The Human Genome Project opened the floodgates of large-scale genome sequencing, and the genomes of many disparate organisms are being sequenced at a previously unthinkable rate. The challenge now facing biologists is to extract the interesting information encoded in these genomes, which can then be used to gain novel insights into the fundamental problems that biologists have struggled with for centuries. In particular, this new field of """"""""comparative genomics"""""""" has begun to provide important insights into the origins of species, divergence of body forms, adaptation to new environments and the origins of life itself. The diversity of life in aquatic environments provides a particularly rich source for these studies. To gain insights into these evolutionary processes, a broad range of expertise is needed, necessitating crosstalk and integration between scientists with diverse backgrounds. This can be achieved in a small symposium setting where participants are highly interested, engaged, and interactive. Therefore, we have assembled a diverse group of leading scientists to participate in a small symposium entitled """"""""Genomics and the Life Aquatic"""""""" in a retreat-like setting at the Friday Harbor Laboratory (FHL) on San Juan Island, WA. ? ? The goals of this symposium are: (1) to discuss and synthesize current genomic approaches; (2) to discuss emerging patterns of genomic changes that underlie adaptation and evolution; (3) to identify original applications for existing tools and to develop novel approaches; and (4) to promote the participation of young scientists in this emerging field of evolutionary genomics. Although this symposium will focus on the life aquatic, the themes and lessons that emerge will be applicable to genomic analysis of a diversity of organisms and traits, particularly human health and disease. ? ? ? ?