FHL 430/BIOL 430, FHL 440/BIOL 445, AND FHL 470 | Spring 2020

Marine Zoology, Marine Botany, and Research in Marine Biology 2020

Credits: 16

Instructor(s): Dr. Megan Dethier , Dr. Tom Mumford , Dr. Matthew Kolmann


Zoo-Bot Program

For the Zoo-Bot Program, students participate in the following three required courses, plus optional Marine Sciences Seminar, for a total of 16 or 17 credits:

  • Marine Zoology (FHL 430/Biol 430, 5 credits)
  • Marine Botany (FHL 440/Biol 445, 5 credits)
  • Research in Marine Biology: Form and Function in Fishes (FHL 470, 6-credit Research Experience)
  • (optional) Marine Sciences Seminar (FHL 490, 1 credit)

The Zoology and Botany courses survey marine invertebrates, algae and marine vascular plants represented in the San Juan Archipelago emphasizing and integrating these group’s natural history, ecology, and taxonomy. Frequent local intertidal field trips to a variety of habitats allow students to study organisms in their natural environments, and dredging collection trips permit exploration of subtidal systems. Lectures are followed by detailed laboratory study of live organisms often collected by the student. All students also perform organized outreach activities with local schools.

A 4-day camping field trip to the exposed rocky coast of Vancouver Island enables study of the organisms on wave-swept shores. Note: all students will need a passport or equivalent paperwork to allow travel into and back from Canada.

No textbooks are required for these courses.


Research in Marine Biology will enable students to engage in a practical research experience in close collaboration with supervisors.

No textbook is required for this course. UW students earn “W’ credit.

The Research in Marine Biology (RMB) course has three primary goals: (1) give undergraduates insight into how to conduct exciting research relating to topics in marine biology; (2) explore some practical aspects of how to approach science as a career; and (3) learn about the natural history, evolution & ecology of Salish Sea fishes.

(1) RMB students will conduct original research on the anatomy and ecology of local fishes – why are these animals shaped the way they are? How does fish shape reflect where these fishes live, what they eat, and how they survive the elements? Are there predictable aspects of how fishes look and behave relative to their community (i.e. predators, prey, and competitors)? Our major goal will be to see if certain traits like body shape, feeding function, and fin shapes evolve and/or develop in tandem.

(2) We’ll have weekly workshops on topics ranging from: (A) applying to graduate school, (B) writing grant proposals, (C) science communication, (D) formulating and refining abstracts, (E) science ethics & collaboration, and probably most importantly, (E) we’ll hear from both academic faculty from nearby universities and non-academic researchers in marine sciences about their experiences, challenges, and any advice they might have for you, the students.

(3) We’ll learn some basics of ichthyology, the biology of fishes, with respect to local San Juan, Washington state, and Salish Sea fishes. How to identify them, where to find them, how to capture, collect, and curate specimens as well as live critters too. Ultimately, we want to have basic understand of how local fishes fit into their native communities.


photo credit: Kai Mumford
photo credit: Kai Mumford
photo credit: Kai Mumford
photo credit: Kai Mumford


Marine Zoology will be taught by Dr. Megan Dethier from the University of Washington Department of Biology and Friday Harbor Laboratories.

Marine Botany will be taught by Dr. Thomas Mumford from the University of Washington Friday Harbor Laboratories.

Research in Marine Biology will be taught by Dr. Matthew Kolmann, University of Washington Friday Harbor Laboratories.