Address of the BSA President-Elect
Ranker , Tom A .
Evolution and Extinction on a Volcanic Hotspot: Science, Conservation, and Restoration in the Endangered Species Capital of the World.
The biological diversity of oceanic islands around the world share two prominent features: high rates of biotic endemism often marked by spectacular adaptive radiations and massive levels of extinction and habitat destruction. I will discuss these issues with respect to the Hawaiian Islands, which are the most isolated, large oceanic archipelago on Earth. The islands are approximately 4,000 km from the nearest continent (North America) and 3,500 km from the nearest other large group of high islands (Marquesas Islands). Such isolation has led to extraordinarily high levels of species-level biotic endemism, e.g., angiosperms (91%), arthropods (99%), mollusks (99%), birds (81%). Many of these endemics are members of species-rich phylogenetic radiations, the study of which has made the Hawaiian Islands famous as a natural laboratory for the study of evolution. Unfortunately, the Hawaiian Islands are also widely known as the “extinction capital of the world” due to the high number of recent extinctions and the large number of federally listed threatened and endangered species: about 25% of all T&E species in the US are Hawaiian endemics. Of the 869 species of ferns and flowering plants listed as threatened or endangered in the US, 362 (43%) are endemic to the Hawaiian Islands (comprising only about 0.2% of the land area of all 50 states). In spite of these bleak statistics, which are reflective of what is happening on oceanic islands globally, there are numerous conservation and restoration efforts currently underway on the Hawaiian Islands due to the efforts of local, state, and federal stakeholders, as well as national and international researchers. The goals of this presentation are to introduce the amazing biotic diversity of the Hawaiian Islands, explain some of the major environmental problems that have led to the loss of biological diversity, and, principally, to provide snapshots of a variety of species- and habitat-level conservation and restoration projects currently being undertaken around the islands. Many of these projects are having considerable success and provide new hope for the future of Hawaiian life.
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1 - University Of Hawaii At Manoa, Department Of Botany, 3190 Maile Way, Room 101, Honolulu, HI, 96822, USA
Presentation Type: Special Presentation
Location: Summit/Boise Centre
Date: Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Candidate for Awards:None