Kenneth Y. Kaneshiro

Director, CCRT/Director, HEBP/Research

Speciation, Evolutionary Biology, Sexual Selection Theory, Hawaiian Drosophilids



Gil 406


(808) 956-6739


(808) 956-2647

Research Interests

The Hawaiian Drosophilidae has often been referred to as one of the most outstanding examples of explosive adaptive radiation and there is little reason to deny such claims. However, results from mate preference experiments suggest that adaptive shifts into novel environments may not be the primary mechanism by which speciation occur in this group. Rather, it is suggested that shifts within the sexual environment play a dominant role in the initial steps of species formation. Thus, I have focused my research on understanding the dynamics of sexual selection and the role it plays in the speciation process.

I have also begun to investigate the biology of small populations and the role of sexual selection in populations faced with extinction. Shifts in the distribution of mating types in the population during small population size can have a significant impact on the genetic background of the population. Also, "leakage" of genetic material from a related sympatric species may be permitted during small population conditions to replenish some of the genetic variability that may have been lost as a result of genetic drift. The results of this research will increase our understanding of the biology of rare and endangered species and provide information that may help in mitigating the extinction of some of these species.

Selected Publications

Kaneshiro, K.Y. and R. Lapointe. 2009. Sexual Selection. In R. Gillespie and D. Clague (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Islands, University of California Press pp.825-829.

Kido, M., C. Mundt, K. Montgomery, A. Asquith, D. Goodale, and K.Y. Kaneshiro. 2008. Integration of wireless sensor networks into cyberinfrastructure for monitoring Hawaiian "mountain-to-sea" environmentsl. Environmental Management 42(4):658-666.

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(4): 485-502.