Kanaloa: Lessons from Paleoecology of a Once Common Lowland Forest Species in Hawai'i

Author(s): Jerome Ward

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Research and CRM Are Not Mutually Exclusive: J. Stephen Athens—Forty Years and Counting" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

During the late 1980s and early1990’s paleoenvironmental investigations at wetland sites in coastal lowlands of O‘ahu and Mau‘i revealed a very common unknown mimosoid pollen type occurring during pre-Polynesian times. Following Polynesian arrival in the islands around AD 1000, sediment profiles consistently documented the abrupt decline and disappearance of lowland native forest elements, including the unknown mimosoid type, within a matter of several hundred years. The forest was mostly replaced by successional taxa, including grasses, cheno-ams, and ferns. While most of the fossil pollen types could be botanically ascribed using a reference collection of modern pollen, the fossil mimosoid type, lacking a botanically described counterpart, remained elusive. In 1992 the serendipitous discovery of a new mimosoid legume, surviving on a sea-stack separated from the main island of Kaho‘olawe was reported and subsequently named Kanaloa kahoolawensis. Using single grain microscopy technique, pollen obtained from flowers of one of the surviving Kanaloa specimens showed that its characters aligned perfectly with the fossil mimosoid type. This paper explores the paleoecology of Kanaloa in Hawai‘i with interesting implications for Hawaiian vegetation history and conservation biology.

Cite this Record

Kanaloa: Lessons from Paleoecology of a Once Common Lowland Forest Species in Hawai'i. Jerome Ward. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451267)


Other Palynology

Geographic Keywords
Pacific Islands

Spatial Coverage

min long: 117.598; min lat: -29.229 ; max long: -75.41; max lat: 53.12 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25102