Paul Banko, Ph.D.
Ph.D. 1988 Wildlife Science, University of Washington, Seattle WA
B.S. 1972 Zoology and Botany, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Specialty: Bird conservation biology, food web ecology
Research Interests: Bird ecology and restoration; ecology and evolution of feeding specialization; threats to food webs; historical ecology
Personal Interests: Camping, hiking and diving
Science and Products
Introduced rats are notorious predators of birds and their nests worldwide, but especially on remote islands. Rats (Rattus exulans) first arrived in Hawai‘i with Polynesian colonists about 1,000 years ago, resulting in deleterious consequences for native birds and ecosystems. Since Western contact in 1778, two additional rat species have become established in Hawai‘i, including the highly...
Abundance data are collected for bird populations throughout the Pacific Islands by numerous federal, state, university, and non-profit organizations. In order to ensure data are standardized and available to researchers throughout the region, interagency bird databases have been created and continue to be used. These databases contain more than a million compiled, proofed, and standardized...
Islands and atolls throughout the Pacific have been impacted by invasive ant species. Threatening native ants and other arthropods with their aggressive behavior and ability to colonize large geographic areas, invasive ants pose one of the most serious threats to island ecosystems. This project focuses on three areas of the Pacific: American Samoa, Rose Atoll, and Johnston Atoll.
The palila is an endangered species of Hawaiian honeycreeper which exists only in subalpine forests dominated by māmane and naio on Mauna Kea Volcano. The diet of this finch-billed bird is unusually restricted; immature seeds, flowers, and insects found on māmane trees are critical to its existence. Māmane also is the preferred nesting substrate of the palila. Federal court orders have...
The Samoan swallowtail is a large and strikingly marked butterfly endemic to the Samoan Archipelago. Once widespread and common, its populations have declined dramatically, and it now appears restricted to the island of Tutuila, an area representing approximately 5% of its former range. There are few insects that are commonly thought of as indicators of ecosystem health, but the Samoan...
‘I‘iwi populations have severely declined in recent decades in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (HAVO) and elsewhere in the Hawaiian Islands due to the cumulative impacts of many invasive threats that have degraded habitats, disrupted food webs, competed for resources, depredated nests and birds, and transmitted diseases.
A massive outbreak of the native koa looper moth (Scotorythra paludicola; Geometridae) defoliated more than a third of the koa (Acacia koa) forest on Hawai‘i Island during 2013–2014. Our objective was to record the dynamics of the koa looper (Scotorythra paludicola) outbreak and evaluate the response to the outbreak by the forest ecosystem generally as well as select native and invasive...
This data included data and metadata on 1) the number of open fruit of Hibiscidelphus giffardianus, 2) Mark recapture data for rats, 3) location data for rat traps within plots and 4) seedling count data for Hibiscidelphus giffardianus. All sites were within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This study aims to evaluate the effect of rat population control on the ability of Hibiscadelphus...
2017-2018 Palila abundance estimates and trend
The palila (Loxioides bailleui) population was surveyed annually from 1998–2018 on Mauna Kea Volcanoto determine abundance, population trend, and spatial distribution. In the latest surveys, the 2017population was estimated at 1,177−1,813 birds (point estimate: 1,461) and the 2018 population wasestimated at 778−1,420 (point estimate: 1,051). Only...Genz, Ayesha S.; Brinck, Kevin W.; Camp, Richard J.; Banko, Paul C.
Invasive rat control is an efficient, yet insufficient, method for recovery of the critically endangered Hawaiian plant hau kuahiwi (Hibiscadelphus giffardianus)
Biological invasions of rodents and other species have been especially problematic on tropical islands. Invasive Rattus rattus consumption of Hibiscadelphus giffardianus (Malvaceae; common Hawaiian name hau kuahiwi) fruit and seeds has been hypothesized to be the most-limiting factor inhibiting the critically endangered tree, but this has not been...Gill, Nathan S.; Yelenik, Stephanie G.; Banko, Paul C.; Dixon, Christopher B.; Jaenecke, Kelly; Peck, Robert
Efforts to eradicate yellow crazy ants on Johnston Atoll: Results from crazy ant strike teams X, XI and XII (June 2015–December 2016)
Efforts to eradicate invasive yellow crazy ants (Anoplolepis gracilipes; YCA) on Johnston Atoll have been continuous since their discovery in 2010. Through 2014, a variety of commercial and novel formicidal baits were tested against the ant, but none proved capable of eradication. More recently, polyacrylamide crystals (“hydrogel”) saturated with...Peck, Robert W; Banko, Paul C.; Donmoyer, Kevin; Scheiner, Katrina; Karimi, Rebekah; Kropidlowski, Stefan
Changes in vocal repertoire of the Hawaiian crow, Corvus hawaiiensis,from past wild to current captive populations
For most avian species, social behaviour is critically important for survival and reproductive success. Many social behaviours in birds are culturally transmitted, and as bird populations decline across the globe, important elements of these behaviours may be lost. The Hawaiian crow or 'alalā, Corvus hawaiiensis, is a socially complex avian...Tanimoto, Ann M.; Hart, Patrick J.; Pack, Adam A.; Switzwer, Richard; Banko, Paul C.; Ball, Donna L.; Sebastian-Gonzalez, Esther; Komarczyk, Lisa; Warrington, Miyako H.
