FY18 Funded Projects

The FY18 Call for Proposals and online application form for interagency funding from the Hawaii Invasive Species Council is now available at:

HISC funds are provided to the Council by the Legislature to support interagency collaborations that:

  • fill gaps between agency mandates and existing programs, or
  • advance our collective knowledge and tools through research and innovations.
This year’s Call for Proposals is focused on 10 priority areas based on the new Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan, as well as the HISC Strategic Plan, HISC Resolutions, and the Regional Biosecurity Plan. These priority areas, and potential projects that address them, are presented in the Call for Proposals.

Applications can be completed online and must be finalized by 5pm on June 9. If you have any questions, please contact Randy Bartlett at randal.t.bartlett@hawaii.gov

FY18 Pre-Proposals (Submitted in Fall of 2016)

In preparation for the 2017 Legislative Session, HISC partners developed pre-proposals demonstrating nearly $10M in needed funds to fill current gaps in invasive species prevention, control, research, and outreach efforts.  

The projects below are non-binding: actual HISC expenditures in FY18 will depend on the amount of funding provided by the State Legislature. Individual pre-proposals are listed below:

Control Pre-Proposals:

Dept Division Project Title & Abstract Request

Miconia Management Strategy for East Maui

Abstract: The East Maui Watershed (EMW) is a steep, forested landscape extending from Honomanu to Kipahulu, encompassing the entire windward slope of Haleakala Volcano.  Its total area is ~120,000 acres and produces trillions of liters of fresh surface water annually.  This is a vital resource for maintaining life and agriculture on the island.    Miconia calvescens (miconia) is a highly invasive, ecosystem modifier known to be highly disruptive to forest integrity.  Since its introduction four decades ago, it has developed an infestation focused in Hana that is in excess of 5000 acres with the invasion impacting over 20,000 acres of the EMW.  In 2012, Herbicide Ballistic Technology (HBT) was introduced as a highly efficient and effective technique capable of eliminating the most extreme, incipient miconia populations.  In these five years, we have established a manageable containment barrier, eliminating over 20,000 individual miconia encompassing 70% of the total invasion area.  Our latest projections suggest extinction of incipient populations over the next four decades with sustained management efforts.  This, however, comes at the expense of no appreciable management effort to reduce the core infestation in this time.  Thus, there is an imminent need for integrating new management actions in coordination with the current containment success.  In 2013, host specificity testing of the miconia butterfly (Euselasia chrysippe) biocontrol agent was completed, showing high specificity to feeding on miconia with no impacts on native plant species or important agricultural crops.  A recent economic report by UHERO calculated positive present values of millions of dollars with biocontrol investments supplanting aggressive (futile) interventions.  The final step for releasing this potentially useful biocontrol agent is an environmental assessment that compares this management option against other alternatives.  In the case of the 5000-acre core infestation of East Maui there are several considerations including, but not limited to: (i) abandonment, (ii) intensifying interventions, (iii) commodity-based landscape conversion and (iv) local resident homesteading.  This assessment process will seek to identify the most sustainable alternatives with implications for environmental, economic and social impacts.  This project seeks funding to perform the following objectives: (i) accelerate incipient population reduction with aerial HBT operations (200 hours of operational time, (ii) document environmental and economic assessments on the release of the miconia butterfly and alternative management options in the core infestation, (iii) Develop a comprehensive integrated miconia management strategy for the East Maui Watershed, (iv) establish a planning committee involving state and local organizations on strategizing best land uses leading to sustainable impact reduction of the core infestation in Hana.



East Maui African Tulip Control


The Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), Maui Nui Forestry Section staff has conducted limited control work for African tulip (Spathodea campanulata); amongst other noxious/invasive weed species within the forest reserves on Maui and Molokaʻi for many years. In particular, controlling African tulip in the East Maui watershed has become one of the high priorities for the Maui DOFAW Forestry Section. Recent control efforts in the Hana Forest Reserve (Waihoʻi Unit) and Molokaʻi Forest Reserve (Wailau Unit) have proven to be very effective in controlling and eliminating the African tulip competition while allowing the native flora to recover.  Improvements to the application techniques and herbicides over recent years have greatly increased the long-term effectiveness of treatments while decreasing the frequency of retreatments. Collectively, DOFAW’s Forestry Section staff members have over 30 years of experience in controlling weed species and aims toward applying this expertise in controlling African tulip populations located in the proposed area.    While African tulip is not considered an incipient population in the East Maui watershed, allowing this weed species to colonize and naturalize will have a long lasting, detrimental effect to one of Maui’s most significant watersheds.  It is home to several common native forest birds (‘i’iwi, ‘apapane, and ‘alau’ahio), as well as several listed endangered birds (‘akohekohe, kiwikiu, and ‘ua’u). The East Maui watershed is also the primary water source for East Maui communities and produces an average of 60 billion gallons per year to the agricultural industry, residents, and farmers.

Aerial surveys conducted by Maui DOFAW Forestry Section staff members in 2016 show the extent and distribution of the African tulip population across the East Maui watershed (See Attached Map). If left untreated, the existing native watershed plant communities will be consumed in its’ entirety, and be replaced with conditions similar to that of miconia or kahili ginger. This will reduce the watershed’s ability to collect and hold water.  Allowing this population to grow in size will make future control efforts nearly unmanageable and highly unfeasible.  

The intent of the control plan is to work from the outside in; reducing and constricting existing populations.   The DOFAW Maui Nui Forestry Section’s goals are to 1) Increase overall management efforts and treatment frequency from current levels; 2) initiate control measures; 3) continue to monitor the efficacy of treatments to determine future needs; and 4) maintain any early detection of other incipient weed populations that may establish and threaten the watershed.


Hawaiʻi Ant Lab – Little Fire Ant (LFA) Core Support

Abstract: Wasmannia auropunctata (the Little Fire Ant) is one of the most damaging insect pests in Hawaiʻi.  It stings people, blinds pets, interferes with agriculture and decimates natural ecosystems.  The Hawaiʻi Ant Lab comprises a small team of scientist and extension professionals dedicated to preventing further spread of this species and helping Big Island residents and businesses manage Little Fire Ants on their properties.  Additionally LFA continues to spread beyond the Big Island.  Eight infestations are currently being managed on Oʻahu, Maui and Kauaʻi.  Hawaiʻi Ant Lab manages these infestations and has developed and implemented eradication plans for each. This proposal provides partial baseline funding to maintaining HAL at current resource levels.  It will be levered to obtain equivalent  additional funds from HDOA.


Kauaʻi Invasive Species Committee – Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Plant Database


Over half of Hawaiʻi’s native and naturalized vascular plants are alien but their life history and distribution throughout the archipelago is variable. This, combined with high rates of error in plant ID, leads to difficulty in choosing and prioritizing targets for eradication. As the environmental and economic benefits of controlling invasive plants during their incipient stage are well established, ISC groups endeavor to prioritize eradicable species with the highest invasive impacts. However, the complexity of Hawaiʻi’s flora necessitates a data-rich approach to inform management decisions, requiring three main types of information: 1) Taxonomic, 2) Ecological and 3) Geospatial. We propose to minimize uncertainty surrounding target species selection by drawing resources from multiple agencies and amassing them into an alien plant database.    

