VIMS to host 10th annual Marine Science Day

  • Visitors' Center
    Visitors' Center   Visitors enjoy the exhibits, aquaria, and life-size models in VIMS Visitors' Center during Marine Science Day.  
  • Scallop Eyes
    Scallop Eyes   From L: Madeline Allburn, Isabella Weiner, and Clare Allburn learn what it's like to see the world through the eyes of a scallop during Marine Science Day at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.  
  • Underwater Robot
    Underwater Robot   Chris Petrone (far L) watches as visitors drive a mini-robotic submarine during Marine Science Day. Petrone is a Marine Education Specialist with the Sea Grant program at VIMS.  
  • Touch Tank
    Touch Tank   Visitors examine a spider crab taken from the Visitors' Center touch tank.  
  • Fish Tagging
    Fish Tagging   Jon Lucy (L) explains fish tagging to two young visitors. Lucy is a Marine Recreation Specialist with the VA Sea Grant program at VIMS.  
  • Bottom Dwellers
    Bottom Dwellers   VIMS graduate student Treda Smith talks about weird and wonderful bottom dwellers during Marine Science Day  
  • Fish Printing
    Fish Printing   Young visitors practice their fish and scallop printing in the Children's Pavilion.  
  • Fish Prints
    Fish Prints   A selection of the fish and scallop prints created by visitors to Marine Science Day.  
  • Seafood Cooking Demo
    Seafood Cooking Demo   Kelly Turner, Chef Instructor at the Culinary Institute of Virginia (L), joins with Sea Grant Seafood Education Specialist Vicki Clark (2nd from L) to serve scallops during a Seafood Cooking Demonstration.  
  • whalen.jpg
      VIMS grad student Matt Whalen (L) shows a visitor how to use a microscope to view the small shrimp-like crustaceans that inhabit local sea grass beds.  
  • Hidden Pipefish
    Hidden Pipefish   Visitors learn about camouflage by counting pipefish hidden within sea grass.  
  • DNA
    DNA   Wendi Ribeiro, a graduate student in the Marine and Aquaculture Molecular Genetics program at VIMS (L), shows young visitors how to prepare samples for DNA analysis.  
  • Blue Crab
    Blue Crab   A young visitor examines a blue crab.  
  • Blue Crabs
    Blue Crabs   Visitors learn about blue crabs.  
  • Aquarium Display
    Aquarium Display   A visitor examines an aquarium display.  
  • Zooplankton
    Zooplankton   Kate Ruck shows a zooplankton sample to a visitor. Ruck is an incoming graduate student.  
  • TEM
    TEM   VIMS professor Wolfgang Vogelbein (C) instructs Porter Doughty (L) and Michael Luck (R) in the use of the transmission electron microscope (TEM).  
  • Green Screen
    Green Screen   A pair of young visitors prepare for the Virtual Scientist "green screen" activity. Results of this “Scientist for a Few Seconds” activity will soon be available on the VIMS YouTube channel (  
  • Cake
    Cake   Gummi worms and fish occupy the "seafloor" as part of a hands-on activity in which visitors take "sediment cores" from a chocolate layer cake.  
  • Sediment Cores
    Sediment Cores   Visitors take "sediment cores" from a chocolate layer cake.  
  • cored_seafloor.jpg
      The "seafloor" following sediment coring. Unlike real sediment cores, these cores were good to eat.  
  • Acrobat
    Acrobat   Graduate student Daniel Maxey (R) explains how VIMS scientists use the Acrobat sensor to measure dissolved oxygen in Chesapeake Bay.  
  • Fish Collection
    Fish Collection   Graduate student Dan Dutton (C) describes a specimen from the VIMS Fish Collection.  
  • Seine Net
    Seine Net   Visitors check their seine net for marine life.  
  • Algae
    Algae   A young visitor gets a hands-on feel for green algae.  
  • Shark
    Shark   Logan Miesowitz of Hayes becomes a shark.  
  • Mapping
    Mapping   VIMS scientist Tami Rudnicky explains the intricacies of mapping to 3rd-grader Jasmine Tomson of Gloucester.  
  • Seine Net
    Seine Net   Visitors draw their seine net from the York River.  
  • Parade Prep
    Parade Prep   Students from Yorktown Elementary prepare to march in the Parade of Marine Life.  
  • SCUBA Divers
    SCUBA Divers   Ben Malmquist (L) and Caleb Richardson (R) dressed as SCUBA divers for the Parade of Marine Life.  
  • yorktown_elem.jpg
      Students from Yorktown Elementary march in the Parade of Marine Life.  
  • Scallop and Anglerfish
    Scallop and Anglerfish   Hannah Mclean (L) and Sarah McGuire of the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve program at VIMS show off their scallop and angler fish costumes following the Parade of Marine Life.  
  • Deep-sea Fish
    Deep-sea Fish   VIMS graduate student CJ Sweetman shows a deep-sea fish to a visitor.  
  • Best of Show
    Best of Show   Monet Wilson, a 6th grader at Peasley Middle School in Gloucester, won Best of Parade for her seahorse costume in the Parade of Marine Life during Marine Science Day at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science on May 30.  
  • Oyster Hatchery
    Oyster Hatchery   Researcher Karen Hudson (R) explains the workings of the VIMS Oyster Hatchery. Hudson is with the Aquaculture Genetics and Breeding Technology Center at VIMS.  
  • Scallops
    Scallops   Hannah McLean (R) talks about scallops. McClean is with the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve program at VIMS.  
  • Waiting for Waders
    Waiting for Waders   Scott Lerberg (foreground) helps visitors don their waders before seining. Lerberg is Stewardship Coordinator with the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve program at VIMS.  
  • Dip Net
    Dip Net   A young visitor uses a dip net to search for marine life in the York River.  
  • Seining
    Seining   Visitors seine for marine life in the York River.  
  • Tire Pressure
    Tire Pressure   Sandi Buchheister of Hayes (L) looks on as VIMS professor Rebecca Dickhut (R) checks her recommended tire pressure.  
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Marine Science Day, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science’s annual open house, will take place on Saturday, May 19th from 10 am to 3 pm on VIMS’ bayfront campus in Gloucester Point.

