Mare nostrum (Our sea)

Ideally situated in the United States Virgin Islands, the Center for Marine & Environmental Studies (CMES) was established in 1999 with the mission to offer students and researchers a dynamic atmosphere to study tropical marine and environmental issues and increase awareness about marine topics in the VI. Located within the University of the Virgin Islands, CMES is a research and outreach arm of UVI's Marine Science Program.

Research Highlights


Research Heats Up

September 2015 - Tropicos: Science of El Nino
The predicted 2014-2015 El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event (NOAA 2014) may develop into one of the strongest in recent history, presenting a unique and urging opportnity to investigate the impact of this extreme thermal anomaly on the resilience of coral reef ecosystems. Read More


University Researchers Discover Reproductive Refuge for Threatened Coral Species

July 21, 2015 -  In a joint study, University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) and University of Miami (UM) Rosentiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science researchers have discovered have discovered that a threatened coral species that lives in deeper waters off the U.S. Virgin Islands is more fertile than its shallow-water counterparts. Read More


UVI Researchers Investigate the Potential Risks of Lionfish Consumption

April 20, 2015 - University of the Virgin Islands researchers have published results of their investigation into the consumption of lionfish in the Marine Drugs Journal. Read More

Research Projects

Project Principal Investigator
Brewers Bay Project  
CMES researchers are trying to better understand Brewers Bay by setting up an acoustic array and tagging specific marine animals. Our aim is to better understand the movement patterns of these organisms within the bay in response to environmental disturbances such as a heavy rainfall event. 

Rick Nemeth
(340) 693-1393 

UVI-CariCOOS (Caribbean Coastal Ocean Observing System)
The University of the Virgin Islands Center for Marine and Environmental Studies EPSCoR grant funded the purchase of a meteorological and oceanographic data buoy.  The buoy platform carries a package of meteorological and oceanographic instrumentation that is of vital environmental and economic interest.

Paul Jobsis
(340) 693-1380 

Territorial Coral Reef Monitoring Program (TCRMP)
The aim of this research project is to provide critical information on the status and threats to all Virgin Islands coral reef ecosystems in order to increase management effectiveness while improving basic and applied coral reef research.

Tyler Smith
(340) 693-1394 

Ciguatera Fish Poisoning
Ciguatera Fish Poisoning (CFP) is a type of seafood poisoning that affects people when the eat reef-dwelling top-level predatory fish such as barracuda, grouper and snapper. Unfortunately there is no simple screening method to identify a fish with high levels of CFP and cooking the fish does not break down the toxin. This project investigates the possible relationship between climate, people, and the ecology of ciguatera on coral reefs.

Tyler Smith
(340) 693-1394 

Acropora Monitoring and Mapping Program
The aim of this project is to produce and long term assessments of the health and demographics of an important shallow water reef building coral, Acropora palmata (common name: elkhorn coral) in U.S.V.I. waters.

Tyler Smith
(340) 693-1394 

Research Facilities

Location Manager

MacLean Marine Science Center (MMSC)
Marine science research center at the University of the Virgin Islands.

Paul Jobsis

Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station (VIERS)
A biology field station / eco camp for environmental educational activites and scientific research located on St. John.

Randy Brown

Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service (VIMAS)
Education and outreach arm for CMES which operates on St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John.

Howard Forbes Jr. (STT / STJ)

Marcia Taylor (STX)

Institute for Geocomputational Analysis and Statistics (GeoCAS)
A research arm of CMES that works with social and physical data that is tied to geographic location for research, policy, and management.

Kostas Alexandridis

Contact Us

Center for Marine and Environmental Studies
University of the Virgin Islands
#2 John Brewers Bay
St. Thomas, USVI 00802
Telephone: (340) 693-1380
Fax: (340) 693-1385