Are you here on Hawai‘i Island and looking for something to do this weekend?
Join the Kahuku Palm Trail Hike this Sunday, May 26, 2013 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Palm Trail is a relatively easy 2.6 mile loop traversing scenic pasture along an ancient cinder cone with some of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. Highlights include relics of the ranching era, sections of remnant native forest and amazing volcanic features from the 1868 eruptive fissures.
To get there, drive through the Kahuku gate located on the mauka side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5. Park and meet at the visitor contact tent, near the ranch buildings. Boots, raingear, long pants plus water and a snack are recommended. No advance registration required.
http://www.nps.gov/havo/parknews/20130319_pr.htm for more information.
Enjoy this short 34 second video of Halema‘uma‘u transitioning from the light of day to the dark of night.
Photos used to create video were taken by Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Master Volunteer Ed Shiinoki
You can be part of the frontline defense against new alien plant invaders.
The Pacific Island Network, the Inventory & Monitoring arm of the NPS in the tropical Pacific, just released Invasive Plant Field Guides as part of the Early Detection of invasive plants monitoring protocol. Each Pacific island national park unit is now armed with sets of these useful cards to increase awareness and detection of aggressive park invaders before they spread and become a devastating nuisance for the parks and communities around them.
NPS Botanist Alison Ainsworth and her vegetation team worked closely with Natural Resources Management at each Pacific island park to develop a list of likely invasive species. “We focused on plants not yet in the parks, but ones that may cause park-wide damage,” said Ainsworth. “If we find them before they become established in the parks, there is a good shot at controlling them.”
The cards are designed to be used by any NPS staff in the field – the eyes and ears of the parks.
Each card features photos of the target species, including its flowers, fruits, seeds, and lifeform, along with basic information on the plant’s impact, origins, and distribution. To limit false alarms, the cards include one or two look-a-like species that might otherwise be confused with the target species. Contact information for each park’s invasive species eradication team is also indicated.
You can download your own set of field ID cards for the National Park Service unit of your choice (in the tropical Pacific islands), and join the fight by keeping an eye out for alien invaders.
–C. Phifer, NPS Biological Technician
Listen as Manny Munez tells the Chamorro legend of the mermaid- Serina. He speaks in English and in Chamarro. Listen close and you will hear many Spanish words mixed with the indigenous Chamarro.
Large numbers of corals are dying along Kauaʻi’s north shore (from Mākua to ʻAnini and south as far as Ahukini Landing in Līhuʻe) due to a coral disease outbreak that has been characterize as an epidemic by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in a 2012 report. Researchers from the USGS and University of Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology are studying the outbreak and point to a mysterious cyanobacteria and fungi as the culprit. Cyanobacteria and fungi were detected on samples taken from the lesions or diseased areas of the coral. What triggered these cyanobacteria and fungi to cause a disease outbreak is unknown, however a large amount of sediment is present on the reefs afflicted by the disease.
Sediments from land and other pollutants are known to stress coral reefs (bottom photo). A link between this outbreak and the high levels of sediment is under investigation. Dr. Thierry Work, head of Infectious Disease for USGS, reported that this is the first known large scale outbreak of cyanobacteria/fungal coral disease in the state of Hawaii.
Coral disease was first observed in the wider Caribbean in the 1970s. It has since been documented across the Hawaiian archipelago and throughout the Indo Pacific including: American Samoa, Guam, and the US Remote Pacific Islands. The frequency and severity of coral diseases has increased globally in the last few decades. Many researchers point to warming sea surface temperatures and increasing human-related impacts as factors exacerbating coral disease.
The consequences of coral disease on a reef can be catastrophic and result in a shift from a healthy coral dominated reef to an unhealthy algal dominated reef. For example in the Florida Keys, staghorn coral (Acropora palmata) was reduced up to 70%, with the dead corals being colonized by turf and fleshy algae. As corals are essential to the nearshore ecosystem, ensuring their long term health is critical.
Just think what would happen if coral reefs disappeared. Habitat would be severely degraded for the many marine creatures that depend on coral reefs. Our shorelines and coasts would also lose important protection from high wave energy.
The frequency and severity of diseases affecting coral reefs is truly alarming. To track outbreaks on a global scale, a Global Disease Database (http://coraldisease.org) was set up in 2000 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United Nations Environment Program‘s World Conservation Monitoring Center. Based on studies from 1950 – 2013, there have been around 5,000 recorded outbreaks worldwide. A total of 16 genera of corals have been documented with one of at least 27 different coral diseases, with many other abnormalities still under investigation.
Pacific island national parks are not immune. Off of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, signs of disease have been observed. The PACN Benthic Marine monitoring program checks for signs of disease each year in War in the Pacific NHP, NP of American Samoa, Kaloko-Honokōhau NHP, and Kalaupapa NHP. Knowing about an outbreak is the first step in reducing its negative impacts.
–S. A. McKenna, NPS Marine Biologist
Listen to the late Ranger Tom as he talks about one of the most iconic places on the Island of Hawai’i- the Hale o Keawe and its surrounding ki`i (carved images of gods). It is featured in man photographs and drawings. Keawe was ruling chief of Hawai’i and unified the island before Kamehameha. The Island of Hawai’i is also known as Moku o Keawe -The Island of Keawe.
Hale o keawe