Research Grants/Fellowships/SBIR

Nesting Success of a Hawaiian Honeycreeper Along an Altitudinal Gradient of Culicine Mosquitoes

EPA Grant Number: U915576
Title: Nesting Success of a Hawaiian Honeycreeper Along an Altitudinal Gradient of Culicine Mosquitoes
Investigators: Nielsen, Bonnie M.
Institution: University of Idaho
EPA Project Officer: Broadway, Virginia
Project Period: August 1, 1999 through August 1, 2002
Project Amount: $40,366
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Fellowship - Ecology and Ecosystems , Academic Fellowships

Objective:

Range reductions, extinctions, and population declines have been documented for Hawaiian honeycreepers (Passeriformes: Fringillidae: Drepanidinae) inhabiting low-elevation forests. Particularly interesting in considering the altitudinal trend of these declines is the opposite trend in abundance of the introduced night-biting mosquito (Culex quinquefasciatus), the primary vector of avian malaria (Plasmodium relictum). The specific objectives of this research project are to: (1) document nesting success of Apapane along the altitudinal gradient of C. quinquefasciatus mosquitoes; and (2) determine relationships between Apapane nesting success, elevation, and prevalence and infection status of C. quinquefasciatus within the nest vicinity.

Approach:

The nesting success of 87 Apapane (Himatione sanguinea) nests and abundance of C. quinquefasciatus mosquitoes was monitored along an altitudinal gradient spanning 610-1,829 (2,000-6,000 feet) on the Kona Unit of the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, Hawaii Island, in 1998-1999. The abundance of C. quinquefasciatus mosquitoes caught below each nest over 7 trap nights will be measured within 1 week of nest termination. Avian malaria (Plasmodium relictum) infection status will be quantified by examination of mosquito midguts for developing oocysts. Elevation was recorded at each nest.

Expected Results:

The investigator proposes the hypothesis that reduced nesting success from greater exposure to avian-malaria vectors is a factor in reduced low-elevation Hawaiian honeycreeper populations. It is predicted that Apapane nesting success has a negative relationship with C. quinquefasciatus abundance and infection status and a positive relationship with elevation.

Supplemental Keywords:

Hawaiian honeycreeper, Apapane, nesting success, Culex quinquefasciatus, mosquito gradient, elevation gradient, Hawaii, HI., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecology, exploratory research environmental biology, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Ecosystem Protection, State, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Environmental Monitoring, Ecology and Ecosystems, Biology, Ecological Indicators, avain community composition, Culicine mosquitos, bird habitat, Hawaii, avian malaria, ecological assessment, Hawaiian Honeycreeper, changes in species composition, biological effects, Apapane