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Capstone Projects

Management Plan for Nutria (Myocastor coypus) in Louisiana Marshlands

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 11:25
Abstract: Nutria have been in Louisiana from the late 1800’s and has been destroying the Louisiana marshes since their release in the 1930’s. Nutria are large rodents that feed extensively on marsh grasses and roots. The nutria harvest 25% of their body weight (5.5Kg) each day, however they only consume 10% of the food they harvest. The goal of this management plan is to eradicate the nutria from the Louisiana ecosystem through hunting and trapping with economic incentives. There are two reasons that eradication is the answer to the nutria infestation. The first reason for their eradication is they are an invasive species that has replaced the native muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus). The second reason for their eradication is that they have incredibly high rates of reproduction with relatively low rates of predation. If the nutria is left to exist on its own, the population would soon get out of control and completely destroy Louisiana’s ecosystems. Nutria need to be eradicated in order to save the remaining marshlands and prevent erosion in the Louisiana marshland.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Stephen Jennings

Management Plan for American Black Ducks in New England

Wed, 04/24/2013 - 17:38
Abstract: The American black duck was selected as a focal species for this management plan due to its conservation need. At one time the American black duck was the most abundant fresh water duck in the Atlantic Flyway, and particularly in New England where they were year round residents (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011). Although relatively stable over the last 15 years, the black duck population experienced a 50% decline from the 1950’s to the 1990’s and are below the desired abundance (Denvers & Collins, 2011). While the reason for black duck population decline is still unclear, researchers hypothesize that loss of wintering and breeding habitat, competition and hybridization with mallards, and overharvesting may be responsible (Denvers & Collins, 2011; US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011; Black Duck Joint Venture, 2008). This management plan outlines an approach that can be taken to increase the total breeding population of American black ducks from ~ 565,000 breeding individuals to 650,000 breeding individuals, the desired breeding populations (Denvers & Collins, 2011). By increasing preserved breeding habitat, increasing nest success and reducing harvest mortalities in New England, this goal is feasible. A possible course of action is provided to inform the public of our planed actions. Cooperation with state governments and sportsmen within New England is essential in order to reach the desired black duck population. In order for this plan to be deemed successful the American black duck population must increase to at least 650,000 breeding individual.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Joshua Curtis

Determining the Authenticity in Ethnic Cuisines

Mon, 12/03/2012 - 21:10
Abstract: The United States is often referred to as a melting pot. As many cultures have melded together, so have their cuisines. In recent years, ethnic cuisines’ demand has grown steadily and the market has become saturated with restaurants claiming to be authentic. With this popularity of ethnic foods in the United States, a demand for increased authenticity in ethnic restaurants is higher than ever. However, what makes an ethnic restaurant authentic? The purpose of this study is to look at the opinions of both consumers and industry professionals to find what each group finds important when determining authenticity. Research was done via online surveys sent to culinary professionals working in ethnic restaurants and diners of ethnic restaurants to determine what each population deemed most important when preparing ethnic food and when choosing an ethnic restaurant. The outcome of this study can be used by any person looking to open an authentic ethnic restaurant or looking to improve on their already existing restaurant.
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Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2012
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Blue Swan Otto

New York State Goshawk Management

Wed, 05/02/2012 - 01:29
Abstract: Abstract: Northern Goshawks (Accipiter gentilis) occupy mature coniferous and deciduous stands one of the few raptors that can actually navigate through dense forests at high rates of speed. Mainly due to timber harvesting of older mature forests they are locked in a constant battle for territory and good food. They prey on small animals like squirrels, grouse, rabbit and even some song birds. With the constant battle for habitat our goals for management will revolve more around the land than the actual bird this would include data on landscape parameters like stand type and age, then by looking at the comparative goshawk population and distribution in those areas a preferred stand type will be selected. After the preferred habitat is determined we look to increase the population of goshawks in the Northern U.S. by ten percent through selective harvesting.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Darrell Vannederynen

