Center for Marine Science

CMS @ a Glance

NEW! CMS brief (2011)
[79+MB pdf, please be patient with download. ]

fast facts

Areas of Expertise:

  • Marine Biotechnology
  • Biodiversity
  • Natural Products
  • Oceanography
  • Harmful Algal Studies
  • Coastal Ecology
  • Estuarine and River Ecology
  • Coral Reef Ecology
  • Fisheries Biology
  • Marine Mammals

Current Facilities:

  • Offices and laboratories for 40 scientists, 65 students, and 60+ staff
  • Facilities for research, education and public outreach (K-12 through lifelong learning), visiting scientists and shared graduate education opportunities
  • Dock accessible from the Intracoastal Waterway Running seawater available at Myrtle Grove and Wrightsville Beach facilities
  • 147-seat auditorium with state-of-the-art multimedia equipment
  • Lab space available for scientists from other North Carolina universities
  • 171,000 sq. ft. of net indoor space:
    75,000 sq.ft. Main Building
    16,000 sq.ft. Operations Wing
    11,000 sq.ft. Shellfish Research Hatchery
    69,000 sq.ft. Marine Biotechnology (completed in 2013)


  • Marine science focus at UNCW spans over 30 years, across departments and schools
  • Started as Marine Biomedical Institute in 1970s and renamed the Center for Marine Science Research (CMSR) in 1980s
  • After the Master of Science in Marine Science was added in 2000, the name was updated to the Center for Marine Science
  • Focus on collaborative interdiscplinary programs at state, national and international levels
  • Myrtle Grove Facilities: directly accessible from the Intracoastal Waterway with docking facilities, Facility Cores for shared major equipment
  • Over $50 million in facilities built using Endowment, University, State, and Federal sources


  • Recognized as a national site for conducting research that contributes to understanding environmental processes and problems - particularly in the area of harmful algal blooms
  • Graduate education in marine science: focus in biology, chemistry, geology and physics
  • Unique pilot project program to ensure continued cutting-edge science -- high risk, high payoff
  • Research funding has grown from approximately $9 million in 2001 to more than $38 million active in 2010.

Our Mission Statement

The Center for Marine Science at UNC Wilmington is dedicated to providing an environment that fosters a multidisciplinary approach to questions in basic and applied coastal and marine research. The mission of the center is to support and promote coastal and marine science at UNCW, including research, outreach and service, and teaching. This includes a variety of fields such as oceanography, coastal and wetland studies, estuarine science, marine physiology and genetics, fisheries, aquaculture, marine biotechnology, marine policy and education, and other aspects of marine biology, marine and atmospheric chemistry, marine geology, environmental studies/sciences, and physical oceanography. The center fosters research programs of the highest quality and thereby enhances the educational experience provided by The University of North Carolina Wilmington for both undergraduate and graduate students in marine science.