Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Eastern Shore Laboratory

  • ESL Campus
    ESL Campus
    Aerial view of VIMS Eastern Shore Laboratory in Wachapreague, Virginia.
    Photo by P.G. Ross
  • Restoring Bay Scallop Populations
    Restoring Bay Scallop Populations
    Juvenile bay scallops produced in the ESL hatchery are placed in restored seagrass beds in South Bay as part of an ongoing effort to restore scallop populations in the VA coastal bays.
    Photo by VIMS ESL
  • Experimental Oyster Reefs
    Experimental Oyster Reefs
    PG Ross, Edward Smith, and Alan Birch prepare to sample experimental oyster reefs in the Virginia Coast Reserve.
    Photo by VIMS ESL
  • Scallop Research
    Scallop Research
    VIMS Professor Robert (J.J.) Orth deploys scallops in South Bay, VA.
    Photo courtesy of VIMS-ESL
  • Oyster Reef Research
    Oyster Reef Research
    PG Ross and Alan Birch assess experimental oyster reefs in Onancock Creek.
    Photo by VIMS ESL
  • Barrier Islands
    Barrier Islands
    Virginia's Atlantic shoreline is home to some of the nation's most pristine barrier islands and saltmarsh lagoons.
  • Wachapreague
    The VIMS Eastern Shore Lab is located in the small seaside village of Wachapreague, Virginia.
  • Dormitory
    The Owens House dormitory on the VIMS Eastern Shore Laboratory campus in Wachapreague, Virginia.
  • Vessels
    The Eastern Shore Lab operates a fleet of small vessels for coastal research.
  • Shark Survey
    Shark Survey
    The waters off the VIMS Eastern Shore Lab Researchers represent one station in the VIMS Longline Shark Survey. Photo by VIMS Staff
  • Seawater Tanks
    Seawater Tanks
    VIMS graduate student Amber Hardison monitors her seawater tanks for her PHD study of nutrients and macroalgae in Eastern shore lagoons.
  • Annual Meeting
    Annual Meeting
    Members of the VIMS Council visit the ESL each June for their annual summer meeting. The meeting often includes a field-trip to the nearby barrier islands led by former ESL Director Mark Luckenbach (hands raised).
  • Coastal Marshes
    Coastal Marshes
    Three researchers head off into the vast expanse of the Eastern shore coastal marshes.
  • Marsh Fieldwork
    Marsh Fieldwork
    Photo by Stephen Salpukas.
  • Education
    Undergraduate students learn about salt marsh and dune vegetation as part of William & Mary's Field Studies in Coastal Marine Environments course.
    Photo by ESL Staff
  • New Student Field Trip
    New Student Field Trip
    Members of the VIMS matriculating class of 2008 pose for a photo during the annual "New students'" field trip to VIMS' Eastern Shore Laboratory in Wachapreague.
  • Field Trip
    Field Trip
    Members of the VIMS matriculating class of 2008 learn about coastal erosion during the annual "New students'" field trip to VIMS' Eastern Shore Laboratory in Wachapreague.
  • Education
    Salisbury University students use stereo scopes to examine the diversity of organisms collected in nearby creeks and mud flats.
    Photo by ESL Staff
  • Summer Thunderstorm
    Summer Thunderstorm
    The Eastern Shore is a great place to watch summer thunderstorms.

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science's Eastern Shore Laboratory (ESL) serves as both a field station in support of research and teaching and as a site for resident research in coastal ecology and aquaculture. By virtue of its access to unique coastal habitats, excellent water quality, and an extensive seawater laboratory, the ESL affords educational and research opportunities not available elsewhere within the region. Over its 40-year history, the laboratory has become internationally recognized for shellfish research, with important contributions to molluscan ecology and culture.


Linda Ward

Dormitory and Vessel Reservations

Sean Fate

Seawater Facilities Reservations

Stephanie Bonniwell

Mailing Address
Eastern Shore Laboratory
PO Box 350
Wachapreague, VA 23480
Physical Address
Eastern Shore Laboratory
40 Atlantic Avenue
Wachapreague, VA 23480