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FOSSIL EVIDENCE FOR A DIVERSE BIOTA FROM KAUA‘I AND ITS TRANSFORMATION SINCE HUMAN ARRIVAL

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dc.contributor.author Burney, David A.
dc.contributor.author James, Helen F.
dc.contributor.author Burney, Lida Pigott
dc.contributor.author Olson, Storrs L.
dc.contributor.author Kikuchi, William
dc.contributor.author Wagner, Warren L.
dc.contributor.author Burney, Mara
dc.contributor.author McCloskey, Deirdre
dc.contributor.author Kikuchi, Delores
dc.contributor.author Grady, Frederick V.
dc.contributor.author Gage, Reginald
dc.contributor.author Nishek, Robert
dc.date.accessioned 2006-03-01T19:49:37Z
dc.date.available 2006-03-01T19:49:37Z
dc.date.issued 2001
dc.identifier.citation Ecological Monographs, 71(4): 615-41 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10088/109
dc.description.abstract Coring and excavations in a large sinkhole and cave system formed in an eolianite deposit on the south coast of Kaua‘i in the Hawaiian Islands reveal a fossil site with remarkable preservation and diversity of plant and animal remains. Radiocarbon dating and investigations of the sediments and their fossil contents, including diatoms, invertebrate shells, vertebrate bones, pollen, and plant macrofossils, provide a more complete picture of prehuman ecological conditions in the Hawaiian lowlands than has been previously available. The evidence confirms that a highly diverse prehuman landscape has been completely transformed, with the decline or extirpation of most native species and their replacement with introduced species. The stratigraphy documents many late Holocene extinctions, including previously undescribed species, and suggests that the pattern of extirpation for snails occurred in three temporal stages, corresponding to initial settlement, late prehistoric, and historic impacts. The site also records land-use changes of recent centuries, including evidence for deforestation, overgrazing, and soil erosion during the historic period, and biological invasion during both the Polynesian and historic periods. Human artifacts and midden materials demonstrate a high-density human presence near the site for the last four centuries. Earlier evidence for humans includes a bone of the prehistorically introduced Pacific rat (Rattus exulans) dating to 822 yr BP (calendar year [cal yr] AD 1039–1241). Vegetation at the site before human arrival consisted of a herbaceous component with strand plants and graminoids, and a woody component that included trees and shrubs now mostly restricted to a few higher, wetter, and less disturbed parts of the island. Efforts to restore lowland areas in the Hawaiian Islands must take into account the evidence from this study that the prehuman lowlands of dry leeward Kaua‘i included plants and animals previously known only in wetter and cooler habitats. Many species may be restricted to high elevations today primarily because these remote locations have, by virtue of their difficult topography and climate, resisted most human-induced changes more effectively than the coastal lowlands. en
dc.description.sponsorship The research was supported by NSF DEB- 9707260, NOAA Human Dimensions of Global change grant Number NA46GP0465, a grant from the Kilauea Point Natural History Society, and a Fordham University Faculty Fellowship and Faculty Research Grant to D. A. Burney; by a National Geographic Society grant to Rob Fleischer; by the Smithsonian Departments of Vertebrate Zoology and Paleobiology; and by Kaua‘i Community College, University of Hawaii. en
dc.format.extent 687046 bytes
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.publisher Ecological Society of America en
dc.subject biological invasions en
dc.subject birds en
dc.subject diatoms en
dc.subject extinctions en
dc.subject Hawaiian islands en
dc.subject human impacts en
dc.subject land snails en
dc.subject paleoecology en
dc.subject paleontology en
dc.subject plant macrofossils en
dc.subject pollen en
dc.subject tsunami en
dc.title FOSSIL EVIDENCE FOR A DIVERSE BIOTA FROM KAUA‘I AND ITS TRANSFORMATION SINCE HUMAN ARRIVAL en
dc.type Article en


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