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 and educational facilities, state-of-the-art analytical instruments and field equipment; and a fleet of both large and small research vessels. An institute-wide fiber-optic network connects to the National Lambda Rail via a Gigabit Ethernet link to William & Mary.

Major Campus Buildings
Major campus buildings at VIMS
Acuff Center for Aquaculture

Completed in 2022, the Acuff Center for Aquaculture is a 22,000-square-foot shellfish hatchery facility that supports collaborative research, education, and advisory teams within VIMS’ Shellfish Aquaculture Program. The building has an expansive open floorplan allowing flexibility to meet the changing research and husbandry needs of many users, including the Aquaculture Genetics and Breeding Technology Center (ABC), a variety of other VIMS researchers, and collaborators in the VIMS Shellfish Aquaculture Science Initiative (SALT-SI). The facility honors the exceptional leadership and generosity of A. Marshall Acuff, Jr. ’62, L.H.D. ’07, P ’93 on VIMS’ behalf, and is named for the Acuff family.

Andrews Hall

Completed in 2009, this 71,000-square-foot building 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 Submerged Aquatic Vegetation program, the Dominion Conference room, and a distance-learning classroom. It is named after the late Senator Hunter B. Andrews and his wife Cynthia, long-time supporters of the Institute.

Chesapeake Bay Hall

Completed in 1997, this 64,000-square-foot, 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 accommodate changing research needs. The atrium holds a collection of historic maps of the Chesapeake Bay, many donated by longtime friend and supporter Alan Voorhees.

Davis Hall

Completed in 2018, this 2-story, 32,000-square-foot building provides research, office, and technology space for Marine Advisory Services, the Center for Coastal Resources Management (CCRM), Virginia Sea Grant, News & Media Services, and Information Technology and Network Services. The building is named after VIMS’ founder, W&M Professor Donald W. Davis.

Field Support Center

Completed in 2010, this 10,000-square-foot, 3-story facility provides space for a broad range of technical services and vessel maintenance. The technicians, machinists, welders, fabricators, and mechanics on staff can design, fabricate, and repair complex electronic and mechanical instruments and tools.

York River Hall

Opened in 1950 to house VIMS’ precursor—the Virginia Fisheries Laboratory—this 2-story, 6,400-square-foot facility now houses several faculty offices. The building was originally named after Virginian Matthew Fontaine Maury, the “Father of Modern Oceanography.” It is the oldest purpose-built facility on the VIMS campus.

Nunnally Hall

Completed in 1991, this 17,000 square-foot building provides lab and office space for VIMS’ researchers and students and also houses the Nunnally Ichthyology Collection. The building name recognizes the generous financial support of the Moses D. Nunnally, Jr. Charitable Trust.

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 the study of aquatic pathogens and waterborne pollutants, including their effects on animal and human health. Water is supplied from a storm-resistant concrete pier that stretches 300 feet into the York River.

External parties interested in using the facility should contact [[v|jebrister,SRL Director Jim Brister.]]

Watermen’s Hall

Opened in 1984, this 40,000 square-foot building houses our Visitors Center, McHugh Auditorium, and many of our administrative offices. It also houses the William J. Hargis Jr. Library, with more than 80,000 volumes and electronic access to marine literature worldwide. The administrative offices headquartered in Watermen’s Hall are

Use by External Parties

We offer select facilities, services, and vessels at cost for use by external parties.

Facilities, services, and vessels offered at cost for use by external parties.
Analytical Services Lab

The Analytical Service Center researches, develops, and refines methodologies for analyses in a wide spectrum of environmental matrices. ASC instrumentation is of the current generation: computer control/acquisition, background correction, and all optimized for saline matrix. Extensive field experience has created a suite of well-honed sampling and processing procedures and specialized equipment. For more information, [[v|pollard,contact Lab Director Carol Pollard]].

Facility Rentals

VIMS rents conference rooms, a 275-person auditorium, and classrooms to groups outside the VIMS community. These spaces may be rented for meetings, lectures, and other not-for-profit functions. Furniture, linens, coffee/tea, and other set-ups can also be arranged for on-site events. All uses must be approved by VIMS’ Special Events Coordinator or the Dean and Director. To inquire about having an event at VIMS, please contact our Advancement office at 804-684-7061 or [[v|programs]].

Flow Cytometry Facility

Our Flow Cytometry Facility features a BD Influx flow cytometer to meet all of your sorting needs. This cell sorter is incredibly fast, boasting a practical throughput of 20,000 events/second, and is able to maintain high purity of sorted particles. For more information, contact Technical Director [v|qroberts,Quinn Roberts]]. You can also fill out the usage request form.

Nunnally Ichthyology Collection

Specimens from the VIMS Fish Collection are available to research scientists and education centers throughout the U.S. and abroad. For details, visit the Usage Policies web page. Submit loan requests to the curator, Dr. Eric J. Hilton.

Seawater Research Lab

External scientific parties interested in renting space within our 43,000 square foot Seawater Research Laboratory (SRL) should [[v|jebrister,contact SRL Director Jim Brister.]]

Vessel Chartering

We offer several vessels for charter when they are not already scheduled for use by our faculty, staff, and students. These include the 93' research vessel R/V Virginia, and the 36' passenger-for-hire M/V Tyndall Pointe; which is expected to be officially added to the fleet soon. Learn more.

Other Notable Facilities & Services
Other notable facilities and services at VIMS
Oyster Hatchery

Provides space and equipment for the breeding of disease-resistant native oysters and for genetic studies of non-native oysters. Learn more.

Boat Basin (Marine Operations)

Provides a safe harbor for VIMS fleet of research vessels. Learn more.

Diving Facility

Includes a diver-training room and classrooms to support our 20-member AAUS-certified dive team. Learn more.

Seabed Hydraulic Flume

Allows researchers to carry out in-situ experiments on sediment erosion.

Geotek® Core Logger

Allows study of past climates, seafloor erosion, and the bottom-dwelling communities that nurture marine food webs.