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Capstone Projects

A Sustainable Management Plan for Invasive Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) in South America (2019-2049)

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 14:35
Abstract: Red deer (Cervus elaphus) are the fourth largest deer species in the world and are native throughout Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies the red deer as “least concern” in its native range. In the early 1900’s red deer were introduced to South America for deer farming and trophy hunting. Today their populations are estimated at over 100,000 individuals. In South America, the IUCN classifies red deer as one of the 100 worst invasive species. They utilize a variety of habitat types and have expanded their range quickly, crossing the Andean mountain range separating Argentina and Chile. The main conservation issue associated with red deer is competition with native species. Red deer inhabit similar habitats and have dietary overlap with the pudu (Pudu pudu) and endangered huemul deer (Hippocamelus bisulcus) and may be contributing to declining numbers in those species. High browsing pressure is influencing native plant growth and may be altering forest ecosystems. The goal of this management plan is to reduce red deer populations in order to mitigate impacts on native species while maintaining a population that is sustainable for hunting. Proposed objectives to achieve this goal include: (1) increasing the understanding of red deer ecology in South America by publishing three peer reviewed articles, (2) surveying forested landscapes to monitor vegetative response to browsing pressure, (3) increase the number of hunters in the human population, and (4) reduce red deer populations by 30% within a 30 year period. If appropriate actions are taken, there should be an increased understanding of the ecological impacts red deer have on native species and forest ecosystems. Increased ecological knowledge along with hunter participation will help to reduce competitive impacts while sustaining a population that can be utilized as an economic resource for the region.
Access: Yes
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
File Attachments: White_finalplan.docx
Authors: Patrick White

Management Plan for White-headed Vultures (Trigonoceps occipitalis) in Africa 2019-2094

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 11:59
Abstract: White-headed vultures (Trigonoceps occipitalis) are Old-World vultures native to the African continent. They were once found across the landscape of central Africa but are currently restricted to protected habitats. Their diet consists of livestock and other ungulates carrion native to Africa. The populations of white-headed vultures are sharply declining due to anthropogenic causes. Ecological concerns are the loss of habitat due to deforestation, agricultural practices, and urbanization. Sociocultural and economic factors include black market trade, poisoning, and bush meat trade, these factors have contributed the greatest loss in population numbers of the species. All these areas of concern have been recorded across the entirety of Africa, but mainly near the Kruger National Park, where the highest portion of the population currently resides. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species currently has the white-headed vulture listed as a critically endangered species, due to the fact that the small population is experiencing an extreme rate of decline, with local populations believed to be experiencing an even faster decline due to major poisoning events. This management plan is to increase white-headed vulture populations in Africa to self-sustaining numbers, to prevent extinction of the species from 2019-2094. The objectives that are being used to help achieve this goal are: increase protected habitat for white-headed vultures by 10% in 5 years, increase adult and sub-adult survivorship by 5% in 10 years, and reduce poisoning and poaching of the white-headed vultures by 50% in 10 years. White-headed vultures are a vital species in the ecosystem in Africa and should not go extinct. With proper management for the white-headed vulture the populations can rebound and re-inhabit their historical habitat.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
File Attachments: Larocque_Capstone.docx
Authors: Brady J Larocque

The Management Plan for The African Clawless Otter

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 21:31
Abstract: The African Clawless Otter was first listed under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as least concern/lower risk in 1996. In 2014 the African Clawless Otter was listed as nearly threatened in South Africa. The African Clawless Otter are found everywhere in Africa except for the northern region. African Clawless Otters exist in most fresh water systems or near the coast. The otters are generally within 50 meters away from a source of water and their diet consists mainly of marine species such as fish, crabs, lobsters, and octopus. Primary conservation issue impacting the African Clawless Otter are the pollution of river systems in South Africa. Secondary conservation issue is that the otters are obtaining the fish that the fisherman catch so the fisherman are inclined to kill the otters so that the otters don’t continually keep taking their fish. The goal of this management plan is to increase the population size for the African Clawless Otter to a sustainable population and aid in the delisting of the species from the IUCN red list. The objectives for this management plan are: to increase African Clawless Otter acceptance rate of 50% by the human population in 20 years; the primary action for this objective would be to survey the fisherman and the non-fisherman in all the provinces of South Africa. Identify 15% of anthropogenic threats impacting the African Clawless Otter; the Primary action for this objective would be to create more legal repercussions from breaking the NEMB Act. Increase the survival rate in the post-weaning, juvenile, and adult stages of the African Clawless Otter by 10% over 40 years; the primary action for this objective is conduct 5 scientific studies into the population dynamics of the African Clawless Otter. By increasing public awareness, reducing human impacts, and increasing their survival rates, The Goal of increasing the African Clawless Otter populations to sustainable levels will be successful.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
Authors: Steven Campbell