Management Plan for Common Loons (Gavia immer) in Maine

Tue, 05/01/2012 - 11:55
Abstract: Common loons (Gavia immer) have been a symbol of remote northern lakes and wilderness. Due to their eerie call, beautiful plumage and their habitat choice of remotes lakes coinciding with people’s choice of remote lakes, the common loon is recognized across North America. Due to shooting mortality by humans, habitat loss due to development of lakes, and many others, loon populations declined throughout much of their range in the twentieth century, increasing human awareness and protection of loons. Today, the world population for the common loon is approximately 607,000-635,000. Current threats to their population include lake shore development, increased human lake recreation, and a daunting rise in mercury levels in lakes due to atmospheric distribution by power plants and other anthropogenic causes. Two goals are consisted for common loons: To increase Common Loon populations in Central, Western, and Northern Maine (focus on 56 lakes throughout the state), and to reduce mercury (Hg) levels in Common Loon populations in Maine. Courses of action include monitoring the current population, capture and band common loons on 56 lakes located in Central Maine, Western Maine, and Northern Maine assess and create better nesting habitat for COLO by implementing the use of nest rafts, reducing human traffic (i.e. jet skis, motor boats etc.), and to reduce mercury levels in those lakes through harsher restrictions on power plants. An assessment protocol for each course of action is included. Implementing the components of this management plan will lead to an increased population of common loon populations in central Maine.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Nicole Bellerose

Management Plan for Marbled Murrelets (Brachyramphus marmoratus) in the Pacific Northwest

Tue, 05/01/2012 - 11:52
Abstract: Marbled murrelets in North America (Brachyramphus marmoratus) are small seabirds found from the Bering Sea to central California (Ralph et al., 1995). They are unique from other Alcids in that they are dependent upon old-growth forests for nesting sites. Within the southern limits of their range in Washington, Oregon, and California, their breeding distribution is determined by the distribution and accessibility of old-growth and late-successional coniferous forests (Ralph et al., 1995). The majority of nests are found within 60 kilometers of the coast on large diameter, moss-covered limbs (Ralph et al., 1995). The primary threats to marbled murrelets are the loss of nesting habitat and habitat fragmentation caused by humans. In the last decade, over a quarter million acres of old-growth forest in the United States was lost due to logging practices (Perry, 1995). Predation of nests, especially by crows and ravens, increases as fragmentation increases from habitat loss (Nelson and Hamer, 1995). Fisheries by-catch and loss of foraging habitat pose as potential threats, increasing adult mortality (Burkett, 1995). Combined, these factors along with other threats are causing the decline and fragmentation of marbled murrelet populations in the Pacific Northwest. Marbled murrelet populations are declining at a rate of 4 to 6 percent annually (Ralph et al., 1995). This significant decline has caused alarm in the Pacific Northwest and globally. In 1991, the state of California listed the species as endangered due to the extreme loss of old-growth forests (Ralph et al., 1995). In February of 1993, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service listed marbled murrelets as threatened in Washington, Oregon, and California (Ralph et al., 1995). Globally, marbled murrelets are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List (Ralph et al., 1995). This plan focuses on the most prevalent threats to marbled murrelets presently and to propose actions which may slow or halt the decline of the species in the Pacific Northwest. Specifically, this plan intends to (1) assess and protect the amount of old-growth forest needed to sustain a healthy population of marbled murrelets across Washington, Oregon, and California and (2) to better understand the foraging ecology of marbled murrelets at offshore and inshore sites. These two broad goals represent the imperative need to protect the habitat they depend on and to gain better knowledge of an aspect of the species not well-known, respectively.  
Access: No
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Chelsea DiAntonio

Red Breasted Geese: An effort to restore and protect a threatened population.

Tue, 05/01/2012 - 11:50
Abstract: Red Breasted Geese or Branta ruficollis, are small, migratory geese that have a known geographic extent that includes the countries of Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Romania, and Bulgaria. With a current approximate population of 37,000 individuals, this species of goose has recently been host to an extreme level of population fluctuation, and as is such has been classified endangered under the ICUN Red List. Red Breasted Geese face numerous threats throughout the year, including the loss of habitat, mortality due to hunting, and mortality due to agriculture based chemical use in the wintering grounds. The goal of this management plan is to increase and stabilize the population of Red Breasted Geese throughout its range, allowing for the de-listing of the species from the IUCN Red-List. This will be achieved through several actions, including the limitation of future harvest during hunting season, the reduction of the use of rodenticides within the agricultural industry near the Black Sea, and the identification of parameters such as adult mortality and required forage intake of breeding Red Breasted Geese.
Access: No
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Jordan Talmage

