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Capstone Projects

Management Plan for Bobcats in the Finger Lakes Region of Western New York

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 15:06
Abstract: Bobcats are a popular species for hunters and trappers due to the fact that they are so elusive from humans. Each year human development increases which leads to a decrease of suitable habitat for bobcats. This is the reason for the previous decline in bobcat populations in many regions throughout the United States. With proper management actions implemented, the Fingers Lakes region of New York has the potential to increase and maintain bobcat populations. The goal of this plan is to Increase and maintain a bobcat population in the Finger Lakes region of western New York to allow hunting in the region. To achieve this goal the following objectives will need to be met: 1. Increase bobcat population size to 2 individuals per square mile of suitable habitat in the next ten years, 2. Improve bobcat habitat in areas of intense agriculture annually in the Finger Lakes region of New York throughout the next 5 years, and 3. Create the opportunity for quality hunting and trapping experiences by the general public within the next ten years, or when the population size reaches 2 individuals per square mile of suitable habitat. Increasing bobcat population size will benefit hunters and trappers with the introduction of hunting and trapping seasons and an increase in opportunity and satisfaction and therefore presenting an economic benefit to the region. Also, several other species of wildlife may benefit from the efforts to restore habitat.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
Authors: Jared McAllister

Gunnison Sage Grouse (Centrocercus minimus) Range-wide Conservation Plan 2017-2027

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 17:57
Abstract: Inhabiting several isolated populations in southwest Colorado and southeast Utah, Gunnison sage grouse (Centrocercus minimus) have been mesmerizing bird watchers and ornithologists, and concerning wildlife biologists. This gallinaceous bird relies solely on leks for mating, and has been a species of concern since it was classified as a separate species from the Greater sage grouse. This species numbering roughly 5000 has been declining due to factors threatening their habitat and leking grounds, and factors affecting their genetic diversity. Human actions, whether it be construction of roads and housing, disturbance caused by natural resource exploitation such as drilling for natural gas and oil, or even grazing cattle to provide food for the population, have all severely impacted the ability of this species to persist. Genetic factors have also been a source for reduced fitness and population viability. Due to the isolated populations, inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity has begun to negatively affect these isolated populations, further reducing the overall viability of the species, with the number of alleles present being reduced to 2.13 in extreme cases. The goal of this management plan is to increase the health and size of the population by 2027, as well as to make Gunnison sage grouse a game species once adequate population sizes have been established. This goal will be achieved through restoration and improvement of sagebrush habitat on both private and public lands, along with transplants of individuals to isolated populations to increase genetic diversity. Private lands will be accessed and managed by providing land owners with incentives such as tax breaks and income compensation. The eventual classification of this species as a game animal will further increase the value of the species to human populations while also providing an additional reason to ensure that Gunnison sage grouse persist into the future.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: Capstone_final_bridge.docx
Authors: Dakota Bridge

Management Plan for Radiated Tortoises in Madagascar (Astrochelys radiata)

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 19:57
Abstract: Radiated tortoises are native to southern Madagascar. As of 2008, they have been listed as critically endangered. Human influences such as deforestation, increased poaching, and overexploitation are responsible for the decrease in their population. These tortoises are vulnerable to population decline because they reproduce between 16 and 20 years of age. Without management, they could go extinct within 30 years.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: final management plan.docx
Authors: Stephanie Weston

Management Plan for the Invasive Reeves’s Muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi) in Southeastern England (2017-2027)

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 18:01
Abstract: Reeves’s Muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi) are an invasive harmful ungulate that brings many issues which include spread of diseases, destruction of understory, and a continuous increasing population when it was introduced into South Eastern England both intentionally and accidentally. Reeves’s Muntjac can reproduce year-round and do not have a rut like other deer species which cause this invasive species to grow in population size even faster. This increase in population size leads to issues with changes in understory composition. Muntjac will overbrowse on a wide variety of species of common ground flora but avoid certain rare species which leads to a change in ground flora. Many trees like common hazel (Corylus avellana), field maple (Acer campestre) and European ash (Fraxinus excelsior) are threatened due to over browsing by Muntjac and coppicing practices had to be stopped. The goal of this management plan is to decrease the increasing population and range of Reeves’s Muntjac in southeast Great Britain but still maintain a population for hunting. To accomplish this, sterilization and shooting will be used to decrease the deer population. The population will have continued to be monitored through line transects of Muntjac scat. The use of a harvest reporting program will give a better idea of numbers of Muntjac harvested annually by hunters to help future managers better monitor the population. These actions are important so we can better manage the populations so they do not get out of control and destroy the native vegetation of Great Britain.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: Management Plan 1.docx
Authors: Kyle Martin

