Author Date


Degree Name





Life Sciences

Defense Date


Publication Date


First Faculty Advisor

Richard Gill

First Faculty Reader

Benjamin Abbott

Honors Coordinator

Steven Peck


Habitat Suitability, Ecological Modeling, Remote Sensing, Orthophoto Mosaic, 'Ohai, 'Aweoweo


Hawaii is home to incredible diversity in both plant and animal life. Nearly 90% of Hawaii’s 1,400 plant taxa are found nowhere else in the world, and in an ecosystem threatened by invasive species and terrain alteration, this puts them at risk of extinction. As pressures on global biodiversity intensify, conservation efforts and restoration of endangered species are of the utmost importance. The Molokai Land Trust is actively working to eradicate invasive kiawe (Prosopis pallida) forests and to restore endemic species and other native vegetation on the Mokio Preserve. These vital efforts are made more difficult because the specific topographical and ecological requirements of many of these rare plants are little-known. Two particularly sensitive and important species are Sesbania tomentosa and Chenopodium oahuense. To learn about the ideal environmental niche characteristics of S. tomentosa and C. oahuense, remotely sensed data was used to create a classified orthophoto mosaic and a habitat suitability model parameterized based on current species distribution. Once applied, the models ranked additional habitat within the Mokio Preserve based on suitability, which enables an informed prioritization of restoration and replanting efforts. As science and technology continue to inform conservation, the Molokai Land trust will grow closer to their goal of returning the Mokio Preserve to a native ecosystem and a haven for endemic populations.