This strategy efficiently utilizes numerous in-state data that are already available such as digitized Bishop Museum and National Tropical Botanical Garden herbaria records, the Bishop Museum native/naturalized checklist (Taxonomic Resources), weed risk assessment rankings from Hawaiʻi Pacific Weed Risk Assessment, international weed lists, ISC control methods (Ecological Resources) and occurrence data created by ISC plant surveys (Geospatial Resources). This project stands to immediately benefit other HISC funded organizations (as well as have numerous research applications), including:  1) allowing ISC managers to quickly query a taxonomically sound species list by island for species with limited distributions but known invasive ecology, 2) allowing HPWRA assessors to prioritize species for assessment and infer Hawaiʻi-specific impacts, 3) allowing outreach projects to easily derive a species list for directing outreach efforts and 4) allowing for better-informed “black / phase out lists” for Pono Nursery Endorsement programs, and allowing endorsed nurseries to more easily satisfy their “no new High Risk plants” requirement.

A rudimentary Kauaʻi-specific database for KISC internal use was created in 2015, which has directed survey efforts, illuminated target prioritization and aided in identifying >20 new island naturalization records to be published in the Bishop Museum Occasional Papers. This management decision-making tool will allow for the long-term establishment of much needed data ties between scientific resources (particularly herbaria) and land managers and will provide robustness to funding and staffing changes.


Kauaʻi Invasive Species Committee – Kauaʻi Mongoose Early Detection and Rapid Response

Abstract: KISC will conduct mongoose early detection and rapid response based on Standard Operation Procedures as outlined in the 2015 KISC Mongoose Plan developed in coordination with the mongoose technical committee and USFWS. Funding from HISC will help to maintain KISC’s capacity to respond to reports of mongooses on Kauaʻi, collect and analyze data. The Small Indian Mongoose (Herpestes auropunctata) has had a major impact on native species, especially ground nesting birds, in the areas where it has been previously introduced. Given Kauaʻi’s populations of ground nesting birds are the largest in the state, it is of critical importance to clarify possible population densities and move towards biosecurity planning including post border response.  KISC works in collaboration with other partners on Kauaʻi and statewide, particularly USFWS, USDA – APHIS and DOFAW, to address the issues surrounding the possible incursions and presence of mongooses on this island.  KISC serves as a data clearing-house for mongoose reports as well as work performed regarding response, detection, and trapping.


Kauaʻi Invasive Species Committee – Kauaʻi Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR)

Abstract: Introductions of new invasive species on the Island of Kauaʻi are continuous.  These introductions arrive through multiple pathways; some arrive from offshore destinations and others travel short distances interisland.  The main vectors for these new arrivals are cargo, visitors and ship ballast.  The Kauaʻi Invasive Species Committee consists of an eleven member staff dedicated to various aspects of preventing the establishment of invasive species on the island.  To accomplish this mission, KISC uses a combination of early detection and rapid response coupled with direct eradication.  Methods include; aerial and ground surveys conducted by an experienced field crew, neighborhood, roadside, hiking trail and nursery surveys overseen by an early detection botanist, an educational outreach program to enlist the Kauaʻi population as an early detection resource and a full mobilization potential of 15 people for eradication work with newly proposed crew additions. Additionally, sub-contracting and collaborating with partner organizations to work on our early detection targets increases our capacity across a larger geographical area.  KISC utilizes GIS mapping software integrated with database management to track progress towards eradication and to evaluate potential new targets.  Drone reconnaissance offers an opportunity to increase the efficacy of crew survey coverage.  A continuing education and intern program will facilitate training both new and veteran natural resource professionals to maintain a skilled workforce for future capacity. KISC is located at the CTAHR Kauaʻi Experimental Farm in two former USDA buildings.


Koʻolau Mountains Watershed Partnership – Leptospermum_polygalifolium Survey & Control

Abstract: Leptospermum polygalifolium, commonly known as tea tree, is ranked as “highly invasive” by the Hawai’i Weed Risk Assessment (http://www2.plantpono.org/inv-plant.php?id=16). Isolated stands of this weed have been detected by Ko‘olau Mountains Watershed Partnership (KMWP) staff in the Wailupe and Waiʻalae Nui Gulches of the southern Ko‘olau Mountains between 400 and 500m elevation (Figure 1). Where this species has naturalized it forms dense stands crowding out native plants. L. polygalifolium is a prolific seeder and seeds are wind dispersed, therefore it has the potential to spread widely across the Koʻolau Mountains and dominate mid-elevation watershed forests. The closely related Leptospermum scoparium (manuka) is invasive in mesic to wet forest habitats on Kauaʻi, Oʻahu and Lanaʻi, and is currently a focus of KMWP’s control efforts.
This project would address the management of the highly invasive L. polygalifolium while its distribution is relatively discrete and eradication is still a viable option. This species threaten Oʻahu’s watersheds by directly competing with native plant and animal species for habitat in the southern Ko‘olau mountain range. Native plant species support native bird species, including the endangered Oahu ʻelepaio (Chasiempis ibidis), which is known to occur in Wailupe and Waiʻalae Nui Gulches. The longer these incipient weeds remain untreated, the greater the risk that native vegetation being negatively affected.
During a recent scouting trip in the Waiʻalae Nui Gulch, KMWP staff treated over 465 mature L. polygalifolium, in an 11 acre area (Figure 1), indicating the extent of the infestation may be greater than previously suspected. KMWP proposes conducting aerial and ground surveys to delimit the extent of the infestation for both species in Wailupe and Waiʻalae Nui Gulch (Figure 1). Using the results of the survey, we will conduct chemical treatment of all accessible plants. Because this species is wind dispersed, KMWP will assess wind direction at different times of day to determine the most likely dispersal directions. Since part of the known infestation of L. polygalifolium is easily accessible from the road, we will coordinate volunteers to help with control efforts for this species wherever possible.


MISC – Maui EDRR Control

Abstract: The requested funding will support island-wide early detection and rapid response efforts on Maui and Molokai. Field actions will target 30+ invasive plant species, 3 vertebrate species, 4 invertebrate pests, and 1 aquatic species. MoMISC will serve as an early detection center for agricultural pests. Survey and control efforts will occur over more than 25,000 acres, in all major watersheds and on private and public lands, from the Kaunakakai Harbor to the summit of Haleakalā.
The proposed project has a high likelihood of success. MISC and MoMISC have eradicated 12 plant species from individual islands, with another 10 on target for eradication; kept miconia from invading the islands’ pristine watersheds; reduced one vertebrate species to below‐detectable levels; eradicated more than 12 coqui frog populations; initiated control of little fire ants in extremely challenging terrain; and conducted early detection and rapid response activities across Maui County.
The ISCs will collaborate with state, federal and local agencies, nonprofit organizations, native Hawaiian organizations, community groups and individual members of the public. The proposed work is highly cost‐effective, with more than a 1:1 anticipated leverage for HISC funding.


