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The Amazing BIOGEOGRAPHY of Hawaii

Jun 16, 2022
the pacific ocean is by far the largest body of water on the planet, what this size means is that almost every single continent on earth has a coastline along its perimeter, the only one left outside it's africa and by extension it comes into contact with six of the seven biogeographic realms the neotropics the new arctic the pale arctic indo malaya australasia oh yeah and antarctica again with the only kingdoms left outside the afrotropics if you're already confused about what all these terms mean don't worry i've already made another whole video explaining all this so go check it out and come back here if you need it anyway with just the afrotropic omitted this makes the pacific sand a veritable melting pot where almost all the genetics on earth can come together and build a completely unique plant. and animal communities on the many islands scattered across this ocean, all of which differ from one another but together form a mosaic of interrelated ecosystems, the so-called eighth biogeographic.
the amazing biogeography of hawaii
In the kingdom, the only problem is that while the Pacific Ocean certainly has many islands teeming with life, very few of them are large enough to support complex ecosystems beyond a few palm trees and seabirds, this limitation to their This time makes it difficult to find an example in which the full magnitude of the diversity in question is displayed in the environment; in truth, there may only be one place in the entire Pacific that is far enough from any continent and large enough to have developed its own biota and that would be Hawaii. Here we will find the perfect biogeographical case study where its isolated tropical climate and extended natural history add up to what can only be described as the planet's most fascinating evolutionary laboratory, but also a lesson in how vulnerable many of its most unique environments are. of the earth may be so today let's take a closer look at all the various aspects that make this place really different from anywhere else on earth right now.
the amazing biogeography of hawaii

More Interesting Facts About,

the amazing biogeography of hawaii...

Before we can get into the biology of Hawaii, we need to talk about its geography and the only real way to do that is to talk about their geology first, of course it's no secret that these islands are volcanic in nature, but what makes them different from most? other volcanoes that normally occur in the vicinity of fault lines, what gives them a distribution pattern that looks something like this is that the Hawaiian Islands break this trend by sitting right in the middle of an oceanic plate nowhere remotely near a tectonic boundary situated like this the only way volcanism really pokes through the surface here is if it comes from what's called a hot spot, the result of strange and frankly misunderstood pressures coming from the most Deep in the Earth's mantle, while we'd like to pretend we understand these phenomena, the truth is that we still know very little about the Earth's core and what influences the magma beneath our feet, leaving the cause behind this hot spot.
the amazing biogeography of hawaii
Hawaiian as a mystery to this day but ok let me speculate for a minute you see I did a video a while back on the surface of Mars and used it well actually I used that map there and just by looking at it quickly we can see this huge crater here. helles crater and then on the exact opposite side of the planet we will find the massive volcanic plane known as tharsis occurring again without any sort of tectonic boundary present to support such volcanism or we can see our gaia crater a slightly smaller impact zone found just opposite the slightly smaller volcanic province of elysium, the idea here is that simple asteroid impacts created these craters and, either by weakening the crust or by sending a column of magma shooting through the planet's core, the energy from this event of collision was transferred to the exact opposite side of the planet in the form of a long lasting volcanic surge taking this concept and now applying it to earth we can see the chicksylub crater in mexico created by the same The same impact that wiped out the dinosaurs and then going to its antipodal, takes us to the Indian Ocean at the head of a long igneous rock formation known as the ridge 90 east, a linear volcanic province created when the hotspot below it stayed in place while the tectonic plate above crept over it doing the same to Hawaii.
the amazing biogeography of hawaii
We will find that its antipode falls somewhere in southern Africa. What's that? Are there significant impact craters in South Africa? I'll find vredefort crater literally the oldest and largest impact crater we've found on the earth's surface now, while you won't find this theory in any academic journal or publication anyway, anyway, it seems suspicious to me that The biggest in the world. impact crater sits directly in front of the world's largest volcanic hot spot, it seems like they must be related, and if so, this means two things: First, the creation of the Hawaiian Islands is entirely the result of cosmic coincidence, a A gift from the stars, one might say, but also considering that the fort vretta crater is over 2 billion years old, if it really is the source of this hot spot, then it's likely to have been active for about as long as time doing this probably the oldest site of continuous volcanism on the planet means that at least some form of the Hawaiian Islands has existed on earth for almost half of its entire history all this has been to say that even the volcanism that produced these islands is unique and whatever the cause of this hotspot may be the result of it being the creation of a fairly large chain of islands at almost 4,000 kilometers away from the nearest mainland, like all volcanic islands, when they first emerged from the ocean, they had absolutely no pre-established forms of life; animals, each species had to be imported here from a continental source, but this geographical i loneliness had a counterintuitive effect, for one thing, being so far from any continent made it difficult for both plants and animals to disperse here, but I've said it before and I'll say it again, life finds a way and therefore the species. who finally made it here could have come from six of these seven biogeographic realms or in other words the isolation of Hawaii is also what put it in touch with all the rest of the world to really see what I mean we can take a Looking at studies like this one that dove into the origins of the island's many plant species by doing this, we'll find that despite being closer to North America, Hawaii's largest source of flora actually turns out to be Indo -Malayan, accounting for more than 21 of these species.
Here I want to be fair, North America is not that far off from providing more than 19 percent of the endemic plant species, but considering that the nearest part of the Indo-Malayan kingdom is It is more than 8,000 kilometers away or more than double that. The distance that the North American islands are really shows how the positioning of Hawaii opens it up to receive species from all over the Pacific, of course this still leaves us, or at least me, wondering why specifically the Indo-Malayan species have been the most successful in colonizing these islands naturally there is no clear and direct answer to this so I will have to speculate again and my first thought was to look at the prevailing ocean currents doing this we will see that Hawaii is basically in the center of the westward north pacific current the current moves north potentially picking up seeds dropped by plants off the asian coast and carrying them directly to

