Virginia Institute of Marine Science
VIMS campus in Gloucester Point, Virginia
Established1940; 81 years ago (1940)
Research typeMarine Sciences
DeanJohn Wells
DirectorJohn Wells
LocationGloucester Point, Virginia

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) is one of the largest marine research and education centers in the United States. Founded in 1940, VIMS is unique among marine science institutions in its legal mandate to provide research, education, and advisory service to government, citizens, and industry. Funding for VIMS comes from the Commonwealth of Virginia, grants and contracts from federal and state agencies, and private giving. The School of Marine Science (SMS) at VIMS is the graduate school in marine science for the College of William & Mary. Offering both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in marine science, the school has 57 faculty members,[1] an enrollment of 80-100 students, and includes 4 academic departments. VIMS' main campus is located in Gloucester Point, Virginia.


VIMS provides research, education, and advisory service in marine science to Virginia, the nation, and the world. VIMS' mission is mandated in the Code of Virginia.[2]


VIMS was started by Prof. Donald W. Davis as the William & Mary Maritime Laboratory in 1938,[3] which in 1940 was chartered by the Commonwealth as the Virginia Fisheries Laboratory. Its original building, Maury Hall, is named for Virginian Matthew Fontaine Maury, the "Father of Modern Oceanography." VIMS' Eastern Shore Laboratory, established in 1962 in the seaside village of Wachapreague, jumpstarted Virginia's large hard-clam industry. VIMS scientists were leaders in establishing the national Sea Grant and Coastal Zone Management programs in the 1960s.

Research programs

VIMS NOMAD real-time data buoy
VIMS NOMAD real-time data buoy

VIMS research spans a broad range of topics. A 2009 analysis of research citations by Thomson Reuters Essential Science Indicators found VIMS among the top 1% of institutions in the fields of Plant & Animal Science and Environment & Ecology.

Early programs included:

Current active research includes:


VIMS' School of Marine Science is one of four graduate and professional schools of William & Mary. The school has 57 faculty members and a student body ranging from 80-100 students, approximately half of whom are women. M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are offered in four major areas:

Facilities and research vessels

VIMS R/V Virginia
VIMS R/V Virginia

In addition to specialized facilities at the Eastern Shore Laboratory and Kaufman Aquaculture Center, the main campus includes:

VIMS owns and operates a fleet of 40 research vessels, including many specialized for research in Chesapeake Bay and other coastal areas. Vessels include:

Faculty and staff

Administrative Officers

Department Chairs

Center Directors

Administrative Directors

A directory of all faculty, staff, and students is available online.[7]

Satellite campuses


  1. ^ VIMS. "VIMS Faculty Listing". Retrieved 2017-04-14.
  2. ^
  3. ^ VIMS. "VIMS FAQ". Retrieved 2011-03-31.
  4. ^ "Virginia Shark Monitoring and Assessment Program | Virginia Institute of Marine Science".
  5. ^ "Nunnally Ichthyology Collection | Virginia Institute of Marine Science".
  6. ^ "R/V Virginia | Virginia Institute of Marine Science".
  7. ^ "Directory | Virginia Institute of Marine Science".
  8. ^ "Eastern Shore Laboratory | Virginia Institute of Marine Science".

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