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The evolution of bird pollination in the Hawaiian Islands



Jonathan Price

Dept. of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Hawai'i at Hilo



Friday 25th October 11:00
Sir Neil Chalmers seminar room, Darwin Centre LG16 (below Attenborough studio)


Bird pollination is a prominent ecological interaction in Hawaiian terrestrial communities involving about 200 species of plants and as many as 27 species of birds. Phylogenies indicate that bird-pollination first evolved on now eroded islands that pre-dated the present high islands. However, the arrival of Metrosideros around 4 Mya may have spurred further diversification and the development of suites of pollinators on each island. This arose through three primary processes: 1) colonists with appropriate traits colonized the archipelago, 2) species shifted toward bird pollination, or 3) species with this syndrome underwent cladogenesis. Morphologies indicate different optimal fits of bills to flowers, suggesting varying degrees of specialization, and niche partitioning within communities.


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