Aquatic Ecological Research in Alaska

FISH 491

Fish 491 students in Alaska

FISH 491 students in Bristol Bay, Alaska


The University of Washington and the School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences (SAFS), in particular, are interested in closely connecting undergraduate teaching and research. As one step towards this goal, the school offers a course in aquatic ecology, started in summer 1999, at the Fisheries Research Institute’s field stations in Bristol Bay, Alaska.


The goal of the course is to provide a small number of students with direct, hands-on training in the theories and techniques of research in aquatic ecology. We make use of the well-equipped field camps and diverse aquatic environments to give students formal course material (i.e., lectures and instruction manuals), directed research projects, and independent projects involving the planning, design, and completion of the project.

Course Structure

Fish 491 students in Bristol Bay, Alaska

FISH 491 students in Bristol Bay, Alaska

All students will enroll in Fish 491 for 12 credits (graded) in summer quarter and will jointly participate in field and laboratory research at lakes Aleknagik and Iliamna. The course will run for about 6 ½ weeks, from mid-July to the end of August. During that time students will receive instruction in limnology, juvenile fish ecology, spawning behavior and life history of adult salmon, population dynamics and fishery management. Students will have access to the long-term data sets collected at the camps, and will write papers on limnology, fish behavior and population dynamics. In addition, students will enroll for 3 credits of independent study in fall quarter (numerically graded), to complete projects initiated during the summer.

See a list of Independent Projects that students have done in the past.


The primary instructor will be Dr. Thomas Quinn (SAFS) and the co-instructors will be Dr. Daniel Schindler (SAFS) and Dr. Ray Hilborn (SAFS). There will also be a teaching assistant to help students with the fieldwork and their independent projects.


FISH 491 students boarding a sea plane


Students will leave Seattle and fly to Aleknagik in mid -July and will return from Iliamna at the end of August. During the time of the program, all transportation and food will be provided (students will participate in preparation) and students will live in cabins at the research sites. There may also be opportunities for employment with the program before or after the course. Students will be responsible for tuition costs and a course fee to help cover transportation costs and lodging.