Now in its 10th year, the popular event is offered free of charge and proceeds rain or shine. The goal of Marine Science Day is to give the public a behind-the-scenes look at how VIMS research helps protect and restore marine ecosystems in Chesapeake Bay and around the world.

Attendees will be able to visit display booths to learn from VIMS faculty, staff, and students how they help manage blue crabs, restore oysters, survey fish populations, unravel biodiversity, monitor water quality, find and remove "ghost" crab pots, and map diamondback terrapin habitat.

The younger set will have the chance to learn with fun crafts and activities in the Children's Pavilion. Kids and parents will also have the chance to collect and observe organisms from the York River, and to tour the Institute’s Teaching Marsh, Shellfish Hatchery, and “Fish Library.”

Susan Maples, VIMS’ Public Outreach Coordinator, says the event will “feature several new hands-on activities in addition to favorites from years past.”

Erin Forgit, a 9th grader at Warhill High School in Williamsburg, took first prize in VIMS' flounder artwork contest for Marine Science Day 2012. Flounder

The Institute honors a different animal each year during Marine Science Day, with this year’s choice being the flounder. These remarkable creatures begin life shaped like most other fish, before undergoing a metamorphosis in which one eye migrates to the opposite side of the head and the entire body shifts orientation by 90 degrees.

Dr. Carol Hopper Brill, a VIMS education specialist who heads the children’s activity area at the event, says it will be “all flounders, all the time at the Kids’ Marine Science Pavilion!” Young visitors will be able to partake in a "Flounder Scramble," a "Flounder Camo Toss," and “Flounders on Foil,” in which they create their own color pattern for the camouflaged fish. They will also be able to practice the ancient Japanese fish-printing art of “Gyotaku” with flounder, and to create a “Flounder Frisbee," and “Flounder Flipbook.”

One new activity is an "Osprey for a Second" photo booth that will allow visitors to picture themselves as a chick in an osprey nest—in recognition of the VIMS “OspreyCam.” Participants will later be able to share their avian moment with family and friends via the VIMS website.

One of the event’s perennial favorites is the Parade of Marine Life, in which children and adults from around Tidewater walk through the VIMS campus wearing handmade creature costumes including seahorses, jellyfish, sharks, dolphins, and blue crabs. The parade is unique in that it passes right through the lobby of a building, something that even the vaunted Macy’s Thanksgiving parade doesn’t do.

In addition to these daylong activities, Marine Science Day offers a series of events that begin at specific times. These include 10-minute mini-lectures on flounder, shark bycatch, and the VIMS OspreyCam, a seafood cooking demonstration, and more. Details on these and all the other activities are available in the Marine Science Day program, which is available ahead of time at

VIMS, one of the leading marine centers in the U.S., provides research, education, and advisory service to help protect and restore Chesapeake Bay and coastal waters worldwide. The Institute offers Master’s and Ph.D. degrees through its School of Marine Science, part of the College of William and Mary.