Hakalau Forest NWR biologist, Steve Kendall, helps a student release an i'iwi through the Teaching Change Program.
Dr. Steven C. Hess describes introduced mammal population monitoring at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park National Geographic Bioblitz event.
Dr. Eben Paxton, Dr. Alban Guillaument, and Katie Keck discuss conservation career opportunities at UH Hilo Conservation Career Day/Earth Day event.
HCSU lab technician, Ariel Egan, describes the rules of her DNA coding game with a group of students at Kilauea Field Station.
HCSU entomologist, Bob Peck, shows off a carnivorous caterpillar found during the National Geographic Bioblitz event at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Students study birds' nests as they practice the skills needed to work as a wildlife biologist at USGS PIERC.
Dr. Sam Gon III and PIERC technician, Veronica DeGuzman, observe tardigrades in a water sample collected during the Bioblitz.
PIERC botanist, Dr. Jim Jacobi, describes watershed management efforts to children at an Earth Day festival on Molokai.
PIERC and Partners Conduct Outreach throughout the Hawaiian Islands: The scientists and technicians at PIERC and our cooperators have been busy conducting multiple outreach events in the last quarter. From the Teaching Change program at Hakalau Forest NWR, to hosting school groups at the Kilauea Field Station, we've been busy! The largest event was the National Geographic Bioblitz event held at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which brought thousands of visitors into the park. Additionally, Conservation Career Day and Earth Day events at University of Hawaii at Hilo as well as Earth Day festivities on Molokai exposed many to the research of the USGS in the Pacific Islands. Hover your mouse over each picture to learn more about outreach at PIERC.
24-year study of critically endangered palila published: A research team led by Dr. Paul Banko of PIERC and Dr. Chris Farmer of the American Bird Conservancy published the technical report through the Hawaii Cooperative Studies Unit. Research took place on the upper slopes of Mauna Kea on the Island of Hawaii, palila's last remaining habitat on earth. The nearly 500 page report focused on palila population dynamics, habitat usage, food and vegetation ecology, and management implications. A key portion of the report documented the impact of drought and grazing by feral sheep on palila population declines since 2003. The publication of this extensive report makes palila the most extensively studied Hawaiian bird. Learn more about the project and report.
Eradicating illegally introduced axis deer on Hawaii Island: In February 2011, axis deer were discovered on the Big Island of Hawaii. An investigation conducted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service revealed that in December 2009 a helicopter pilot transported four axis deer to the Big Island in exchange for about a dozen European mouflon sheep. Deer introductions in the Hawaiian islands have led to populations that go from undetectable to out of control in a matter of decades. Axis deer were considered pests on Molokai in 1898 (7000 deer) after introduction in 1868 (8 deer). Eradication is difficult because it is often opposed by those seeking hunting opportunities and revenue from tourism. Additionally, the known remaining deer may take refuge on private lands where state and federal biologists may not have access. While removal efforts have been successful, eradication cannot be declared due to the cryptic nature of these animals and the limited access to the private lands they occupy. PIERC biologist, Dr. Steven C. Hess was recently lead author on a scientific paper discussing this problem. Learn more about Hawaii's invasive mammals.
U.S. Geological Survey’s Ridge-to-Reef Research on Moloka‘i: The U.S. Geological Survey, co-led by Drs. Jim Jacobi, Gordon Tribble, and John Stock, has been conducting research on the interaction between rainfall and vegetation cover relative to the generation, transport, and impacts of fine sediment on the south slope of the east part of the island of Moloka‘i. This research is directly linked to local community recognition of the problem of excessive sedimentation in the coral reef ecosystem on this island. Additionally, our studies are directly supporting active management of the feral goat populations in this area that is being conducted by The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i and the East Moloka‘i Watershed Partnership. Publications highlighting this research include a report on the vegetation mapping of the watersheds as well as a factsheet about the project. Learn more about this project here.
Using sea level rise models to predict wildlife extinctions in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands: Predictions of sea level rise by global climate change scenarios indicate the potential for inundation of many coastal and low elevation Pacific Islands, including the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. These islands provide habitat for the largest and most important assemblages of tropical seabirds in the world, with more than 15 million birds (22 species) and 11 endangered species of terrestrial birds and plants. Models of passive and wave-driven sea level rise (SLR) were used to predict islands most vulnerable to inundation. Climate change scenarios and potential SLR impacts emphasize the need for early climate change adaptation and mitigation planning, especially for species with limited breeding distributions and/or ranges restricted primarily to low-lying NWHI. Numerous publications have resulted from this work including a USGS report, HCSU technical report, and a journal article in Conservation Biology. Learn more about the project here.
Restoring degraded Hawaiian dry forests on Maui: Hawaiian dryland forests are a critically endangered ecosystem that occupy 1-10% of their former extents and will likely disappear within the next century if appropriate restoration strategies are not developed and implemented. Hawaiian dry forests provide primary habitat for over 9% of the threatened and endangered flowering plant species found in the U.S. After 15 years of restoration efforts, led by PIERC biologist Dr. Arthur Medeiros, researchers found that native shrub cover increased by over 75% and non-native plant cover declined by 72%. By 2012, seven rare dry forest tree species had established seedlings within the restoration site. Recent research here has focused on quantifying hydrological differences between the restored forest and adjacent non-native grasslands and exploring how forest restoration reshapes invasive rodent communities with relevant conservation implications. Learn more about this project here.