Management Plan for the Rainbow Smelt (Osmerus mordax) in Lake Champlain

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 21:36
Abstract: The rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) is a species of fish that live along most of the east coast, including Lake Champlain. At one point in time, this was the main forage for many species in the lake, but more recently these populations have declined. This is due to niche competition with the alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus). As they compete for the same niche, the two species select for the same prey source, which is comprised of a variety of aquatic invertebrates. The two species share the same habitat. This is located in cool water, which can be found throughout the entire water column during isothermal conditions, or in the hypolimnion during stratified conditions. Juvenile rainbow smelt will however make use of the metalimnion to avoid predation by mature smelt. The conditions found in the metalimnion are not conducive for the mature smelt, as the water temperatures are slightly too high. The decline of the rainbow smelt population is of concern for several reasons. First, this is a popular species for people to target throughout the ice fishing season, so the loss of the species may lead to a loss of income source. Second, the highest trophic level predators rely on rainbow smelt to fill this niche to survive. With the health at risk for the entire population of salmonids, and other high-end predators, the entire system may be at risk. It is known that salmonid populations cannot survive on the alewife, as predating on this species results in a lack of vitamins required for successful reproduction. Therefore, it is necessary to enact a plan to save the rainbow smelt population. The objectives of this management plan are to evaluate and clean up any potential rainbow smelt spawning locations, evaluate the entire population of rainbow smelt throughout Lake Champlain, and increase the age 0 survival of rainbow smelt in Lake Champlain by 1.8%. This species is essential to the health of Lake Champlain, and if these objectives are met it is possible to save the population that still exists.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
File Attachments: Final Management Plan.docx
Authors: Tanner Francis

Management plan for Streaked Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris strigata) populations in Oregon from 2019 to 2034

Sun, 05/05/2019 - 14:25
Abstract: The streaked horned lark (Eremophila alpestris strigata) is an endemic subspecies only found in western Washington and Oregon. It is a distinctive subspecies of the horned lark (Eremophila alpestris), a common grassland passerine. The subspecies is unique, remote, and has diminutive genetic diversity as shown by genetic data. The streaked horned lark was listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2013. Historically, the streaked horned lark was more abundant and prevalent, but has become increasingly rare with habitat deteriorations and is now inhibited to a few large open grasslands and sparsely vegetated locations- including airports, sandy islands, and coastal spits. Oregon breeding areas can be found alongside the lower Columbia, airports and agricultural fields in the Willamette Valley. Several issues disturb streaked horned larks including: predation of nests and fledglings, human disturbance, and probable low genetic diversity triggered by inbreeding in small populations with high site fidelity. The goal of this management plan is to increase streaked horned lark populations and habitat to sustain viable populations in Oregon from 2019 to 2034. This goal will be achieved through increasing available lark habitat on both public and private lands, along with increasing survivorship rates of juvenile and adult streaked horned larks to increase populations and in return providing more genetic diversity. Habitat in public lands will be managed by various control methods, and private lands will be accessed and managed by providing farmers with enticements. The eventual outcome of this management plan will help further protect and restore many prairie-like habitats that many grassland species rely on, while also providing an additional reason to ensure that streaked horned lark persist into the future.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
Authors: Tyler J. Keim

Management Plan for the Endangered Australian Sea Lion (Neophoca cinerea) on the Western and Southern Coast of Australia

Sun, 05/05/2019 - 17:20
Abstract: The Australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea) is an endangered species that is endemic to the West Australia and South Australia coastlines. It is one of the rarest otariids in the world. The species is unique among other otariids because of its nonannual, nonseasonal breeding cycle, along with the females’ high natal site fidelity. The high natal site fidelity causes genetic drift among the population and can reduce fecundity. The Australian sea lion has multiple conservation issues including bycatch through gillnets and pots, hookworm infections, pup deaths, ecotourism, and pollution. The goal of this management plan is to increase the population to carrying capacity then stabilize it, on the coast of West Australia and South Australia. Objective one is to increase young adult and adult survivorship by at least 3% within fifteen years, this can be accomplished through reducing/limiting bycatch from gillnets and decreasing pollution. Objective two is to increase the understanding of the populations and their distributions by establishing a research program in the next five years and publish five scientific papers in twenty years. Accomplishment of objective two will be met through conducting pup counts and camera trapping at main breeding colonies and if those actions do not fulfill the objective then radio-collaring and relocation will be implemented. Objective three is to decrease pup mortality by 2% per year or 4% per breeding cycle in the next fifteen years. This will be accomplished through decreasing hookworm infections through ivermectin and decreasing bycatch from rock lobster and crayfish pots. Objective four is to increase education by 25% within the next three years, this can be accomplished through surveys of the public and educational pamphlets. This management plan would prevent the Australian sea lion from extinction if the objectives and actions are met in the established timeline.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
File Attachments: Management Plan .pdf
Authors: Anna Mehner

