Donald Drake


PhD 1993, University of Hawaii

Contact Information
Phone:(808) 956-3937
Fax: (808) 956-3923


  • 1993-1996 Georgia Southern University
  • 1996-2001 Victoria University of Wellington
  • 2002-present University of Hawaii

Graduate Faculty Memberships

Botany; Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology

Research Interests

  • plant-animal interactions
  • plant reproductive ecology
  • conservation biology
  • island biology


My main interest is plant ecology, especially aspects of reproductive ecology that influence plant population and community dynamics and are relevant to conservation. Much recent work focuses on how changes in animal communities (pollinators, seed dispersers, and seed predators) affect plant recruitment from seed. I am also increasingly interested in restoration ecology, both as a conservation technique and as a means to learn more about basic ecological processes.

Selected Publications

  • Vizentin-Bugoni, J., C. E. Tarwater, J. T. Foster, D. R. Drake, J. M. Gleditsch, A. M. Hruska, J. P. Kelley, and J. H. Sperry. 2019. Structure, spatial dynamics, and stability of novel seed dispersal mutualistic networks in Hawaiʻi. Science 364: 78-82.
  • Shay, K., and D. R. Drake. 2018. Pollination biology of the Hawaiian coastal vine Jacquemontia sandwicensis (Convolvulaceae). Pacific Science 72: 485-499.
  • Slik, F., … D. R. Drake, … (187 authors!). 2018. Phylogenetic classification of the world’s tropical forests. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 115: 1837-1842.
  • Hays, B. R., J. Sperry, D. R. Drake, and A. M. Hruska. 2018. Husking stations provide insight into seed predation and possible dispersal by non-native rodents of Oʻahu. Pacific Science 72: 335-344.
  • Enoki, T., and D. R. Drake. 2017. Alteration of litter decomposition by the invasive tree Psidium cattleianum along a precipitation gradient on Oʻahu Island, Hawaiʻi. Plant Ecology 218: 947-955.
  • Shay, K., D. R. Drake, A. D. Taylor, and H. F. Sahli. 2016. Alien insects dominate the plant-pollinator network of a Hawaiian coastal ecosystem. Pacific Science 70: 409-429.
  • Sahli, H. F., P. D. Krushelnycky, D. R. Drake, and A. D. Taylor. 2016. Patterns of floral visitation to native Hawaiian plants in the presence and absence of invasive Argentine ants. Pacific Science 70: 309-322.
  • Wotton, D. M., D. R. Drake, R. G. Powlesland, and J. M. Ladley. 2016. The role of lizards as seed dispersers in New Zealand revisited. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 46: 40-65.
  • Kueffer C. K, D. R. Drake, and J. M. Fernández-Palácios. 2016. Island Biology. Oxford Bibliographies in Ecology. Ed. David Gibson. New York: Oxford University Press, 26 May 2016. DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199830060-0149.
  • Traveset, A., J.M. Fernández-Palacios, C. Kueffer, P. Bellingham, C. Morden, and D. R. Drake. 2016. Advances in island plant biology since Sherwin Carlquist’s Island Biology. AoB PLANTS 8: plv148; doi:10.1093/aobpla/plv148.
  • McConkey, K., and D. R. Drake. 2015. No redundancy in the seed dispersal function of flying foxes on a Pacific Island. AoB PLANTS 7: plv088; doi: 10.1093/aobpla/plv088.
  • Shiels, A. B., and D. R. Drake. 2015. Barriers to seed and seedling survival of once-common Hawaiian palms: the role of invasive rats and ungulates. AoB PLANTS 7: plv057; doi:10.1093/aobpla/plv057.
  • Fernández-Palácios, J. M., C. K. Kueffer, and D. R. Drake. 2015. A new golden era in island biology. Frontiers of Biogeography 7: 14-20.
  • Kueffer, C. K., D. R. Drake, and J. M. Fernández-Palácios. 2014. Island Biology—looking toward the future. Biology Letters 10: 20140719.
  • Franklin, J., G. Keppel, E. L. Webb, J. O. Seamon, S. J. Rey, D. W. Steadman, S. K. Wiser, and D. R. Drake. 2013. Dispersal limitation, speciation, environmental filtering and niche differentiation influence forest tree communities in West Polynesia. Journal of Biogeography 40: 988-999.
