UH Manoa miconia hunters to be featured on National Geographic special

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
David Duffy, (808) 956-8218
Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit
Posted: Apr 13, 2005

HONOLULU — The Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC), a coalition of state, private and federal organizations that is staffed by the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa‘s Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit (PCSU), as well as the unit‘s director, UH Mānoa Professor of Botany David Duffy, will be featured in the first of four segments of a National Geographic special entitled "Strange Days on Planet Earth." The show will premiere Wednesday, April 20, at 9 p.m. on PBS.

Hosted by actor Edward Norton, the show will follow scientists around the world as they race to solve a series of bizarre mysteries. Clue by clue, they are piecing together a new picture of life on Earth concerning invasive species, climate change, vanishing predators and toxins in our water.

"The BIISC was chosen for the show because of its efforts to understand why miconia has become invasive and to show how they are going about preventing the plant from taking over," said Duffy.

Miconia is a plant from tropical South America that was imported as an ornamental. It has taken over the forests of Tahiti and threatens to do the same in Hawaiʻi. Many of the scenes were shot around Hilo. The one-hour segment will also explore why other invasive species have become more of a problem.

The Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit in the Department of Botany in the College of Natural Sciences at UH Mānoa employs over 300 people throughout Hawaiʻi who are involved in the conservation and management of natural and cultural resources, as well as environmental education.

National Geographic‘s "Strange Days on Planet Earth" is a Sea Studios Foundation production for Vulcan Productions, Inc., and National Geographic Television & Film; WGBH Boston presents the series on PBS. Its executive producers are Mark Shelley and Nancy Burnett for Sea Studios Foundation, Richard Hutton for Vulcan Productions and Michael Rosenfeld for National Geographic Television & Film. David Elisco is the series producer.

Major funding for National Geographic‘s "Strange Days on Planet Earth" is provided by the National Science Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Ford Motor Company and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

For more information about the series, visit www.pbs.org/strangedays.

For more information, visit: http://www.pbs.org/strangedays