Arthropod Diversity Estimates for Three Native Subalpine Plant Species on the Maunakea Volcano of Hawai‘i Island

Stever, Heather
Eiben, Jesse
Tropical Conservation Biology & Environmental Science
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Terrestrial arthropods are among the most abundant and diverse animals on Earth, especially in Hawai‘i where they constitute the vast majority of endemic fauna and play crucial roles in nearly every habitat throughout the islands. Arthropod surveys and inventories are useful methods for documenting arthropod diversity, but studying arthropods can be extremely difficult. Arthropod collection is often taxing because many species are very mobile and exist in harsh climates or on terrain that is difficult to access. Arthropod identification can also be challenging since many arthropods are remarkably small with complex morphologies and diverse life histories. The main goals of this study are to (1) broaden scientific knowledge regarding Hawaiian arthropods by conducting a baseline inventory of the arthropod diversity associated with three endemic Hawaiian plant species in Maunakea’s subalpine region: ‘Āweoweo (Chenopodium oahuense), Hinahina (Geranium cuneatum); and Māmane, (Sophora chrysophylla), and to (2) determine how arthropod diversity and community composition varies between these plant species and various arthropod sampling techniques. Additionally, this study is intended to help the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s Office of Maunakea Management (OMKM) fulfill its regulatory need for arthropod inventories, monitoring, and research by demonstrating the use of limited empirical data to develop an alternative, targeted sampling approach that uses species accumulation curves to offset the logistic and taxonomic challenges of arthropod sampling and diversity estimates. Between July and November 2015, we collected over 13,000 arthropods within the University of Hawai‘i (UH) Management Areas and Maunakea Forest Reserve in the subalpine region of the Maunakea Volcano on Hawai‘i Island. For our data analyses, we used R version 3.3.1 (R Development Core Team 2015) for statistical analyses to compare arthropod diversity and community composition between plant species and sampling techniques. We used EstimateS version 9 (Colwell 2013) to create species accumulation curves to determine the sample size necessary to detect the total estimated arthropod diversity associated with C. oahuense, G. cuneatum; and S. chrysophylla. The results of this study will ultimately increase knowledge and awareness of Hawaiian arthropods and their ecological interactions, and help the OMKM and other land management entities minimize the cost and effort required to conserve native arthropods on Maunakea.
Entomology, Natural resource management, Arthropods, Endemic, Hawai‘i, Insects, Maunakea, Subalpine
72 pages
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