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Predicted distribution of ‘ua‘u (Hawaiian petrel Pterodroma sandwichensis) nest sites on Haleakalā, Maui

November 30, 2023

Haleakalā National Park and montane areas on east Maui, Hawaiian Archipelago, support critical nesting habitat for endangered ‘ua‘u Hawaiian petrel Pterodroma sandwichensis. Habitat loss, non-native predators, and damage by feral ungulates are limiting factors for ground-nesting petrels at Haleakalā and throughout Hawai‘i. Because nesting habitats differ among the Hawaiian Islands, habitat distribution modeling for Hawaiian petrel has been island specific. Based on 2453 known nest site locations, we provide the first landscape-scale predictive model describing relative abundance and habitat available for nesting petrels throughout upper Haleakalā (1830 to 3055 m). We evaluated (principal components analyses and Pearson’s correlation) 13 spatial landscape and climate predictor variables associated with nest sites and the background landscape followed by random forest modeling to predict nest site density. Six variables (elevation, slope, topographic position index at 2 scales, heat load index, presence-absence ash/cinder, and presence-absence vegetation) indicated nest sites occurred non-randomly throughout the central part of the summit and crater; greatest concentrations were predicted along the crater rim and a ridgeline extending southwest from the summit. Moderately high predicted density occurred in the northeastern and northern crater. Lower elevations to the north, west, and south flanks of Haleakalā had relatively fewer predicted nest sites. Although we focused on higher elevations on Haleakalā, there is no reason to suspect that conservation efforts would not be successful at lower elevations, provided nesting petrels were protected from invasive predators, grazing ungulates, and significant land alteration.

Publication Year 2023
Title Predicted distribution of ‘ua‘u (Hawaiian petrel Pterodroma sandwichensis) nest sites on Haleakalā, Maui
DOI 10.3354/esr01280
Authors Josh Adams, Jonathan J. Felis, Robert C. Klinger, Emily C. Kelsey, Joy Tamayose, Raina Kaholoa'a, Cathleen Natividad Bailey, Jay F. Penniman, Jennifer Learned, Ciara Ganter, John Medeiros, Huisheng Chen
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Endangered Species Research
Index ID 70250366
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Ecological Research Center