Project Management Plan

Sampling protocol.--Because we are limited by weather to an extremely short annual field season (eight weeks maximum), all collecting efforts must be highly efficient and well planned in advance. On each island, scientists will lay out and collect at intervals along a set of transects that coincide with streams and/or rivers. While operating on the assumption that the greatest diversity will occur within and adjacent to aquatic habitats, we recognize that confining our efforts to wet transects will not result in complete biotic coverage. It would be good to collect along dry transects as well, but because of the severe time constraints mandated by the weather, we are forced to choose a subset of possibilities rather than attempt to "do it all." Some collecting, particularly in lakes and by those assigned to terrestrial taxa (vascular plants, spiders, reptiles, birds, and mammals), will occur outside of the transects but, in all cases, strict protocols for data acquisition will be followed.

Petasites japonicus var. giganteus (Asteraceae) along small falls on Ketoi Island.

The transects will extend from lowlands to the greatest possible elevations, starting where sandy or rocky intertidal ends and vegetation begins, and terminating, in some cases, where volcanic activity precludes human presence. Collecting centers will be established at 200-m intervals along each transect. From each collecting center, equal effort will be made to collect within a 2-hectare area, i.e., within a rectangle that extends 100 m above, 100 m below, and 50 m to each side of the collecting center. Islands with elevations of less than 200 m will be collected along stream or river transects that pass through each island at its greatest possible length. Survey methods will remain as consistent as possible under varying field conditions so that within and between island localities can be compared directly.

Using the southern group of islands as an example, Iturup, the largest island to be surveyed, consists of seven major peaks ranging from 1,124 to 1,634 m; a stream or river transect laid out along each of four of these seven peaks (one close to the center of the island at 1,132 m, one off center at 1,634 m, and one each at the northern- and southernmost ends of the island, 1,124 and 1,223 m, respectively) will have centers of collection at first vegetation, at elevations of 200 m, 400 m, 600 m, 800 m, 1,000 m, etc., depending on height and available habitat. Similarly, and again using the southern group of islands as an example, three transects will be collected on Urup (maximum elevations 1,029, 1,328, and 1,426 m), Kunashir (541, 886, and 1,819 m), and Shikotan (348, 363, 413 m). The remaining island of the southern group to be collected, Zelionyi, with negligible elevation (maximum 25 m), will be collected along a single wet transect of greatest possible length.

In addition to collecting along transects, those assigned to insects (aquatic taxa), freshwater mollusks, and fishes will collect in as many lakes as possible, with equal sampling effort at varying elevations. We will limit ourselves to no more than nine days per transect (many can be adequately collected in as few as five days), thus allowing six or seven transects to be covered within a single field season of 60 days, and a total of no more than 35 transects within the five-year life of the project. The field work will be more-or-less divided equally over the five years (see "Project Schedule").

Complete data will be recorded for each lot on "Field Data Sheets" designed for compatibility with our data management system (see below). Specimens will be preserved and packaged on site, and, as required, sent to shore for transport to a research vessel (see "Available Facilities"). Color photographs will be taken of living or freshly killed examples of as many species of plants and animals as possible.

Vascular plants bearing reproductive structures, and appropriate sterile plant material (e.g., Gramineae, Bambusoideae), will be collected by hand, digging tool, secateur, and/or pole clipper. Representation individuals or branches will be collected in sufficient quantity, where appropriate, to allow distribution of replicates. Plant material will be preserved in field presses and/or polyethylene bags, then pressed and dried aboard ship. If atmospheric conditions prove too humid, the alcohol ("Schweinfurth") method will be used to wet preserve specimens for later drying.

Sampling aquatic insects in a tributary of the Rikorda River (Kunashir); a collection of fishes taken by seine on Kunashir.

Animals will be collected as follows: lake-dwelling insects and mollusks by small grabs and cores, deployed by hand from shore and by inflatables ("Zodiacs") offshore; stream-dwelling insects and mollusks by hand and with push nets; terrestrial mollusks by time constrained searches on trunks and branches of trees, in leaf litter, and in other appropriate cover; spiders by pitfall traps and by constrained searches; freshwater fishes by seine, gill and dip nets, electroshockers, and biodegradable ichthyocides; amphibians and reptiles with pitfall traps and by time constrained searches in appropriate cover by day and night (fossorial species by digging and trenching); birds will be shot or captured with mist nets; terrestrial mammals by shooting and by kill and pitfall traps; bats with mist nets. Pitfall traps and nets will be checked after dusk, at midnight, and again at sunrise. All incidentally captured animals (i.e., those outside selected taxa) will be preserved and brought back for archival storage in appropriate museum collections. In all cases, quick and reasonably painless means of euthanasia will be used.

Tissue samples for future molecular work will be taken from as many plant and animal taxa as possible. Procedures for tissue collection and storage will follow those outlined by Dessauer et al. (1990). All tissues will be packaged and shipped from Hakodate to Seattle for long-term storage in a fully alarmed ultracold freezer at the Burke Museum. The frozen tissue archive maintained by the Burke was established in 1986 and currently contains samples of more than 6,000 birds and mammals of which 2,100 are from Central Asia and the Russian Far East; approximately 1,100 are from North Pacific seabirds.

Specimen curation and disposition.--All collected material will be packaged appropriately and stored aboard ship for transporation to post-expedition curatorial facilities set up ahead of time at Usujiri Biological Station, Hokkaido University, Hakodate. Collections will then be sorted, identified to the extent possible, and otherwise curated. It is agreed by authorities of the host country (see "Collecting Permit") that whole-specimen collections, including primary type material, will be divided more or less equally among the three participating institutions. All tissue samples will be shipped to Seattle where they will be stored at the Frozen Tissue Archive of the Burke Museum. Storage facilities at the three institutions are excellent, and appropriate long-term care of all material is assured.

Data acquisition and dissemination of information.--Precise locality data will be recorded with a Global Positioning System (GPS); a differential beacon receiver will be used to correct the slightly inaccurate dithered output of commercial hand-held GPS receivers. Data will be recorded in the field on standardized "Field Data Sheets," which will be linked to specimens by field numbers. While in the field and at the Usujiri Biological Station, data will be entered on high-powered DOS machines. Two such machines, maintained aboard the research vessel during the field season and later transferred temporarily to the Usujiri Biological Station, will accommodate the volume of data entry anticipated. "Paradox" database management software, employing customized data entry screens designed to match the layout of the "Field Data Sheets," will be used for initial data entry and editing.

Once back in Seattle, the collection database will be transferred to "Ingres" (UNIX database management software) and stored on a UNIX server provided by the UW College of Arts & Sciences and housed at the UW Fish Collection. The full data set will be maintained as separate locality and taxonomic databases linked by field numbers. The server will be equipped with an auxiliary external disk drive and configured as an anonymous FTP host on the Internet. The data on the UNIX host will be set up in a hierarchical format and made available over the Internet via anonymous FTP, Gopher, and the World Wide Web (taxonomic information for fishes and full locality data for the 1994 expedition are already available at the following URLs: gopher:// and (Note added September 1995: These addresses are no longer current. Our Internet databases are available on the UW Fish Collection's server; References to the database will be widely distributed to network search facilities. In addition, custom reports generated locally with "Paradox" and distributed by e-mail will be made available on request. The ultimate goal is to allow remote access to the relational database in conjunction with a Geographic Information System (GIS), such as "Arc/Info." Full implementation on GIS, however, is beyond the scope of this five-year request.

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