A research team at East Carolina University will travel to Saipain in 2020 to study the preservation threats of sunken World War II aircraft in the Pacific Ocean. ECU's Maritime Studies Program and Department of Biology received a $29,652 grant from the National Park Service to conduct the study.
Archeologists Dr. Jennifer McKinnon and Dr. Nathan Richards and microbiologist Dr. Erin Field will collect samples from the surfaces of three American aircraft lost during the Battle of Saipan in 1944. The researchers hope to identify the types of microorganisms associated with instances of corrosion. Previous research revealed that certain species of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes can accelerate the corrosion of historic wrecks. According to a news release, the project would be the first of its kind to investigate the microorganism community on a submerged World War II aircraft wreck.