hawaii

while currents east of the islands move south potentially diverting seeds from the North American coast down and away in this way, the gi The North Pacific Ocean acts almost like a conveyor belt, transporting species from both the Indomalayan and Pale Arctic directly to these islands and helps explain why, after North America, East Asia is the third largest contributor to the Hawaiian gene pool. at 17 looking south, however, we will find the equatorial countercurrent and beyond the South Pacific gyre, which together make the oceanic dispersal of any of these southern continents much more difficult to explain why the Neotropical and Australasian realms they are the least represented on the flora islands with just 12 and 9 respectively, of course ocean currents aren't the only things that disperse seeds, birds do too, plus Hawaii's tropical climate might as well just make it more easy for other tropical species to colonize it and in general there are a lot more factors that could go into this that I just don't have t Time to talk right now, but okay if you do the math 21 from Indomalayan 19 from the New Arctic 17 from the Paley Arctic 12 from the Neotropics and nine from Australasian adds up to only 78 percent of the Hawaiian flora that is accounted for, so what? what about the r the remaining 22 percent, well this is where things get tricky, you see an additional 10 are marked as of widespread origin, which means they probably came from other islands in the Pacific, after all, since most of these islands are closer to each other than to any continent.
It only makes sense that these are the most immediate donors, but even so this leaves the origin of about 12 percent of the Hawaiian gene pool completely unknown although of course there are some theories as many people pointed out in my video about the seven kingdoms. some of these plants might have been donated by antarctica when it was still supporting plant life around 30 million years ago or even from some of the forest-reluctant kingdoms clinging to the bottom of south america and new zealand but to be honest I just don't. I know this hypothesis, I mean 30 million years is a long time and the circumpolar current around Antarctica surely would have made it difficult for seeds to escape the southern ocean and then there's the fact that even if these Hawaiian species came of ancient Antarctica, considering that most of this continent's fossils lay buried under miles of ice and rock, we probably couldn't even know, but if that leaves you a little unsatisfied, don't worry. there is another theory, the best way to understand this one, however, is to look ahead of the islands where just a few miles off the coast of the big island is luihi seamount, the newest volcano in the entire chain in another hundred thousand years or so luihi will emerge as the newest

