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Center for Marine Science

Anyone who has spent time at the Center for Marine Science (CMS) knows the creative passion and energy generated here. From that first glimpse of a new discovery to the pride of tackling global problems, research at CMS is transformational.

Faculty and student researchers at the Center for Marine Science solve critical problems in both basic and applied coastal and marine research.  As North Carolina’s coastal university, UNCW faculty and students have unparalleled access to numerous ecosystems where the major scientific questions and challenges of the 21st century persist, including climate change, fisheries management, conservation, biodiversity, coastal resilience, ocean sustainability and human-ocean interactions.  


  • Powerful, hands-on learning experiences for students of all ages! CMS not only serves students from 11 different academic departments but also provides learning experiences for K-12 groups and adult learners.
  • World-class facilities that support extensive field operations and laboratory analysis. In addition to our state-of-the-art research laboratories, faculty and students have access to UNCW’s Undersea Vehicle Program, Shellfish Research Hatchery, Finfish Aquaculture Facility, Marine Biotechnology Center (MARBIONC), and an extensive fleet of research vessels including the RV Cape Fear (visit us here!)
  • Cutting-edge research in all areas of coastal science and technology, including coastal ecology and dynamics, hazards and risks, health and resilience, aquaculture and drug discovery. CMS faculty and staff are providing innovative solutions to global issues, developing strategies to strengthen coastal economies and improving the lives of coastal citizens.
  • Public service and outreach programs that engage and educate all members of our coastal community. CMS has a rich history of public service extending back almost 50 years! The Planet Ocean Seminar Series, Sisson Hall of Exploration, Annual Open House, and UNCW Global Marine Science Summit are just a few of the ways CMS connects locally, regionally, and globally.

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