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Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Initiative for Coastal Climate Change Research

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) is committed to conducting state-of-the-art scientific research on issues related to climate change, particularly in the world's coastal zones, where half of humanity lives and where climate-change impacts are expected to be felt most acutely. VIMS' Initiative for Coastal Climate Change Research (IC3R):

Climate Change White Paper

  • encourages further collaboration among the many research programs at VIMS that are engaged in issues of climate and global change,
  • serves as a central source of knowledge concerning the effects of climate change on our environment, society, and economy, and
  • provides recommendations concerning the most effective responses to sea-level rise and other climate-change impacts.
Knowledge & Recommendations

VIMS research provides knowledge and recommendations concerning the impacts of climate-change on:

  • Aquatic Diseases
  • Coastal Contamination
  • Coastal Ecosystems
  • Land-Coastal Connections
  • Plankton Food Webs
  • Submerged Aquatic Vegetation
  • Coastal Sea-Level Rise

and more. Our climate-change white papers provide concise summaries of these issues as they relate to Chesapeake Bay and the coastal ocean. Also read the final report of the Governor's Commission on Climate Change.

Climate Change and the Coast

Climate change threatens coastal regions in many ways, from flooding and displacement of human populations due to storms and sea-level rise, to impacts on fisheries and other resources resulting from alterations in nutrient and water cycles and invasions of non-native species.

Virginia's coastal zone is the second most vulnerable region in the U.S.—surpassed only by the area surrounding New Orleans—to the predicted impacts of climate change. Southeastern Virginia, including Hampton Roads, is anticipated to be at the epicenter of regional climate-change impacts due to its low elevation, as well as its location at the crossroads of Chesapeake Bay, the continental shelf, numerous major rivers and estuaries, and upland environments extending to the Shenandoah mountains.

The Need for Unbiased Science

We live in a world that is rapidly changing. The need for unbiased scientific information and objective advisory leadership has thus never been greater. The science of global change is advancing rapidly and will be critical for evaluating and responding to current impacts from climate change and, even more importantly, for confronting the still greater challenges we are predicted to face in the coming generation.

VIMS is committed to serving as a center of research excellence on issues related to climate change, as an unbiased broker of information arising from this scientific research, and as a reliable source of advice and guidance for resource managers, coastal planners, and the citizens of Virginia, the nation, and the world. It is imperative that our leaders, planners, and citizens be armed with the best information available in order to plan for the future and to minimize climate-change impacts on our environment, society, and economy.

Contact Us

For further information, contact us at:

Virginia Institute of Marine Science
The College of William and Mary
Gloucester Point, Virginia 23062-1346, USA
Email: climatechange@vims.edu
Phone: 804-684-7000