A Study of Conservation Efforts Which Combat Invasive Species in Hawaii.


Peter Koenig

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The Hawaiian Islands are the most isolated group of islands on earth. Colonization of the islands occurred slowly, and the few species which made it to the islands diversified widely once established.As part of that diversification many of Hawaii's native species lost their physical, chemical, and behavioral defenses against their predators.When the Polynesians arrived some 1,500 years ago they brought with them the feral pig, today considered one of the most damaging invasives in Hawaii.The Argentine ant (the common household ant), Myrica Faya , and Miconia are just a few of the species which have invaded Hawaii. Currently, at least half of the wild species in Hawaii are invasive. These invasives are the primary reason why 72% of U.S. extinctions come from Hawaii.By out-competing the natives, killing the natives directly, and altering primary succession, invasive species (read: ecological generalists) are altering basic ecosystem processes resulting in a domino effect of ecological damage. In Hawaii I will study the efforts of organizations fighting invasive species. Through observations, interviews, volunteer participation, and data analysis I will analyze the effectiveness of the various methods of eradication and restoration I?ll be seeing.Less formally, I also plan on inquiring about the evolution of the invasive species problem on Hawaii, about the cooperation between various organizations, and about the use of biocontrol and chemical control when it has so often done more harm than good.


Beth Braker




Paul K. and Evalyn E. Cook Richter Fellowship

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