MISC – Maui Coqui Response

Abstract: The purpose of this project is to continue expanded coqui frog (Eleutherodactylus coqui) control operations in and around Māliko Gulch to ensure the ultimate goal of a coqui-free Maui. The comprehensive control strategy needs additional funding to augment support from Maui County, specifically additional funding for labor and citric acid.
Efforts since 2005 have shown the potential for successful coqui control with eradication of 12 population centers, including infestations at a junkyard, a high-end resort, and wildland areas of East Maui. The frogs have spread down a four-mile stretch of Māliko Gulch, from the top of the gulch to its terminus at the ocean and now infest more than 1,000 acres. Spillover into the neighboring community and agricultural areas is increasing. Despite strong support from the County and substantial efforts by MISC to date, resources have never been adequate for work in the gulch.
Use of management units will ensure consistent and systematic coverage of each area. The operational strategy will utilize multiple teams: one will focus on other outlier populations (supported by other funding); one will focus on habitat work at residential sites; and three to five teams will work the Māliko rim and central gulch. Priorities will focus on stopping the expansion of frogs across Kokomo and Kaluanui Roads, with the goal of completing at least two complete treatment cycles.
The other priority will be to support efforts by local residents who have shown an increasing willingness to become involved. MISC will provide citric acid; loan spray equipment; train local residents; and increase communication with area residents to ensure they are informed about current efforts.
The proposed work is highly cost‐effective, with more than a 2:1 anticipated leverage for HISC funding.


MISC – Maui LFA Response

Abstract: The purpose of this project is to expand little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata) detection and control operations on Maui. The comprehensive detection and control strategy needs additional funding to address new outbreaks of little fire ant (LFA), specifically additional funding for labor and helicopter time.
The little fire ant was first detected on Maui in 2009. This species has the ability to change agricultural production and the quality of life in Hawai‘i. They reduce the overall vitality and productivity of crops and result in higher production costs as workers are stung by the ants. In Tahiti, landowners have abandoned properties because of LFA infestations. The ant poses health risks to humans, pets, and livestock. Little fire ants are spreading unchecked on Big Island. In December 2013, a Maui flower grower found the ants in hapu‘u ferns purchased at a store on Maui. Since then, the ants have been detected at nine other sites on Maui, including dense infestations in Nāhiku and Huelo. The Nāhiku site is especially challenging as it covers an estimated 21 acres and the ants are moving along a stream bed.
There is currently no pesticide labelled for control of LFA in or near waterways, further exacerbating the problem in Nāhiku. As a result, control efforts have focused on places where people may move LFA or be affected by them. However, a special local needs label is being pursued for a product that can be used in or near waterways, which would allow for control of the entire infestation. The product is also approved for aerial application, the only feasible approach for many parts of the Nāhiku infestation.
Aside from control work MISC needs staff available to conduct surveys, follow-up on new reports, and implement the LFA detector dog program. Proposed work is highly cost‐effective, with a 1:1 anticipated leverage of HISC funding.


OISC – Oahu EDRR Control

Abstract: The Oʿahu Invasive Species Committee (OISC) proposes to conduct invasive species surveys and control over public and private land to protect Oʿahu from seven species of invasive plants that have severely damaged watersheds and agriculture elsewhere, but are not yet established on Oʿahu. Funds from this proposal would also manage little fire ant and coqui frog in cooperation with the Hawaiʿi Department of Agriculture and Hawaiʿi Ant Lab. The plant and animal species that OISC proposes to manage have caused measurable damage on other Hawaiian islands, have a reputation for disrupting ecological and agricultural systems elsewhere or have the potential to degrade Oʿahu citizens’ quality of life. Controlling these emerging threats island-wide uses funds efficiently to prevent damaging weeds from moving upslope and becoming chronic problems for land managers and prevents species like coqui frog and little fire ant from becoming permanent problems for Oʿahu residents. To date, OISC’s efforts have prevented miconia, Cape ivy and Himalayan blackberry from moving into native forest and have brought pampas grass and fireweed to undetectable levels.


BIISC – Albizia Control Team* (*estimate based on prior year’s funding)

Abstract: N/A


BIISC – Hawaii EDRR Control* (*estimate based on prior year’s funding)

Abstract: N/A


CRB Response Program Control (*estimate based on prior year’s funding)

Abstract: N/A

    Control Subtotal: $6,198,080

Outreach Pre-Proposals:

Dept Division Project Title & Abstract Request

Outreach Success Stories


Outreach about invasive species often relies on tales of doom and gloom – educating the public or specific stakeholders about what will happen if effective action is not taken now. Messaging may include what’s at stake, but for many audiences, the connection to the very real consequences of inaction can be remote, tangential, or far in the future. Stories of success in the world of invasive species receive far too little attention. In addition to these challenges, the way that people obtain information has shifted while attention spans are decreasing.

This project will develop five short videos (five to seven minutes each) and shorter vignettes (30 seconds) focused on invasive species success stories across the islands within UH PCSU projects. Topic areas will include ungulate fences, predator control for wildlife benefit, and target plant and animal removals. The videos will be made available for use by the projects and HISC (social media or public broadcast). Leveraged funding will support additional broadcast opportunities.

The project will be overseen by the PCSU Special Projects Director, who has successfully produced videos on little fire ants, climate change, and other environmental issues.


BIISC Outreach* (*estimate based on prior year’s funding)

Abstract: N/A



KISC Outreach

Abstract: Invasive species outreach and education is an integral component of on-the-ground control efforts by KISC. Active community support and invested partners increase KISC’s capacity by increasing detection and reporting of new invasive pests.  This funding will serve as salary for KISC’s full-time Outreach Associate, partial salary for KISC’s Program and Outreach Coordinator and a KIPU outreach intern.  Additional support includes design and production of outreach materials, and development of education programs. HISC deliverables can be measured in project outputs. KISC’s priorities in FY2018 include a commitment to participate in statewide outreach regarding inter-island biosecurity, priority pest species, as well as bio-control and other agriculturally related invasive species priorities.  KISC will track educational materials produced, target audience numbers reached, and participation in educational programs.


Maui Outreach

Abstract: Highly trained staff will educate and engage the public at local events and community meetings. Staff will share printed materials and use broadcast media to inform students, teachers, policy makers, funding agencies and the general public about invasive species issues. Staff will continue to actively participate in statewide outreach processes, including efforts to enhance statewide coordination, expand stakeholder engagement, and ensure that efforts are culturally inclusive. Efforts will continue to build awareness about the little fire ant. Staff will engage local students and teachers through classroom visits using the Hō‘ike o Haleakalā curriculum. Project success will be evaluated using established measures of effectiveness and during annual review by Committee members.


O‘ahu Outreach


The HISC Strategic Plan is clear that a supportive, concerned and responsive public is essential to the prevention and control of invasive species. OISC’s goal for outreach is to cultivate this type of support on the state’s most populous island. Outreach activities support the HISC strategic plan by promulgating strategic messages through direct presentations, active displays at community events, school visits, social and traditional media and volunteer events.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that OISC’s outreach efforts are working. OISC receives regular reports of its target species from the general public. The Mānoa Neighborhood Board has given OISC a permanent spot on their regular monthly agenda for invasive species updates. In 2016, 95% of private property owners gave OISC permission to survey and remove invasive species from their private property, reflecting the general public’s awareness and support for invasive species management.

OISC will also continue to present the place-based, culturally relevant Hoʿike class activity in schools. The activity teaches students about invasive species while asking them to test their yards for little fire ant. As part of the Hoʿike project, students participate in a statewide mapping project so they can see how the testing they have done supports island-wide early detection for this pest.

