Date of Award:

2012

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Ecology

Department name when degree awarded

Ecology

Advisor/Chair:

Mark W. Brunson

Co-Advisor/Chair:

Karen H. Beard

Abstract

Human activities worldwide have altered nature in ways that create new combinations of species and environmental processes. To understand so-called "novel ecosystems" it is important to consider both the natural and the societal factors that shape them, and how those factors are interconnected or "coupled." We used such an approach to explore options for managing a non-native invasive frog, the coqui, which has become established on the island of Hawaii and threatens to spread to other parts of the state.

The nighttime calls of the coqui create a nuisance for property owners when populations become dense enough, as often occurs in Hawaii where the frogs have no natural enemies. Humans have tried various ways to eliminate coqui on the island of Hawaii with little success. Therefore we studied how property owners cope with their presence, both through management practices and psychological coping strategies. We also examined results of those efforts. People whose properties had more frogs were more likely to take action to reduce their numbers, but also attitudes toward the coqui were less negative when people had grown used to having to share their properties with the frogs. For those who cannot cope psychologically, we found it would be possible to manage properties to reduce densities but only when leaf litter and low shrubs were completely removed from near a home. Information campaigns about managing coqui should be different when targeting people that already host frogs and those that do not.

Comments

This work made publicly available electronically on December 21, 2012.

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