The Plants and Vegetation of Maunakea from Tree-line to Summit

Nov 15, 2018 7:00 PM

A Maunakea Speaker Series presentation by Dr. Grant Gerrish,

The next scheduled program in the Maunakea Speaker Series will be held Thursday 15 November, 2018 at Wentworth Hall room #1. This exciting free lecture is open to the public and starts at 7 pm.

In 2011, Dr. Grant Gerrish led the botanical team that completed the first ever-comprehensive survey of the 11,000 acres of University-administered lands on Mauna Kea. From 1989 until 2012 he taught at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and worked to develop their programs in Tropical Conservation Biology. During these same years, as an environmental biologist and planner, Dr. Gerrish assisted with environmental impact analysis for many State and County infrastructure projects that now grace the island—and a number of projects that were never built. He earned both his graduate degrees at the University of Hawaii at Manoa with research in rainforest ecology.

As he relates the adventure of doing the first baseline survey of Mauna Kea in 2011, Dr. Gerrish will describe and show photographs of the landscapes and many of the plant and lichen species encountered within the University-administered lands from the mamane woodlands around Hale Pohaku to the "stone desert" at the summit, which is not as barren as it appears! He will discuss the biogeographical factors, including glaciers and volcanism, that determine which native plant species can survive the incredibly harsh environment at the summit and the unique evolutionary forces that have brought forth species endemic to Mauna Kea. The impact of human activity will also be considered. Dr. Gerrish will present a new scheme to classify the vegetation and communities that differs from the previously used classification.

The Maunakea Speaker Series is free and open to the public. On-campus parking is open and available without charge after 4:00 pm.

About the Maunakea Speaker Series

The Maunakea Speaker Series is a monthly scholar-focused presentation offered as a partnership among the Office of Maunakea Management, 'Imiloa Astronomy Center, and the University of Hawai'i at Hilo Department of Physics & Astronomy. This collaborative venture gives the community unprecedented access to fascinating research taking place on Maunakea and other topics unique to the Island of Hawai'i. A venue for scholars to share their stories and learn from discussion, the series promotes understanding and collaboration across all sectors of the community, while addressing the goals of the University of Hawai'i at Hilo.

For more information, visit or call 808-933-0734.

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