Author(s): Carter T. Atkinson MS, PhD and Dennis A. LaPointe MS, PhD
Publication: Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery
Publication Date: 2009
Introduction: The Hawaiian archipelago is isolated in the central Pacific and consists of 7 large islands and a chain of low coral atolls and small rocky islets that extend in a long arc from Hawaii Island in the southeast to Kure Atoll in the northwest. The archipelago is the most isolated island system in the world, separated from the nearest continental landmass by more than 2000 miles of ocean. The islands range in elevation from just above sea level for atolls in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to peaks that exceed 4000 m on Hawaii Island. The interaction of extreme topographic relief, trade winds, and local climatic patterns creates a wide diversity of habitats, ranging from alpine deserts on the highest peaks to montane rain forests with precipitation exceeding 7600 mm per year.