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Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Native Hawaiian plant Heliotropium curassavicum and ilima.
USGS photo by James D. Jacovi, Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center

APRIL IS NATIONAL NATIVE PLANT MONTH, as proclaimed in a bi-partisan resolution by U.S.
Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) and Rob Portman (R-OH). The resolution recognizes the importance of native plants to environmental conservation and restoration as well as supporting a diversity of wildlife.

“Native plants are an important piece of Hawai'i’s history, culture, and environment. As home to 44 percent of our country’s threatened and endangered plant species, in Hawai'i, we understand the importance of protecting and preserving our native biodiversity. I’m pleased to introduce this bipartisan resolution to recognize April as National Native Plant Month and encourage all Americans to protect and

Native Hawaiian plant Ka'u Silversword. USGS Photo
incorporate native plants in their own communities,” said Hirono.
   The Republican Senator from Ohio said, “I am proud to introduce this bipartisan resolution designating April 2022 as National Native Plant Month. From stabilizing soil and filtering air and water to providing shelter and food for wildlife, native plants play an indispensable role in supporting resilient ecosystems as well as in our everyday lives. This bipartisan resolution highlights the importance of native plants and celebrates our rich ecological heritage here in Ohio and across the nation.”
    Supporters of Native Plant Month include: Ohio Native Plant Month, Arizona Native Plant Society, Aullwood Audubon, Cincinnati Nature Center, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Colorado Native Plant Society, Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District, Davey Resource Group, Inc, Dawes Arboretum, Denver Botanic Gardens, Florida Native Plant Society, The Garden Club of America, Great Healthy Yard Project, Keep America Beautiful, Klyn Nurseries, Inc., Lake Erie Allegheny Partnership, Lani-Kailua Branch of the Outdoor Circle, Longwood Gardens, Medina County Park District, National Audubon Society, National Parks Conservation Association, National Wildlife Federation, Native Plant Society of Northeastern Ohio, Native Plant Society of Oregon, Nature Conservancy, Nature Scoop, New York Botanical Garden, North Carolina Botanical Garden, Ohio Environmental Council, Pollinator Partnership, Great Lakes Region, Summit Soil and Water Conservation District, University of Delaware, Utah Native Plant Society, Virginia Native Plant Society, Weed Wrangle®, Western Reserve Land Conservancy, Wild Ones: Native Plants, Audubon Society of Ohio, Civic Garden Center, California Native Plant Society, Keep Ohio Beautiful, Montana 

Native Hawaiian plant Heliotropium curassavicum and Naupaka 
USGS Photo from Pacific Island Ecosystem Research Center

Native Hawaiian plant Dicranopteris linearisUSGS Photo
 by James D. Jacobi Pacific Island Ecosystem Research Center
Native Plant Society, Native Plant Society of New Jersey, The Wilderness Center, Washington Native Plant Society, Save Ohio Bees, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, Coventry Township (Summit County, OH).
    Garden Club of America President Debbie Oliver said her organization "commends Senators Portman and Hirono for the passage of a renewal resolution to designate April as National Native Plant Month. Since all life on earth depends on the health of our planet, and plants are the foundation of life, legislation of this type is very important. Our ecosystems benefit from native plants – stabilizing soil, filtering water, cleaning air, and supporting pollinators and wildlife. The GCA is committed to preserving and expanding our system of richly varied natural habitats and protecting native plant biodiversity. This official designation will create an opportunity to educate gardeners about the benefits of using native plants and, hopefully, result in more native plants being introduced into local landscapes.”

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Assistant Professor Rebecca Chong explores lava tube caves on Hawaiʻi Island. Photo by Megan Porter

LAVA TUBES ON HAWAI'I ISLAND, MANY OF THEM IN KA'U, are the focus of a four-year, $1.29-million grant from the National Science Foundation. The funding has been awarded to University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researchers from the School of Life Sciences to study subterranean biodiversity associated with lava tubes in Hawaiʻi. The grant was awarded to Assistant Professor Rebecca Chong and Associate Professor Megan Porter, and collaborator Professor Annette Engel at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
Associate Professor Megan Porter searches
 for cave-adapted arthropods in a lava tube cave
 on Hawai'i Island. Photo by Michael E. Slay

    “With significant potential to discover more subterranean diversity, we will conduct systematic biological surveys of lava tubes on Hawaiʻi Island to compare arthropod species diversity and ecological roles across different volcanoes,” said Chong. “Our research will uncover important ecosystem-level feedbacks between the surface and subsurface that explain how Hawaiian subterranean ecosystems form.”
    On Hawaiʻi Island, continuous volcanic activities over hundreds of thousands of years created subterranean habitats, known as lava tubes, that are of different geologic ages. The lava tubes are occupied by communities of cave-adapted arthropod species, such as planthoppers, millipedes and spiders, which are sustained by the roots of the native ʻōhiʻa tree.
    The lava tube species on Hawaiʻi Island are found nowhere else in the world. Ecological threats facing lava tubes are similar to threats facing native forests and other Hawaiian ecosystems, including urbanization, climate change, biodiversity loss, and the spread of invasive species and pathogens, such as Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death.
    Recent exploration of lava tubes on Hawaiʻi Island by the team and their collaborators has already uncovered species that are new to science and new distributions for species underground in different lava flows across the island.
Newly-described cave beetle species Paratachys aaa occupies
 the dark zone of recently developed lava tube caves on
Hawaiʻi Island. Photo by Michael E. Slay
    The project also has important outreach goals that include educating both the next generation of diverse scientists and the public about integrative biological research, including collaborative training for students and researchers, year-long cross-disciplinary research internships for undergraduate students, and public outreach programs for the local community with researchers at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/03/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.html

FIFTEEN MOTORISTS WERE ARRESTED FOR DUI during the week of March 14 through March 20. Hawai`i Island police arrested the 15 for driving under the influence of an intoxicant. Three of the drivers were involved in a traffic accident. One of the drivers was under the age of 21.
    So far this year, there have been 250 DUI arrests compared with 281 during the same period last year, a decrease of 11.03 percent.
    There have been 158 major accidents so far this year compared with 167 during the same period last year, a decrease of 5.4 percent.
    To date, there were eight fatal crashes, resulting in 10 fatalities (one of which had multiple deaths), compared with six fatal crashes, resulting in six fatalities for the same time last year. This represents is an increase of 33.3 percent for fatal crashes, and 66.7 DUI roadblocks and patrols will continue island wide.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/03/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.html

                      SEE UPCOMING EVENTS IN KAʻŪ & VOLCANO
See March edition of The Kaʻū Calendar newspaper at