Life on Recent Lava Flows

Hawai’i Volcanoes Insitute presents – Life on Recent Lava Flows with botanist Tim Tunison.

Saturday, March 23, 2012            9:00 am – 3:00 pm


Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, with two active volcanoes, may be one of the world’s best outdoor classrooms for learning about the colonization of new geological surfaces, a process that ecologists label primary succession.

The lava flows along the Chain of Craters Road, resulting from the Mauna Ulu flows and other eruptions in the 1970s, are a highly accessible and informative area.  Life has noticeably recolonized these 30 to 40 year old flows and deposits, but the simplicity and sparseness of life make species identification manageable—and ecological patterns readily apparent.

In this program we’ll investigate the characteristic small suite of plant and animal species found on recent lava flows; how succession on lava in Hawai‘i differs from that on rock surfaces; how rates of colonization differ on ‘ā‘ā versus pāhoehoe and from dry to wet areas; and why there are few alien, invasive plants on recent lava flows.

The day involves short walks in three of four sites (on pāhoehoe or deep cinder) totaling about one mile.  Tuition includes a pictorial species identification handout and a PDF “mini book” for each participant.


Tim Tunison was a Botanist at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park from 1982-1994 in charge of programs dealing with invasive plant management, plant community restoration, rare plant recovery, and fire ecology.  From 1995-2006 he was the park’s Chief of Resource Management.  Since retirement, Tim has stayed connected with the plants of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park by teaching field botany classes in Volcano.


This event is presented by the Hawai‘i Volcanoes Institute, which is part of the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, a non-profit organization.  Program cost is $50 for Friends members and $65 for non-members.  Student Members (K-12 and college with valid student ID) are $25.00.  Student Non-Members (K-12 and college with valid student ID) are $35.00.  Non-members are welcome to join the Friends in order to get the member discount.


You can register here or email, or call (808) 985-7373.  Your registration is confirmed when you pay by credit card over the phone or on our website, or when we receive a check payable to: Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (FHVNP), P.O. Box 653, Volcano, HI 96785.

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9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Student Members$25.00
Student Non-Members$35.00