Maya's Maui Plants and Animals Presentation - December 2013

Download Maya's Maui Plants and Animals Presentation - December 2013

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A pleasantly derivative but reasonably sourced overview of Maui's plants and animals by a second grader.

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  • 1. Maui Plants and AnimalsBy Maya Neff1

2. The Big Picture Gobs of plants and animals The isolation and rich diversity of habitats in the Hawaiian Islands led to lots and lots of species. Dont believe me? A total of 23,680 Hawaiian species have been documented! 18,607 native Hawaiian species (9,151 indigenous species and 9,456 endemic species), 5,073 human-introduced (non-native) species. Some big numbers: The documented native Hawaiian species include: 1,163 flowering plants (918 endemic); 719 other native plants (241 endemic), 178 ferns (124 endemic), and 22 fern allies (7 endemic); 1,243 mollusks (962 endemic); 1,143 fish species (149 endemic); 4 reptiles (sea turtles, none endemic); 241 bird species (63 endemic); and 25 mammals (2 endemic). Whew. Full disclosure: I did not count these myself. (source: http://www.hawaiianencyclopedia.com/native-and-endangered-species.asp)2 3. Lets talk about a few of them. (Talking about all of them would take a while.)3 4. Maui has beautiful flowers. We start with flowers because Grandma Kay likes them. This is the yellow hibiscus. Its Hawaiis state flower. Before 1988, the Hibiscus (all colors) was the Hawaii State Flower (and before statehood in 1959 the Territorial Flower). In 1988, the yellow Hibiscus, because it is native to Hawaii, was chosen as the State Flower. Source: http://www.mauihawaii.org/hawaiian-flowers.htm4 5. This is an orchid. Orchids are grown on all seven of Hawaiis major islands.5 6. This is ginger. The ginger we use for food flavoring comes from the rhizome (a fancy word for underground stem) of a plant with yellowish green flowers. The related ginger plants we see in Hawaii more often have red flowers. This plant is not related to Tina Louise.6 7. This is a hibiscus. Wait. No. Its a Hoary Bat. The Hawaiian hoary bat or is Hawaiis only endemic land mammal. While the hoary bat is the most widespread bat in the continental United States, this subspecies is the only land mammal that is endemic to the islands. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaiian_Hoary_bat7 8. In 1972, the Jacksons Chameleon was introduced to the Hawaiian Islands from its native land of Kenya and Tanzania. In the last 30 + years, these species have multiplied and formed a large breeding population on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii. Source: http://www.explorebiodiversity.com/Hawaii/BiodiversityForgotten/Wildlife/Reptiles/Lizards%20%20Chameleons.htm8 9. The green sea turtle is the largest hard-shelled sea turtle. Adults of this species commonly reach 100 cm (3.25 feet) in carapace length and 150 kg (330 pounds). They are believed to live 60-70 years. The green turtle is listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Green turtles were a source of food, tools, and ornamentation for early Hawaiians. Source: http://www.turtles.org/hawgrnd.htmThe Hawaiian green turtle is genetically distinct from the other green sea turtle populations, nesting primarily in the French Frigate Shoals of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and feeding in the coastal areas of the main Hawaiian Islands. Adults primarily eat algae. Over 275 different species of seaweed have been found in the stomachs of Hawaiian green turtles. In order to deal with this diet of roughage, green turtles have microflora living in their large intestine that help breakdown the cellulose that is otherwise indigestible. Other food items they consume in lesser amounts include jellyfish, salps, mollusks, sponges, and tubeworms. East Pacific green turtles tend to eat more animal prey than other populations. Source: http://www.fpir.noaa.gov/PRD/prd_green_sea_turtle.html9 10. Year after year, the Humpback Whales travel from cool Alaskan waters all the way to warm Hawaiian oceans for their annual Winter breeding migration. They are commonly first spotted in Mauis waters as early as October, and their presence gradually increases as more pods and escorts finally arrive in Hawaii just in time for the holiday season. Source: http://www.prideofmaui.com/trips/whale/#sthash.NVZbCKDx.dpuf10 11. So called for their high, spinning leaps, spinner dolphins are known as playful, eager bow-riders. But in the eastern tropical Pacific, where tuna fishermen have killed millions of spinners since 1959, the dolphins no longer approach ships. In Hawaii, spinners (Nai`a) not only approach ships, but could be termed oceanic "Ambassadors of Aloha. A few facts: Hawaiian Name: Nai'a Size: 1.7 to 2.2 meters, 75 kilograms; 45 to 65 sharp-pointed teeth; Food: Fish small deep-ocean species like lantern fish, shrimp and squid; Habitat: Mainly offshore, nearshore in certain island chains; Range: Tropical, subtropical and warm temperate world ocean; Status: Population unknown, but common in most parts of its range; substantial declines have occurred in the eastern tropical Pacific. Source: http://wilddolphin.org/spinner.html11 12. There is so much great information about coral reefs, youll have to wait for the next slide.12 13. Maui is surrounded by coral reefs that are best developed along its West shore (where were staying!). Here, coral reefs have formed extensive limestone structures that stretch from the low tide line to approximately 200 meters off-shore, sometimes even farther. Reef formation along Maui's shore started 17,000 years ago when worldwide sea level rise flooded the areas now occupied by reefs. As such, the Hawaiian Islands now harbor the largest number of endemic species on the planet. A quarter of all fish species is found on the islands is unique to Hawaii and this number is even higher for invertebrates (32%) such as corals, sea urchins and sea stars. Source: http://www.hawaii.edu/kahekili/MauiReefs.pdf13 14. Thank you Questions? Comments? Lets enjoy Maui! Aloha!14