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Dr. Aaron B. Shiels

   Dr. Aaron B. Shiels, Biologist


Dr. Aaron Shiels is a biologist at the NWRC Hilo, Hawaii Field Station.

NWRC Research Project: Methods and Strategies to Manage Invasive Species Impacts to Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Human Health and Safety

Current Research 

Ecology, invasive species, plant-animal interaction, conservation biology, wildlife biology and management, rodent ecology, disturbance, global change


  • Ph.D., University of Hawaii at Manoa, Botany, “Ecology and impacts of introduced rodents (Rattus spp. and Mus musculus) in the Hawaiian Islands”
  • M.S., University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Biology, “Bird perches and soil amendments as revegetation techniques for landslides in Puerto Rico”
  • B.S., University of Denver, Environmental Science, “Soil nutrient differences between Pinus aristata and Picea engelmannii krummholz in alpine-tundra, Goliath Peak, Colorado”

Contact Information:

  • Address: Hawaii Field Station, P.O. Box 10880, Hilo, HI. 96721
  • Telephone: 808-961-4482
  • E-mail: Aaron.B.Shiels@aphis.usda.gov

Recent Publications

Klawinski, P.D., B. Dalton, and A.B. Shiels. 2014. Coqui frog populations are negatively affected by canopy opening but not detritus deposition following an experimental hurricane in a tropical rainforest. Forest Ecology and Management 332:118-123. doi: 10.1016/jforeco.2014.02.010.

Sharpe, J.M. and A.B. Shiels. 2014. Understory fern community structure, growth and spore production responses to a large-scale hurricane experiment in a Puerto Rico rainforest. Forest Ecology and Management 332:75-86.  doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2014.01.023.

Shiels, A.B., G. Gonzalez. 2014. Understanding the key mechanisms of tropical forest responses to canopy loss and biomass deposition from experimental hurricane effects. Forest Ecology and Management.  doi: 10.1016/jforeco.2014.04.024. 

Shiels, A.B., G. Gonzalez, and M.R. Willig. 2014. Responses to canopy loss and debris deposition in a tropical forest ecosystem: Synthesis from an experimental manipulation simulating effects of hurricane disturbance. Forest Ecology and Management.  doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2014.08.005.

Shiels, A.B., M.K. Ennis, and L. Shiels. 2014. Trait-based plant mortality and preference for native versus non-native seedlings by invasive slug and snail herbivores in Hawaii. Biological Invasions 16(9): 1929-1940. doi: 10.1007/s10530-013-0636-3.

Shiels, A.B., W.C. Pitt, R.T. Sugihara, and G.W. Witmer. 2014. Biology and impacts of Pacific Island invasive species. 11. The Black Rat, Rattus rattus (Rodentia: Muridae). Pacific Science 68(2): 145-184. doi: 10.2984/68.2.1.

Walker, L.R., and A.B. Shiels. 2013. Landslide Ecology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K. 

Shiels, A.B., and L.R. Walker. 2013. Landslides cause spatial and temporal gradients at multiple scales in the Luquillo Mountains of Puerto Rico. In: G. González, M. Willig, and R. Waide, editors. Ecological Gradient Analyses in a Tropical Landscape. Ecological Bulletins. Blackwell Science, Oxford, U.K. 211-222. 

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.

Walker, L.R., A.B. Shiels, P.J. Bellingham, A.D. Sparrow, N. Fetcher, F.H. Landau, and D.J. Lodge. 2013. Changes in abiotic influences on seed plants and ferns during 18 years of primary succession on Puerto Rican landslides. Journal of Ecology 101: 650-661.

Shiels, A.B., and L.R. Walker. 2013. Landslides cause spatial and temporal gradients at multiple scales in the Luquillo Mountains of Puerto Rico. In: González, G., M. Willig, and R. Waide (Eds), Ecological Gradient Analyses in a Tropical Landscape. (pp.211-222). Ecological Bulletins. Blackwell Science, Oxford, U.K.,

Pender, R.J., A.B. Shiels, L. Bialic-Murphy, and S.M. Mosher. 2013. Large-scale rodent control reduces pre- and post-dispersal seed predation of the endangered Hawaiian lobeliad, Cyanea superba subsp. superba (Campanulaceae). Biological Invasions 15: 213-223.

Walker, L.R., and A.B. Shiels. 2013. Landslide Ecology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K.

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.

Shiels, A.B. 2011. Frugivory by introduced black rats (Rattus rattus) promotes dispersal of invasive plant seeds. Biological Invasions 13: 781-792.

Shiels, A.B., J.K. Zimmerman, D.C. Garcia-Montiel, I. Jonckheere, J. Holm, D. Horton, and N. Brokaw. 2010. Plant responses to simulated hurricane impacts in a subtropical wet forest, Puerto Rico. Journal of Ecology 98: 659-673.

Walker, L.R., F. Landau, E. Velázquez, A.B. Shiels, and A.D. Sparrow. 2010. Early successional woody plants facilitate and ferns inhibit forest development on Puerto Rican landslides. Journal of Ecology 98: 625-635.

Richardson, B.A., M.J. Richardson, G. González, A.B. Shiels, and D.S. Srivastava. 2010. A canopy trimming experiment in Puerto Rico: The response of litter invertebrate communities to canopy loss and debris deposition in a tropical forest subject to hurricanes. Ecosystems 11: 286-301.

Restrepo, C., L.R. Walker, A.B. Shiels, R. Bussman, L. Claessens, S. Fisch, P. Lozano, G. Negi, L. Paolini, G. Poveda, C. Ramos-Scharrón, M. Richter, and E. Velázquez. 2009. Landsliding and its multi-scale influences on mountainscapes. BioScience 59: 685-698.

Walker, L.R., E. Velázquez, and A.B. Shiels. 2009. Applying lessons from ecological succession to the restoration of landslides. Plant and Soil 324: 157-168.

Meyer, W.M., and A.B. Shiels. 2009. Black rat (Rattus rattus) predation on non-indigenous snails in Hawai`i: complex management implications. Pacific Science 63: 339-347.





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