San Juan Island, Washington


In the fall, students travel to Friday Harbor Laboratories, the marine research and education facility of the University of Washington, for field-intensive coursework that explores the pristine rocky intertidal habitats, kelp forests, and oceanic settings in the Straits of Juan de Fuca.

Located in the San Juan Archipelago of Puget Sound on San Juan Island, not far from the Canadian border in the northwest corner of Washington, local waters are cold, well-mixed, and quite free from pollution. The marine flora and fauna are exceptionally diverse, with nearly all groups of invertebrates and plants obtainable. Habitats include rocky shores, mud flats, sandy beaches, and a wide range of subtidal environments. The Labs are located on a 484 acre forested biological preserve and convey the outer coast of Washington’s composition of beautiful wave-exposed rocky headlands separated by high-energy sandy beaches and several estuarine systems.