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Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center

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Banana poka (Passiflora tarminiana, also known as P. mollissima) is an invasive vine that infests thousands of acres of native forests in Hawaii.  Banana poka forms a dense canopy, and smothers vegetation, fences, forests, pastures, and farm land. It covers thousands of acres on the Big Island and Kauai. On Maui, banana poka is currently restricted to the Kula Forest Reserve, but is expanding its range.

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.

Projects

 
Project Lead Scientist
Biocomplexity of Avian Disease Carter Atkinson | Dennis LaPointe
Ecology of Disease Vectors (Biting Insects) Dennis LaPointe
Zoonotics and Disease Surveys Carter Atkinson | Dennis LaPointe
Parasitoids and Food Webs Paul Banko
Wasps David Foote
Ants Paul Banko | Lloyd Loope
Rats David Foote | Linda Pratt
Carnivores (Feral Cats and Mongoose) Steve Hess| Paul Banko
Ungulate Popluation Ecology Steve Hess
Feral Pig Impacts David Foote | Linda Pratt
Pathogen Threats to Koa-Ohia Forest (Rust) Lloyd Loope

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