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Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences' Eastern Shore Lab

The Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences' Eastern Shore Laboratory (ESL) serves as both a field station in support of research and teaching and as a site for resident research in coastal ecology and aquaculture. By virtue of its access to unique coastal habitats, excellent water quality, and an extensive seawater laboratory, the ESL affords educational and research opportunities not available elsewhere within the region. Over its 40-year history, the laboratory has become internationally recognized for shellfish research, with important contributions to molluscan ecology and culture.

The ESL is located on 4.3 acres in the coastal fishing village of Wachapreague, VA.   A 3,200 square foot building provides office, laboratory, and classroom space. A teaching laboratory with student workstations is equipped with both dissecting and compound microscopes. Lab bench space is available in a common-use equipment room, which contains a UV/visible spectrophotometer, fluorometer, light microscopes, an image-analysis system, and balances.

A hallmark of the ESL is a large flexible seawater system for husbandry of live marine and estuarine organisms. Approximately 50 flowing seawater tables are located at the facility, some inside and others outdoors. Tanks of various sizes are available for use in either flow-through or recirculation modes. A seawater quarantine system provides the capability to conduct work on nonindigenous species.

During our stay at ESL we will be utilizing the dormitory, kitchen and dining facilities.  We can also take advantage of the ESL’s small vessels for research and educational activities. The emphasis in the fleet is on small, shallow draft vessels that provide easy access to shallow-water habitats along the seaside and bayside of the Eastern Shore.