hawaii

an island like all the ones that preceded it by a while this new island will settle as a barren rock completely devoid of life but almost immediately begin receiving input from all over the pacific, of course when talking about ocean seed dispersal distance is key and therefore the most immediate source of plant and animal life will naturally be the other Hawaiian islands, assuming the same has been true for all islands . islands that came before, this seems to suggest a lineage of purely Hawaiian origin handed down over millennia from sinking island to rising island in perpetuity, this would mean that the Hawaiian Islands have been seeding their own life here possibly for as long as this hot spot has been active giving it more than enough time to develop species not attributable to any other land on earth and could help provide an explanation for at least some of the otherwise unexplained 12 percent of the island's plant species , but again any fossil evidence to validate this hypothesis is found hundreds or even thousands of feet down on top of these seamounts and unless we dig further we may never get an answer to this anyway. way, what we can see is that Hawaii is home to a very diverse plant community, a sort of crossroads which serves as a living collection. from all corners of the earth, in turn, this unique assemblage of flora means that any animal that made its way here, no matter where it originated, would find an unfamiliar environment and would have to adapt to successfully inhabit these islands, therefore, the prismatic nature of Hawaiian plant life serves doubly as a driving force for evolution among its animal population, producing an equally diverse and unique collection of native fauna.
Of course, being more than 4,000 kilometers from any dry land means that the only animals really capable of getting here were birds, and the only native land mammal, you guessed it, was the Hawaiian horror bat, to be specific. who does seem as crazy as you. I would now expect that while it may seem boring to have an animal community made up of almostentirely by birds, I would say that from an evolutionary point of view, this makes things more interesting. Generally speaking here on the mainland, most birds serve more or less the same thing. function being mostly small herbivores that rely on seeds or insects and trying to be something different often means going out in competition with larger and more robust animals like mammals, however in an island environment where all of these same niches still exist but they're not crowded this gives birds a chance to evolve into new shapes that they could never have sustained in a continental setting but ok before we get into this i bet some of you are wondering if hawaii is cool and all that, but why is it important that we know about this after all?
I don't like spending so much time on a project if there isn't a bigger lesson behind it and it was only after making a video about the extinct birds of eastern North America that I was convinced there is something to be learned from looking at all of them. these islands you see while learning about the extinction of the ivory bill. the woodpecker the labrador duck the heather hen the carolina parakeet and the homing pigeon were still carrying the environmental devastation wrought by colonialism at the end of the day there are only five birds left to go extinct in the entire eastern united states, a surprisingly low number if I am asked, especially considering how densely populated this part of the continent is quite the opposite, however, it can be said about Hawaii, while the birds that called the eastern United States home were still vulnerable to environmental degradation and hunting. excessive by virtue of being mainland birds the presence of terrestrial predators fierce competition from all kinds of animals and interaction with disease made them quite robust species, giving them a higher survival rate even after people started to arrive from the other side of the Atlantic The birds of Hawaii, on the other hand, exhibited all the s characteristics of the gentleness of the island where, because they did not know any form of four-legged predators, they were only used to competing against other birds and never encountered the diseases that bred on the mainland. they were much more susceptible to the changes brought to their environment through colonization led to these islands losing many more of their bird species, so much so that I had to buy a book, oh, just to make sense of it all, and I like all the pretty pictures here on the first Intro page we'll find this graph that might help convey just how much toll extinction has taken here on these islands they're placed next to places that have also experienced colonization in the last few hundred years years, we can see them all, even the mascarene islands and new zealand pale in comparison to the species loss suffered by hawaii altogether 77 known species have been lost across these islands far more than anywhere else on earth or, in other In other words, just 0.003 percent of the planet's land surface is responsible for more than 15 percent of the world's lost birds.
I can assure you that you don't want to have what all this means is that in prehistoric times the geography of Hawaii allowed it to become absolutely teeming with various forms of biology, so much of it has been eradicated in the last thousand years or so that the only way to really see, understand and appreciate what made this environment so

