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Title: Recovery of the endangered Maui Parrotbill (Kiwikiu, Pseudonestor xanthophrys)
Author: Mounce, Hanna Lee
ISNI:       0000 0004 5355 1180
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2015
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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 successful.
Supervisor: Groombridge, Jim Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available