Johnston Atoll was added to the United States National Wildlife Refuge system in 1926 to protect an important tropical ecosystem and the wildlife that it harbors. Johnston Atoll s ecosystem now includes extensive coral reefs and tropical terrestrial habitats on its four islands. Hundreds of thousands of seabirds inhabit and raise their young on the atoll and hundreds of migrating shorebirds spend their winters there. Extensive coral reefs are home to myriad tropical fish and invertebrates. Its location in the central Pacific also made it an important site for military activities beginning in World War II. Concern about preserving Johnston Atoll's ecosystem prompted the original planners of the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System (JACADS), a demilitarization and incineration project, to arrange for scientists to monitor the birds and marine life of the atoll beginning 6 years before the project began and continuing throughout a total of 20 years of research and monitoring. The preliminary 6 years of data provided a baseline of the health of the atoll and a goal to strive to preserve throughout the incineration process. Dr. Phil Lobel (Professor of Biology, Ichthyology, with the Boston University Marine Program, Marine Biological Laboratory) and Dr. Betty Anne Schreiber (Ornithologist with the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution) carried out this important research and their results are presented here.