Federal collaboration in science for invasive mammal management in U.S. National Parks and Wildlife Refuges of the Pacific Islands
Some of the most isolated islands in the Pacific Ocean are home to US National Parks and Wildlife Refuges. These islands are known for flora and fauna that occur nowhere else, but also for invasive species and other factors which have resulted in the disproportionate extinction of native species. The control of invasive mammals is the single most...Conner, L.M.; Smith, M.D.; Hess, Steven C.; Hu, Darcy; Loh, Rhonda; Banko, Paul C.
State-space modeling of population sizes and trends in Nihoa Finch and Millerbird
Both of the 2 passerines endemic to Nihoa Island, Hawai‘i, USA—the Nihoa Millerbird (Acrocephalus familiaris kingi) and Nihoa Finch (Telespiza ultima)—are listed as endangered by federal and state agencies. Their abundances have been estimated by irregularly implemented fixed-width strip-transect sampling from 1967 to 2012, from...Gorresen, P. Marcos; Brinck, Kevin W.; Camp, Richard J.; Farmer, Chris; Plentovich, Sheldon M.; Banko, Paul C.
2015-2016 Palila abundance estimates
The palila (Loxioides bailleui) population was surveyed annually during 1998−2016 on Mauna Kea Volcano to determine abundance, population trend, and spatial distribution. In the latest surveys, the 2015 population was estimated at 852−1,406 birds (point estimate: 1,116) and the 2016 population was estimated at 1,494−2,385 (point estimate: 1,934)....Camp, Richard J.; Brinck, Kevin W.; Banko, Paul C.
Current land bird distribution and trends in population abundance between 1982 and 2012 on Rota, Mariana Islands
The western Pacific island of Rota is the fourth largest human-inhabited island in the Mariana archipelago and designated an Endemic Bird Area. Between 1982 and 2012, 12 point-transect distance-sampling surveys were conducted to assess bird population status. Surveys did not consistently sample the entire island; thus, we used a ratio estimator to...Camp, Richard J.; Brinck, Kevin W.; Gorresen, P. Marcos; Amidon, Fred A.; Radley, Paul M.; Berkowitz, S. Paul; Banko, Paul C.
Efforts to eradicate yellow crazy ants on Johnston Atoll: Results from Crazy Ant Strike Team IX, December 2014-June 2015
The ecologically destructive yellow crazy ant (YCA; Anoplolepis gracilipes) was first detected on Johnston Atoll in January 2010. Within eight months, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had mobilized its first crazy ant strike team (CAST), a group of biologists dedicated to testing and identifying insecticidal baits to be used to eradicate the ant...Banko, Paul C.; Peck, Robert W.; Donmoyer, Kevin; Kropidlowski, Stephan; Pollock, Amanda
Richness, diversity, and similarity of arthropod prey consumed by a community of Hawaiian forest birds.
We evaluated the diet richness, diversity, and similarity of a community of seven endemic and two introduced passerine birds by analyzing the composition of arthropod prey in fecal samples collected during 1994–1998 at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, Hawai‘i Island. Most prey fragments were identified to order, but we also...Banko, Paul C.; Peck, Robert W.; Brinck, Kevin W.; Leonard, David L.
Book review: Flight ways: Life and loss at the edge of extinction.
In less than 200 pages, Thom van Dooren aims in his ambitious book, Flight Ways, to reconnect humans empathetically with the rest of the planet's inhabitants, but especially vanishing species. This is asking a lot, but he succeeds—or at least makes great strides—using evocative storytelling and compelling discourse. A number of...Banko, Paul C.
An assessment of arthropod prey resources at Nakula Natural Area Reserve, a potential site of reintroduction for Kiwikiu (Pseudonestor xanthophrys) and Maui `Alauahio (Parareomyza montana).
Hawaiian forest birds have declined dramatically since humans arrived in the archipelago. Birds from all foraging guilds have been affected but insectivorous species are currently at greatest risk of extinction. On the island of Maui, populations and ranges of the insectivorous kiwikiu (Maui parrotbill; Pseudonestor xanthophrys) and Maui ‘...Banko, Paul C.; Peck, Robert W.; Cappadonna, Justin; Steele, Claire; Leonard, David L.; Mounce, Hanna L.; Becker, Dusti; Swinnerton, Kirsty
The U.S. Geological Survey today announced the availability of a report, "Palila Restoration Research, 1996−2012," which summarizes long-term studies on the conservation biology of the palila (Loxioides bailleui), a critically endangered Hawaiian forest bird found only on the upper slopes of Mauna Kea Volcano.