Along the way to the research site, you pass Dr. Tom Giambelluca's climate station. Rainfall, temperature, humidity and wind speed are measured here, to enable climatologists to make assessments of the average weather conditions on the island. This information is valuable for determining how to go about restoring the island's vegetation.
After years of using the island for bombing practice, the U.S. Navy is responsible for cleaning up bomb debris. Unexploded ordnance poses a potential risk to the researchers, who are briefed on what to look out for and where they can go on the island. Navy personnel escort the researchers while at the research sites.
After the unnerving briefing, you depart for the research site at Lua Makika. After the long hike, you are happy to ride in the old jeeps provided by the Navy, travelling along the dirt road to the site.
Along the way to the site, you study the dominant vegetation. This Australian saltbush has found a home where little other vegetation can tolerate the dry, windy conditions.
Another non-native, natal redtop grass thrives in gullies. Many people involved in the restoration efforts consider all such non-native species undesirable and want to revegetate the island with only native species.
Author: Cristina Lumpkin
Copyright by Cristina Lumpkin
Curator Lori Glaze
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