Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds
Sprinkled across the tropical Pacific, the innumerable islands of Oceania are home to some of the most unique bird communities on the planet, and they sustain species found nowhere else on earth. Many of the birds that live in this region are endangered, however; many more have become extinct as a result of human activity, in both recent and prehistoric times.
Reconstructing the avian world in the same way archeologists re-create ancient human societies, David Steadman—a leading authority on tropical Pacific avian paleontology—has spent the past two decades in the field, digging through layers of soil in search of the bones that serve as clues to the ancient past of island bird communities. His years of indefatigable research and analysis are the foundation for Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds, a monumental study of the landbirds of tropical Pacific islands—especially those from Fiji eastward to Easter Island—and an intricate history of the patterns and processes of island biology over time.
Using information gleaned from prehistoric specimens, Steadman reconstructs the birdlife of tropical Pacific islands as it existed before the arrival of humans and in so doing corrects the assumption that small, remote islands were unable to support rich assemblages of plants and animals. Easter Island, for example, though devoid of wildlife today, was the world’s richest seabird habitat before Polynesians arrived more than a millennium ago. The forests of less isolated islands in the Pacific likewise teemed with megapodes, rails, pigeons, parrots, kingfishers, and songbirds at first human contact.
By synthesizing data from the distant past, Steadman hopes to inform present conservation programs. Grounded in geology, paleontology, and archeology, but biological at its core, Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds is an exceptional work of unparalleled scholarship that will stimulate creative discussions of terrestrial life on oceanic islands for years to come.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Geography and Geology
Terrestrial Flora and Fauna
Birds Living and Dead on Islands and in Museums
Dispersal Colonization and Faunal Attenuation
Equilibrium and Turnover
Micronesia and Remote Central Paciﬁc Islands
Pigeons and Doves
Other Nonpasserine Landbirds
Acrocephalus Aguiguan archaeological atolls avian avifauna bird bones Bismarcks Buka cal BP Caledonia Chapter Chuuk Collocalia colonization columbids Cook Islands distribution Ducula paciﬁca East Polynesia Easter Island Egretta sacra elev endemic extinct species extirpated fauna Figure Fiji ﬁrst ﬁve ﬂightless rails ﬂightless species forest fossil record Gallicolumba Gallus genera genus Guinea Ha‘apai habitat Halcyon HONEYEATERS human arrival identiﬁed island groups kingﬁsher Kirch Kosrae Lakeba land Lapita Levu Mangaia Marianas Marquesas Mayr & Diamond megapodes Melanesia Micronesia modern Myiagra Myzomela Niue nonnative occur oceanic islands Olson Paciﬁc islands Palau parrots passerines pigeon Pohnpei Polynesia populations Porphyrio Pregill prehistoric record Pterodroma Ptilinopus Pufﬁnus rail Gallirallus raised limestone islands Remote Oceania Rockshelter Samoa seabirds Society Islands Solomon Islands species of landbirds species richness STARLINGS Aplonis Steadman sympatric Table Tonga Tongatapu TOTAL tropical Tuamotu Tubuai Vanuatu Vava‘u Vini volcanic West white-eye widespread Zealand Zosterops