    Outreach Subtotal: $645,717

Prevention Pre-Proposals:

Dept Division Project Title & Abstract Request

LHWRP – ROD Survey

Abstract: Rapid ‘ōhi’a death is increasingly damaging extensive tracts of forest on Hawai’i Island.  The forests of leeward Haleakalā are degraded and susceptible to damage during storms, increasing likelihood of introduction of the pathogen into damaged trees.  In addition, these slopes receive winds directly from the southeast, and are exposed to spores blown across the ‘Alenuihāhā Channel from Hawai’i Island.  LHWRP and the Maui ROD Working Group want to be proactive in surveying for ROD and have the capacity to effectively respond should infected trees be identified.  This proposal is based on recommendations from experts at the recent ROD summit in Honolulu in December, 2016, and seeks funds for dedicated gear for LHWRP to utilize when working with potentially infected/infected ROD trees, for helicopter time to conduct quarterly aerial surveys and sampling, for field sampling equipment to conduct site samples of suspect trees, for postage and travel to work with specialists on Hawai’i Island, and for ROD-related outreach material development.


Hawaii-Pacific Weed Risk Assessment

Abstract: The Hawaii‐Pacific Weed Risk Assessment (HPWRA) assists in preventing new invasive plants from entering the State and in reducing the spread of existing invasive plants. This voluntary screening system provides an objective, science‐based and accurate method of assessing the invasive potential of plants being imported into and/or planted within the Hawaiian Islands. Preventing the introduction of invasive species is the most cost effective option when dealing with invasive species and the HPWRA system is an important component of state‐wide prevention measures. Funding will provide continued support for the state Weed Risk Assessment Specialist and allow for the hiring of a second assessor, a position which was last filled in 2012. A return to full staffing will increase the capacity to screen additional species, evaluate and update older assessments, provide new content to the Plant Pono website, and expand outreach opportunities with the landscaping and horticultural industries and members of the general public. Continued funding for the HPWRA will fulfill prevention objectives highlighted in the 2015‐2020 draft Strategic Plan of the Hawaii Invasive Species Council.

    Prevention Subtotal: $225,375

Research Pre-Proposals:

Dept Division Project Title & Abstract Request

ROD Dispersal Patterns of Bark Beetles


Understanding the mode of transmission for Rapid `Ōhi`a Death (ROD), a plant disease caused by the alien fungal pathogen Ceratocystis fimbriata, is a priority for protecting native Hawaiian `ōhi`a forests. Downwind spread patterns of ROD on Hawai`i Island have already implicated bark beetles as being possible vectors. Bark and ambrosia beetles (Curculionidae: Scolytinae), of which there are dozens of invasive species found in Hawai`i, are important vectors of tree fungal diseases worldwide. ROD is so far only known to exist on Hawai`i Island and great efforts strive to keep it that way. However, bark beetles are capable of dispersing great distances by flight and wind. For example, the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), the vector of blue stain fungus to conifers in the US Pacific Northwest, can disperse up to 243 miles – which is nearly the distance between Hawai`i Island and Kaua`i. To date, the dispersal patterns of bark beetle populations across the Hawaiian archipelago have never been studied. Beetles could disperse by human mediated transport, or insect flight and wind. Since almost all invasive species are found on each of the major islands, we propose that interisland dispersal does occur, and that it poses a significant risk factor for spreading emerging tree diseases like ROD.

The objectives of our project are to 1) determine the dispersal patterns and pathways of invasive bark beetles species within and between islands, and 2) combine results with our ongoing work on ROD to understand whether beetles are able to disperse ROD across the islands. This will be accomplished by 1) using molecular techniques to screen bark beetles for C. fimbriata from within ROD infestation zones as well as other islands, and by 2) using population genetics to assess and map the population structure of candidate species both within and between islands. We will focus on forest stands across the islands dominated by `ōhi`a. To eliminate the possibility of ROD spread resulting from our project, we will rely on Dr. Curtis Ewing (postdoc) to provide killed and preserved material from Hawai`i Island. Our preliminary results from ROD surveys have identified four candidate species that we will specifically target. These funds will be used to support one master’s student as well as materials and costs associated with sampling and testing beetles. This research will inform coordinated statewide early detection and control programs of the dispersal patterns of ROD so as to better direct surveys and containment efforts, thereby curtailing the damage the disease poses to remaining native forests.


Protaetia_orientalis Biocontrol/Control

Abstract: The oriental flower beetle, Protaetia orientalis (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) is one of the established scarab beetles in Hawaii. It was first discovered on Oahu in 2002, and since then spread to Big Island, Maui, and possibly other neighbor islands. It is native from the East Asia. The adult beetle feeds on pollen and nectar, ferments sap, and damages fruit of different plants. It is known to feed on flowers of some landscape plants and crops, such as coconut, papaya, mango, corn, and more. It damages flowers resulting fruits of poor quality and also reduced fruit production. Due to its polyphagous nature, it can avoid food scarcity period. It can change food sources from pollen and nectar to sap and fruit with the change in season. The adult female beetle lays eggs in the soil where the grubs develop and then pupate. When reaching the adult stage, it flies from the ground to plants with flowers and fruits. The adult can survive up to one year.
This pest has become more and more of concern in recent years. PI constantly receives emails and phone calls from various groups of people on identification of this pest and how to control it. To fill in the research gap, this project aims to identify effective yet environmental-friendly means to control this increasingly important pest. Overall, laboratory and field efficacy trials will be conducted with low-risk systemic and contact insecticides, selected bio-control groups (entomopathogenic nematodes and fungi), and novel cultural practices against oriental flower beetle. An IPM program against oriental flower beetle will be developed.


Economic Assessment of IS Policy & Management

Abstract: This project will use simulation modeling to address key policy questions surrounding priority invasive species. To reduce data collection costs and expedite analyses, each model will be specific to the policy question, species, and location. Techniques from bioeconomic modeling, risk and uncertainty analysis, and sparse data analysis will be used to help generate useful information in the face of limited data. Here are examples of the types of questions that could be addressed. Does it make sense to continue eradicating LFA on Maui and under what circumstances would managers switch to an alternate strategy? What are the economic benefits gained in preventing the spread of Rapid Ohia Death? Because key policy questions are constantly changing, when the study is funded, the PI would meet with scientists and HISC managers to formulate and select the best questions to address.


ROD Quick Detection Capacity

Abstract: Rapid Ohia Death (ROD), caused by Ceratocystis fimbriata, continues to be a serious concern for all within the state of Hawaii. Currently, detection and lab-based research on the pathogen has been led by Lisa Keith and the Tropical Plant Genetic Resources and Disease Research lab at USDA ARS’s PBARC facility in Hilo, Hawaii. University of Hawaii CTAHR has been an affiliated organization from the beginning of detection of ROD, though its wealth of plant pathologists have not played a large role in this state-wide problem in a scientific capacity. This pre-proposal is to establish facilities for early detection of ROD in each county utilizing the quick detection kits recently developed by USDA ARS.
Details of the ROD quick detection kits are still limited, though we have been assured they will be available soon, with full details on the equipment required. During the most recent Scientific Committee and Early Detection and Rapid Response Working Group meetings, it was estimated that a complete set-up would cost $7000-$8000, though similar equipment may already be present in some CTAHR field stations. The project budget would also cover the expenses of the first 100 detection kits for each island, using a roughly estimated cost. The remaining budget allows for the primary CTAHR faculty member from each county to be trained by the USDA ARS lab in proper setup of equipment, sample collection, and sample analysis.
CTAHR faculty are housed in facilities on each island, all with available lab space and expertise needed to utilize and maintain quick detection equipment. A major concern with ROD is the movement of potentially infected material between islands when sending material to the Hilo lab. Establishing a facility on each island would allow CTAHR faculty to monitor the entire chain of custody from source of material and all the way to the lab, without worrying about proper packaging and mailing conditions.
Currently Hawaii and Maui are taking Rapid Ohia Death very seriously, and is a secondary concern for the other islands. Kauai and Oahu residence and visitors make the assumption that if it spreads then it will move from Hawaii and jump west one island at a time. Unfortunately, this assumption is incorrect and continuous inter-island travel of goods and visitors makes all islands equally at risk. Establishing facilities on each island will show the communities that ROD is a state-wide problem and we should all take preventative measures. Neighbor islands currently have limited resources to analyze potentially infected samples, and if equipment and experience is present the quality and reliability is not consistent. Having the same equipment in each lab utilizing the same technology will allow all islands to give consistently reliable results.
The goal of this proposed project is to equip each county with new technology to detect ROD and eliminate movement of potentially infected material. Funding this project gives CTAHR faculty a clear function within ROD activities and utilizes our scientific skills in the most effective way.


