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Capstone Projects

The Response of Captive Gray Wolves (Canis lupus) to Agonistic Howl Recordings

Thu, 12/05/2013 - 18:58
Abstract: Gray wolves (Canis lupus) are a highly social carnivore that communicates through olfactory and acoustic signals, maintaining their social bonds and hierarchy with body language and touch. Long distance (i.e. howling) and olfactory communication are important in maintaining territory boundaries and mitigating interpack conflict or strife. The study area is a private, not-for-profit wolf conservation and education center in southern New York in the northeast United States. The goal of this study was to determine the overall change in behavior of wolves when faced with a long distance form of communication conveying an aggressive message. I hypothesized that wolves will respond with more activity during and after the howl recordings. An ethogram was adapted from Quandt, but upon personal observation, was altered as additional behaviors were observed. Instantaneous focal sampling was used during data collection at an interval of 15 seconds to sample two gray wolf siblings. The behaviors between wolves were not significantly different from each other (chi square = 0.86, critical value = 14.07, df = 6). This information has many management implications such as determining home range of packs, pack size, and could serve as a possible tool for deterring predation on livestock.
Access: Yes
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Write-Up.docx
Authors: Erin Brinton

Perception of the Color Blue in North American River Otters, Lontra canadensis

Fri, 12/06/2013 - 11:41
Abstract: Color vision is essential to many animal species, playing major roles in activities such as foraging and mate selection. Most animal phyla have 4 cones that aid in color vision, while mammals typically only have 2. This study aimed to provide evidence of the blue-range color vision in North American river otters, Lontra canadensis, by behavioral testing 4 captive otters. The subjects (2 male and 2 female adults) were tested individually over a period of 42 weeks. Each otter was presented with 3 cards, with choices between 2 white control cards and a blue test card (n = 1213). In later tests, all subjects were presented with 1 white control card, 1 blue test card, and 1 gray card (n = 417). All subjects distinguished the blue test card from the white control cards but only 1 subject differentiated the color blue from a grayscale correspondent (One-proportion z-test, p = 0.011). A bias based on card location was present only in 1 subject in the blue-white phase of testing (One-proportion z-test, p = 0.201) and in 3 subjects in the blue-grey phase of testing. The cause of this bias was unknown. The ability of 1 subject to reliably select the test card (One-proportion z-test, p = 0.011), provided some evidence that L. canadensis perceive the color blue.
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Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Chelsie LaFountain

TripAdvisor reviews as an indicator of Relais and Chateaux experience fulfillment

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 17:08
Abstract: Social media can influence positive and negative customer expectations. The purpose of this inductive, qualitative, relational study is to determine how and if top-rated TripAdvisor reviewers should be given merit for their input, and why others care, compared to industry standards of a Relais and Chateaux rated experience in northeast destinations. A content analysis of TripAdvisor and the hotel sites will be studied to see if the responses represent Relais & Chateaux standard experiences or an un-realistic response. Customer responses, company history, its location, amenity information, mission statement, price of lodging will be indirectly observed and compared to Relais and Chateaux standards. This study can be of use to determine the effectiveness of ordinary guests, not industry experts, ability to judge an experience based on what a hotel stands for in a positive or negative manor to its ability to deliver a type of experience and their meet customers’ expectations.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Social Madness
Authors: Brandon May

Multigenerational Vacations and Family Resorts

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 19:23
Abstract: Currently there is a large number of Baby Boomers that are taking their children and grandchildren on vacations and they are the ones paying for it all. What is not known is how and to what extent this new type of travel will impact family resorts. The purpose of this study is to identify the impact of Baby Boomers taking more multigenerational vacations on family resorts. This is a descriptive, exploratory research method. The central question is how this new type of travel will impact family resorts. A survey will be used to collect information from different family resorts. The family resorts will be located all over the country. The information gathered from this survey will be compiled based on what this segment of travel wants and requires. This study will help family resorts plan for the future to ensure that this new segment of travel is happy and continues to stay there.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Rielly Kavanaugh

Music Festival Management

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 21:59
Abstract: Abstract The purpose of this exploratory study is to determine the management skill set required for individuals seeking executive level management positions within the music festival industry. This study is being performed because of a lack of information specific to the music festival industry regarding important skill sets required to reach the executive level. A survey will be conducted with top level management in the music festival industry in order to determine which skills were most supportive in obtaining their top level positions. The specific management skills needed for the top level positions will be a combination of the opinion and personal experience of top level executives in the music festival industry. This study is applicable for individuals seeking to develop and refine the skills required in order to achieve an executive level position within the music festival industry.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Music Festival Management
Authors: Kristen Morse

Ritz-Carlton and the Campus Visit Experience

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 22:48
Abstract: The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore to what extent the transfer of service from Ritz Carlton practices and the Hospitality Guest Cycle can be intergraded into higher education enrollment procedures, specifically the campus visit using Paul Smith’s College as a model. Research from this study can contribute support to transfer of service methods for similar higher education enrollment institutions by way of increasing student engagement throughout the experience. Methodology will include creating a rubric designed to break down the campus tour process into the four groups of the Guest Cycle that will compare with Ritz Carlton guidelines to observe performance levels followed by an analysis and further recommendations to Paul Smith’s College. A goal is to be able to clearly identify gaps in the campus visit procedures to allow for growth and new procedures to be put in place that positively reflect Ritz Carlton service standards and the Hospitality Guest Cycle. Information gathered in a rubric encompassing the Ritz Carlton Standards and the Hospitality Guest Cycle could be used by other small rural private colleges as a design for improvement.
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Literary Rights: Off
Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2013
Authors: Siobhan Shea

