Dispersal to the Hawaiian Islands By: Stacey Falk Facts: 2,500 miles of ocean separate North America from the Hawaiian Islands. 3,500 miles of ocean between the small Marianas Islands and the Hawaiian chain. The Hawaiian chain has never been connected to
a land mass. www.worldatlas.com How then, did plants and animals cross the large oceanic distance to arrive on the Hawaiian islands? Transportation through the air Attached to Birds Fruits eaten by Birds Drifting in Seawater Questions: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
What are the two ways in which plants and birds are able to travel the long-oceanic distance to the Hawaiian islands by drifting through the air? How can plants and animals be dispersed to the Hawaiian islands by attachment to birds? What accounts for the largest means of seed dispersal to the Hawaiian islands than any other mechanism? What adaptations must a plant or seed have for dispersal by flotation in seawater? What advantage does rafting play in dispersal? Drifting in the Air 1) Organism must be so small, or reproductive structure so small, that its dust-like.
Plants that reproduce by means of spores such as ferns, mosses, algae, and lichen Spores so small that a line of a thousand of them end-to-end would be an inch long Nephrolepis exaltata Drifting in the Air
www.roddyscheer.com Metrosideros polymorpha Fern spores more successful at reaching Hawaiian island then seeds of flowering plants 1.4% of the 255 hypothetical original flowering plants were dispersed by air flotation Ohia lehua tree has seeds small enough to suggest dispersal through the air Drifting in the Air 2. Organism must be able to fly
Insects. Birds. Pluvialis dominica fulva Research by entomologist, J. Lindsey Gressitt. Sampled air at high attitudes and at sea, resulted in a large amount of insects trapped. Those caught were the same basic groups of insects as those native to Hawaii. Passive flight and small body size of insects accounts for their dispersal to
the island. Travel through active flight such as migratory birds, marine birds, shore birds and waterfowl. Land birds underrepresented. Drifting in the Air Air currents are a crucial factor in the role of air as a dispersal mechanism. Northern Hemisphere jet stream is a semi-permanent ultra-high-speed wind which occurs at 30-40 thousand feet and could account for such dispersal.
Attached to Birds Lobelia Seeds can become embedded in mud on feet or other parts of birds Estimated 12.8% of the hypothetical original flowers arrived this way Possible if seeds are small, plants grow in wet, muddy places, and if migratory birds
commonly visit Attached to Birds P. Major seeds Plant and animals become attached to birds feathers by a viscid substance Accounts for 10.3% of hypothetical original flowers When Plantago seeds become wet they
develop a slimy covering, which dries and adheres to surfaces, such as feathers of a bird Attached to Birds Some Seeds are coated with a sticky substances, like rubber cement. This viscid substance makes it very easy to become attached to birds feathers. Boerhavia diffusa Pisonia umbellifera Attached to Birds
Clermontia arborescens In the dispersal of some fleshy fruits a viscid substance is involved. Clermontia have fruits which break open at maturity, revealing tiny seeds which contain a white latex. This latex helps to stick the seeds to the birds feathers. Attached to Birds Bidons pilosa
A mechanical device such as barbs, hooks, bristles, prongs, or stiff hairs can attach seeds to feathers. Accounts for estimated 12.8% of native flower dispersal. Bidens, called the beggar tick, have sharp hairs and prongs which are barbed and easily attach to surfaces. Fruits Eaten by Birds Vaccinium reticulatum
Cassytha filiformis Fruits eaten by birds was the most effective means of seed dispersal to the Hawaiian Islands. Fruit-eating birds ate the seeds, carried them internally, and excreted them on Islands Accounts for dispersal of an estimated 39% of the 255 original plants Fruits Eaten by Birds
Tetraplasandra hawaiiensis Has hairy gray fruits Large percentage of fruits and seeds attractive to birds in Hawaiian flora. Fruit color not as important as fruit texture in attracting birds. Abundance of all colors and textures in the Hawaiian flora.
Fruits Eaten by Birds Stenogyne Fleshy fruits are well represented on the Hawaiian islands. This is true even among plant families which mostly have dry fruits. Indicates that fleshy fruits is more successful for longdistance dispersal Most members of the mint family have dry fruits. The Hawaiian mints, such as Stenogyne, are unusual in that
they have fleshy fruits. Fruits Eaten by Birds Shore bird thought to play major role in transporting of fruits and seeds to the Hawaiian Islands Pluvialis dominica fulca Numenius tahitensis Migrate all of the Pacific
Eat large amounts of fruits and seeds Capable of retaining fruits and seeds for days Common migratory shore birds include the Pacific golden plover and the bristle-thighed curlew Drifting in Seawater 14.3% of native flowering plants adapted to oceanic drift. Adaptations for dispersal in seawater:
Pandanus tectorius Seeds or fruits capable of floating. Seeds or plant parts must be able to resist seawater for weeks. Must arrive alive on beach and be able to grow there. Drifting in Seawater Ipomoea pes-caprae Portulaca oleracea
The pink-flowered morning glory has seeds cable of floating in seawater Stems and leaves adapted to float in seawater and establish when they float on the beach, such as the Portulaca Drifting in Seawater
Acacia koa Gossypium sandvicense Plants which grow well along the beach and have seeds resistant to seawater, but have seeds and fruits unable to float take advantage of rafting Rafting is the flotation of an entire plant, or entire mats of vegetation Estimated 8.5% of hypothesized original flowering- plants dispersal
Questions Overview 1. What are the two ways in which plants and birds are able to travel the longoceanic distance to the Hawaiian islands by drifting through the air? Organism must be so small, or reproductive structure so small, that its dust-like. Organism must be able to fly Questions Overview: 2. How can plants and animals be dispersed to
the Hawaiian islands by attachment to birds? Embedded in mud on feed or other parts of birds Attached to feathers by a viscid substance Mechanically attached by a device such as barbs, hooks, bristles, prongs, or stiff hairs Questions Overview: 3. What accounts for the largest means of seed dispersal to the Hawaiian islands than any other mechanism?
Fruits eaten by birds, then carried internally, and excreted on the islands. Questions Overview: 4. 5. What adaptations must a plant or seed have for dispersal by flotation in seawater? Floatability Seed or plant part able to resist seawater for weeks Must arrive alive on the beach and be able to grow there What advantage does rafting play in dispersal? Seeds and fruits unable to float but are resistant to seawater can arrive through flotation of an entire plant or mats of
vegetation References: 1) 2) 3) 4) Carlquist, Sherwun. Hawaii: A natural history. The natural history press. Garden city, new York. 1970. Pg. 81-111. Sohmer, S.H.; Gustafson R. Plants and flowers of Hawaii. University of Hawaii press. Honolulu. 1987. Images Hawaii. Hawaii: plants and animals. http://imageshawaii.com/general_plants.html Star, Kim. Plants of Hawaii. March 12, 2003. http://www.hear.org/starr/hiplants/images/index.html
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