amazing

is learning more about the birds that once existed here than those that still exist now I usually do. It's not like just listing things, it doesn't add much to a narrative and It gets pretty boring pretty quickly, but honestly it's hard to convey the sheer number and variety of extinct birds any other way, so just this once let me list everything.
These are all 77 and then we can take a more in-depth look. I'm breathless. Take a deeper look at some of these. Okay, trust me, this is going to be fun because I'm going to have to actually pronounce all of these. really hawaiian names with zero practice and everyone makes fun of me in the comments so come on, the giant hawaiian goose, that's easy, the greater hawaiian goose, the maui nui, moanalo, the oahu, moanalo, the stumbling groan, halo, the kawaii turtle-jawed goose, the kawaii moldak the lesser hawaiian gasoline the molokai flightless ibis the flightless ibis of maui the hawaiian eagle the hawaiian harrier ziegler's crake molokai craig kepler's box ralph's crake severn creek the kawaii stilt owl the maui stilt owl the oahu stilt owl the molokai s up pin the deep build raven the stout crow the narrow build kiowaya kiawea the nero build kiawea the mah the maka makawehi finch the makawehi finch the maui nui finch the giant scimitar build nuku the huppo build akihalawa the hupo build akihaloa the kiwi shovel build finch the polo cape the pololi the polo polo cape the pololi shovel building finch the straight build keeper the sickle build gaper the maui nui gaper the scissor build finch koa the oahu finch koa the wahi gross speak king kongro speak the mauka beak gross stacks palila stack stick cone build a finch crest build finch the kawaii palm creeper the laissan rail the hawaiian rail the kawaii oh oh the oahu or or the hawaii or or and molokai's or the kyoea the laissan miller bird the amaui the amaui the lanai aloma or the al the lanai alum the lanai olaman that's a parody of mayo the kakawahi the oahu akihaloa the mauinui akialoa the lesser akihaloa the kawaii nukupuku the oahu nukapuku the maui nukapuku the oahu aki ppa the maoia kappa the greater koa finch the lesser koa finch the kona brute speaks the oh the mamo the black mammal the honey vine laissan po uli mal look i wasn't kidding when i said there was a lot but i hope at least now you have an idea of ​​the great diversity of birds that once lived here and that's ok i can already feel that everyone raged against colonialism and believe me they are right but what makes Hawaii such a special case in this case is that it was actually colonized twice in recent history that is why here in the index of this In this book, we will see the list of birds divided into two extinctions, mainly before 1778 and then, on the next page, extinctions that are historical or have been well documented in the scientific literature. the first of these waves came a thousand years ago when the first Polynesian explorers and settlers discovered and began to colonize these islands, yes that's right, not only did Europeans colonize and decimate parts of the world which is apparently more of a universal human trait, while that the Polynesians who first arrived on these shores would definitely have immediately contributed to environmental degradation by cutting down trees to build homes, clearing forests to establish farms, and hunting local wildlife for food and feathers the most shocking aspect of their colonization was actually what they brought with them, namely the dogs, pigs, chickens and rats that were taken as livestock or as stowaways once here, some of these escaped naturally and established feral populations that came to depend on the island's resources , also known as birds for their survival, and suddenly these island inhabitants who had come down all of his physical guards like the ability to fly behavioral guards like making nests in trees and immune guards became easy victims. to the harsh reality that they had become vulnerable in this isolated island environment the first of these birds mentioned in this book was the giant Hawaiian goose now if you have been watching my channel lately you are probably familiar with the concept that many times When small animals like birds migrate from a continent to an island, abundant food and a lack of predators tend to allow them to evolve into ever larger forms, a phenomenon known as island gigantism which, as we can see here, the giant Hawaiian goose clearly exemplifies a descendant of the common Canada goose.