  • Shiels, A. B., C. A. Flores, A. Khamsing, P. D. Krushelnycky, S. M. Mosher, and D. R. Drake. 2013. Dietary niche differentiation among three species of invasive rodents (Rattus rattus, R. exulans, Mus musculus). Biological Invasions 15: 1037-1048.
  • Krushelnycky, P. D., L. L. Loope, T. W. Giambelluca, F. Starr, K. Starr, D. R. Drake, A. D. Taylor, and R. Robichaux. 2013. Climate associated population declines reverse recovery and threaten future of an iconic high-elevation plant. Global Change Biology 19: 911-922.
  • Vitousek, P. M., and  D. R. Drake. 2012. In appreciation of Professor Dieter Mueller-Dombois. Pacific Science 66: 117-118.
  • Drake, D. R., T. Bodey, J. C. Russell, D. R. Towns, M. Nogales, and L. Ruffino. 2011. Direct impacts of seabird predators on island biota other than seabirds. Pp. 91-132 in Mulder, C.P.H., W.B. Anderson, D.R. Towns and P.J. Bellingham (Eds). Seabird Islands: Ecology, Invasion and Restoration. Oxford University Press.
  • Chimera, C. G., and D. R. Drake. 2011. Could poor seed dispersal contribute to predation by rodents in a Hawaiian dry forest? Biological Invasions 13: 1029-1042.
  • Shiels, A. B., and D. R. Drake. 2011. Are introduced rats (Rattus rattus) both seed predators and dispersers in Hawaii? Biological Invasions 13: 883-894.
  • Adkins, E., S. Cordell, and D. R. Drake. 2011.  The role of fire in the germination ecology of fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum), an invasive African bunchgrass in Hawaii. Pacific Science 65: 17-26.
  • Chimera, C. G., and D. R. Drake. 2010. Effects of pulp removal on seed germination of five invasive plants in Hawaii. Plant Protection Quarterly 25: 137-140.
  • Chimera, C. G., and D. R. Drake. 2010. Patterns of seed dispersal and dispersal failure in a Hawaiian dry forest having only introduced birds. Biotropica 42: 493-502.
  • Drake D. R. 2009. Tonga. Pp. 918-921 in R. Gillespie and D. Clague (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Islands. University of California Press, Berkeley.
  • Drake, D. R., and T. L. Hunt. 2009. Invasive rodents on islands: integrating historical and contemporary ecology. Biological Invasions 11: 1483-1487.
  • Perez, H. E., A. B. Shiels, H. M. Zaleski, and D. R. Drake. 2008. Germination after simulated rat damage in seeds of two endemic Hawaiian palm species. Journal of Tropical Ecology 24: 555-558.
  • McConkey, K. R., and D. R. Drake. 2007. Indirect evidence that flying foxes track food resources among islands in a Pacific archipelago. Biotropica.39: 436-440.
  • Franklin, J., S. K. Wiser, D. R. Drake, L. E. Burrows, and W. R. Sykes. 2006. Environment, disturbance history and rain forest composition across the islands of Tonga, Western Polynesia. Journal of Vegetation Science 17: 233-244.
  • McConkey, K. R., and D. R. Drake. 2006. Flying foxes cease to function as seed dispersers long before they become rare. Ecology 87: 271-276.
  • Meehan, H. J., K. R. McConkey, and D. R. Drake. 2005. Early fate of Myristica hypargyraea seeds dispersed by Ducula pacifica in Tonga. Austral Ecology 30: 374-382.
  • McConkey, K. R., H. J. Meehan, and D. R. Drake. 2004. Seed dispersal by Pacific Pigeons (Ducula pacifica) in Tonga, Western Polynesia. Emu 104: 369-376.
  • McConkey, K. R., D. R. Drake, J. Franklin, and F. Tonga. 2004. Effects of Cyclone Waka on flying fox populations in Tonga. Journal of Tropical Ecology 20: 555-561.
  • Franklin, J., D. R. Drake, K. McConkey, F. Tonga, and L. B. Smith. 2004. The effects of Tropical Cyclone Waka on the structure of lowland rain forest in Vava’u, Tonga. Journal of Tropical Ecology 20: 409-420.
  • McAlpine, K. G., and D. R. Drake. 2003. The effects of small-scale environmental heterogeneity on seed germination in treefall gaps. Plant Ecology 165: 207-215.
  • McConkey, K. R., D. R. Drake, H. J. Meehan, and N. Parsons. 2003. Husking stations provide evidence of seed predation by introduced rodents in Tongan rain forests. Biological Conservation 109: 221-225.
