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Recovery of the endangered Maui Parrotbill (Kiwikiu, Pseudonestor xanthophrys)

Mounce, Hanna Lee (2015) Recovery of the endangered Maui Parrotbill (Kiwikiu, Pseudonestor xanthophrys). Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (KAR id:50697)

Language: English
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Species recovery programs are tasked with reversing the declines of

threatened and endangered species and mitigating the threats to their populations.

These goals must be accomplished in the face of a human dominated global

landscape where habitat destruction and alteration is still increasing at an alarming

rate. Hawaii, as common on many islands, has one of the highest historical

extinction rates in the world. Here I use the Maui Parrotbill (Kiwikiu; Pseudonestor

xanthophrys) to explore population demographics, genetics, population viability,

and recovery options for one of Hawaii’s most critically endangered passerines (Maui

Island endemic, pop. ~500). The accurate estimation of key demographic parameters

is invaluable for making decisions about the management of endangered wildlife.

Due to the challenges of data collection on a rare and cryptic species that inhabits

remote terrain, such estimates are often difficult to obtain and reliable basic

demographic data was not before available for parrotbills. First I look at parrotbill

productivity estimates through both nest success and annual reproductive success

measures. Secondly, I look at annual survival based on an 18 year encounter history.

These studies both suggest population limitations may be coming from fecundity,

and juvenile and female survival. Maui Parrotbill once inhabited a variety of forest

types throughout Maui Nui but are now restricted to a single strip of wet forest 40-50

km2 in size. I quantified the levels of contemporary genetic diversity and structure in

wild and captive Kiwikiu populations, and compared these genetic patterns to those

observed within historical nuclear diversity derived from 100-year old museum

samples enabling the design of a conservation translocation strategy that is tailored

to the patterns of genetic structure across the species’ range. Lastly, I combine

these data into a comprehensive population viability model to assess the risks to this

population and evaluate the impacts of recovery options to the overall viability

trajectory of a species. In planning for a reintroduction of parrotbills to areas of

their former range, this model provides managers with demographic benchmarks

that the new population will need to meet in order for the reintroduction to be


Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Groombridge, Jim
Uncontrolled keywords: Hawaii avifauna extinction demography conservation genetics
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Funders: Organisations -1 not found.
Depositing User: Nicola Kerry-Yoxall
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2015 15:00 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 18:03 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Mounce, Hanna Lee.

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