Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



An Ecological Monitoring Program (EMP) has been established at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science Eastern Shore Laboratory (VIMS ESL) for the coastal environment near the lab. The goals of the initiative are to 1) provide status and trends information to scientists who study and regulators who manage Virginia’s marine resources, 2) provide a scientific context for scientists’ research and grant proposals 3) provide pedagogical enrichment to educators for their classes, and 4) build capacity in staff expertise and training of interns and students at VIMS ESL.

The program formalizes and standardizes data collection for a long-term status and trends database as an asset combined with marine operations and shore support provided by VIMS ESL. The standard methods also provide visiting scientists with protocols for consistent and comparable work. The EMP includes electronic water quality stations, oyster settlement and adult population dynamics, microbial biofilm growth, characterization of benthic communities in soft sediments and oyster reefs, sediment characteristics, and drone surveillance of salt marsh die back and Wachapreague Inlet dynamics. While this document focuses on these core areas of our monitoring activities, results of other VIMS ESL research on clam, scallop and oyster aquaculture, bay scallop restoration, and shorter-term grant supported research projects are reported elsewhere.


Eastern Shore Laboratory, Virginia Institute of Marine Science