Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center
Ecology and Management of Non-Native Species
Non-native species pose the primary threat to biodiversity in the Pacific. Alien terrestrial and aquatic/marine plant and animal species threaten to overwhelm Hawaii and all Pacific islands with ecological damage as well as high economic costs. The Hawaiian Islands in many ways provide a model system to test the fundamentals for improved prevention of terrestrial and aquatic and marine invasions, since Hawaii is a world in itself, isolated from other countries and other states by thousands of miles of ocean. Before human colonization, terrestrial Hawaiian ecosystems lacked mammals (except for two bat species), amphibians, terrestrial reptiles, social insects (ants, termites, honey bees), earthworms, mosquitoes, and virtually all of the zoonotic pathogens carried by these invasive species. For oceanic islands it is critical, therefore, to conceptualize invasive species issues from a perspective in which non-native species may not only be destructive in themselves, but also may host or vector pathogens that themselves are likely to be alien.