Management Plan for Pacific Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) in Alaska, 2017-2027

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 18:06
Abstract: Pacific Walruses are social mammals and travel in herds. Most of the population spends the summer months in the ice pack of the Chukchi Sea; however, mostly adult males use coastal haulouts in the Bering Sea. Walruses use ice to rest between foraging trips, mate, care for their young, and defend themselves against predators. Climate reduced their ability to engage in these behaviors by eliminating the ice pack in their summer season. Walruses feed on bivalves on the sea bottom; however, because of climate change they no longer can reach the bottom. In response to the loss of ice, walruses are resting on land haulouts with as many as 20,000-40,000 individuals. This puts pressure on the benthic material supply. The swim from drifting ice to coastal haulouts can be hundreds of kilometers, which leads to the death of young walruses. Walruses are sensitive to sounds from ships, aircrafts, and tourist underwater and out of water. When walruses are disturbed by these events, they create stampedes by trying to dive into the water. The stampeding event ends in high mortality for calves. In 2007, more than 1,000 walruses were trampled to death in Chukotka, Russia. To prevent human disturbances, management at haulouts needs to occur for 10 years (2017-2027). The goals are to improve demographic knowledge of pacific walruses, minimize stampeding events, and grow and replace native bivalves near land haulouts. This could be accomplished by laws that require aircraft and vessels to maintain the appropriate distance. Creating artificial habitat would result in less use of coastal haulouts which would decrease mortality during stampeding events. It would also provide easier access to bivalves for foraging trips. Bivalves are depleting near land haulouts due to large demand from the high density of walruses, therefore aquaculture is needed to replace their food source. Harvesting more of the adult population would be essential to maintain the population from going over carrying capacity. If the adult population decreases then fewer calves will die in stampedes. These objectives are necessary to ensure the future of walruses and their new habitat.
Access: No
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Desiree Stumpf

Spruce grouse (Falcipennis canadensis) management in the northern Adirondacks

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 22:31
Abstract: Spruce grouse (Falcipennis canadensis) are a large game bird that exists in the northern Adirondacks as well as most of Canada and several other states in the U.S. including Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Alaska. With estimated populations of approximately 200, spruce grouse are threatened with becoming extirpated. In the northern Adirondacks, spruce grouse are dependent on coniferous forests that provide adequate cover and food that consists of Jack pine (Pinus banksiana) and black spruce (Picea mariana). These preferred habitats consist of dense middle-aged forests, unfortunately these preferred habitats have declined due to climate change and logging (Potvin 2006). To manage for these types of forests this plan will implement stem exclusion and prescribed fires. These forest management techniques will allow for more understory regeneration that will require several years to achieve. Additionally, translocation of spruce grouse into three counties (St. Lawrence, Franklin, and Essex) of the northern Adirondacks will help increase spruce grouse populations, which will be monitored using radio-tracking. Predator control, such as trapping red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) is expected to increase fledgling survival. The synergistic effect of these management strategies will achieve a sustainable population of spruce grouse in the northern Adirondacks by 2027.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
Authors: Ray Coffey

Management Plan for Round Gobies (Neogobius melanostomus) in the Great Lakes

Sat, 04/29/2017 - 08:30
Abstract: Round gobies (Neogobius melanostomus; hereafter goby) are an invasive fish species native to the Black and Caspian Sea. They were introduced in 1990 and have rapidly expanded their population throughout all of the Great Lakes, faster than any previous invader. Round gobies are bottom dwelling fish structurally and functionally similar to a native species, the mottled sculpin (Cottus bairdii). Gobies are much more aggressive, causing high competition for the sculpins. They feed primarily on zebra mussels, but also on the eggs of lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) and smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu), which are popular native gamefish. There is a possibility of the species spreading into the Mississippi River through tributaries coming out of the lakes, which would introduce them to the largest watershed in the United States. In 2002, the population estimate of round gobies in western Lake Erie alone was 13.27 tonnes/km2 (9.9 billion individuals) which is up to 7 times higher than the biomass estimated of yellow perch (Perca flavenscens). This management plan proposes to decrease the population by 50% by 2023 by reducing introduction into the Great Lakes, isolating the population that currently exists from spreading, educating the public on the species, and capturing fish using a combination of techniques, increasing mortality. Some actions include monitoring ballast water tanks of ships entering the Great Lakes, using electrical barriers to isolate gobies, and using minnow traps baited with liver to capture the fish. No action would result in gobies reaching extremely large numbers in areas where they do not currently exist. If all objectives are successful, the current population of round gobies in the Great Lakes will decrease by 50% by 2032.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: MgmtPlan.docx
Authors: Michala Seibert

