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Hawaiʻi is considered a worldwide biodiversity hotspot, with nearly 90 percent of its native plants found nowhere else in the world. However, about half of these native plants are imperiled by threats including human development, non-native species, and climate change. Through this project, scientists modeled the relative vulnerability of over 1,000 native plant species to the effects of climate change. A panel of experts in Hawaiian plant species assisted with the development of the model and verified its results. From the model, researchers were able to develop a vulnerability score for each plant species and identify categories of species with high, medium, and low vulnerability to climate change. This information...
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Our project focuses on understanding patterns and causes of recent population declines in the Haleakala silversword that are associated with decreasing precipitation, increasing temperature, and related climate changes in Hawaii’s high-elevation ecosystems. The Haleakala silversword is an ideal taxon with which to assess impacts from climate change. It forms the foundation of a diverse alpine community and likely reflects wider ecological changes; it is already exhibiting patterns of mortality consistent with an upslope shifting distribution; and its high visibility and symbolic status make it unmatched in educational potential. Building on extensive research infrastructure, we propose to collect the demographic...
The Hawaiian Islands are home to a variety of native species that have been subject to numerous threats including development of habitat for human use, predation by introduced herbivores, and competition with invasive plant species. In addition to these threats global climate change is expected to increase temperature and alter patterns of precipitation in Hawaii. This project models the relative vulnerability of native plant species to the effects of climate change, in order to assist resource managers in effectively allocating limited resources to efficiently preserve and protect current and future habitat for native plants. We modeled vulnerability by creating an expert system – a network model linking biological...
This dataset is a list of variables (in columns) corresponding to nodes in a categorical network model. Geographic variables vary according to the specific climate downscaling model used to project plant species range into the future. Continuous variables were discretized into two to five categories as required by the model, usually based on quantiles of distribution.
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Sea-level rise (SLR) is one of the biggest threats to the Hawaiian coastline, and resource managers of coastal wetlands in Hawai‘i must begin planning now for future impacts. The majority of these impacts are expected to occur from 2040 – 2100. PICCC funded research from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa has provided decision makers with tools to assist in adaptively managing the impacts of SLR at three coastal wetland environments in south Maui, north Maui, and James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge. They also ranked threats on the basis of input from wetland management experts to develop maps of SLR impacts and vulnerability. The researchers concluded that decision makers must quickly act to develop and implement...
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The primary objective of this project is to bring together Hawaii’s climate change scientists, Molokai’s traditional fishpond managers, and other natural resource managers to share scientific and cultural knowledge and work together as a team to identify adaptive management strategies for two of Molokai’s ancient fishponds. We will accomplish this through a short series of workshops. A secondary objective is to form new and strengthen existing partnerships so we can pool resources and better respond to climate change as an island. We will incorporate workshop results into our strategic plan for the ponds and upland areas, revise our K-6 educational curriculum, create a climate change video featuring Moloka’i kupuna,...
Background: Climate velocity is a concept derived from the intersection between ecology and climate change. It attempts to summarize the rate of climate change on a spatial scale as a movement rate (usually in units of kilometer per year) that a species would need to maintain to remain in its current climatological niche in the face of climate change. We now have downscaled climate models for the main Hawaiian Islands. In conjunction with the rainfall atlas of contemporary climate we have the information to calculate climate velocity for Hawaii, providing a useful index of the rate of climate change for conservation and resource managers. Objectives: We will produce climate velocity maps for the seven main Hawaiian...
As the impacts of global climate change on species are increasingly evident, there is a clear need to adapt conservation efforts worldwide. Species vulnerability assessments (VAs) are increasingly used to summarize all relevant information to determine a species’ potential vulnerability to climate change and are frequently the first step in informing climate adaptation efforts. VAs commonly integrate multiple sources of information by utilizing a framework that distinguishes factors relevant to species exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity. However, this framework was originally developed for human systems, and its use to evaluate species vulnerability has serious practical and theoretical limitations. By...
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One of the greatest ecological, social and economic issues of the day is the problem of climate change. Increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere are increasing global temperatures. Much of the CO2 dissolves in the ocean, creating more acidic conditions and leading to a process known as ocean acidification (OA). Higher temperatures and increased levels of CO2 operating independently are known to be detrimental to corals, but little is known about their effect when operating in unison. Irradiance has a great influence on coral calcification rates and can interact with higher temperature and increased OA to an unknown extent. Therefore, experiments were performed in continuous flow mesocosms under...
Recent studies show that past and ongoing environmental changes have been substantial and have likely already affected conservation efforts in Hawaii. Much of the state has experienced substantial drying, including decreases in mean annual precipitation since the 1920s, longer rainless periods, and decreasing stream flow. Temperatures have been increasing in the state for the last 40 years, especially at higher elevations where most native habitats and species currently persist. Unfortunately there are few long term monitoring efforts that allow us to understand plant species responses to these past, ongoing and future shifts in environmental conditions. Consequently, we know little about how environmental shifts...
Summary Conduct an objective assessment of the existing programs monitoring climate-sensitive ecological variables (biological and geophysical) in the terrestrial Hawaiian environment, generate a summary for consideration at an expert workshop, participate in the workshop, and summarize the consensus recommendations reached at the workshop.
· Anticipating potential shifts in plant communities has been a major challenge in climate-change ecology. In the State of Hawaii, where conservation efforts tend to be habitat focused, the lack of projections of vegetation shifts under future climate is a major knowledge gap for developing management actions for climate-change mitigation and adaptation.· As a first approximation, we have modeled potential shifts of terrestrial vegetation across the Hawaiian landscape between now and the end of this century. Our approach relies on modeling the relation between current climate and the distribution of broad climatically determined moisture zones (MZs; for example, wet, mesic, and dry areas) that form the...
