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Current Project Description (1 page) v 1.0 PDF 169 kB
Current Project Description (118 pages) v 3.1 PDF 8.5 MB


The local Facilities, Supplies, and Logistics team went through a full erection and evaluation of the candidate shelters for the expedition. The shelters are made for the U.S. Army, and are called AirBeam. They measure 20 x 20 ft. inside dimension, and are inflatable using an ordinatary air compressor. Two men can erect one of these shelters in less than 30 minutes. The great advantages over shelters used previously are the quick erection and the larger floor space, which means fewer shelters and faster erection, a distinct advantage in the possibly difficult weather on Heard Island. The shelter fits in a fiber container about 2x3x6 ft.

Pictured above:  Jim Nicastro KI6SDF, Peter Hoffman W6DEI, Rich Holoch KY6R, Aaron Williamson, Jack Burris K6JEB. Photo: Bob Schmieder, KK6EK


We are pleased to announe the addition to the team of Jacquelyn Gill, Asst. Professor at the Climate Change Institute, University of Maine. Dr. Gill's specialty is paleoecology and biogeography. Her current projects involve novel plant communities and ecostystems, the ecological consequences of extinctions, plant community assembly and disassembly, Quaternary extinctions, and plant migration and dispersal.See her brief resume here.


We are pleased to announe the addition to the team of Prof. Jasmine Saros, Assoc. Director Climate Change Institute and School of Biology, University of Maine. Prof. Jasmine's main research interests involve paleolimnology and phytoplankton ecology. She uses diatom fossil records in lake sediments to reconstruct environmental change over time. See her brief resume here.


We are pleassed to announce the addition to the team of Mike Waskiewicz. Mike is an ice core driller and meteorologist who has spent 25 years of his life working and experiencing places on the Planet where ice is a dominant feature, including the Arctic, Antarctica, Greenland, and the high mountains of Canada, Alaska and Chile, meeting and working with great people and sharing love of the Planet.See his brief resume here.


We are pleased to announe the addition of Dr. Gino Casassa to the expedition team. He is one of the leading Chilean glacial scientists. He was among the first to point out that glaciers are in danger due to global warming. He was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC ), which was co awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2007. His merits in science earned him a scholarship from the Guggenheim Foundation in 2005, the award for the most outstanding researcher awarded by the Chilean Committee for the International Hydrological Programme UNESCO), and the Research Award of the Humboldt Foundation. See his brief resume here.


We are very pleased to announe the addition of Prof. Paul Mayewski to the expedition team. Paul 's current position is Director and Professor, Climate Change Institute, School for Earth and Climate Sciences, University of Maine. He was the leader of more than 50 expeditions to Antarctica, the Arctic, Himalayas, Tibetan Plateau, Tierra del Fuego, Southern Ocean, and the Andes, and has made many Transantarctic Mountain first ascents and over 25,000 km of surface traverse over unexplored Antarctic territory. He has more than 350 peer-reviewed publications, including two books on global climate change, and many honors. Paul will assemble a team of scientists to carry out glacial ice drilling and other explorations, as part of the exploratory biology group. See his brief resume here.


We are very pleased to announe the appointment of Dr. Eric Woehler, University of Tasmania, as the Group Leader for the science group of the expedition. He has had a distinguished career in Antarctic science, including multiple visits to Heard Island. He is the co-editor (with Ken Green) of Heard Island: Southern Ocean Sentinel:, the definitive compilation of scientific knowledge of the Heard Island. His specialty is birds, and is recognized as one of the prime forces for conservation and a sustainable environment. Eric will help build the team for the biology exploration. See his brief resume here.


After considerable discussion and planning, the team has decided to reschedule the Expedition for Jan. 2016. This decision resulted from several factors:

1. Many members of the team are committed to completing other projects (including expeditions) during 2014, so would be challenged to properly prepare for the Heard Island expedition during 2014.

2. Participants in academic institutions need an academic cycle to arrange support, and foundations and other major sponsors need at least one year to process requests for major grants.

This decision could not have been made earlier, because as the Project developed it was necessary to make a trip to Hobart, Tasmania, to discuss it with staff at the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). That meeting, in Nov. 2013, enabled us to make decisions on the central theme, purpose, and goal of the Expedition, as described in the documents available on this website, as well as make commitments for the expedition vessel.

We are in a very vigorous growth portion of the Project, so we invite you to check in here often to see the current status.


Over the past month we have been concentrating on building the Communications team (cf., Team). Today the local (San Francisco Bay Area) group assembled to welcome new team members and to develop plans. Adam Brown K2ARB, veteran of previous Antarctic expeditions, was appointed Assistant Expedition Leader (Communications). He will be responsible for ensuring that the expedition has full-capability local, satellite, and radio communications. Tom Schiller N6BT took responsiblity for designing and producing radio antennas. Rich KY6R took responsiblity for operations at Spit Bay; he will also develop a web discussion group for the team. Dean N6BV will do radio propagation calculations using his state-of-the-art High Frequency Terrain Assessment (HFTA) software. Benjamin Weiland took up team building for Field Assistants. Others in the group will work on fundraising, station design and operating strategy, logistics, and public relations.

Pictured above:  (Front row) Adam Brown N2ARB, Rich Holoch KY6R, Tom Schiller N6BT, Jim Nicastro KI6SDF, Peter Hoffman W6DEI, Jack Burris K6JEB. (Back row) Eduardo Gonzales-Fuentes K6EGF, Rich Seifert KE1B, Jim Colletto N6TQ, Bob Schmieder KK6EK, Paul Ewing N6PSE, Benjamin Weiland. Not pictured: Dean Straw N6BV, John Miller K6MM, Jacob Brown KC2ACR, and Daniel Collins.

1 Feb. 2014 PROJECT DESCRIPTION  v 2.3

Today we release the Project Description v 2.3 for the Heard Island Expedition. This revised version was developed after the meeting between Expedition Organizer/Leader Robert Schmieder and officials at the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) in November, 2013. As anticipated, this revision was for the purpose of focusing the purpose and goals of the expedition. The following statement on p. 2 provides the precis of the Project:

The primary purpose of the Project is to enhance our understanding of biodiversity in an extremely isolated, extremely severe ecosystem. Heard Island is a large (15 x 28 mi) subantarctic island with an extensively glaciated active 9000-ft. volcano. While the megafauna (e.g., seals and penguins) and megaflora (e.g., mosses, grasses) are well-documented and the limited diversity is well-described, it is almost certain that unknown macrobiota are extant on the island. The Expedition will concentrate on discovering unknown organisms in the range 0.1-10 mm. Extending the known species list will enable better understanding of the effects of global climate change.

The compelling reason for the Expedition is that Heard Island has no recognized human-introduced species. This implies that the existing biodiversity is predominantly due to natural causes, primarily the rise in global temperature that is generally driving world populations poleward. Heard Island is particularly sensitive to such temperature change. Thus, we have an extraordinary opportunity to separate the effects of global warming from the effects of human transport, and this could be a significant step in our ability to predict and manage the future of the Earth's biosphere.

We are in the process of building the team. Currently the communications team is almost complete, so now we will be developing the scientfiic team, the group that will search for unknown species. Concurrently, we are beginning to make contacts for major sponsorship.

Robert W. Schmieder, PhD
4295 Walnut Blvd.
Walnut Creek, California 94596 USA

(925) 934-3735 (voice and fax)
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Copyright © 2014 Robert W. Schmieder All rights reserved. Last update: Friday, March 14, 2014