Establishment of Self-sustaining Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus) Populations in South Korea

Sun, 04/30/2017 - 15:49
Abstract: The Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) is similar to the American black bear (Ursus americanus) in size and appearance and is distributed across much of Asia. They are omnivorous, but eat mostly plant matter and are heavily reliant on hard mast in the fall. When fall mast supply is low, these bears move out of forests and into fields, consuming crops to supplement their diet and negatively interacting with humans. Little is known about the biology of this species, but it is an IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Threatened Species and listed on national conservation lists in many of the countries in its range. The decline of this species has been linked to forest decline alongside the expansion of agriculture and hunting for their gallbladders. South Korea has a small, protected population of Asiatic black bears in Jirisan National Park and others scattered throughout the forests of the country. These bears can be successful if protected and studied, however they are common agricultural pests and public opinion toward them varies. Once part of the ancient culture of the area and because hunting them is illegal, they are now farmed for their gallbladders which produce high-value bile which is used in traditional medicine. As the bear is the mascot for the Paralympic Games, the nation should focus on restoring this bear to its former status both ecologically and socioculturally. The goal of this management plan is to make the Asiatic black bear a national icon for the country of South Korea and establish a growing population in the protected lands of the nation. This goal requires multiple objectives to ensure the success of the species. An analysis to assess the conservation gaps of the species will show where action is needed. A public education program will harbor support in South Korea. More biological studies must be funded and conducted to better inform management. If conservation of the Asiatic black bear is prioritized in South Korea and public opinion is improved, this species’ population will be able to sustain growth.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: Craig_MgmtPlan.docx
Authors: Robert Craig

Long-Eared Owl (Asio otus) Management Plan for Regions 5 and 6 of New York State

Sun, 04/30/2017 - 17:49
Abstract: Long-eared owls (Asio otus) are commonly associated with open grasslands, riparian areas and edge habitat which are used for hunting. Diet consists of 90% voles (Microtus spp.) with the other 10% consisting of other small mammals and rarely, birds. Nesting typically occurs in dense conifer stands where inactive corvid or hawk nests also exist. Inactive nests must be present because like other owl species, long-eared owls do not build their own nests. Outside of the breeding season long-eared owls are highly migratory and have been found to roost communally. Loss of habitat to urban expansion, forest succession and changing farming techniques are considered to be major threats to this species. Across North America, two sub species of long-eared owls exist, however this plan focuses on management of the eastern subspecies (A. o. wilsonianus) in Northern New York. Throughout the Northeast region the long-eared owl is listed as threatened or endangered except in New York where it has no additional protection. However, due to the species large geographic range and large worldwide population estimate it is listed as a species of Least Concern with a declining population on the IUCN Red List. The goals of this plan are to increase the population from 250 to 350 over the next 25 years and to provide information that leads to greater protection of the species in New York. The objectives to achieve these goals include: reductions in nest predation via predator exclusion, increases of nesting and hunting habitat via habitat artificial nest boxes and restoration, and population surveys via banding, radio telemetry and nest success surveys. Based on population modeling adult survival is the key factor to focus on when managing for this species. A 5% increase in adult survivorship should result in a positive population trend, with a 6% increase being more favorable to the overall goals and objectives. Long-eared owls are a lesser known species that deserve our help to ensure their survival and growth for the enjoyment of current and future generations of New York.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: LEOW_Mgmt_Plan.docx
Authors: Matthew Williams

Are Zooplankton As Patchy As Phytoplankton?

Mon, 05/01/2017 - 15:44
Abstract: Phytoplankton and zooplankton form the base of most lake food webs and are the primary sources of energy for higher trophic levels. Recent studies have shown that the horizontal distribution of phytoplankton is not even across the surface of lakes. While the vertical distribution of zooplankton has been well studied, little is known about the horizontal distribution of zooplankton in the surface waters of lakes or the spatial interactions among zooplankton and phytoplankton. The aim of this study was to quantify the spatial distribution of phytoplankton and zooplankton and determine if their spatial distributions are related. We sampled zooplankton and phytoplankton during the day and at night in a 24 point grid in Paul Lake, Michigan in the late spring and early summer of 2016. Phytoplankton and zooplankton were not uniformly distributed horizontally. Instead, there were high density patches of both zooplankton and phytoplankton, and in many instances there was positive autocorrelation. Additionally, zooplankton and phytoplankton concentrations were rarely correlated in space indicating that grazing is likely not a driver of zooplankton or phytoplankton spatial heterogeneity. If the goal of a study is to understand and characterize the entire population of either phytoplankton or zooplankton, we suggest taking multiple samples of the pelagic zone.
Access: No
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Jonathan Stetler, Cal Buelo