Pacific Science Volume 58, Number 3, 2004

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Pacific Science is a quarterly publication devoted to the biological and physical sciences of the Pacific Region.

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    Killer Whale Predation on a Leatherback Turtle in the Northeast Pacific
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2004-07) Pitman, Robert L. ; Dutton, Peter H.
    In November 2001, we observed a herd of killer whales (Orcinus orca) preying upon a leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) off the coast of California. Here we provide details of the event and speculate that oceanic killer whales may have less specialized diets than nearshore populations. We also suggest that killer whale predation should be considered a factor in the recovery of this critically endangered sea turtle.
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    Degradation and Recovery of Vegetation on Kaho'olawe Island, Hawai'i: A Photographic Journey
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2004-07) Warren, Steven D.
    Over the past five centuries, the Hawaiian island of Kaho'olawe has suffered the ravages of slash-and-burn agriculture, interisland warfare, severe overgrazing by domestic and feral livestock, and military training. During the 1930s, Bishop Museum personnel photographed portions of Kaho'olawe and documented the degraded condition of the island. Many of the same locations were photographed during the early 1990s. Paired comparisons of the photographs illustrate a remarkable recovery of the vegetation on the island. The recovery is attributable to early introductions of plant species for livestock forage, followed by eradication of the livestock, and more recent erosion control and revegetation efforts. Barring renewal of environmentally deleterious activities, the outlook for Kaho'olawe is promising.
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    Land Snail Fauna of Me Aure Cave (WMD007), Moindou, New Caledonia: Human Introductions and Faunal Change
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2004-07) Cowie, Robert H. ; Grant-Mackie, J.A.
    The land snail fauna excavated from a cave at Me Aure on the central southwestern coast of New Caledonia represents a period of over 3000 yr, from before human arrival in the island to the present. The material excavated represents 20 terrestrial species in nine families. The fauna reflects the overall land snail fauna of New Caledonia in being dominated by small snails in the families Charopidae and Rhytididae, with large Placostylus species (Bulimulidae) present and minor representation of other families. Two alien species are present: Allopeas gracile, probably introduced before European arrival, and Achatina fulica, introduced in 1972. There are suggestions of change in the composition of the fauna, perhaps associated with the arrival of Europeans and the replacement of native by alien vegetation, with Andrefrancia vetula and possibly A. saisseti declining and Rhytida aulacospira increasing.
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    Benthic Diatom Assemblages in an Abalone (Haliotis spp.) Habitat in the Baja California Peninsula
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2004-07) Beltrones, David A. Siqueiros ; Valenzuela Romero, Guillermina
    Diatom assemblages from an abalone (rocky) habitat were sampled in April and November 1999 and in April 2000 on the western side of Isla Magdalena, RCS., Mexico. Overall 236 taxa were recorded, including 10 new records, and 56 species that have been observed exclusively in this type of habitat in the Baja California peninsula. The rocky habitat surveyed is much more complex than expected because of different substrata (rock, fleshy macroalgae, crustose corallines, erect corallines) available for colonization by diatoms at Isla Magdalena. Although epilithic forms were identified, epiphytic diatoms were more abundant. Thus the potential diet for abalone and other grazers is more diverse than previously assumed (i.e., that mainly epilithic diatoms would be their potential food source). A variation in structure was observed between the two assemblages sampled in April because of a change in the species composition of the samples. Most of the rock surface was covered by macroalgae. Thus, the diatom associations consisted mainly of epiphytic forms. The high values of H' corresponded to high species richness (S), whereas higher dominance (A) corresponded to low S. The highest estimated value of H' was 5.39 (S = 82) for the November 1999 rock-Lithophyllum assemblage. Similarity measurements, using Morisita's index, indicate that differences in species composition and in association structure may represent a distribution of diatom taxa according to available substrata within the habitat rather than a year-to-year or seasonal variation.
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    Experimental Release of Endemic Partula Species, Extinct in the Wild, into a Protected Area of NaturaI Habitat on Moorea
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2004-07) Coote, Trevor ; Clarke, Dave ; Hickman, Carole S. ; Murray, James ; Pearce-Kelly, Paul
    Extinction of tree snails of the genus Partula on Moorea, following introduction of the predatory snail Euglandina rosea, has challenged conservation biology during years of successive captive breeding of small rescued populations. An experimental release of three Partula species into a predator-proof patch of native forest on Moorea was designed to test effectiveness of physical and chemical methods of predator exclusion and to evaluate behavior of animals bred for up to six generations in highly artificial environments. At the close of the experimental release, there had been multiple incursions of E. rosea, and too few Partula spp. remained to assess effects of captive breeding on ecological responses. However, results demonstrated the effectiveness of the exclosure under ideal maintenance and monitoring. Captive breeding methods were validated by reproduction and growth to sexual maturity in the wild as well as retention of genetic variability in the form of persistent color polymorphism in one species.
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