Available Facilities

In reference to the University of Washington, the project will be conducted almost exclusively “off campus.” Our primary working facility will be the Academik Oparin, a research vessel provided by the Russian Academy of Sciences. The vessel (see below) will serve as a means of transportation to, around, and from the island, and as a source of all meals (prepared by a cook and support staff attached to the vessel), sleeping quarters, and as a floating research laboratory while at sea and when on-site. Large inflatables (“Zodiacs”), equipped with 40- and 90-horsepower outboard engines, will be used to transport equipment and scientists to and from the research vessel. Whenever possible, four-wheel drive Russian military vehicles will be used to move between distant collecting sites.

Just prior to each annual expedition, the Japanese and U.S. teams will converge on Korsakov (the largest sea port on Sakhalin, 42 km south of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk), where they will join the research vessel carrying members of the Russian team. To the extent possible, sorting, identification, and curation of specimens will be completed, all locality data will be entered into the database, and specimens will be prepared and packaged for shipment to the appropriate institution aboard ship while at sea prior to the termination of each field season. At the termination of each annual expedition, the vessel will again make port at Korsakov, where collections will be unloaded and prepared for transportation to their final destinations.

The Russian Academy of Sciences is able to offer several research vessels for our use, but recommends a “4630 Class” of vessels built by Finnish shipyards, for example, the R/V Academik Oparin or R/V Academik M. A. Lavrentiev. At a length of 75.5 m and providing five laboratories and space for 36 scientists, this vessel might at first seem too large. However, our scientific team will consist of at least 34 people, including students and technicians; the ship itself requires a crew of at least 43. The next smaller class of vessels, for example the 68.8-m R/V Professor Bogorov (chartered for our 1994 Kuril Island field season and used again in 1995 and 1997), with only two laboratories and space for 28 scientists, is too small.

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