This was actually a relatively new member of the Hawaiian fauna when the Polynesians arrived having spent only around 500,000 years in isolation here, this explains why it still looked so similar to its relatives, but also serves as a nice showcase. of how fast evolution can take place considering that even during this short period the giant Hawaiian goose had become unable to fly, allowing it to grow larger and heavier than the Canada goose, which has to remain more compact and lightweight to be able to fly but ok if we want to see birds that spent a lot longer on these islands to the point where they actually developed adaptations to them then we can jump into the moanallo a little bit a clear sign that they were around Hawaii for much longer is that there was not one, but four different species of moanalu, each specific to a different island, you had the turtle-jawed moanallo from kawaii the oahu moanalo you guessed it oahu the small built moanalo from maui and the biggest of them. everything does not happen by chance on the largest island, maui nui momonolu from yes mauinui and if you are familiar with the hawaiian islands what i just said will sound wrong to you because well one of the largest hawaiian islands is clearly the island of hawaii , go figure and two, there is no island in the chain, not even called maui nui, and i would say you are right, there is no longer an island called maui nui, as you see in my last video, i talked about the lost islands of earth and we learned how just a few thousand years ago, sea levels were up to 120 meters lower than they are now thanks to massive distant ice sheets that store vast amounts of water on land. maui molokai lanai and kahu olawe on the only island of maui nui or greater maui here, the little moanala was forced to be kept entirely in the highlands of maui by the larger maui nui moanalu, which being the largest animal in all the ecosystem dominated the entire lowlands while all four were about the same size as the giant Hawaiian goose, it could be argued that they are all better examples of island gigantism considering that they evolved not from something already big enough like a goose, but from a much smaller duck compared to its closest living relative, the Pacific black duck, we can see that these moa nalo underwent much greater growth on these islands t have experienced the Hawaiian goose compared to their ancestor, another indicator of how much The length of time these giant ducks had to adapt to these islands can be found on closer examination of their bills, so we can see that they all developed a jagged edge almost like teeth that made them better for gnawing on plants, well, except for the judd moanallo turtle, who was clearly just looking for attention, while their purpose was probably to gather food, they also had the unintended side effect of making them look really mean and angry all the time, which I just think is funny because they probably intimidated a lot of the smaller birds on the island, we can even see that the giant Hawaiian goose had started to evolve this way, not just serving as a good example of convergent evolution but also as an indicator that they were all eating foods that normal geese and ducks would not normally eat this shows that all these birds were actively evolving to take advantage of open niches in their environment and at the time of their extinction they filled a role similar to that held by deer on the mainland, although that may not seem impressive Rather, deer are actually the dominant herbivores wherever they roam and would have placed the moanalo at the top of the island pecking list.
Of course, while the environment no doubt helped shape these birds, their impact was so great that they shaped their surroundings as well and a fun manifestation of this can be found by looking at the plants they ate most often, as Cyanea platyphila. Over time, these plants developed spines that cover their bodies and even their leaves, a trait rarely seen in the island's foliage to fend off being eaten by the moanalu because these birds went extinct less than a thousand years ago. For a very short time in evolutionary terms these plants continue to grow spines even today despite the fact that their main predators are gone, they serve as a living reminder of the time when giant birds still roamed these islands.
Comparing Hawaii's largest birds to the nene, the only surviving native goose, we can see that it is definitely the smallest of the bunch and does little to convey the true scale that birds once achieved here, sadly while these birds they might have been the biggest and baddest of the hawaiian islands. Pre-contact As soon as the humans and their animals arrived, they found they had lost flight and the larger, slower bodies made them easy targets for any hungry wild dogs and in no time these giant geese and ducks were gone. the way of the dodo I suppose you could say, of course, that it wasn't just the big birds of Hawaii that went extinct after the first wave ofhuman migration and in fact, according to this book, 42 ​​of these 77 or more than half of the species and probably a lot more than we just haven't found any fossils but were already extinct before the Europeans got to these shores, including many of the more well-adapted residents of the island, while I definitely can't talk about all of them, I'd at least like to further explore the effects of island syndrome in hawaii so far, all the birds we've observed have been herbivorous and