Will Haines

Phone: (808) 956-9123
Fax: (808) 956-2428

E-mail: whaines [at] hawaii [dot] edu


University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. Honolulu, HI. 

Ph.D., Entomology (Ecology, Evolution & Conservation Biology). December 2011

Dissertation title: The biogeography, phylogenetics, and population structure of Hawaiian Lepidoptera, with a focus on the genus Omiodes (Crambidae).

Cornell University. Ithaca, NY. 

B.S. in Biological Sciences with High Honors, magna cum laude, May 1999.  GPA: 3.84 

Originally from Maui, I have always been fascinated by insects, and simply never grew out of it. As a researcher, I am broadly interested in the evolution and conservation of Hawaiian insects. I am especially interested in processes of diversification as related to ecological traits, such as host plant specialization and dispersal capacity. Below are some of the projects I am working on. 

Evolution of Hawaiian case-bearing moths

With more than 350 described species all descended from a single colonizing ancestor, the genus Hyposmocoma (Cosmopterigidae) is one of the most diverse lineages of Hawaiian insects, second only to drosophilid flies. Caterpillars of Hyposmocoma found in almost every habitat in Hawai‘i, and are case-bearers, constructing elaborate shelters of silk, frass, lichens, and other materials. Case morphology varies according to the habitat type and life history of particular species. Although remarkable behaviors have been documented in a few species, including snail-hunting predators and scuba-diving algae grazers, the biology of the majority of species is unknown. As a post-doctoral researcher in the Rubinoff lab, I am currently working towards understanding the phylogenetic relationships among species, and developing tools for identification.   

Disharmonic colonization and diversification of Hawaiian insects

The biota of Hawai‘i and other isolated islands is typically disharmonic, with some taxonomic groups way overrepresented and others way underrepresented compared to mainland ecosystems. For instance, butterflies are very diverse elsewhere in the world, but we have only two native species in Hawai‘i. On the other hand, the family Cosmopterigidae, which is not particularly diverse outside of Hawai‘i, accounts for over a third of all Hawaiian moth species. This disharmony is due to the extreme infrequency of natural dispersal to and establishment in Hawai‘i, well as differences in diversification rates among taxonomic groups. I am interested in characteristics (of both islands and insects) that influence rates of colonization and diversification in Hawai‘i.  

Evolution of Hawaiian leafroller moths

The primary focus of my dissertation research was the crambid genus Omiodes, which includes species from the New and Old World tropics, as well as 23 described species in Hawai‘i. This group is interesting because five endemic Hawaiian species are only known to feed on banana, a non-native plant introduced by human colonists ca. 1200 years ago. This suggests that rapid speciation may have been driven by the introduction of a novel host plant. I explored the evolution of Omiodes on several scales, first establishing the monophyly and paleotropical origins of the Hawaiian lineage, then looking at relationships within Hawai‘i, including the banana-feeding species. I also studied population structure within eight species of Hawaiian Omiodes. I used mitochondrial DNA to explore relationships between gene flow, geographic range, and host plant specificity, and how those ecological variables might influence the process of speciation.  

Outbreaks of the Hawaiian koa looper moth

Although the koa looper caterpillar (Geometridae: Scotorythra paludicola) is endemic to Hawai‘i, it experiences sporadic, devastating outbreaks, causing nearly complete defoliation of entire koa forests. These outbreaks have occurred for at least the last century, and are presumed to be a natural phenomenon, but they are nonetheless a major concern to both foresters and natural resource managers. No one knows what triggers outbreaks, although there is some evidence that they may be related to drought or other weather patterns. I am interested in long-term monitoring of population densities of the koa looper, as well as its parasitoids and pathogens.  

Haines, W. P., F. Starr, K. Starr, and W.G. King. 2011. A new record of the fruit piercing moth Oraesia excavata (Butler) (Noctuidae: Calpinae: Calpini) for Hawaii and the United States. Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society. 65(1): 53-57.

King, C. B. A., W. P. Haines, and D. Rubinoff. 2010. Impacts of invasive parasitoids on declining endemic Hawaiian leafroller moths (Omiodes: Crambidae) vary among sites and species. Journal of Applied Ecology 47: 299-308.

Bressan A., J. Arneodo, M. Simonato, W.P. Haines, and E. Boudon-Padieu. 2009. Characterization and evolution of two bacteriome-inhabiting symbionts in cixiid planthoppers (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha: Pentastirini). Environmental Microbiology. 11(12): 3265-79.

Haines, W. P. and J. A. A. Renwick. 2009. Bryophytes as food: comparative consumption and utilization of mosses by a generalist insect herbivore. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 133: 296-306.

Haines, W. P., M. L. Heddle, P. Welton and D. Rubinoff. 2009. A recent outbreak of the Hawaiian koa moth, Scotorythra paludicola (Lepidoptera: Geometridae), and a review of outbreaks between 1892 and 2003. Pacific Science 63:349-369.

King, C., D. Rubinoff, and W. P. Haines. 2009. Biology and distribution of a recently rediscovered endemic Hawaiian leafroller moth, Omiodes continuatalis (Crambidae). Journal of the Lepidopterist’s Society 63: 11-20.

Kaufman, L.V., C. B. A. King, L. L. Leblanc, and W. P. Haines. 2008. Triclistus nr. aitkeni a new adventive species to the Hawaiian Islands. Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society 40: 55-59.

Handler, A. T., D. S. Gruner, W. P. Haines, M. W. Lange, and K. Y. Kaneshiro. 2007. Arthropod surveys on Palmyra Atoll, Line Islands, and insights into the decline of the native tree Pisonia grandis (Nyctaginaceae). Pacific Science 61: 485-502.

Haines, W. P. 2006. Discover Life: Ants – Hawaii Identification Guide and Checklist.  Interactive online key to ants.

Haines, W. P. and G. A. Samuelson. 2006. The Eucalyptus snout beetle, Gonipterus scutellatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), recently established in the Hawaiian Islands. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 88 (Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey): 25-26.

Rubinoff, D. and W. P. Haines. 2005. Web-spinning caterpillar stalks snails. Science 309: 575.

Haines, W.P. and D. Foote. 2005. Rapid assessment of invertebrate fauna of the Kona Forest Unit of Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge. Hawaii Cooperative Studies Unit, Technical Report HCSU-001. University of Hawaii at Hilo. 93pp.

Haines, W. P., J. Giffin and D. Foote. 2004. Rediscovery of five species of Omiodes Guenée (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) on Hawaii Island. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 79 (Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey): 45-49.

Johnson, P. J., W. P. Haines and D. Foote. 2001. A new generic combination and Hawaiian Island record for Adelocera beardsleyi (Coleoptera: Elateridae). Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 69 (Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey): 29-31.

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