After logging in with the login link in the top right, click here to upload your Capstone

Capstone Projects

Implementation of an Antler Restriction Program for White-tailed deer in New York State’s Wildlife Management Unit 4F

Mon, 04/30/2012 - 16:03
Abstract: White-tailed deer are one of North America’s most popular big game species. Big game hunting provides a great amount of revenue for the state of New York. This reason alone makes its important to keep hunters in New York State satisfied. The problem arises when half of the hunting population wants to implement antler restriction programs and the other half do not. This management plan is designed to keep both types of hunters satisfied. The goal is to implement an antler restriction program in wildlife management unit 4F, which is located in central New York. The antler restriction that would be implemented would be based off of responses to a survey from resident hunters. The three options include an antler restriction that requires there to be three points that measure at least one inch in length on one side, one plan that requires at least two points on one side, or a plan that would take no action at all. The management plan would be implemented the following season and would be monitored for the next 5 years.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
Authors: Joseph Nelson

Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis) Current Status and Management Plan for New York State

Mon, 04/30/2012 - 18:31
Abstract: Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis) were added as a Federally Endangered Species in 1967 and this listing continues, including in New York State. They are one of the most particular of hibernating bats in terms of their biological needs, making them more vulnerable to population declines. Current threats mainly include human disturbance at winter hibernacula, habitat degradation, and White-nose Syndrome. The overall goal is to establish a sustainable population that results in the removal of the Indiana bat from endangered species status in New York State. Courses of action include educating the public, especially recreational cavers, on bat conservation issues. Also, estimating populations at summer roosts and winter hibernacula and developing ways to protect, manage, and regulate these habitats, and gain a better understanding of the fundamental issues related to White-nose Syndrome. An assessment protocol for each course of action is included. A population model simulates population increase once a percentage of individuals are treated for White-nose Syndrome. The results of this model indicate that 75% effectiveness of this treatment will have the greatest effect on increasing population size of Indiana bats. Implementation of the components of this management plan will lead to an eventual recovery of Indiana bat populations.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
Authors: Heather A. Mason

Managing the Effects of Windmills on Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) Populations

Mon, 04/30/2012 - 22:12
Abstract: Windmills are an important alternative to green/renewable energy but at what cost to the birds of the environment? Windmills tend to be in placed in locations that tend to be key flying habitat. This is problematic for golden eagle migration and habitat because they tend to be windy open vast of lands. Unfortunately this is identical to the optimum areas of energy intake. Windmills tend to kill about 1.2 golden eagles per windmill per year alone. The overarching goal of this management plan is to sustain the golden eagle population at carrying capacity. The objectives are to decrease the mortality, increase the birth rate, and continue further research on the golden eagle populations. To enforce the objectives, one must provide actions in which to do so. The actions include maintaining and possible expansion of current regulations, prevent further loss of habitat, regulate the windmills in a multitude of ways, create new habitat, reduce nest disturbance, create suitable nest sites, and ways of continuing the research.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
Authors: Matthew Parker

Eastern Mud Turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum) Recovery Plan for Long Island, New York

Tue, 05/01/2012 - 12:05
Abstract: The Eastern Mud Turtle is a rapidly decreasing reptile in the most northeastern part of its range, Long Island, New York. They get their name from the behavior of digging through mud to hibernate. The biggest threats to them are road mortality, nest predation, and loss of habitat. They are slow to mature and therefore depend on high levels of adult survivorship to maintain populations. It takes 5-8 years for a female to mature. Then there is a high risk of the eggs being eaten and the females being hit by cars because they make annual movements to nest. Not many eastern mud turtles have been documented in New York. The goal of this management plan for the eastern mud turtle is to decrease the mortality drastically. Key components include decreasing road mortality, increasing the survival of juveniles, and getting the public more aware and involved. If these are addressed properly, then the eastern mud turtle population is should increase.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Full management plan.docx
Authors: Elena Zito

Promoting Conservation of Biodiversity in the Adirondack Park Through Understanding and Engaging Stakeholders

