Donald Price (Life Sciences) recently has published two scientific articles describing research conducted in Hawaii. The first paper, titled “Analysis of Genomic Sequence Data Reveals the Origin and Evolutionary Separation of Hawaiian Hoary Bat Populations,” is published in Genome Biology and Evolution. This paper is with Corinna Pinzari, a masters student working with Dr. Price and Dr. Bonaccorso from the United States Geological Service – Biological Resources Division and three other co-authors, Drs. Lin Kang and Pawel Michalak from Virginia Tech University, and Dr. Lars Jermiin from University College Dublin in Ireland. This paper describes work examining the genetic history and population status of Hawaiian hoary bats (Lasiurus semotus), which is the most isolated bat on Earth, and the relationship to northern hoary bats (Lasiurus cinereus), through whole-genome analysis of single-nucleotide polymorphisms mapped to a de novo-assembled reference genome. The analyses indicate that Hawaiian hoary bats are distinct from northern hoary bats, and colonized the Hawaiian Island around 1.34 Ma, followed by substantial divergence between islands beginning 0.51 Ma. Because this endangered species is of conservation concern, a clearer understanding of the population genetic structure of this bat in the Hawaiian Islands is of timely importance.
The second paper titled, “Non-native Spiders Change Assemblages of Hawaiian Forest Fragment Kipuka over Space and Time,” published in NeoBiota with Dr. Julien Pétillon and Kaina Privet from Université de Rennes in France and Drs. Rosemary Gillespie and George Roderick from UC Berkeley. This paper describes work on assemblages of spiders in small Hawaiian tropical forest fragments called Kipuka, within a matrix of older lava flows, over both space and time. They found that the number of individuals, but not species richness, was highly correlated with the area of sampled forest fragments, suggesting that Kipuka act as separate habitat islands for these predatory arthropods. Over the last 20 years, the abundance of non-native spider species substantially increased in both Kipuka and lava habitat which presents a critical challenge to the native endemic fauna that can reach over 95 percent in native forests.