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Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Facilities & Services

Cutting-edge facilities for cutting-edge science

As one of the largest marine-science centers in the U.S., the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) maintains a comprehensive suite of research laboratories, provisioned with the analytical instruments and cutting-edge field equipment needed to address the challenges facing Chesapeake Bay and the coastal ocean. Our buildings and people support advanced research in areas such as computer modeling, genetics, geochemistry, immunology, pathobiology, physical oceanography, and toxicology.

Research Facilities

VIMS' newest research facility is Andrews Hall, a 71,000 square-foot building that features 39 laboratories, 25 faculty offices, and space for nearly 100 students, technicians, and visiting scientists. The 4-story structure houses the Aquaculture Genetics and Breeding Technology Center, the Prism Autonomous Systems Laboratory, the Submerged Aquatic Vegetation program, the Dominion Conference room, and a distance-learning classroom.

Our other major research building is Chesapeake Bay Hall. This 64,000 sf, 4-story facility houses programs in ecology, ecotoxicology, fishery genetics, immunology, and shellfish pathology. It is a modular structure, with movable walls to provide the flexibility needed to accomodate changing research needs.

Seawater Research Lab

Our 43,000 square foot Seawater Research Laboratory (SRL), the largest in the nation, provides 800 gallons per minute of treated seawater to support state-mandated research on fish and shellfish. It includes a multi-purpose space with numerous holding tanks, and a high bay with a ceiling-mounted crane for handling large oceanographic instruments. A disease-challenge facility, toxics room, and Biological Safety laboratories allow VIMS scientists to study aquatic pathogens and waterborne pollutants, including their effects on animal and human health.

Information Technology and Networking

Computer facilities range from laptop units for field use to the institute-wide fiber-optic network, which is connected to the National Lambda Rail via a Gigabit ethernet connection through  W&M. PC, UNIX, and Macintosh systems are supported by departmental staff and by the Institute’s Information Technology and Networking Services center.

Other Notable Facilities & Services
  • Storm-resistant concrete pier that stretches 300 feet into the York River
  • Hargis Library, with more than 80,000 volumes, 70,000 pages of scientific reports, and  electronic access to marine literature worldwide
  • Visitors Center with aquaria and life-sized models showing how VIMS research benefits Chesapeake Bay and the ocean
  • McHugh Auditorium, a 275-person venue for graduate-student and public education
  • Oyster Hatchery for breeding of disease-resistant native oysters and for genetic studies of non-native oysters
  • Fish Collection featuring more than 125,000 specimens from Chesapeake Bay and surrounding waters
  • Boat Basin that provides safe harbor for the VIMS research vessel fleet.
  • Diving facility that includes a diver-training room and classrooms to support our 20-member AAUS-certified dive team
  • Seabed hydraulic flume to carry out in-situ experiments on sediment erosion
  • Geotek® core logger that allows study of past climates, seafloor erosion, and the bottom-dwelling communities that nurture marine food webs