Thu, 02/09/2012 - 11:31
Abstract: Anthropogenic disturbance of natural environments has led to the widespread loss of native biodiversity and degradation of ecosystems. It is increasingly recognized that addressing this “biodiversity crisis” entails understanding the societal drivers of unsustainable patterns of use. Conservation psychology is a new discipline that specifically focuses on understanding the linkages between human behavior and action and promoting a healthy and sustainable relationship between humans and nature. In this project, we employed principles of conservation psychology with the goal of improving the efficacy and efficiency of conservation of biodiversity in the Adirondack Park (AP). To meet this goal we employed three specific strategies. The first of these strategies was the use of surveys to assess the values, attitudes, and actions different stakeholders have in regards to conservation of biodiversity in the AP. These surveys were disseminated via both direct mailings and online, and included 30 questions. Our second strategy was to use discourse analysis to create a dictionary of terms and phrases employed in a positive, neutral, and negative light in regard to conservation of biodiversity. This entailed analysis of 30 emic accounts derived from opinion articles written by stakeholders in the AP, as well as analysis of a number of etic accounts drawn from online sources. Our third strategy was to use conservation psychology literature to assess ways in which the presentation of information and peer-dynamics influenced the responses of stakeholders towards conservation of biodiversity. Using the combination of these three strategies, we were able to provide a holistic understanding of how different stakeholders in the AP perceive and act towards biodiversity conservation; identify language that can be used to illicit a more positive response from these stakeholders; and identify specific tools based on principles of psychology that can encourage more active and effective engagement in conservation of biodiversity by different stakeholders. Our research findings will allow groups focusing on promoting conservation of biodiversity in the AP to be more effective and efficient in their work in the future.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Environmental Sciences, Fisheries and Wildlife Science, Forestry, Natural Resources Management and Policy, Recreations, Adventure Travel and Ecotourism
Year: 2011
Authors: Christopher Critelli, John Ghanime, Derek Johnson, Samantha Lambert, Justin Luyk, Matthew Parker, Robert Vite, Heather Mason, Jesse Warner, Ethan Lennox, Sarah Robbiano, David Mathis, David A. Patrick

Assessment of Anion Retention within Variable-Charged Eastern-Central Adirondack Forest Sub-Soils

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 10:20
Abstract: Anthropogenic influences such as acid deposition and road salting have caused shifts in both the pools and fluxes of nutrients within Earth’s biogeochemical cycles. The mobility of ions within forest soils is a very well documented concept; however the significant mechanisms affecting these patterns are poorly understood. One mechanism affecting anion retention is the electrostatic attraction to soil colloid surfaces, which is poorly documented in the Adirondack Park. Soils were sampled from both glacial till and outwash sites with predominantly deciduous canopies. The amount of anion retention was documented through multiple soil ion extractions over a pH gradient from 2 to 9. A loss on ignition procedure was used to understand the relationship between both organic matter or Fe/Al oxides and the overall soil surface charge. The estimated retention of Cl- and NO3- is 252 Kg/Ha and 440 Kg/Ha, respectively. Using hypothetical watersheds, we calculated that it will take 14 years to saturate the subsoil with NO3- and only 7 years to saturate with Cl-. These results suggest that the effects of acid deposition may be seen up to 14 years even after deposition has ceased. The relatively limited retention of Cl- however, may explain increased salinization of freshwater ecosystems.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2011
File Attachments: Capstone Final Paper.docx
Authors: John Mullins

High Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) Relative Abundance in a Transitional, Early-Successional Habitat

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 10:34
Abstract: Abstract I recorded and examined ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) flush data across upland hardwoods, lowland coniferous, and transitional habitats within the Adirondack State Park, New York. The flush data was recorded throughout September, 2011. Study site areas were accounted for to establish a flush per hectare rate. Contrary to my hypothesis the transitional habitat produced significantly more flushes (x2, p<0.0001) than the hardwoods and coniferous habitats. Lowland (conifer + transitional) and upland flush per hour rates were compared to a mean central Adirondack rate. I was unable to establish a significant conclusion from this comparison. A habitat suitability index indicated that stem density and the absence of aspen (Populus tremuloides, Populus gradidentata) appeared to be the limiting factors within the hardwoods habitat. Unanimous upland stem density suitability index values (SIV3) of zero resulted in an upland fall to spring cover value (FSCOV) of zero. If stem density was suitable throughout the upland habitat the quality of grouse cover would have increased significantly (FSCOV=0.9). However, aspen would have to be established to create quality grouse habitat with adequate cover and forage. Therefore, I concluded that as the upland forest stand ages and stem density increases, grouse densities are also likely to increase.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2011
File Attachments: Hamer_Matt
Authors: Matt Hamer