as such the island environment had a similar effect on them allowing them to become giants compared to their ancestors but as we should all know by now the exact opposite can also be true if an animal's continental strategy was to grow to Overpower prey or avoid becoming prey, your journey to an island could result in your shrinking over time, a phenomenon known as island dwarfism in my last mo video i featured an example of this where the huge mammoths of north america evolved into a pygmy mammoth species when isolated on the channel islands while no mammoth sized animals made it to hawaii The great mainland birds like eagles, hawks, and harriers did that the only one of these that was actually present on the islands long enough to adapt specifically to them was the gray harrier. a hawk-like bird that on the mainland preferred to hunt small mammals and reptiles; however, when the ancestor of the stump harrier arrived in Hawaii, it came upon land that was completely devoid of its normal prey items, and therefore had to switch locations to hunt the many birds the islands had to survive. to offer.
This shift from feasting on the meaty bodies of mammals to lightweight birds meant that the stump harrier could no longer support its sheer size and, over time, shrank to the smallest member of the harrier family, unfortunately despite having maintained the ability to fly in the safe environment of the island it allowed the eaglets' behaviors to change, and started to breed and nest on the ground instead of in the trees because you know it's less work, which It means that once animals like rats and pigs were introduced, their eggs were easily poached and once again wiped out by these continental invaders, overall what I hope these examples of island gigantism and dwarfism help reveal is just the active evolution of much of the Hawaiian fauna was a clear indicator that this environment was unlike anything the mainland had to offer, of course, there were many There are other birds that the first Polynesian settlers made extinct, like mole ducks, ibis, a whole collection of stilts. owls and so many boxes, all exhibiting similar adaptations to their native island, all equally vulnerable to newcomers, which means that by 1770, when the British captain cook became the first European to see these islands, the animal community had already been drastically altered from its natural state, that being said at this point most of the islands were still covered in forests and many parts were left completely untouched or in other words there was still more to be destroyed and over the course of the next few hundred years, not just a new wave of immigration would bring more deforestation. to establish sugar and pineapple plantations, more introduced animals such as cats, goats, sheep, mongooses, even kangaroos, and more advanced technologies that would speed the settlement of these islands, but would also bring with them an unwitting passenger, the deadliest creature this planet has ever seen. known. single-handedly starting a second wave of extinctions on these islands, the mosquito yes that's just before the 1800s the Hawaiian Islands were completely mosquito free a true testament to how deeply isolated they really are and as a result everyone the animals that lived here gradually lost any kind of resistance or immunity to mosquito-borne diseases that their ancestors might have had.
This all changed in 1826, however, when whaling ships began using these islands as a place to stop and replenish bilge water while they waited and unknowingly introduced the insect for the first time. From here, the humid tropical climate allowed the invasive mosquitoes to breed. wildly and almost immediately picked up diseases carried by invasive chickens and began spreading them among the weak immune systems of local wildlife and this is the main difference between the two waves of extinction brought to Hawaii the first let's call it the Polynesian wave more it affected those species that had especially taken advantage of their insular environment to adapt to some pretty and interesting, if ultimately uncompetitive directions, while the American second wave caught up with every single species that mosquitoes could sink their teeth or proboscis or, in other words, every single one of them, making this a much more widespread extinction event claiming victims they might otherwise have. been able to tolerate the rest of the changes that humans brought to the islands in total 35 additional bird species have become extinct since the arrival of the American colonists or about the same number that the Mascarene islands lost in their entirety while again i can't look at every single one of these there are two groups of birds i think are worth a closer look the first are the oos a genus containing four known species the kawaii o.o the oahu o o the molokai o o and the most sought after of them in all of hawaii although some subfossil remains have also been found on maui suggesting the possible existence of a maui ooh too although technically we have no way of knowing what this mount o.o might have looked like if its cousins ​​on the other islands are any clue i'm pretty sure it would have been a medium sized black bird with interesting yellow plumage like the rest of them, which is important because they were these Feathers yellow which in turn gave oos a special role in Hawaiian culture.