Herbicide Ballistic Technology with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Abstract: We propose to develop a small unmanned aerial system (sUAS) with capabilities to deploy Herbicide Ballistic Technology (HBT) for treating incipient invasive plant species.  The concept of HBT is to encapsulate active herbicide formulations into 0.68 caliber soft-gel projectiles to be delivered from an electro-pneumatic system.  The HBT platform has proven to be a valuable tool for surgically treating isolated plant targets that occupy extreme, inaccessible landscapes (e.g., cliff faces) with long range precision and accuracy.  HBT-G4U200 is a registered herbicide in the state of Hawaii (EPA reg. no. SLN-HI-120001) for treating two of the most ecologically damaging invasive species miconia (Miconia calvescens) and strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum). Deployment of the HBT platform from sUAS will greatly expand surveillance, detection and elimination of these species’ incipient populations that are invading remote locations in high-value forested watersheds.  We have partnered with private industry for producing the registered HBT herbicide capsules and also for fabricating a prototype pneumatic platform for sUAS that has an 11 kg lift capacity and up to 15 min of sustained flight time on a single battery.  This is leading edge technology that is to be delivered to cooperating local, state and federal partners through a detailed quality assurance and quality control process starting with the design, validation and certification of HBT-UAS followed by a rigorous training program for selected partners to develop an aerial management team of UAS pilots, payload operators and visual observers, critical to an effective, legal flight operation.


Miconia Climate Model


Miconia (Miconia calvescens DC) is a HISC-priority invasive plant species naturalizing in wet forests on all of the major islands, except Molokai.  It biological traits of high fecundity, long distance dispersal and strong recruitment patterns make this species difficult to contain and eradicate.  The East Maui Watershed (EMW) is ~120,000 acres with a majority of the area being class I watershed, producing trillions of gallons of fresh water annually.  It is also critical habitat to a wide range of endangered, endemic species.  Since 2012, we’ve eliminated over 20,000 incipient miconia targets protecting an estimated 45,000 acres of the EMW.  Through this effort we have noticed a strong influence of climate change. From 2012-2014, extreme drought conditions resulted in sharp declines in these incipient populations as a result of our management interventions outpacing recruitment and recovery of miconia.  However, higher precipitation during the warmer summer months from 2014-2016 has resulted in extreme population recruitment spikes stressing our management capabilities.   This revelation of climatic influence on population phenology is potentially ground-breaking on how we strategically allocate resources on a spatial and temporal scale with new opportunities in real-time management decision making.  We propose to establish an array of portable environmental observatories (e.g., temperature, RH, precipitation, solar radiation, etc.) across remote sections of the EMW, in the vicinity of known, incipient miconia populations.  With data acquired remotely (radio and/or cell network) we have the capacity to process seasonal weather conditions at anytime (i.e., daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) to correspond with management events.  The long-term goal of this project is to develop climate models (applied across the state) to predict miconia phenology (e.g., growth, maturity, recruitment, etc.) with high spatial and temporal resolution, allowing for a smarter tactical approach to scheduling management interventions.


Batch Production of Septoria_passiflorae Agent for Banana Poka Biocontrol


Banana Poka (Passiflorae mollissima) is perennial forest vine introduced to Hawaii in the early 1900’s and since has been recognized as a highly invasive species and severe ecosystem modifier.  The fungal pathogen Septoria passiflorae was isolated, screened and approved for release in Hawaii as a biocontrol agent in 1996 under the USDA Permit 962171 and has shown spectacular results of suppression in field applications (Trujillo 2005).    For reasons unknown, performance of this agent is enhanced with repeated maintenance applications despite naturalization of the organism where banana poka is established.  There are currently no facilities maintaining batch cultures of this successful agent despite continued demand by DOFAW for administering field applications.  The Maui Agriculture Research Center is a 25-acre experiment station managed by the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) with a recent history of research and demonstration in ornamentals (e.g., proteas) including a ~600 ft2 plant molecular biology laboratory that is currently inactive.  This proposal provides the basic needs for retrofitting a portion of this laboratory space to establish a reliable, clean facility for batch production of the septoria agent as a convenient and reliable resource for DOFAW field applications to the adjacent Kula Forest Reserve. The initial production goal is to produce enough inoculum to treat up to 10 ha of the heaviest infestations with 1 x1012 conidia ha-1 (Klein and Auld 1995, Kempenaar et al. 1996). Success of the project is contingent on obtaining clean, vetted isolates of Septoria passiflorae. This proposal also budgets for field collection and isolation if necessary.


ROD Pathogen Response by Ohia


The disease Rapid Ohia Death (ROD) is causing the widespread mortality to ohia (Metrosideros polymorpha) tree populations across Hawaii Island and is a threat to the entire state of Hawaii.  Ohia a keystone species to Hawaiian forest and therefore is vital to reliant flora, fauna, and ecological processes.  To better understand this complex epidemic and its effects on ohia, research is required to elucidate the host-parasite interactions of this disease upon susceptible hosts. Here, we propose the use of spectroradiometry upon seedlings to track internal changes within the plant after artificial inoculations within a growth chamber.  An improved understanding of the host reactions to disease through time allows for a more accurate ability to predict outbreaks and will complement the use ongoing surveillance programs.  The budget below lists resources needed to fill budget gaps identified in state and federal funding levels for FY18.


ROD Chemical Ecology


The disease Rapid Ohia Death (ROD) is causing the widespread mortality to ohia (Metrosideros polymorpha) tree populations across Hawaii Island and is a threat to the entire state of Hawaii.  Ohia a keystone species to Hawaiian forest and therefore is vital to reliant flora, fauna, and ecological processes.  To better understand this complex epidemic and its effects on ohia, research is required to elucidate the host-parasite interactions of this disease upon susceptible hosts. The understanding of the chemical ecology of rapid ohia death, will help to elucidate the role of insects in the biology of this disease.  Here we propose to monitor the chemical volatiles (odors) emitted from artificially inoculated trees in growth chamber experiments.  By understanding the underlying signals emanated by diseased trees and received by wood-boring insects, we can better formulate strategies to interfere and reduce disease spread and improve management options. The budget below lists resources needed to fill budget gaps identified in state and federal funding levels for FY18.


