The 12th annual VIMS Marine Science Day will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday on the Virginia Institute of Marine Science campus, Gloucester Point.
The event will be held rain or shine, said David Malmquist, VIMS director of communications. Admission is free, with hot sandwiches, soft drinks and ice cream available for purchase on site.
What began on a small scale has grown enormously in popularity, Malmquist said. From a few hundred people attending the first few years, VIMS Marine Science Day has attracted 2,000 to 3,000 more recently.
“Every year we have a different theme,” he said Tuesday. This year’s theme is bioluminescence, or creatures glowing in the sea. VIMS staff members Sarah Huber and Debbie Steinberg will present short talks about the unusual adaptations of creatures living in the deep and why these creatures emit a glow. Malmquist said it’s not just in the deep sea, but algal blooms in this region as well, where light glows in what’s known as red tides.
Activities and tours will include tours of the VIMS Teaching Marsh, a demonstration wetlands and waterfront garden near Gloucester Point Beach; a Kids’ Pavilion near Watermen’s Hall, which will include crafts, printing and fun activities; fisheries museum collection, with 80,000 specimens; riparian forest, self-guided tour through a shoreline forest, and a “Wacky Science Photo Booth.”
Other displays will feature marine debris in waterways, red tides, drifters like jellyfish, benthic biodiversity, and the Virginia Game Fish Tagging Program.
The popular marine costume contest will be held at 11 a.m. Contestant check-in will begin at 10:30 in Watermen’s Hall.