You see that the great similarity of these birds in pre-American times meant that enough of their feathers could be collected to put together elegant robes, capes, hats, and canes all covered in this soft yellow color. feathers making them the ultimate status symbol of Hawaiian society only to be worn by the nobility. This, by extension, resulted in these feathers becoming very valuable almost like currency, and thus managed to support an entire economy of trapping and plucking these birds despite their value. birds quite common before the arrival of the Americans thanks to the techniques used by the kia manu or bird hunters to capture and harvest their feathers which left the birds relatively unscathed and allowed them to be released once their feathers were removed; however, when the Americans arrived, you only know that they brought their weapons with them, selling them to the natives and teaching them how to use them.
The native Hawaiians took about five seconds. realizing that simply taking down the oos was much easier and quicker than catching them by hand and pretty soon the acquisition of 0 feathers went from a methodical catch and release to a mass kill where over a thousand birds could be taken in a single hunting trip even Still oos managed to maintain decent populations here until the arrival of mosquitoes i.e. and by extension avian malaria and all of a sudden all four species disappeared and consequently their entire genus vanished from face from the earth forever. What to make here is that even with guns and a huge financial incentive to hunt them, even this wasn't enough to completely eradicate the oo and if it hadn't been for the mosquitoes they may still be around today which I hope serves as a Clear lesson on how these insects pose a total threat.
I mean they literally did something that all the money and guns in the world couldn't move in the second group of birds. I would like to talk about the Hawaiian honeycreepers. The story with these is basically the same as with the oos and the real reason I wanted to mention them is because they can teach us another symptom of island syndrome that I've never actually seen. We talked about earlier called adaptive radiation. You see, while extinction stories can be similar. The evolutionary story of the honey vine differs wildly from that of the o-o. For one, each oo filled essentially the same niche as the other, just on different islands. this can be illustrated by comparing their beaks, each bird's tool for acquiring food, which we can see all look about the same, meaning they all ate similar things when the common ancestor of honeycreepers arrived in Hawaii, on the other side, they found a place where a multitude of niches remained open, and thus, from a typical finch-like beak intended for collecting medium-sized seeds, the honeycreepers developed thick, bulky beaks for collecting and opening seeds much larger.
Greater examples of this include King's Congress Peak and Kona. The long, narrow hummingbird-like bills evolved to drink nectar from flowers, as shown by the various akihaloa and nukapuku on the islands. o-oo small, sharp warbler bills for picking up insects from the ground, which may have been the most common niche to specify, so I'm not going to give any specific examples for this unique hooked bill for scraping tree bark to find insect larvae developed only by q and an akihapola ao even specialized in a stout woodpecker-style beak, the only one of its kind on all the islands which it uses to dig into the trees to find encrusted insects which, luckily for us, they might be the only honey vine I've mentioned so far that actually survives to the present day.
It seems unbelievable as it seems that all of these different beak shapes evolved from a single standard model which again serves as a clear sign of how much evolutionary pressure animals faced when they got here and okay if at these heights you are thinking, this all sounds a bit familiar to you, it is probably because it was this same evolutionary peculiarity that charles darwin first noticed among the finches of the galapagos islands that had all undergone a similar process, although somewhat less extensive , which eventually led Darwin to think about the idea of ​​natural selection, and by extension the theory of evolution itself, even though Darwin never made it to Hawaii. has found the same cases that he had observed in the Galapagos only to a much greater degree and probably would have used honeycreepers as his main case study instead of Galapagos finches, but that's ok, one thing that always happens whenever i make a

