Vacations are more fun when you know the heritage! In the first horses of Moorish and Arabian descent were imported from Spanish colonial California, and the idea of cattle ranching as a commercial enterprise seemed a logical next step. As a result, the colorful dress, singing style, and horse gear are more closely akin to the Spanish tradition than to that of the American West.
With over 25, unique species, Hawaii is one of the most biologically diverse regions on the planet. A large percentage of these species are only found in the islands of Hawaii. While the number of species is impressive, these birds, insects, mammals, and plants live in a delicate balance.
As an isolated oceanic archipelago, the Hawaiian Islands offer insight into evolutionary processes that are unmatched in their beauty and complexity.
Left to evolve on their own in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaiian species developed their own unique evolutionary traits.
Unfortunately, Hawaii has the highest rate of extinction per square mile on Earth, and many endemic Hawaiian species are currently threatened or endangered. Much of this crisis is a direct result of human colonization of the islands.
Originally there were no mosquitoes or ticks, reptiles or amphibians, and the only mammals were the Hawaiian hoary bat and the Hawaiian monk seal. When humans came, they brought pigs, mice, lice, cockroaches, and a whole host of invasive plants. These invasive species have wreaked havoc on the Hawaiian ecosystem.
Before humans stepped onto their shores, it is estimated that only about everyyears did a new species glide down to the islands or wash up on the beach. Today, it is estimated that new species are being introduced to Hawaii at a Hawaiian diversity that is 2 million times more rapid than the natural rate.
With international travel and the importing of goods, it is easier than ever for new species to be introduced. It is also more crucial than ever that new invasive species be kept off the islands.
With so many native Hawaiian species endangered, and millions of dollars worth of crops at risk, the threat from invasive species is just too high.
The western yellow jackets Vespula pensylvanica seen in Kilauea: Mountain of Fire are not the only species of wasp reshaping Hawaiian flora and fauna.
Sincetiny orange wasps called Erythrina gall wasps have been decimating the wiliwili tree population, an endemic Hawaiian deciduous tree that grows up to 30 feet tall. Native to East Africa, the tiny wasps, about one-third the size of a mosquito, inject their eggs into the leaves of the wiliwili tree.
As a result the tree withers and dies. All over the islands of Hawaii, massive wiliwili carcasses dot the forests as well as the residential and agricultural areas. Besides providing habitat for Hawaiian wildlife, wiliwili trees have long been used as windbreaks. Planted in a straight line along the edges of crop fields, the wiliwilis protect the crops from wind damage.
If the wiliwili trees die, so do the crops. It is predicted that if the gall wasp epidemic is not stopped, massive portions of Hawaiian forest will turn into desert.
To eradicate the gall wasps, scientists have no choice but to introduce another species of wasp to the Hawaiian islands: These larger wasps inject their eggs into the Erythrina egg galls, where they develop more quickly than the smaller gall wasp species and hatch first.
This keeps the gall wasp population numbers low, and will hopefully save the wiliwilis. The first batch of Eurytoma wasps were harvested in Tanzania near Mt. Scientists will have to keep a close eye on these foreign settlers.
Hawaii has a long history of good intentions gone bad when it comes to introduced biological-control agents. The worst example is the mongoose, which was brought to the islands in by sugar cane farmers to control rat populations. Sadly, the mongooses primarily preyed upon Hawaiian birds and eggs, driving several species to near extinction and posing a major threat to endangered animals.
Another invader, the coqui frog from Puerto Rico, arrived in shipments of plants in the late s. But aside from being a nuisance to humans, some people worry that as the frogs advance throughout the islands, they may be setting the stage for other invasions.
For example, frog-eating snakes, like the brown tree snake, could find a plentiful food source in the coquis. In Guam, the brown tree snake has done major damage, wiping out bird populations. No one knows what will happen to Hawaiian biodiversity in the future, but perhaps hints can be found in the fiery nature of Hawaii itself.The park also is a place to ponder and respect Pele, the Hawaiian fire goddess, and to glimpse views of ancient Hawaiian structures, culture, life, and landscape.
The park displays the results of hundreds of thousands of years of volcanic activity, migration, and evolution in a place where complex and unique ecosystems developed and a distinct. In the 10 years from the Census to the Census, the Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone population increased more than three times faster than the total U.S.
population, growing by 35% from , to , people (the total U.S. population grew by % in the same timeframe). Hawaii's unique animal and plant diversity has been declining on all but the Big Island for millions of years, long before humans arrived, according to a new analysis of species diversity on the.
Mauka: a word in the Hawaiian language, meaning “toward the mountain,” and most commonly used in giving directions. Mountains are an integral part of the Hawaiian landscape, and while there are countless mountain ranges, peaks and valleys across the islands, some are more well-known than others.
The Hawaiian monk seal sets a new standard for low genetic diversity in endangered species, enhanced, but apparently not solely caused, by a bottleneck in the 19th century. Since that time, monk seals have experienced robust population growth, thereby indicating that the species is viable despite minimal genetic variation.
Old varieties of Hawaii’s sugar cane illustrate colorful diversity. Christine Faye The first sugar cane plant came to the Hawaiian Islands with the Polynesian settlers, but the early technology for making sugar was imported from China.