Project

Vulnerability of Hawaiian Forest Birds to Climate Change

Project Summary

Affiliation(s): Pacific Islands CSC

Principal Investigator(s):
  • Michael Samuel (USGS Wisconsin Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit)
  • Dennis LaPointe (USGS Pacific Islands Ecosystems Research Center)
  • Carter T Atkinson (USGS Pacific Islands Ecosystem Research Center)
  • Eben Paxton (USGS Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center)

The Hawaiian Islands are home to some of the world’s most culturally valuable but imperiled forest birds, including brightly colored native honeycreepers, many of which are threatened or endangered. One of the major threats these birds face is avian malaria, which is spread by a species of introduced mosquito and can have death rates exceeding 90 percent. For decades, upper mountain forests have provided refuge for Hawaiian forest birds because mosquitoes (and thus the disease) could not survive the cooler temperatures. However, warming associated with climate change could change this. Scientists used climate data and an epidemiological model to evaluate the future impacts of avian malaria on Hawaiian forest birds as a result of climate change. Results show that over the current century, anticipated changes in temperature and rainfall will favor increased mosquito populations and their expansion into high-elevation forests. These findings suggest that without significant intervention and mosquito control measures, many native Hawaiian honeycreepers will suffer major population declines and/or extinction due to increasing risk from avian malaria.

Liwi Hawaiian Bird Credit: Robby Kohley

Affiliation(s): Pacific Islands CSC

Principal Investigator(s):
  • Michael Samuel (USGS Wisconsin Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit)
  • Dennis LaPointe (USGS Pacific Islands Ecosystems Research Center)
  • Carter T Atkinson (USGS Pacific Islands Ecosystem Research Center)
  • Eben Paxton (USGS Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center)
Cooperator(s)/Partner(s):
  • Loyal Mehrhoff (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
  • Jeff Burgett (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
  • Jim Kraus (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
  • Margaret Wild (National Park Service)
  • Darcy Hu (National Park Service)
  • Scott Fretz (Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources)
  • Colleen Cole (Three Mountain Alliance)

Start Date: January 2013

End Date: March 2016

Project Status: Completed

Tags: Climate change, Avian, conservation strategies, CSC, Pacific Islands CSC, 2012, Wildlife and Plants, Education, Modeling and Tools, Birds, Climate and Ecosystem Modeling

Fiscal Year: FY 2012 Projects

Publications & Other

  • Final Project Report for "Vulnerability of Hawaiian Forest Birds to Climate Change - Using Models to Link Landscape, Climate, Disease, and Potential Adaptation"

    • PICSC Final Report Samuel Hawaii_AvianDiseasen2016 09 16.pdf (Download)
      • Mitigating Future Avian Malaria Threats to Hawaiian Forest Birds from Climate Change

          • Project Snapshot: Vulnerability of Hawaiian Forest Birds to Climate Change - Using Models to Link Landscape, Climate, Disease, and Potential Adaptation

            • PICSC_ResearchFeature_Samuel_Hawaii_AvianDisease.pdf (Download)
            • Will a warmer and wetter future cause extinction of native Hawaiian forest birds?

                • As Climate Warms Hawaiian Forest Birds Lose More Ground to Mosquitoes

                  Data

                  Download all map files

                  • Hawaii_Sites.shp [x-gis/x-shapefile] (Download)
                  • Hawaii_Sites.dbf [application/octet-stream] (Download)
                  • Hawaii_Sites.shx [x-gis/x-shapefile] (Download)
                  • Hawaii_Sites.prj [text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1] (Download)
                  • Hawaii_Sites.sbn [x-gis/x-shapefile] (Download)
                  • Hawaii_Sites.sbx [x-gis/x-shapefile] (Download)