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We analyzed the chemical composition of wood produced by Māmane, a tropical tree growing in Hawai’i, in order to reconstruct changes in climate over the Hawaiian Islands. Specifically, we measured changes in the relative abundance of carbon and oxygen isotopes taken up by the trees during photosynthesis at high elevation sites on Mauna Kea. We found that these isotopes reflect the climatic conditions (precipitation and temperature) under which the trees lived, allowing us to reconstruct relative changes in climate extending back ~130 years. Our results indicate decadal-scale changes in precipitation that correlate well with large-scale atmospheric and ocean circulation patterns that dominate much of the Pacific....
Hawaiian forest birds are imperiled, with fewer than half the original > 40 species remaining extant. Recent studies document ongoing rapid population decline and project complete climate-based range losses for the critically endangered Kaua’i endemics ‘akeke’e (Loxops caeruleirostris) and ‘akikiki (Oreomystis bairdi) by end-of-century due to projected warming. Climate change facilitates the upward expansion of avian malaria into native high elevation forests where disease was historically absent. While intensified conservation efforts attempt to safeguard these species and their habitats, the magnitude of potential loss and the urgency of this situation require all conservation options to be seriously considered....
Develop an island-wide mangrove adaption and management plan that will incorporate the findings from the comprehensive island-wide mangrove vulnerability assessment that is currently being funded through awards to MCT from the United States DOI Office of Insular Affairs and Fish and Wildlife Service. The goal of the Pohnpei Mangrove Management Planning project is to build local capacity to increase coastal and community resilience to the impacts of climate change by improving the management of mangrove ecosystems on Pohnpei State in the Federated States of Micronesia.
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To anticipate how weather is likely to change as a result of increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere, geophysical and meteorological scientists examined the results of climate models on the fine scale climate patterns of Hawai’i to understand what future climate will look like. Researchers analyzed the relationship of past rainfall with global processes in order to predict future rainfall patterns. They found that the decades-long decrease in rainfall seen in arid and semiarid regions of Hawai‘i during the rainy season (November-April) is likely to continue. The model results show that all of the Hawaiian Islands get drier overall in the 21st century. Of all the islands,...
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Coral reef ecosystems are exposed to a diverse suite of environmental forcing. Waves, wind, currents, temperature, irradiance, salinity, nutrients, turbidity, aragonite saturation state, and planktonic productivity each influence coral reefs to varying degrees, fluctuating on daily, seasonal and interannual time scales and across spatial scales spanning reefs, islands and archipelagos [1-3]. Environmental forcing is highly influential to reef ecosystem process and function, including coral reef extent and growth rates and the abundance, diversity, and morphology of reef organisms [1, 4]. Through time, coral reef ecosystems have adapted to exist within a particular climatological setting; a finite range in long-term...
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In the tropics, ample freshwater is the primary resource supporting thriving human and ecological communities. In the Pacific Islands, many watersheds are threatened by climate change, urban encroachment, and invasion by water-demanding exotic plant species like strawberry guava (SG). To maintain an adequate freshwater supply, adaptive management strategies are needed to address these concerns while confronting operational barriers to implementation. We developed a prototype watershed decision support tool (WDST) that incorporated: (i) distributed hydrology modeling to quantify effects of climate change and SG invasion on freshwater yield; (ii) a decision support tool that linked potential changes in yield with...
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The objective of this experimental research is to determine if genetic enrichment may enhance survival, growth, and adaptation of important native Hawaiian montane plant species to changing precipitation patterns by relocating conspecifics to more favorable climate regimes at higher elevation. We will collect the seeds of montane plants from low_ and high_elevation sources, conduct outplanting trials in common locations along an elevation gradient, and monitor growth, survival, and vigor over a two_year period to evaluate a potential restoration strategy for mountain parklands of Mauna Kea, on the island of Hawaii.


map background search result map search result map Establishing Climate Change Vulnerability Rankings for Hawaiian Native Plants Reconstructing past Hawaiian precipitation using stable carbon isotope analysis of Māmane trees Climate Change Impacts on Critical Ecosystems in Hawai‘i and US Pacific Islands Territories Temporal and Spatial Pattern of Sea-level Rise Impacts to Coastal Wetlands and Other Ecosystems A Tool for Understanding Climate Change and Invasive Species Impacts on Watersheds Synergistic Impacts of Global Warming and Ocean Acidification on Coral Reefs Oceanographic time series and climatologies for the Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment Understanding how climate change is affecting Hawaii's high-elevation ecosystems: an assessment of the long-term viability of Haleakala silverswords and associated biological communities Moloka`i Climate Collaboration: Bridging Climate Science and Traditional Culture Facilitating Adaptation in Montane Plants to Changing Precipitation along an Elevation Gradient Merged traits used to fit the Hawaiian native plant vulnerability model Understanding how climate change is affecting Hawaii's high-elevation ecosystems: an assessment of the long-term viability of Haleakala silverswords and associated biological communities Moloka`i Climate Collaboration: Bridging Climate Science and Traditional Culture Reconstructing past Hawaiian precipitation using stable carbon isotope analysis of Māmane trees A Tool for Understanding Climate Change and Invasive Species Impacts on Watersheds Facilitating Adaptation in Montane Plants to Changing Precipitation along an Elevation Gradient Climate Change Impacts on Critical Ecosystems in Hawai‘i and US Pacific Islands Territories Temporal and Spatial Pattern of Sea-level Rise Impacts to Coastal Wetlands and Other Ecosystems Synergistic Impacts of Global Warming and Ocean Acidification on Coral Reefs Establishing Climate Change Vulnerability Rankings for Hawaiian Native Plants Merged traits used to fit the Hawaiian native plant vulnerability model Oceanographic time series and climatologies for the Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment