Collecting on Moloka'i
On Moloka’i we joined Jeff Johansen from John Carroll University and Carrie Graeff, from CU, who had been on the island for the 2 previous days. We traversed some great countryside, quite unlike Lana’i in many ways. We drove up to about a 4,000 foot point, and then hiked in to several aquatic habitats, part of the Pu'uali'I Natural Area Reserve.
We climbed the Hanalilolilo Trail, and tree ferns were everywhere, and numerous were mosses, liverworts, lycopods and even hornworts (a little known group part of the “bryophyte” tree of life).
At the beginning we were all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the hike.
Getting to and collecting from 5 different sites, we collected over 50 samples, from streams, pools and wet walls (some of our favorite habitats—see a previous posting about why we are the lookout for wet wall habitats). Our modest lunch of PB&J, and Funyons(!--- as I said previously, no dieticians here) gave us the energy we needed for the next part of our journey, going through a relatively long tunnel to get to the next watershed. The tunnel was short, narrow and very dark (it curved and there literally was no light at the end of the tunnel). Anyway, we were rewarded with great collections at the other side.
After the hike back (including through the slimy tunnel), we had a quick dinner and then started processing the samples. After 15 hours from beginning our day, we had looked at only ½ the samples. Included in these samples were many acid-loving species; the water they came from were rich in organic acids and brown-stained. Some of the species looked like ones from South America, a theme that continues to echo across several groups in our samples. It has been suggested by folks studying arachnids and other animals that hurricanes from the Americas might be responsible for transporting immigrants from the Americas to Hawaii. We will be interested to see if this pattern occurs across other diatom taxa.