviser: Joe Kobayashi: jkob@uw.edu

Friday Harbor Labs Adviser: Stacy Markman: fhladmin@uw.edu