|Expedition participants census a colony of Marianas Fruit Bats.|
The Institute for Marianas Studies was established in 1992 at Northern Marianas College in the western Pacific. Its leader, Dr. Robert Craig, used the Institute as the model for establishing Bird Conservation Research, Inc. (BCR)- the New England non-profit foundation that he also directs. A principal goal of both organizations has been to involve students in performing high level research that yields products of value to local and regional communities.
In the year of its founding, the fledgling Institute embarked upon a multidisciplinary research expedition to the uninhabited and largely unstudied Mariana island of Aguiguan. The Institute presented its findings the following year in a symposium volume- The Aguiguan Expedition. Out of print for nearly 20 years, we are making its 11 papers available again through our web site and through Bird Conservation Contributions- BCR's scientific journal.
Papers cover topics from history to geology to natural history, and include works that provide textbook examples of evolution in oceanic island environments. Three of the papers deal primarily with birds. The expedition's most notable achievement was re-discovery of the presumed extinct Aguiguan Reed-warbler (Acrocephalus luscinia nijoi). This open access volume is essentially identical to the original text, although formatting has been altered to conform to the Contributions series' style.