Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaiian Islands


(also known as the Sandwich Islands), an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean (18°50′-28°15′ N lat., 154°40′-178°15′ E long.). The largest archipelago in Polynesia; it consists of 24 islands extending more than 3,600 km from west northwest to east southeast. The major islands are Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai, Niihau, Lanai, and Kahoolawe, all of which are mountainous; the other islands are small and low-lying. There are atolls in the northwest. The Hawaiian Islands are located over an underwater mountain range and are the highest active volcanoes on earth. The extinct volcano Mauna Kea (4,205 m) is the highest point on the islands. There is still volcanic activity on the island of Hawaii.

The climate of the Hawaiian Islands is maritime tropical. Average monthly temperatures range from 18° C in February to 25° C in August, and there is snow on the high mountain peaks in winter. The northeast trade winds bring precipitation that falls primarily on the windward slopes of the mountains. The annual precipitation on the high mountainous islands is from 3,500-4,000 mm to 12,500 mm (on Kauai, one of the wettest areas in the world). Surface drainage is poor because the precipitation is absorbed by the lava; there is a river network only on the largest islands.

The flora and fauna of the islands are distinguished by their high endemism and the unusualness of the species composition. About 90 percent of the plant species are endemic. Tropical rain forest covers the windward slopes from elevations of 600-700 m to 1,600-1,700 m. Low-growing mountain forest continues up to 3,000 m, and shrubs and ferns cover higher elevations. There are savannas and sparse growths of trees on the dry southwestern slopes. Sugarcane, pineapple, banana, and other tropical crop plantations occupy the coastal lowlands and the lower mountain slopes. The timber-line has been lowered as a result of the clearing of the forests for coffee plantations. The fauna belongs to the Hawaiian subregion of the Australian zoogeographic region.


References in periodicals archive ?
The September-October maximum spawning condition coincident with rise in coastal catch rates October-November could result from a return to the islands of the Hawaiian archipelago alter a nonspawning interval offshore.
When the ships of European explorers arrived in the Hawaiian archipelago in the late-18th century, an all too familiar set of social and cultural transformations, changes common for many colonized indigenous peoples, were set into motion.
Biology and management of deepwater snappers of the Hawaiian archipelago.
It occupies the two northern inhabited islands of the Hawaiian Archipelago and has a population of approximately 68,000.
Using the reefs and island societies as a model social-ecological system, a team of scientists reconstructed 700 years of human-environment interactions in two different regions of the Hawaiian archipelago to identify the key factors that contributed to degradation or recovery of coral reefs.
From Iow sandy coral islets to high rainforests, the 11 National Wildlife Refuges in the Hawaiian archipelago support more than 55 threatened and endangered animal and plant species.
The squid Euprymna scolopes, a denizen of the shallow waters surrounding the Hawaiian archipelago, provides a shining example-literally-of symbiosis in action.
marginatus in the NWHI and indicated that the highest catch rates ranged from depths of 55-73 m in the southeastern portion of the NWHI to 19-54 m in the northwestern portion of the Hawaiian Archipelago (Uchida and Tagami, 1984).
Known as Hawaiian picture-wings, these insects are part of the intensely studied Drosophilidae family, which is found throughout the main islands of the Hawaiian archipelago.
More than 60 percent of the United States' coral reef ecosystems are located in the Hawaiian archipelago.
To give a sense of the expected wave, Clague points out the tiny island of Lanai on a nearby map of the Hawaiian archipelago.
Hawaiian commercial fisheries will include the areas fished by the distant water fleets originating from Hawaii even if outside of the 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) surrounding the Hawaiian Archipelago.

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