Before people arrived, Hawai‘i’s location made it difficult for many plants, animals, and insects to reach the islands. The islands are surrounded by ocean. The nearest continent is 2,400 miles away. Even those that dispersed well had a small target of land in the middle of the largest ocean on Earth. The few species that made their way to the islands found a huge range of opportunities to adapt to the different environments. As a result, some of the world’s most unique endemic organisms developed in Hawai‘i.