Dr. David Flaspohler – Hawaiian Sabbatical

Professor Flaspohler with colleagues studying naturally fragmented Hawaiian forests on the Big Island; Mauna Kea in the background.

Professor David Flaspohler is participating in a 5-year NSF-funded research project to better understand how birds interact with naturally fragmented forests created by lava flows.  He and his team are finding and monitoring nests and color banding individual birds in 34 forest fragments that vary in size from 0.2 ha to 30 ha in mid-elevation native Hawaiian forests.  In half of these fragments, we will remove the introduced non-native black rat, and in the other half we will not.    Rats are known nest predators that also compete with birds for insect food so their influence on the food web and on the reproductive success of the birds may be strong.  The work is being conducted by Dr. Flaspholer, Dr. Jessie Knowlton (Michigan Tech post-doctoral associate), and 4 bird interns.   Other collaborators are from Stanford University, the University of Maryland, and the USFS, Institute of Pacific Island Forestry.

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