Plan to Deal With Environmental Toxins in Bald Eagle Populations In New York

Mon, 04/30/2012 - 09:34
Abstract: The purpose of this management plan is to have courses of action in place in case environmental toxins impact Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) populations. H. leucocephalus requires habitat near a fishery that has minimal disturbance. At these sites they build nests and return every breeding season. Clutch sizes range from one to three but usually one chick survives to fledge the nest. The diet of eagles change seasonally from fish in the summer to mammals and waterfowl in the winter. From these food sources eagles obtain environmental toxins in their bodies. These toxins biomagnify and begin to affect the birds and their offspring at certain levels. Eagles get rid of these toxins from their bodies by demethylation and depositing toxins in their eggs. This has negative effects on their offspring because, early life stages of organisms are highly vulnerable to chemicals. This management plan examines the effects of three toxins (mercury, lead and chlorinated hydrocarbons) on a theoretical population of eagles in New York State and how to respond to it. The plan’s goal is to maintain a stable population of eagles in New York that are being affected by environmental toxins. Three objectives will help achieve this plan: monitoring, supportive actions and public education all with courses of action and assessment protocol. The first course of action is to determine the causes of a population decline or abnormal behavior. This action will be successful if only ten percent decline of the population is undetected and if it has been affected by a toxin. If the action is not working the assessment protocol will find new ways to monitor. The second action is to implement techniques that will stabilize a population being impacted by toxins. This will be successful if there is only a ten percent decline in the population due to environmental toxins. The final course of action is to publicly educate citizens around the impacts of toxins on eagle population. This will be successful if there is a significant amount of respondents that answer in favor of conservation and knowledge about environmental toxins. Overall, this management plan is designed to be used once a toxin has impacted a population. The best management dealing with environmental toxins is to prevent them from causing an impact.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Ryan Deibler

An Evaluation of the Substrate and Vegetative Cover Selection of Nesting Piping Plovers

Fri, 04/20/2012 - 13:11
Abstract: The Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) is a migratory shorebird that utilizes the coastal regions associated with the Atlantic Ocean for nesting areas. The population of Piping Plovers is considered threatened in this region, and is limited by predation, habitat loss and abandonment. As a means of investigating the factors affecting the success of the species, data concerning the preferred habitat characteristics of breeding plovers could provide valuable insights. This study addresses the topic “What are the preferred substrate and vegetative cover of nesting Piping Plovers?” These aspects were investigated at three County Park beaches on Long Island NY. After the plover chicks hatched and were no longer reliant on or utilizing the nest, the percentage of vegetation and substrate composition were quantified. Random locations on the beach were also sampled in the same manner. Plovers were found on average to nest in areas with a substrate dominated by sand (80%), as well as 9% vegetation. However in some cases Plovers were found to nest in areas significantly different from the nearby matrix. As the preferred habitat/nesting site characteristics of Piping Plovers are determined, these data can be used to identify areas suitable for breeding Piping Plovers and aid in creating restoration zones specifically for their purposes.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Jordan Talmage

Monitoring the Zebra Mussel Invasion Front: Use of New Technology

Thu, 02/09/2012 - 15:39
Abstract: Zebra mussels are invasive mollusks that are affecting the well-being of the water bodies in the United States. This study uses environmental DNA (eDNA) is a sensitive early detection system that may be useful in monitoring their spread. The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of eDNA technology in identifying infested water bodies, to determine if zebra mussel DNA is in the Adirondack water bodies not known to be infested, if the water chemistry of these water bodies is favorable for zebra mussel establishment, and if the eDNA technology is transferable to an institution like Paul Smith’s College. Eighteen lakes, all in New York State were sampled, fifteen of which are located in the Adirondack Park. DNA was extracted from water and plankton samples and species specific primers were used for PCR amplification to determine if zebra mussel DNA was present. Of seven samples taken from sites known to be infested, five of these tested positive for zebra mussel eDNA. Four lakes not known to be infested within the Park also tested positive for zebra mussel eDNA. Based on zebra mussel risk parameters (water chemistry) applied to 1,469 Adirondack water bodies, less than 3% are at risk of zebra mussel establishment. However it is possible that established populations could occur at microsites that may have locally high levels of calcium and higher pH.
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Major: Biology, Environmental Sciences, Environmental Studies, Fisheries and Wildlife Science, Forestry, Natural Resources Management and Policy
Year: 2011
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Alexandria Bevilacqua, John Bishop, Charles Cain, Tyler Clark, Seth Crevison, Robert Culyer, Ryan Deibler, Brian DeMeo, Jonathan Eckert, Kirsten Goranowski, Joelle Guisti, Alan Jancef, Korinna Marino, Michelle Melagrano, KaitlynNedo, Joseph Nelson, Aaron Palmieri, Cole Reagan, John Scahill, JohnathanStrassheim, Scott Travis, Sarah Van Nostrand and Sarah Vella