In addition to the radio operations, the Expedition plans to carry out a limited program of scientific research. This work will be done in collaboration with scientists and administrators with interest in Kure Atoll.
The following projects are planned for this expedition:
Previous work has found that there are large numbers of the "big-headed" ant Pheidole megacephala on Kure. The ant is found in many tropical and subtropical regions, introduced in New World tropics. It is a tramp species with a potentially devastating impact on native fauna. It is a serious threat to biodiversity through the displacement of most native invertebrate faunas, a pest of agriculture as it harbors phytophagous insects (scale) that reduce crop productivity, and it is a domestic pest.
We plan to document our observations of these ants, particularly the locations of high concentrations. However we do not plan to make any significant collections or disturbances of the ants. We will work with Cynthia Vanderlip, the resident ecologist in this project.
UPDATE May, 2005: WE WERE UNABLE TO OBTAIN A SCIENTIFIC COLLECTING PERMIT FROM THE STATE OF HAWAII DVISION OF AQUATIC RESOURCES, HENCE WE WILL NOT MAKE ANY COLLECTION OF MARINE ORGANISMS AT KURE.
We will make a representative collection of marine organisms, including algae and invertebrates, to be taken in shallow water using hand collection. Scuba may be used to obtain subtidal specimens. A total of less than 10 kg of specimens will be taken. The collection will be divided between the State of Hawaii, the University of California (Berkeley), and the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History.
According to Hans von Tilberg, the Paradise Queen, an 87-foot fishing vessel, ran aground on Green Island and was wrecked in 1998. Currently it is in many pieces scattered in two main areas, each with 3-4 major pieces, located at N: 28.3913 W: 178.2891. Tilberg indicates that any documentation of the wreck would be an aid to management. Our plans include documenting the wreck with still and video images. It is not planned to recover any pieces. The information obtained will be passed to Tilberg, or his representatives.