Preservation & Expeirece

Fri, 12/06/2013 - 19:04
Abstract: This quantitative study is designed to determine how and to what extent cultural heritage travelers who have journey to the Mexico's Ancient Ruins experienced limitations set as a result of needed preservation to prevent future deterioration caused by natural and anthropocentric factors. Preservation methods set and monitored by the National Institute of Anthropology & History (INAH), the National Commission for Protected Natural Areas (CONANP), however do they take from the experience? The ruins chosen for this study are the Pre-Hispanic City of El Tajin, the Pre-Hispanic City & National Park of Palenque, and the Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen Itza .The methodology that will be used in this study is data collection and analysis. Data from research will be collected to gain a numeral estimate of tourist who experienced limitations as a result of prevention methods used to preserve the Ruins of Mexico. The ultimate significance of this study is to provide awareness of the possible limitations preservation methods can have on the tourist’s experience, this information is not provided in studies.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Voniesha Brown

A MULTI-SCALE EVALUATION OF THE EFFECTS OF FOREST HARVESTING FOR WOODY BIOFUELS ON MAMMALIAN COMMUNITIES IN A NORTHERN HARDWOOD FOREST

Fri, 02/01/2013 - 16:19
Abstract: Forest harvesting and subsequent effects on forest structure have been shown to influence mammalian community assemblages and the abundance of individual species, however less attention has been paid to the implications of how harvested timber is used. This is particularly relevant in the Northern Forest, where a considerable portion of the forest harvesting is used to produce biofuels. Biofuels harvesting typically involves the process of whole-tree chipping which may lead to a dramatic reduction in the amount of woody material in the form of slash and coarse woody debris (CWD) left in harvested stands. The goal of our study was to assess the effects of biofuels harvesting on forest structure and subsequent effects on mammalian community structure and abundance. To address this goal, we focused on a ~35 Ha area of partially-harvested northern hardwood forest in the northern Adirondacks, New York. To sample mammals we used a combination of Sherman traps and track plates established at two scales across stands within this area. Our results showed that the response of small mammals to changes in forest structure is both species and scale specific. At the individual trap scale, CWD, slash, and understory cover were important drivers of the occurrence of individual species of small mammals. At the larger “grid” scale, small mammal relative abundance was driven by canopy cover and the density of woody stems. Our results indicate that the current harvesting practices used for biofuel production in the Adirondacks are unlikely to result in declines in abundance of common small mammal species. However, the retention of some slash post-harvest may be beneficial to some species, thus foresters may want to include slash retention when developing silvicultural prescriptions.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Environmental Sciences, Fisheries and Wildlife Science, Natural Resources Management and Policy
Year: 2012
Authors: Cody Laxton, Alisha Benack, Danielle Ball, Scott Collins, Sam Forlenza, Richard Franke, Stephanie Korzec, Alec Judge, Connor Langevin, Jonathan Vimislik, Elena Zito

Can black-capped chickadees learn to associate ultraviolet markers with a food source?

Thu, 12/06/2012 - 07:22
Abstract: Food storing birds, like black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus), have a higher hippocampal volume than other birds, giving them the ability to hide food in small caches and retrieve them hours later with great precision using physical features of the surrounding area as guides. This capacity for learning spatial information may be able to translate to other forms of learning, such as association. Black-capped chickadees are also able to see in the near ultraviolet range (~370nm), theoretically to allow for more vibrant plumage during the breeding season. I hypothesized that black-capped chickadees have the ability to associate an ultraviolet marker with a food source. If they can, perhaps birds can be 'taught' to go towards or away from things like wind turbines, windows, and other hazardous objects. I tested my hypothesis by counting the number of chickadees that landed on two different feeders, one with an ultraviolet marker and food and one with neither. I found that there was no significant trend, either within or between days, that would indicate that the birds learned (χ2 test and Student’s t-test). As a management use, researchers propose that ultraviolet markers on wind turbines could decrease the collision rate of birds with turbine blades.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Eck_Capstone_Final.doc
Authors: Benjamin Eck

The influence of temperature, moon phase and cloud cover on the catchability of bats in the Upper Connecticut River Basin and the Merrimack River Basin

Sun, 12/09/2012 - 15:28
Abstract: Small mammals modify their behavior in response to environmental factors such as weather, temperature, moon phase, visibility and the time of night at which they forage. The goal of my study was to determine how environmental variables such as temperature, moon phase and visibility (cloud cover) affected the efficiency (bat captures/net meter/ hour) of bat mist netting. Mist nets were placed in the months of June, July, August, September and November from 2003 to 2012 using mist netting surveys at 23 Army Corps of Engineers dams and recreation projects in New Hampshire and Vermont. Catch rate of bats was not affected by moon phase (P= 0.317) or cloud cover (P=0.130), but were slightly affected by temperature (P=0.053). These results were consistent with other studies that looked at the effects of moon phase, cloud cover and temperature on bats. Knowing the effects of environmental conditions on catchability could be useful to biologists in determining if it is worthwhile to mist net bats on nights with certain conditions to maximize efficiency of catching bats
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
Authors: Jeremy Chamberlain