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The goal of biological oceanography is to understand what controls the abundances, kinds, and temporal variation of organisms in the sea. Our research and teaching programs are oriented toward a mechanistic understanding of processes. To this end we employ a variety of approaches including field observations, laboratory experiments and theoretical models.

The School benefits from its location on the campus of a major research university. Opportunities for collaboration, coursework, and use of state of the art facilities are available through the Departments of Biology, Microbiology, Genome Sciences, the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and Friday Harbor Laboratories.

Research and teaching programs in biological oceanography at the University of Washington are oriented toward a mechanistic understanding of processes in the sea. The strengths of the graduate program are a core of modern summary courses ensuring an up-to-date overview of the discipline combined with a research program having the flexibility and resources to advance in virtually any direction. Each graduate student learns the basics of water-column and benthic approaches as they pertain to microbes and macroscopic organisms. On a campus offering 5,000 courses in 200 academic disciplines and with 3,500 faculty, it is possible to tailor graduate committees and more specialized course work precisely to a student's needs and interests. The nationally recognized Departments of Biology, Microbiology and the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences are typically utilized in this tailoring, but expertise is also drawn from other faculty, such as applied mathematicians, geophysicists, and chemical and electrical engineers.

Meet Our Faculty


Areas of Research

Microbiology of extreme environments - The study of microbes in high pressure deep sea environments, physiology of survival and growth and high temperatures and in sea ice.

Phytoplankton Ecology - Physiology, genetic diversity and genomics of the oceans primary producers

Food web dynamics - Interactions between zooplankton, phytoplankton and protists, their distributions in time and space, connections between individual behavior and populations level demographics