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Land Snail Extinctions at Kalaeloa, O'ahu

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Title:Land Snail Extinctions at Kalaeloa, O'ahu
Authors:Dye, T.S.
Tuggle, H.D.
Date Issued:Apr 1998
Publisher:University of Hawaii Press
Citation:Dye TS, Tuggle HD. 1998. Land snail extinctions at Kalaeloa, O'ahu. Pac Sci 52(2): 111-140.
Abstract:A decline over time in the proportion of native land snail taxa
believed to be extinct today at Kalae10a has been interpreted and widely cited
as an example of Polynesian influence on the Hawaiian environment. This interpretation
is shown to be based on an inappropriate measure of decline and
nonstandard calibrations of 14C dates. An analysis of change over time in the
diversity of land snail taxa from Kalaeloa sinkholes and recalibration of 14C
dates using Bayesian techniques reveals a different pattern, which is interpreted
as having two components. There is a long-term, gradual decline in the diversity
of native, extinct land snail taxa, explained as the result of desiccation of
the sinkhole environment due to a drop in the water table when sea level fell
from its mid-Holocene high stand. There is also an abrupt disruption of the
land snail fauna late in the stratigraphic sequence. It is argued that this disruption
dates to the historic period, when the environment of the 'Ewa plain was
drastically altered for sugarcane production and when the vegetation that now
dominates the region was introduced. Aside from the appearance of the snail
Lamellaxis gracilis, which was introduced to the Islands by Polynesians, the land snail assemblages from the Kalaeloa sinkholes yield no evidence for
Polynesian influence on the environment.
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 52, Number 2, 1998

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