Laysan Island is one of Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and comprises of a landmass atoll. The island derives its name from its egg shape and the salinity of the waters here is estimated to be three times higher than that of the ocean. Laysan is reputed as the large largest Hawaiian Islands and geology states that the island was created by geologic upshift and coral growth. Over the decades, sandstorms have led to sand building up in the ocean thus giving it varying water depths. You can spot freshwater on this island by following the finches and seeing where they are drinking water. This is because most of the water here is salty but since freshwater accumulates and floats over salty water, you can find drinking water around the shoreline.
Laysan Island is uninhabited and a Geological Survey found that just like similar Pacific Islands living on the island is unfit and not possible. Over the decades, digging Guano has dramatically interfered with the ecosystem of the island. Some naturalists say that in 1903, the island had over 10 million seabirds but a decade later, the number of seabirds on the islands was estimated to be less than a million which are quite worrying. Species that were unique to the island such as sandalwood trees and palms growing on the island became extinct. Later in the years, the introduction of domestic rabbits, English hares, guinea pigs, and Belgian hares on the island by a German immigrant proved to be very futile for the Laysan Island ecosystem.
Like most of the uninhabited Hawaiian Islands, Laysan is protected by Hawaiian Natural Life Act and the National Fish and Wildlife Service takes care of it. Extensive restoration efforts on the island have been a great success and have led to the elimination of pests and restoration of the imperiled species. Unfortunately, most of the garbage that ships throw into the sea simply floats on Laysan shoreline which has seriously put the native species at a grave danger. Most of seabirds end up swallowing the plastic and crowds their stomach as they are indigestible. The national fish and wildlife service has taken efforts to eliminate alien sandburs which form the bird’s habitat. The removal process was also highly successful and the threat to birds is now gone.
Generally, Laysan is regarded as the Hawaiian gem thanks to its extensive biodiversity. The island houses the Laysan Duck which is the world’s rarest duck. Laysan Finch is an opportunistic hunter and a native species of this island. There are also many other bird species here that have made the island a breeding ground. Besides, Laysan has no shortage of plants most of which have been able to survive the extinction period. Just like the other Hawaiian Islands, Laysan is also home to Green Sea Turtle and Hawaiian Monk Seals. Besides this, there is a large population of insects on the islands especially the vast moth species that continues to attract a large number of visitors from all over the world.