Native Hawaiian Insect
Microbiome Initiative

The aim of the Native Hawaiian Insect Microbiome Initiative (NHIMI) is to develop a framework to understand the synergies between host-associated microbiomes and insect species diversity. The Hawaiian Islands provide a natural platform for more precise investigation of the role host-microbe interactions play in shaping insect ecology and evolution. Linking these aspects allow for the opportunity to better understand the mechanisms that underlie adaptive diversification in animals more broadly. Our preliminary efforts have investigated a number of endemic species, providing a set of baseline predictions for several of the largest and most iconic insect radiations on Hawaii. These insights were produced by a graduate student class project and could be easily expanded by a concerted effort from the Hawaiian entomological research community.

Our immediate goals are to:

(a) Increase host taxonomic sampling to encompass all major insect lineages and species diversity, and
(b) Survey the other microbial groups that include the archaea, fungi, and even viruses.

It is our long-term goal to encourage other entomological researchers to collaboratively consider the importance of microbes in shaping the biology of their study organisms. Incorporating a microbiome perspective is essential to not only fully understanding insect evolution, but also to maintaining Hawaii as a cutting-edge model system for guiding evolutionary theory more broadly.

Recent Projects

NHIMI Inauguration Paper Published

Students and collaborators worked hard to publish our class project
Introducing NHIMI!

PEPS 686 Insect-Microbe Interactions

Graduate class sequenced the microbiomes of iconic native Hawaiian insects. MS currently in revision. Stay tuned!


Our lab is currently developing broad scale insect sampling with UH Manoa C-MAIKI Group