  • Drake, D. R., C. P. H. Mulder, D. R. Towns, and C. H. Daugherty. 2002. The biology of insularity: an introduction. Journal of Biogeography 29: 563-569.
  • Meehan, H. J., K. R. McConkey, and D. R. Drake. 2002. Potential disruptions to seed dispersal mutualisms in Tonga, Western Polynesia. Journal of Biogeography 29: 695-712.
  • Wiser, S. K., D. R. Drake, L. E. Burrows, and W. R. Sykes. 2002. The potential for long-term persistence of forest fragments on a large island in western Polynesia. Journal of Biogeography 29: 767-787.
  • McConkey, K. R., and D. R. Drake. 2002. Extinct pigeons and declining bat populations: are large seeds still being dispersed in the tropical Pacific? Pp. 381-395 in D. Levey, W. Silva, and M. Galetti (Eds.), Frugivory and seed dispersal: evolutionary and conservation perspectives. CAB International, Wallingford, UK.
  • Drake, D. R., and L. W. Pratt. 2001. Seedling mortality in Hawaiian rain forest: the role of small-scale physical disturbance. Biotropica 33: 319-323.
  • Steadman, D. W, J. Franklin, D. R. Drake, H. B. Freifeld, L. A. Bolick, D. S. Smith, and T. J. Motley. 1999. Conservation status of forests and vertebrate communities in the Vava’u Island Group, Tonga. Pacific Conservation Biology 5: 191-207.
  • Moles, A. T., and D. R. Drake. 1999. Post-dispersal seed predation on eleven large-seeded species from the New Zealand flora: a preliminary study in secondary forest. New Zealand Journal of Botany 37: 679-685.
  • Ferguson, R., and D. R. Drake. 1999. Influence of vegetation structure on spatial patterns of bird-dispersed seeds. New Zealand Journal of Botany 37: 671-677.
  • Franklin, J., D. R. Drake, L. A. Bolick, D. S. Smith, and T. J. Motley. 1999. Rain forest composition and patterns of secondary succession in the Vava’u Island Group, Kingdom of Tonga. Journal of Vegetation Science 10: 51-64.
  • Moles, A. T., and D. R. Drake. 1999. Potential contributions of the seed rain and seed bank to regeneration of native forest beneath plantation pine. New Zealand Journal of Botany 37: 83-93.
  • Drake, D. R. 1998. Relationships among the seed rain, seed bank, and vegetation of a Hawaiian forest. Journal of Vegetation Science. 9: 103-112.
  • Kitayama, K., E. A. G. Schuur, D. R. Drake, and D. Mueller-Dombois. 1997. Fate of a wet montane forest during soil ageing. Journal of Ecology 85: 669-679.
  • Orava, C., and D. R. Drake. 1997. Effects of salinity on germination and growth of Solidago sempervirens (L.). Castanea 62: 272-277.
  • Drake, D. R., W. A. Whistler, T. J. Motley, and C. T. Imada. 1996. Rain forest vegetation of ‘Eua Island, Tonga. New Zealand Journal of Botany 34: 65-77.
  • Alpha, C. G., D. R. Drake, and G. Goldstein. 1996. Morphological and physiological responses of Scaevola sericea (Goodeniaceae) to salt spray and substrate salinity. American Journal of Botany 83: 86-92.
  • Goldstein, G., D. R. Drake, C. G. Alpha, P. Melcher, J. Heraux, and A. Azocar. 1996. Growth and photosynthetic responses of Scaevola sericea, a Hawaiian coastal shrub, to substrate salinity and salt spray. International Journal of Plant Sciences 157: 171-179.
  • Goldstein, G., D. R. Drake, P. Melcher, J. Heraux, and T. W. Giambelluca. 1996. Photosynthetic gas exchange and temperature-induced damage in seedlings of the tropical alpine species Argyroxiphium sandwicense. Oecologia 106: 298-307.
  • Drake, D. R., and D. Mueller-Dombois. 1993. Population development of rain forest trees on a chronosequence of Hawaiian lava flows. Ecology 74: 1012-1019.
  • Drake, D. R. 1993. Germination requirements of Metrosideros polymorpha, the dominant tree of Hawaiian lava flows and rain forests. Biotropica 25: 461-467.
  • Drake, D. R. 1992. Seed dispersal of Metrosideros polymorpha (Myrtaceae): a pioneer tree of Hawaiian lava flows. American Journal of Botany 79: 1224-1228.
  • Drake, D. R., and I. A. Ungar. 1989. The effects of salinity, nitrogen level, and population density on the survival, growth, and reproduction of Atriplex triangularis (Chenopodiaceae). American Journal of Botany 76: 1125-1135.