Mosquito Distribution on Hawai’i Island

Abstract: This project aims to identify the current distribution of reproducing mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) on the island of Hawai’i through deployment of oviposition traps around the islands along elevational gradients. Currently there are six species of mosquitoes that are presumed established in the state of Hawai’i, Culex quinquefasciatus, Aedes vexans nocurnus, Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus, Wyeomya mitchellii, Aedes japonicus japonicus. All of the species have been introduced to Hawai’i due to human activities and the likelihood that more will be introduced through shipping and air traffic is very high. The majority of these species are vectors for zoonotic and human diseases. Therefore, it becomes a critical issue to create a distribution map to determine high-risk areas for potential disease transmission. Such maps have been created for O’ahu and the Island of Hawai’i and there has been a resurgence of trapping on these islands since the recent dengue outbreak. However, much of the distributional information is dated and trapping is limited to urban areas and specifically to airports and sea ports. Hawai’i is also the only island with a known reproducing population of A. aegypti.
Increased direct domestic and international travel increases probability of incursion of a new species of mosquitoes to these islands and low monitoring activity means that the current species established and their distribution is likely unknown. Early detection of mosquitoes at entry points and beyond is extremely important in preventing establishment of new species. With the increased incidence of diseases caused by flaviviruses such as dengue and Zika we need to be vigilant in our understanding of the vectors that can transmit those diseases. Unfortunately, despite the increased probability of incursion there has been a decrease in the level of monitoring throughout Hawai’i. New personnel have been hired by the Department of Health to rebuild our capacity in this area. This project will complement and support the activities of US military and state agencies to fill a significant gap in our understanding of current mosquito distribution in the State of Hawai’i.


Mosquito Distribution on Kaua’i & Lana’i Islands

Abstract: This project aims to identify the current distribution of reproducing mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) on the islands of Kaua’i and Lana’i, Hawai’i through deployment of oviposition traps around the islands along elevational gradients. Currently there are six species of mosquitoes that are presumed established in the state of Hawai’i, Culex quinquefasciatus, Aedes vexans nocurnus, Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus, Wyeomya mitchellii, Aedes japonicus japonicus. All of the species have been introduced to Hawai’i due to human activities and the likelihood that more will be introduced through shipping and air traffic is very high. The majority of these species are vectors for zoonotic and human diseases. Therefore, it becomes a critical issue to create a distribution map to determine high-risk areas for potential disease transmission. Such maps have been created for O’ahu and the Island of Hawai’i and there has been a resurgence of trapping on these islands since the recent dengue outbreak. A study is underway on the island of Maui but no comprehensive sampling has been conducted on Kaua’i or Lana’i.
Increased direct domestic and international travel increases probability of incursion of a new species of mosquitoes to these islands and low monitoring activity means that the current species established and their distribution is likely unknown. Early detection of mosquitoes at entry points and beyond is extremely important in preventing establishment of new species. With the increased incidence of diseases caused by flaviviruses such as dengue and Zika we need to be vigilant in our understanding of the vectors that can transmit those diseases. Unfortunately, despite the increased probability of incursion there has been a decrease in the level of monitoring throughout Hawaii. New personnel have been hired by the Department of Health to rebuild our capacity in this area. This project will complement and support the activities of US military and state agencies to fill a significant gap in our understanding of current mosquito distribution in the State of Hawai’i.


Schefflera_actinophylla Distribution on O’ahu

Abstract: Octopus tree, Schefflera actinophylla (Araliaceae) is native to Australia and New Guinea and grows to 30 to 40 feet in height, is a prolific fruit and seed producer. Birds disperse the seeds. It is commonly used as a landscaping plant in urban areas but has spread to natural environments. It is considered invasive in Florida (Category 1), some islands of the Pacific and has even expanded its range in Australia where it has invaded undisturbed communities. It is found on all the major islands of Hawaii, considered weedy in a variety of habitats and is reported to be invasive in lower elevation areas with moderate rainfall and can move into undisturbed areas. Non-native birds are likely dispersers of the seeds and it is still sold as an ornamental plant in Hawaii. It is also reported to be a threat to plant native to Florida. Adult plants are difficult to manage and there appears to be very little coordinated effort to manage this plant despite its obvious current and potential levels of infestation.
Very little is known about the distribution, extent and impacts of this plant to native forests in Hawaii despite the presence of major infestations in valleys on Kauai and Oahu. To our knowledge, there is no study of the impacts or demographics of this plant in Hawaii. Reports of its distribution are dated and localized. This project seeks to remedy this deficiency by undertaking a comprehensive distributional and demographic and impact study of the plant on Oahu. If possible, within the funding period we will also include an assessment of change over time. This study will help us establish the invasiveness of this plant on Oahu. Similar studies could be conducted on other islands with sufficient funding and support. This will yield preliminary data that should support subsequent applications and determination of suitability as a target for biological control.


Tibouchina_herbacea Biocontrol Monitoring

Abstract: Several species in the family Melastomataceae are noxious weeds in Hawaiian rainforests and rangelands. All members of this family are alien to Hawaii, which enhances the feasibility of identifying target-specific biocontrol agents. Over the last two decades, the USDA Forest Service and partners have been evaluating a variety of specialist herbivores from the tropical American native range of melastomes. One of these is an insect identified in Brazil from Tibouchina herbacea, which in Hawaii is invasive in pastures, forest openings, and boggy habitats that are home to rare native plants. Syphraea uberabensis (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) is a flea beetle whose adults and larvae feed externally on foliage and soft stems, causing enough damage to kill small plants. Tests in quarantine and observations in the native range have demonstrated that S. uberabensis is a suitable agent for biocontrol in Hawaii. With a host range restricted to plants in the tribe Melastomae, a narrow subset of the melastome family, S. uberabensis is expected to impact five plant species in Hawaii, all of them invasive threats to Hawaiian forest watersheds: Tibouchina herbacea, Tibouchina longifolia, Pterolepis glomerata, Melastoma septemnervium and Melastoma sanguineum. Syphraea is unlikely to impact other prominent weeds also in this family, for example, Tibouchina urvilleana, Miconia calvescens, and Clidemia hirta. Pending evaluation of a petition for release and completion of an environmental assessment, this biocontrol agent is expected to be released in 2017. A colony of the proposed agent is being maintained in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Quarantine Facility.
In anticipation of release of a biocontrol for invasive melastomes in Hawaii within the next year, we will develop a program to release and monitor its spread and impacts in Hawaiian watersheds. Rigorous sampling of pre-release conditions at selected sites on Maui, Hawaii and Oahu has already been conducted over a two-year period. Once the agent has been approved for release, it will be mass reared and delivered to the selected release sites on Maui and Hawai’i Islands. Thereafter the early establishment will be monitored. An experimental release protocol will also be tested to evaluate the impact of invasive ant species on agent reproduction and survival. The project will result in a baseline dataset for long term impact monitoring and development of release protocols for successful establishment.
We also aim to engage watershed partnerships, citizen scientists, and others to release and redistribute the agent. Educational and outreach tools including lesson plans for teachers will be developed.


ROD Genetics

Abstract: Lab-scale inoculation testing of ohia (Metrosideros polymorpha) provides a controlled atmosphere for testing variation of susceptibility of varieties to Ohia Wilt, and also for dissecting the molecular mechanisms encompassing host-plant susceptibility and pathogen virulence.  This disease, also commonly referred to as Rapid Ohia Death, is caused by a newly discovered species of Ceratocystis.   By the most recent aerial mapping, this disease is devastating over 55,000 acres of ohia forest on Hawaii Island, and continued spread is likely.  In order to uncover the molecular mechanisms underlying the host-pathogen interaction, RNA-seq, a DNA-sequencing based method that measures gene expression as a function of transcript abundance, will be conducted over a time course on plants inoculated with Ceratocystis.  A varietal resistance screen is already underway in Lisa Keith’s laboratory, and should any resistant or hypersensitive genotypes be identified, these will incorporated into the study.  Replicate inoculation of clonal plant material, plus controls consisting of avirulent strain(s) and mock-inoculations will provide confidence in the identification of genes/pathways differentially expressed in response to Ceratocystis infection.


