Explore life on recent lava flows


Join botanist Tim Tunison from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 23, for a field seminar on “Life on Recent Lava Flows.”

“The lava flows along the Chain of Craters Road, resulting from the Mauna Ulu flows and other eruptions in the 1970s, are a highly accessible and informative area,” said Tunison. “Life has noticeably recolonized these 30- to 40-year-old flows and deposits, but the simplicity and sparseness of life make species identification manageable — and ecological patterns readily apparent.”

In this program, participants will learn the characteristic small suite of plant and animal species found on recent lava flows; how succession on lava in Hawaii differs from that on rock surfaces; how rates of colonization differ on ‘a‘a versus pahoehoe and from dry to wet areas, and why there are few alien, invasive plants on recent lava flows.

The day involves short walks in three or four sites (on pahoehoe or deep cinder) totaling about one mile. Tuition includes a pictorial species identification handout and a CD “mini book” to take home. Tunison was a botanist at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park from 1982-1994 in charge of programs dealing with invasive plant management, plant community restoration, rare plant recovery and fire ecology.

From 1995-2006 he was the park’s chief of resource management. Program cost is $65, with member and student discounts.

 

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