Stanford University Department of Biology

2011 Field Studies Program

Tadashi Fukami

Community ecology of Hawaiian forests fragmented by lava flows

Project Description

Students will work with Tad Fukami and a group of researchers and other students based at the US Forest Service Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry in Hilo, Hawaii, to participate in an ecological project. This project uses numerous forest fragments of various sizes on the Big Island of Hawaii. These fragments, called kipuka, used to be a large contiguous forest, but are now isolated from one another as a result of recent lava flows. We use the kipuka as a model ecosystem to understand how native plant and animal communities are affected by introduced mammals and how their effects depend on ecosystem size and landscape context.

This project involves intensive field work to collect data on the abundance of native plants, birds and insects, and introduced mammals (rats and mice) in the kipuka. This is a good opportunity for those interested in gaining experience in ecological field research, particularly in community and ecosystem ecology. We seek students who enjoy working outdoors and interactively with a group. The students need to be willing and able to do moderate to strenuous hiking every day.

For more information, see blog by Liz Parissenti, one of the students who participated in 2009 http://wanderingbandicoot.blogspot.com/2009/06/first-day-in-field.html and by David Zimmerman, one of the students who participated in 2010 http://zimmerman-australia.blogspot.com/2010/09/rats.html

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