biogeography

video is that i always end up focusing more on the animals than the plants, sorry i find them more interesting but the title of the video is not

amazing

. zero geography of hawaii it's the amazing

biogeography

of hawaii so if you really want to get a full overview of this place we also need to look at the amazing phytogeography of hawaii the reason I think this is worth talking about is because As I said before, being volcanic in origin, every time a new island in the chain peaks over the ocean, it starts with zero life, which means that the plants that get here first will find not just some open niches, they'll find literally all the open niches leading to the first plants to wash up on these shores to subject me to a mind-boggling degree of adaptive radiation more than any animal, as of course there are more of these than I could possibly cover in a single video , again we will have to concentrate on just one group of plants, the ones I found most convincing were the so-called Hawaiian silver swords, although to fully understand them, we must become familiar with its continental ancestor located within the sierra nevada mountains. from southern california, if you search hard enough, you may be able to find the rare carl kistia flower, a member of the astor or sunflower family, about 5 million years ago, somehow, probably from the seeds of the birds of this rather distinctive flower took a trip to the california coast and from there to the hawaiian islands for kawaii reference the oldest emerging island in the chain is only 5.1 million years old meaning this event of colonization actually predates all other islands today, while carl kistia probably made it to a young kauai.
It already harbored any kind of plants that had been carried over from the islands that preceded it, at least there were still enough open niches for it to be found. would establish. ish right here from this point on the sunflower would witness new islands spring up regularly from the ocean floor first niihau 4.9 million years ago then oahu 3 million years ago molokai two million years ago maui lanai and kahoolawe a million years ago of years until reaching Hawaii only 500,000 years ago each time a sequence begins completelynew radiation unique to their location but together collectively related forming what is called the silver sword alliance while of course many of these retained their small flowering forms some like debashio herbstabate grew more and more woody becoming into a shrub in the process others like d arborio took this route further growing taller with thick bark on the outside to become full fledged trees naturally where there are trees the ecological niche also exists for vines and so other members of silver swords like d latifolia branched into what are called tree-climbing and hanging lyannas, of course, other members of thi The plant family also took the literally opposite approach, as here on mount waialeale, which is stands as the second highest mountain on the island of Kauai. an isolated spot that creates an extremely humid environment at its summit that can only be described as a swamp or bog here the ground is so continually saturated with water that many plants actually find it impossible to survive here not the silver swords though they branched out instead devashio waialealea, a cushion-like plant that can spread over a wide area while staying only a few inches above the ground in general, the silver sword alliance serves as probably the best example of adaptive radiation out there, having started as quite an unassuming flower and evolved to fill pretty much every available niche on these islands and i hope you think these things are as cool as i do because i'm not done talking about them yet you see another aspect of the hawaiian islands that makes them so fascinating is that in addition to their isolation at the top of their diverse gene pool and literally at the bottom of their At the top of its lush tropical climate, these are also some of the only islands in the Pacific that are mountainous enough to support alpine environments on their summits, or in other words, it's not just Hawaii's flora and fauna that are diverse, but also its own landscape, which means that if you started at the base of a single island, you can go from an arid climate to a tropical one to a temperate zone and end up in near-polar conditions, all within a very short distance of each other, creating an incredibly varied mosaic of drastically different environments where plants and animals fight to occupy as many niches as possible, this is perhaps most notable on summits like Mauna Kea, where the harsh alpine environment has prevented virtually all species from penetrating from the rainforests below t.
That's except for these silver swords which, if you remember, started in the mountainous regions of California and I can't help but feel like this gave them something of an advantage, as not one, but two silver swords carried over to the alpines. zone first in the highlands of mount hale aquila in maui where we will find yes the silver sword haleakala and around the summit of mauna kea where you guessed it the silver sword of mauna kea grows together these strange flowering plants stand out like the only species present within the islands are capable of making the jump to an alpine climate while also serving as the best example of why they are called silver swords in the first place, while thankfully few of these plants have been extinct, you know, they're impervious to mosquitoes and many still wobble. dangerously close the silver sword of mauna kea, for example, dwindled to a total number of just 41 plants in 2003, mostly as a result of goats being released to roam the island and if it weren't for the ef countless people who work hard to breeding and reintroducing these peculiar flowers that probably won't be around anymore, which brings me to the last page of this book that I wanted to talk about if we look back to the back we'll find environmental non-profit organizations dedicated to helping Native Hawaiian Birds If you've seen so far, you clearly must be interested in Hawaii, and despite what this video might have made you think, these islands are still home to some truly fascinating plants and animals like these, so if you'd like to help to preserve and protect them, feel free to pause the video and go to any of these organizations to learn more about how you can help in general. l I think the reason I felt it necessary to make what will honestly end up being like an hour long video can be summed up in just a matter of words unique geology produced a land with unique geography which allowed it to amass a unique collection of biology that, once there, co-evolved into a unique ecology which, if you didn't know, is what this whole channel is about, that's what makes the biogeography of hawaii so amazing and why I think worth learning about because meanwhile the Polynesian explorers who first discovered hawaii and even the americans who later came to colonize it knew little about the lasting impacts their actions would have on these islands today we know better and so if we want To prevent the loss of Hawaii's 23 remaining endemic birds, as well as the rest of its flora and fauna, we will need people who know who cares and who are willing. to learn from the past to preserve our world's natural treasures for the future hi everyone thanks for watching if you enjoyed this and want to see me take a closer look at fascinating islands please like this video and let me know which specific islands you are I want you to take a look at the following in the comments.
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