IMAGES: Born of Splendid Isolation

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Science  03 Oct 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5642, pp. 27
DOI: 10.1126/science.302.5642.27a

Spending a long time cut off from the rest of the world isn't a recipe for good mental health, but it worked wonders for biological diversity in places like Hawaii. This new photo gallery showcases many of the unique plant species that evolved during the island chain's millions of years of isolation, including the nanu (Gardenia brighamii), whose wild population has dwindled to fewer than 20 trees. The site, which cultivates shots of more than 900 species, is an outgrowth of the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (NetWatch, 15 February 2002, p. 1199). The gallery also captures many of Hawaii's introduced plant species. You can track the spread of some troublesome invaders such as cat's claw, a spiky vine, using downloadable reports and range maps based on recent surveys.

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