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Mission Statement
Fact Sheet
Climate Change 2008

VIMS Initiative for Coastal Climate Change Research

Center for Coastal Climate Change ResearchThe Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) of the College of William and Mary is committed to conducting state-of-the-art scientific research focused on marine and adjacent coastal components of the Earth system. Many of the Institute's research programs are directly or indirectly linked to issues of climate and global change - topics of intense societal interest these days.

Nowhere are the impacts of climate change expected to be felt to a greater extent than in the world's extensive coastal zones, where nearly half of the world's population currently lives. These coastal regions are threatened by climate change in many ways, from flooding and displacement of human populations due to storms and sea level rise, to impacts on fisheries and other natural resources resulting from alterations in nutrient and water cycles and non-native species invasions.

The coastal zone of Virginia has been identified as the second most vulnerable region in the United States - surpassed only by the New Orleans region - to the predicted future impacts from climate change. In addition, southeastern Virginia, including the Hampton Roads area, is anticipated to be at the epicenter of regional climate change impacts due to its low elevation and its key location at the crossroads of Chesapeake Bay, the continental shelf, numerous major rivers and estuaries, agricultural activities, and even upland environments extending all the way to the Shenandoah mountains.

It is therefore imperative that our leaders, planners and citizens be armed with the best information available in order to plan for the future and to minimize the effects of these impacts on our environment, society and economy.

We are living in a world that is rapidly changing - from one that recently seemed limitless and unchanging, to one that we increasingly realize is being stressed by a growing global population and associated human activities. The need for sound, unbiased scientific information and objective advisory leadership in the face of these environmental pressures has never been greater. The science of global change is advancing rapidly and will be critical for evaluating and responding to current impacts from climate change and, even more importantly, for confronting the still greater challenges we are predicted to face in the coming generation.

VIMS is committed to serving as a center of research excellence on climate change-related issues, as an unbiased broker of the information arising from this scientific research, and as a reliable source of advice and guidance for resource managers, coastal planners and the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world as we confront the challenges of climate and global change together as a regional community.

For further information, please contact us at:

Virginia Institute of Marine Science Virginia Institute of Marine Science
The College of William and Mary
Gloucester Point, Virginia 23062-1346, USA
Phone: 804-684-7000