Featured Research @ VIMS

Here's a small sampling of the myriad research activities ongoing at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS).
Plastics on Beach
Plastics in the Environment

A VIMS team is challenged by the bewildering array of plastics and plastic additives in use in homes and businesses around the world—and now dispersed via trash and microplastic debris into seemingly every ecosystem on Earth, from the depths of the Marianas Trench to the polar ice caps.


VIMS researchers are combining the immune system’s power with cutting-edge electronics to address pressing issues in marine science.

Fuel from Algae

Collaborative research at VIMS aims to use wild algae to convert what is now a troublesome pollutant into a fuel that can help power our cars.

Gulf Spill FAQs

VIMS researchers answer some frequently asked questions concerning the Gulf oil spill.

Atlantic Sturgeon

VIMS research plays a critical role in efforts to restore this ancient species to Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

Cownose Ray Management

Sea Grant scientist at VIMS works to keep rays out of commercial shellfish beds while ensuring the sustainability of their population in Chesapeake Bay.

Blue Crab
The ghost hunters

Dave Stanhope and Kory Angstadt are searching for a killer lurking on the floor of Chesapeake Bay. The culprit turns out to be derelict blue crab pots.

Robots dive into marine science

Dr. Mark Patterson’s autonomous underwater vehicle has conducted research missions from Chesapeake Bay to the Gulf of Mexico and Antarctica.

Yorktown breakwaters

A long-term partnership between York County and VIMS has helped the historic riverfront community of Yorktown stem shoreline erosion, weather several powerful storms, and maintain a popular swimming beach.

From Plankton to Planet

Each evening, a multitude of small sea creatures rises from the inky depths to feast on microscopic plants growing in sunlit surface waters. At dawn, they reverse course, descending to spend another day under the cover of darkness.By almost any measure, this daily migration rivals the great seasonal movements of caribou or arctic terns. Yet its magnitude was virtually unknown until the 1940s, and many of its mysteries remain.

Research to Restore the Poor Man's Salmon

VIMS professor John Olney has worked for more than a decade to help restore American shad to Chesapeake Bay. These fish, once as iconic to the Bay as blue crabs or oysters, are now only familiar to scientists, commercial netters, and fly fishermen.

Living Shorelines

Living shorelines use strategic placement of plants, stone, and sand to reduce erosion, enhance wetland habitat, and provide important ecosystem services.

Fish Upclose
What you see is what you get

VIMS graduate student Andrij Horodysky is using electroretinography—a technique first developed for studying human vision—to explore how fishes see the underwater world of Chesapeake Bay.

Who's Eating Whom?

It may be mud and muck to you, but to David Gillett it’s like a super-sleuth game to see who’s eating whom and how energy moves through food webs.