Maui Axis Deer Population Monitoring Model


Axis deer (Axis axis) have reached high levels of abundance and have become problematic to ranching, agriculture, and the conservation of natural areas in Hawai‘i, prompting land managers to protect resources attempt removal of large numbers of deer.  Since the introduction of nine deer to Maui in 1959 and 1960, numbers had reached an estimated 7,500-11,000 animals by 2013.  High reproductive rates characterize axis deer, with 95% or more of does bearing fawns after reaching maturity as early as 6-10 months of age.  Annual population increases range from 20-31% in other parts of the world.  Permits issued by Maui DOFAW for deer control have significantly increased harvest levels to more than 5,000 deer in that last 1.5 years, and additional opportunities may exist to build on those harvest levels.  Despite large numbers of recent removals, deer remain abundant, with no lasting measurable decrease.  Their cryptic behavior makes basic information on population dynamics difficult to acquire, which can lead to underestimating overall abundance as well as the magnitude of efforts required to bring populations under control.  Models using existing data could help land managers develop more robust targets for removal.

We propose to conduct population monitoring and to use simple population models to project the amount of harvest landowners must maintain to keep populations at desirable levels.  Because the introduction of axis deer to Maui was well documented, it offers an essential “anchor” point for such projections.  Important existing data that need to be compiled include the total amount of harvests over time.  This will allow the annual population growth rate to be estimated.  Population modeling may inform forthcoming harvest efforts in a timely manner; scenarios corresponding to different harvest levels can be modeled to examine the lasting effects on population abundance.  More sophisticated population models may be developed if sufficient data are available on ratios of bucks to does, while the ratio of fawns to does may also provide a current measure of recruitment into the population.  Such models may be used to indicate sex-specific harvest levels that result in sex ratios favoring lower population growth.  Specific tasks include:  population modeling using existing data; repeating aerial surveys of the population; estimating reproductive success and recruitment; and revising models with updated parameters from monitoring.  Information derived from the project will be made available for use by Maui-DOFAW and other large landowners with active deer management programs.


HAL – LFA Organic Control Methods


Currently no control methods are available to combat the Little Fire Ant (Wasmannia auropunctata) in certified organic agriculture.  As LFA become more widespread, an increasing number of certified organic farmers are becoming affected by the impacts of this species.  Crop yields are reduced and export opportunities are lost due to contamination of produce.  This research project aims to develop organic control methods for the certified organic farming industry as well as residents wishing to reduce the use of pesticides.

In collaboration with the Hawai`i Organic Farmers Association, Hawai`i Ant Lab will test candidate methodologies for efficacy, and seek to gain regulatory approvals for their use in organic and conventional agriculture.  HAL will seek to lever these funds against a USDA Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) grant.


LHWRP – Bocconia HBT with UAV


Accessing invasive species in challenging terrain within remote locations is a common problem across many natural resource management programs in Hawai’i.  New technologies have been developed that facilitate safe, strategic, application of herbicides combined with real-time imagery and GIS mapping.  Should these technologies prove effective in local terrain and weather conditions, the potential is significant to improve safety, reduce staff and helicopter time required, and increase range and rare at which invasive species can be controlled.

We propose to test the potential for use of an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) developed in Japan for applying herbicides in agricultural settings.  This new technology has only become available commercially recently, but has been shown to tremendously reduce man hours required for applying herbicides, dispersing seeds, and surveying broad expanses of land.   We propose to 1) assess the capacity for flying this UAS in the terrain, environmental conditions and topography that we encounter in the field during watershed management efforts; 2) to track efficacy of invasive species controlled; 3) to develop recommendations for safe use in natural areas, and 4) to determine requirements and feasibility of FAA certification for legal use in natural resource management.

LHWRP Field Supervisor Keahi Bustamente would acquire any certifications required to test the equipment participate in required training.  Keahi has more than five years of experience flying drones in Hawai’i and has used smaller models to scout for rare and invasive species. Testing would be conducted in relatively open terrain at first to calibrate the equipment and determine efficacy of treatment on priority invasive species incipient to Haleakalā’s south slope with great potential to be effectively and safely treated using this tool, such as pines, Bocconia, and gorse.  If the UAS is suitable for working in the terrain and conditions in Hawai’i, we will have the potential to greatly increase efficiency in managing invasive species in Hawaiian ecosystems.


MISC – Maui Coqui Wall

Abstract: Maui is at a crossroads: either coqui frogs can be contained at Māliko Gulch for eventual removal, or the frogs will continue spreading into outlying communities and elsewhere on the island, with control eventually becoming impossible. A system exists that could help stop the spread: a coqui barrier. A coqui barrier was developed by UH-CTAHR and previously used successfully by MISC; however, the materials are expensive, it was difficult to install, and over time, degraded in the elements.
MISC proposes to offer a “Grand Challenge” to encourage creative engineering to design a better coqui wall. Specifications will require participants to address: ease of installation; durability; cost; and selection of materials that prevent coqui from navigating a 90 degree turn (found to be a successful inhibitor as part of the previous design). Two designs are needed: one that could attach to existing fence lines and also a free-standing version. Funding for the Grand Challenge will come from private donations, but funds will be needed to secure materials to test winning designs and to pay for vegetation clearing at installation sites. Such a barrier could be used on lands that cover more than one mile along the gulch; the eventual amount installed will depend on the final design and material costs. This research project will test the effectiveness of different designs by observing the behavior of coqui frogs in reaction to the material and measuring changes in coqui calls pre- and post-installation, after spraying has occurred in the test areas.


Random Encounter Modeling of Feral Pig Populations

Abstract: al pigs is exclosure fencing followed by concentrated hunting and/or trapping. Because most fencing for conservation is done in remote and rugged areas where more intact native ecosystems exist, initial fencing and upkeep costs are very high, particularly for large management units. One of the biggest challenges to feral pig management in Hawaiʻi, and globally, is the lack of basic information on population dynamics. This knowledge gap includes a need to address questions central to successful management regarding population densities, such as cost-effective tools for estimating basic population metrics. Technological and statistical improvements now allow for the use of camera traps to effectively estimate population sizes using random encounter models.1 The correlation of random encounter model estimates with more difficult to obtain population estimates from feral pig damage survey data2 holds the potential for developing accurate and accessible methods for estimating feral pig population sizes throughout Hawaiʻi. We hypothesize that feral pig population density estimates resulting from easily calculated random encounter models can be correlated with more difficult and site-specific estimates of feral pig population sizes from forest floor damage surveys.
To address this issue, we propose to use camera traps combined with random encounter modeling to estimate feral pig population sizes in each of eight individual management units within Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge on the Island of Hawaiʻi.2 For each management unit, we will also repeat annual transect surveys of forest floor damage that have already been developed specifically for the refuge2, and correlate these site-specific surveys with population size estimates from the random encounter models. By cross-calibrating the results of the two different population estimates, our goal is to establish a more widely applicable and cost-effective tool for managers in other natural and managed areas to rapidly assess trends in feral pig population densities. This is critical information for adaptive management, particularly for estimating the initial and subsequent cost of feral pig removal from individual management units. Ultimately, the results from this proposed project will fill a crucial gap in both basic and applied knowledge of feral pig population dynamics in Hawaiʻi and throughout the Pacific Island Region.
1Jousimo J and Ovaskainen O. 2016. Plos One e0162447.
2Leopold CR et al. 2016. Hawaiʻi Cooperative Studies Unit Technical Report HCSU-075.