Burrow characteristics, nest success, and chick productivity of the black guillemot (Cepphus grylle) on two islands in the Gulf of Maine.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 13:54
Abstract: Knowledge of the black guillemot Cepphus grylle population, nesting habitat preference, nest success and chick growth in North America is limited as the majority of studies on this species have been conducted in other northern countries such as Ireland and Greenland. Petit Manan Island and Eastern Brothers Island (Gulf of Maine, ME) each offer unique black guillemot nesting habitat from each other. Petit Manan offers predominately debris-like habitat (driftwood, buoys, etc.) and Eastern Brothers offers traditional rock-cliff habitat. I investigated the influence of burrow characteristics on nest success and chick growth on both islands. Burrow measurements were particle size of nest substrate, nest depth, nest cup diameter, light penetration, and neighbor distance. Nest success was scored by number of eggs hatched and chick growth was measured through body mass indices (mass/wing chord). Nest cup diameters were significantly larger in debris than in rock burrows which were typically tight crevices. No other characteristics were statistically significant different between debris or rock burrows. Consequently, nest success and chick growth was not affected by type of burrow.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2011
File Attachments: Capstone FINAL.docx
Authors: Chelsea DiAntonio

An analysis of social behavior in captive gray wolves and its effects on pack dynamics

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 17:55
Abstract: Animals live in groups for a variety of reasons, including access to certain prey items, defense of territory, and protection of resources. Canids have proved a popular subject for studies in social behavior, and many variables of behavior have been tested, providing an in-depth picture of how these animals typically live. Gray wolves (Canis lupus) in particular have been studied extensively throughout the years, both in the wild and in captivity. This study investigated social behaviors within a captive wolf pack so that an activity budget could be established with aid of an ethogram. A pack hierarchy was also established using tail positions as a guide, and behavior frequency was compared between each gender. Overall, resting behaviors were the most common for the pack under study, and most common for both males and females. This is likely because the study took place during the summer when temperatures were high and the animals didn’t expend much energy. Males and females did not show a significant difference in the proportion of time spent exhibiting each behavior (X2=1), likely because each sex plays a similar role in the pack. While play behaviors comprised only 12% of all recorded, I believe that social play is an important function for providing social cohesion and an outlet for aggression. Since there is still much to be understood about social play in adult wolves, I believe that it should be the focus of future studies. I also believe that this study can provide a framework for future investigations of a similar nature, and that such future studies should also attempt to draw comparisons between wild and captive wolf packs, as they differ in several respects.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2011
File Attachments: equandt_capstonefinal.pdf
Authors: Elizabeth Quandt

A Study of Cover Type and Habitat Use of Radio Collared White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in South Western New York State

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 18:43
Abstract: Two radio collared male white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were monitored from late February to early November of 2003 and two collared deer were monitored from late February to early November of 2007 in southwestern New York State. White-tailed deer used deciduous forest the most during the study, occupying deciduous forest 90% of the time in 2003 and between 76% and 85% in 2007. White-tailed deer preferred deciduous forest each season, a high preference for evergreen forest during the spring and moderate preference for summer seasons, and shrub scrub during the fall season. P values of <.0001 were found for all individual and seasonal preferences. White-tailed deer collared in 2003 averaged 266.6 ha (50% kernel) and 95% use of 1167.0 ha (95% kernel). Those collared in 2007 averaged 425.5 ha (50% kernel) and 1626.3 ha (95% kernel). Spring home ranges were 35% smaller than summer, and fall, due to food preference and snow melt on a west facing slope. Summer ranges were driven by water resources and fall by the onset of breeding season activities. Seasonal shifts in mean centers for geographic distribution for spring to summer ranges were shifted by 580 meters, while summer to fall shifts were half of the distance (283 m). Deciduous and evergreen forests are important preferred food and cover resources used by white-tailed deer in this region, with this understanding the management of white-tailed deer populations can be greatly influenced by the management of those resources that white-tailed deer require and prefer.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2011
File Attachments: Capstone_Final.docx
Authors: Joshua M. Matijas