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Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Seawater Research Laboratory

James E. Brister, Director

Phone: (804)684-7255

Email: [[jebrister]]

The Seawater Research Laboratory (SRL) allows scientists from VIMS and other institutions to conduct research on living marine and estuarine organisms under controlled conditions.  The SRL facility allows for great diversity with respect to the type(s) of organisms which may be used.  There is likewise a great deal of flexibility in terms of water source, water temperature control, lighting control, and treatment of discharge from the various user areas within the laboratory.  All basic life support equipment is attached to the monitoring control and alarm system which allows for continuous 24 hour monitoring of critical parameters. 

Facilities and Equipment

The SRL facility consists of six primary contained wet lab areas.  Most of these areas are highly specialized to allow the safe containment and treatment of aquatic pathogens and toxins.  Special care is taken to protect the laboratory personnel who work within these areas.  State-of-the-art filtration and effluent treatment technologies are utilized to protect the receiving waters of the York River estuary from exposure to these compounds as well.

 In addition to the wet lab areas there is a teaching laboratory, a necropsy lab, and general purpose lab available for research and instructional use.  A multi-media conference room, vending area, and a break room are also available for laboratory users.  A large public viewing gallery in the main foyer is available for outreach programs to the general public.  Future plans include having an information kiosk in the viewing gallery with a menu-driven driven multi-media tour of the lab's facilities.

General Purpose Aquaculture Lab

Area designed to accommodate the basic culture requirements of a wide variety of benthic, planktonic, and large nektonic aquatic organisms.  Ample space and infrastructure support is available for most physiological, ecological, nutritional, and genetic research needs.

 High Bay Area

This area is an extension of the General Purpose Aquaculture lab with a ceiling clearance of 30 ft.  It will be equipped with a rail mounted 10 ton overhead bridge crane for moving large pieces of equipment. In addition to research on living marine organisms, large scale systems designed for the calibration of large oceanographic research instruments can be erected in SRL's high bay area.  Other large scale systems can be erected in the area for observations on fluid and sediment transport as well as the effects of these variables on benthic and interstitial organisms.

Coral Reef Laboratory Lab

A public viewing area for the display of small scale coral reef communities.  Area can also serve as holding space for live tropical research specimens collected abroad.

BSL-2 Pathogen and Quarantine Lab

Large restricted access area for the quarantine of aquatic organisms potentially infected with pathogens which may pose a moderate health threat to humans.  Area also designed for challenging aquatic organisms to specific pathogens which again may pose a moderate health risk to humans.

BSL-3 Pathogen Lab

Dedicated restricted access area for the isolation and challenge testing with aquatic pathogens which may be of a more significant health risks to humans which may be transmitted to humans via aerosol.  Lab is physically sealed and isolated via a double key card access system, has its own dedicated HVAC system with HEPA filtration of both intake and exhaust air, and the room is continuously under negative pressure.