USDA Forest Service

Albizia Biocontrol

Abstract: Successful containment of albizia, Falcataria moluccana, by self-perpetuating biological control agents is needed for long term management of this invasive tree, which destroys native landscapes and threatens Hawaiʻi’s businesses and taxpayers with hundreds of millions of dollars in damage and maintenance costs. This project will begin the second phase in development of biocontrol for albizia, which we began in 2015, to include focused evaluation of the most promising biocontrol agents. Potential biocontrol agents will be collected in the native range (Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and nearby islands). By 2018 we will begin to ship promising insects to our Hawaii quarantine facility for detailed evaluation. We will develop risk assessments to ensure selection of biocontrol agents that are most appropriate for Hawaiʻi’s environment by initiating host-specificity testing of selected agents.  We also will fund a partner to conduct a genetic analysis of albizia to allow the closest possible matching with enemies from its original range.

USDA Forest Service

Clidemia & Miconia Biocontrol

Abstract: We request continuing HISC support of ongoing studies of natural enemies for biocontrol of miconia and clidemia. In 2018 we will conclude quarantine rearing and specificity testing of a newly discovered gall wasp (Allorhogas sp.) that attacks fruits of Clidemia hirta in Brazil, continue evaluation of a related wasp species galling fruits of Miconia calvescens, and further develop a nematode gall-former Ditylenchus gallaeformans, which has great potential for controlling clidemia within Hawaiʻi’s wet forests (and also attacks miconia). These projects depend on having support to travel to collect agents and to foster joint studies with foreign collaborators, and support for staff to maintain insects and their host plants in quarantine.

USDA Forest Service

Morella_faya Biocontrol


We propose to revisit the biocontrol effort against Morella faya by conducting new exploration for natural enemies in the most promising part of its native range: the Canary Islands. Past releases of biocontrol agents have had negligible impact, and it is clear that more damaging natural enemies are needed. Previous USFS exploration in the 1980s and 90s focused only on the Azores and Madeira and yielded a relatively meager suite of potential agents, probably because these islands have lost the great majority of their native forests. By comparison, the Canary Islands have well-conserved upper elevation native forests that are rich in old-growth faya and likely hold a wealth of potential biocontrol agents.

We propose preliminary explorations to develop partnerships with Universidad de La Laguna and other local institutions and collect and identify promising natural enemies. Exploratory surveys on the islands of Tenerife and La Gomera will include Spanish-speaking staff who have assisted previously productive work on miconia agents in Costa Rica, as well as European colleagues who specialize in weed biocontrol.

USDA Forest Service

Hedychium_spp Biocontrol

Abstract: The alien ginger Hedychium gardnerianum continues to pose a serious threat to Hawaiian watersheds, spreading faster than physical and chemical control can track it. Research into the potential biocontrol of H. gardnerianum for Hawaiʻi has gained momentum over the last ten years, thanks largely to a consortium approach to funding from both Hawaiʻi and New Zealand stakeholders. Natural enemies have been prioritized from the centre of origin of the target plant, in the North Eastern Indian Himalayas. Indian collaborators at government and University level are well established to facilitate surveys and export, as well as in-country research. Host range testing of the stem mining fly (Merochlorops cf. dimorphus) is nearing completion in the UK and India. Funding in 2018 will allow importation to Hawaiʻi and rearing of this fly for final testing against an array of Hawaiian species in anticipation of eventual clearance for field release.

USDA Forest Service

Rubus_spp Biocontrol

Abstract: Initial field studies conducted in the Himalayan native range of Rubus ellipticus and Rubus niveus from 2012-2015 discovered several damaging insects and pathogens. Further funding is needed for preliminary host-range testing of selected potential biocontrol agents against these important invaders. In parallel we propose to explore options to conduct preliminary screening of agents in India, where evaluations can be made under field conditions. Additional survey work in the native region will provide more comprehensive data on natural enemies, with more species likely to be discovered. Using field collected leaf material to undertake a molecular genetic comparison of Rubus populations in Hawaiʻi and the native range will help pin-point origins of the invasive species and perhaps allow a better match for potential biocontrol agents.


Hawaiʻi Early Detection Program


Effective invasive plant management in Hawai‘i relies on the capacity to detect, identify, and respond to new introductions. As the environmental and economic benefits of controlling invasive plants during their incipient stage are well established, land managers throughout the state endeavor to prioritize eradicable species with the highest invasive impacts.  However, the capacity of these agencies to detect and identify new introductions varies.

In order to address the need for proper plant identifications and the management information that can be garnered from knowing the correct name for a plant species, a partnership between the O‘ahu Invasive Species Committee (OISC) and the Herbarium Pacificum at Bishop Museum was formed in 2006. One goal of this partnership (termed the Oʻahu Early Detection program, or OED) was to facilitate the identification of, and response to, plant detections throughout the state by identifying unknown plant species sent in by natural resources management organizations. Identified specimens were then incorporated into the Herbarium Pacificum collections and the names added to the Bishop database, thus facilitating future plant identifications. Management organizations including (but not limited to) O‘ahu Army Natural Resources Program, the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawai‘i, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, the Pohakuloa Training Area weed team, the National Park Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Master Gardener program at the University of Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture, and the Plant Extinction Prevention Programs utilized the services of the OED to varying degrees during the 10 years the program was in existence. The OED program no longer has staff at the Bishop Museum filling such a role.

With the creation of a Biosecurity Plan for the state of Hawaiʻi, the urgency for botanical expertise to assist with identifications of unknown plant species is felt more than ever. Unfortunately, although the Bishop Museum was mandated in 1992 to be the primary state repository of natural history in the state of Hawaiʻi, at current capacity, the Herbarium Pacificum possesses neither the staff time nor the personnel to contend with an increased influx of specimens.

We propose to expand upon the work started with the O‘ahu Early Detection program, by creating a statewide Hawai‘i Early Detection program, to be based in the Herbarium Pacificum. The creation of such a program will ensure that plant identifications are accurate, and management agencies can set realistic goals and priorities. This leads to more successful invasive species management efforts, and more cost-effective agency spending.

We propose to accomplish this in two ways:

1) By providing liaisons between natural resource organizations throughout the state and the Museum’s Herbarium Pacificum, in order to provide resource management organizations statewide with timely herbarium-quality identifications, distribution information, and weed research.

2) By providing for increased capacity for Herbarium Pacificum to update databases with current species names and distribution information.

3) By providing support for updating the Hawaiian Native and Naturalized Vascular Plants Checklist, a full inventory of all native and naturalized plants collected in the state of Hawaii, which has not been updated in four years due to reduced herbarium staff capacity (see http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/publications/pdf/tr60.pdf).

    Research Subtotal: $2,296,115
    Total Estimated Request: $9,365,287
    DOFAW Support Overhead Required (6%): $561,917
    Total Estimated Cost: $9,927,204