Our team sampled the biology and archaeology of caves on the Roiho Flow on Easter Island. During this two year study (2008-2009), our objectives were to: (i) assess the degree of invasive/ non-native species colonization; (ii) assess whether caves contained new species and thus may serve as refugia within a highly invaded landscape; and (iii) conduct a baseline archaeological survey to identify the extent of cave use by the ancient and contemporary Rapa Nui. Several publications are currently being written based on the data collected from this project.

I extend my thanks to Ninoska Cuadros Hucke, Susana Nahoe, and Enrique Tucky (Parque Nacional Rapa Nui), Consejo de Monumentos (Rapa Nui), Sergio Rapu, and Cristian Tambley (CampoAlto Operaciones)for their assistance and logistical support of this research.  Mr. Jabier Les, Sociedad de Ciencias Espelogógicas Alfonso Antxia and Mr. Andrzej Ciszewski, Polish Expedition Team provided cave mapsfor the Rapa Nui work. Christina Colpitts, Lynn Hicks, Bruce Higgins, Alicia Ika, Talina Konotchick, Scott Nicolay, Knutt Petersen, Lazero Pakarati, Vicky Pakarati Hotus, Peter Polsgrove, Dan Ruby, and Liz Ruther.  The Illinois Cave Rescue Team remained on emergency stand-by status during most of this work. Global Rescue was our emergency extrication provider.  The Explorers Club graciously recognized both trips as Explorers Club flag expeditions.  This project was partially funded by the National Speleological Society International Exploration Grants program.


Publications & Reports

Cotoras*, D.D., J.J. Wynne*, L. Flores & C. Villagra. 2017The spiders of Rapa Nui revisited. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 120: 117 (*contributed equally).

Taiti, S. J.J. Wynne. 2015. The terrestrial Isopoda (Crustacea, Oniscidea) of Rapa Nui (Easter Island), with descriptions of two new species. ZooKeys 515: 2749.

Bernard, E.C, F.N. Soto-Adames, & J.J. Wynne. 2015. Collembola of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) with descriptions of five endemic cave-restricted species. Zootaxa 3949: 239–267.

Wynne, J.J., E.C. Bernard, F.G. Howarth, S. Sommer, F.N. Soto-Adames, S. Taiti, E.L. Mockford, M. Horrocks, L. Pakarati, & V. Pakarati-Hotus. 2014. Disturbance relicts in a rapidly changing world: the Rapa Nui (Easter Island) factor. BioScience 64: 711–718.

Mockford, E.L. & J.J. Wynne. 2013. Genus Cyptophania Banks (Psocodea: Lepidopsocidae): Unique features, augmented description of the generotype, and descriptions of three new species. Zootaxa 3702: 437–449.

Wynne, J.J., S. Rapu, A. Azua B. 2011.  Artrópodos y Microorganismos de Cavernas de Rapa Nui (Isla de Pascua): Informe Provisional, Originally Submitted in English 03 January 2010.  On file at CONAF-Parque Nacional Rapa Nui, Easter Island, Chile.

Wynne, J. J., A. Azua-Bustos, C. Colpitts, W. L. Hicks, B. Higgins, V. Pakarati Hotus, T. Konotchick, S. Nicolay, S. Rapu  and E. Ruther. 2010. Preliminary Findings: The Cavernicolous Arthropods and Microbes of Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Explorers Club Flag Report (Flag # 52), Submitted: 03 January 2010, On file at The Explorers Club, New York, NY.

Wynne, J. J., A. Azua-Bustos, P. J. Polsgrove, K. Peterson, and S. Rapu. 2009. Activity Record: Biological Sampling of Rapa Nui Caves, Explorers Club Flag Report, Flag #52, On file at The Explorers Club, New York, NY.


Professional Presentations

8th International Conference on Easter Island and the Pacific, Santa Rosa, CA.  Presentation: Diversity and Community Structure of Cavernicolous Arthropods on Rapa Nui, 08-12 July 2011.

Society of American Archaeologists Annual Meeting, St. Louis, Missouri (2010). Nicolay, S., S. Rapu, and J. J. Wynne. The Underground Gardens of Easter Island: Cave Agriculture, Water Management, and Prehistoric Cave Use on Rapa Nui.

Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii. Bishop Museum and Sigma Xi Seminar Series (2010). What’s in them caves? Biological and Cultural Resource Investigations of Rapa Nui.

National Park Service, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (2009). Biological and Cultural Resources of Easter Island Caves (Invited).

Museo Antropológico Padre Sebastián Englert, Rapa Nui (2009).  Seminario Resultados Preliminar: Natural y Cultural Historia de las Cuevas de Rapa Nui (Invited).


Popular Press

KNAU Arizona Public Radio, Brain Food: Protecting Easter Island’s newly discovered cave-dwelling bugs (11.26.2015).

Inside NAU, The Television Show, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Jut Wynne discusses the importance of finding relict insect species in Easter Island caves. (05.07.2014). 

El Mercurio de Santiago, Chile, A9, Hallan ocho nuevas especies de insectos en cuevas de Isla de Pascua (07.18.2014). National Newspaper.

El Mercurio de Santiago, Chile, A14, Especie endémica acaba de ser bautizada en honor de padre de familia pascuense (10.10.2013). National Newspaper.

Our Amazing Planet (ouramazingplanet.com), New Species Discovered on Environmentally Damaged Easter Island (13 October 2010). Web Media.

The Explorers Journal, 87 (2): 47, Relict Species of Rapa Nui, Flag No. 52 (Summer 2009). Non-peer reviewed journal, news snippet.

Noticias Canal 5, Madrid, Spain, Natural and Cultural History of Rapa Nui Caves (aired 28 September 2008). National Television.