Biological Sciences The Department of Biological Sciences brings together biologists from a variety of disciplines including physical biology, ecology, oceanography, microbiology, evolutionary biology, and ecosystem modeling.
Benthic Ecology Benthic ecology encompasses the study of the organisms living in and on the sea floor, the interactions between them and impacts on the surrounding environment. The benthos (the organisms as well as the rocks, reefs, and sediments that form the habitat) is an extremely valuable component of marine and estuarine environments. Benthic systems are important to recycling of nutrients and the burial and storage of organic matter. Human impacts, such as the introduction of non-native species, the modification of coastal habitats, and major alterations of biogeochemical cycles threaten many coastal systems.
Beach Erosion Hotspots Beaches that exhibit anomalously high erosion rates, relative to the surrounding beach are defined as erosional hotspots. The cause of the accelerated erosion, while of research insterest, has significant practical application as well. Corps project design methods typically assume constant or gradually varying alongshore response. However many projects exhibit spatially uneven behavior at different times in their life cycle and erosional hotspots located within project areas can lead to shorter project life and/or higher maintenance costs. Detecting uneven project responses in their early stages, characterizing them as persistent or temporary, and estimating their evolution is the topic for a new research effort of the Coastal & Hydralulics Laboratory (CHL).
Biochemical Toxicology Much of our research focuses on the fate and effects of hazardous substances and pathogenic organisms in estuarine and marine systems. Information based on our research may be used for ecological risk assessment and thereby made available to environmental managers in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay region and the nation in a usable form.
Blue Crab Bowl Showcases some of the Commonweath's most talented science students as they display their mastery of oceanic knowledge.
Blue Crab Disease The Crustacean Diseases Laboratory has been investigating the environmental and host-driven factors that contribute to the fulmination of the epizootics. Current support from NOAA's Saltonstall-Kennedy Program focuses on addressing host mortality through injection, transmission, and survivorship studies. These studies include the examination of selected physiological parameters as indicators of the general state of the diseased crabs and lobsters.
Breakwaters in Chesapeake Bay The Chesapeake Bay Breakwater Database is being developed by personnel at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) Shoreline Studies Program for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) as part of the National Shoreline Erosion Control Development and Demonstration Program (Section 227 of the Water Resources and Development Act of 1996).
BRIDGE An ocean of free teacher-approved marine education resources.