There are both great similarities and considerable diversity in the ecosystems that evolved on the islands of Oceania in and around the Pacific Ocean. The islands, such as New Zealand, that were originally parts of continents still carry some small plant and animal remnants of their earlier biota (animal and plant life), and they also have been extensively modified by evolution, adaptation, and the arrival of new species. By contrast, the other islands, which emerged via geological processes such as volcanism, possessed no terrestrial life, but over long periods, winds, ocean currents, and the feet, feathers, and digestive tracts of birds brought the seeds of plants and a few species of animals. Only those species with ways of spreading to these islands were able to undertake the long journeys, and the various factors at play resulted in diverse combinations of new colonists on the islands. One estimate is that the distribution of plants was 75 percent by birds, 23 percent by floating, and 2 percent by wind. The migration of Oceanic biota was generally from west to east, with four major factors influencing their distribution and establishment. The first was the size and fertility of the islands on which they landed, with larger islands able to provide hospitality for a wider range of species. Second, the further east the islands, generally the less the species diversity, largely because of the distance that had to be crossed and because the eastern islands tended to be smaller, more scattered, and remote. This easterly decline in species diversity is well demonstrated by birds and coral fish. It is estimated that there were over 550 species of birds in New Guinea, 127 in the Solomon Islands, 54 in Fiji, and 17 in the Society Islands. From the west across the Pacific, the Bismarck Archipelago and the Solomon Islands have more than 90 families of shore fish (with many species within the families), Fiji has 50 families, and the Society Islands have 30. Third, the latitude of the islands also influenced the biotic mix, as those islands in relatively cooler latitudes, notably New Zealand, were unsuited to supporting some of the tropical plants with which Pacific islands are generally associated. Finally, a fourth major factor in species distribution, and indeed in the shaping of Pacific ecosystems, was wind. It takes little experience on Pacific islands to be aware that there are prevailing winds. To the north of the equator these are called north-easterlies, while to the south they are called south-easterlies. Further south, from about 30° south, the winds are generally from the west. As a result on nearly every island of significant size there is an ecological difference between its windward and leeward (away from the wind) sides. Apart from the wind action itself on plants and soils, wind has a major effect on rain distribution. The Big Island of Hawaii offers a prime example; one can leave Kona on the leeward side in brilliant sunshine and drive across to the windward side where the city of Hilo is blanketed in mist and rain. While such localized plant life and climatic conditions are very noticeable, over Oceania as a whole there is relatively little biodiversity, and the smaller the island and the further east it lies, the less there is likely to be. When humans moved beyond the islands of Near Oceania (Australia, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands), they encountered no indigenous mammals except for flying foxes, fruit bats, and seals on some islands. Other vertebrate species were restricted to flying animals and a few small reptiles. However, local adaptations and evolution over long periods of isolation promoted fascinating species adaptations to local conditions. Perhaps most notable, in the absence of mammals and other predators, are the many species of flightless and ground-nesting birds. Another consequence of evolution was that many small environments boasted their own endemic (native) species, often small in number, unused to serious predation, limited in range, and therefore vulnerable to disruption. In Hawaii, for example, the highly adapted 39 species and subspecies of honeycreepers, several hundred species of fruit flies, and more than 750 species of tree snails are often cited to epitomize the extent of localized Oceanic endemism (species being native to the area).