Field day on Maui

Last Saturday, Shaunna and I went to Maui for the day to collect Cladophora specimens. It might seem crazy to go to Maui just for the day, but when you’re only about a half-hour plane ride away, and you need to keep your specimens alive for experiments, a day tip (and a long one at that!) is the way to go. We got off to an early start with the 6am flight since we had a lot of ground to cover. There were specific sites we wanted to visit in search of Cladophora, and unfortunately they weren’t all in the same area of the island.


Unseasonably high rainfall makes this stream on the Hana Highway full of water…this is as close as I could venture

We started our day with a trip down the Hana Highway. Those of you who have visited Maui will probably know this as a huge tourist destination. For phycologists in search of freshwater algae, it just doesn’t get any better than a stream every few minutes, many with easy access. This is the rainy part of the island, and there are countless streams, seeps, and wet walls – all great habitat! We’re in the dry season here in Hawaii, but for a dry season it’s been very rainy. This meant that at least one of our sites was raging with water – not very safe for collections.


After not having much luck on the Hana Highway (plenty of algae, just not the particular one we were looking for), we headed down the coast to Kihei. Our site there was at the end of Lipoa Street (aptly named – Lipoa is a Hawaiian word for a type of algae!), where we found a lot of algae floating in the drift. While there were many interesting species there, there wasn’t any Cladophora….on to the next site…


Finally…plenty of Cladophora here!

We went on to head towards Lahaina and stopped at a stream where it was flowing into the ocean, and finally success! There was plenty of Cladophora covering a little waterfall just above where the water leveled out towards the ocean. While the salinity here was 0ppt according to our refractometer, it certainly is influenced by the ocean – we could feel the surge of small waves coming in from the sea while we were collecting there.


Then we went on to our last site of the day – the beautiful Iao Valley. Here too, the stream was pretty high for a dry season. Despite this, we were able to collect some great Cladophora.


Now Shaunna is running the experiments on these collections – the last ones here in Hawaii since our time is quickly coming to a close.





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