In 1971 the Edward John Noble Foundation asked the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) to prepare a survey of the physical features, flora & fauna, and the potential of the island for anthropological, ecological, zoological, botanical, and geological research.  A program was initiated to provide research opportunities for selected scientists with projects appropriate to the island environment.  That program is still ongoing today with small grants request administered by AMNH.  The St. Catherines Island Scientific Advisory Committee provides peer review.

The mandate of the Scientific Advisory Committee is (1) to administer the small grant program for scientific research and (2) to advise the Superintendent and Board of Directors of St. Catherines Island in all matters relating to scientific research on the island.