The Pinocchio Lizard (Anolis proboscis): Conserving Mindo's Hidden Anole

Tue, 05/07/2019 - 11:45
Abstract: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Pinocchio lizard (Anolis proboscis) is a cryptic, arboreal anole with in the laevies species group characterized by the unique rostral appendage. Rediscovered in 2005 in Mindo, Ecuador, our understanding of species is limited. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) currently lists the species as endangered for its limited extant range within the Andean cloud forests near Mindo (Pichincha). Their reliance on canopy cover with branching twigs makes habitat loss the greatest ecological concern. Anthropomorphic influences such as agriculture, urban development, and oil industry continue to increase the rate of deforestation. The goal of this plan is to provide protection and recover the populations of Pinocchio lizards within 15 years. The following objectives are designed to achieve this goal. (1) Determine population size estimates and detailed suitable habitat requirements of the Pinocchio lizard within 2-3 years. (2) Implement an education and awareness campaign in Mindo within 1 year. (3) Establish the Mindo as a National Park within the next 5 years. (4) Increase survivorship of all life stages within 3 years. Research is needed to develop a detailed understanding is needed to make informed decisions to achieve objectives. Establishing the extant range of the species as a National Park will discourage provide habitat and legal protection. Implementing a captive breeding and reintroduction program will increase immature life stages needed to increase wild populations. If objectives are met successfully, the species will be federally protected throughout its extant range, the population will be stabilized, and will be delisted from the IUCN red list, conserving the biodiversity of Ecuador’s cloud forests.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
Authors: Gavin Shwahla

Fish Community Structure with the Reestablishment of Beavers in Beaver Ponds in Smitty Creek Watershed

Tue, 05/07/2019 - 18:15
Abstract: This study is part of a long-term monitoring project, which looks into fish assemblages and the impact beaver reestablishment has on them. Beavers were abundant in 2006, but as of 2011 beavers had left the ponds to go somewhere else, and in this study there was clear signs of beaver presence. The study takes place in a series of continuous beaver ponds located within the Smitty Creek Watershed. Minnow traps were baited and set for 24 hours in order to catch a sample of fish from each pond. Results were compared to data from (2006 and 2011). This year’s data showed two new species of fish that haven’t been found in the beaver ponds before, Northern Pearl Dace (Margariscus nachtriebi) and Finescale Dace (Phoxinus neogaeus). Brook Trout individuals in the study were one lower in 2011, but many more Brook Trout were caught in 2006. Creek Chub have always composed the highest number of fishes. Finescale Dace and Redbelly Dace were found in low abundances.  
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
Authors: Nicholas Shalayda

Management plan of honey badger (Mellivora capensis) populations in Karnataka, India

Fri, 04/27/2018 - 11:56
Abstract: Honey badgers (Mellivora capensis) are known for their thick skin and fearless behavior. Honey badgers have a large distribution throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, Arabia, Iran and western India. Honey badgers are commonly found in open woodlands, desert, high mountains and coastal shrubs. Their diet consists of scorpions, Hottentotta rugiscutis, Heterometrus swammerdami, Hottentotta tamulus, and Lychas tricarinatus; small rodents: lesser bandicoot rat (Bandicota bengalensis), Indian bush rat (Golunda ellioti), soft-furred rat (Millardia meltada), little Indian field mouse (Mus booduga), house mouse (Mus musculus), Sahyadris forest rat (Rattus satarae), Nilgiri long-tailed tree mouse (Vandeleuria nilagirica), jungle palm squirrel (Funambulus tristriatus), Malabar spiny dormouse (Platacanthomys lasiurus), Etruscan shrew (Suncus etruscus), and the Asian house shrew (Suncus murinus); and herpetofauna, Brook’s gecko (Hemidactylus brookii), bark gecko (Hemidactylus leschenaultia), brahminy skink (Mabuya carinata), Indian rat snake (Ptyas mucosa), and the banded racer (Argyrogena fasciolatus). Honey badgers are mustelids that burrow into the banks of streams, rock cavities, and thick brush along with the spaces naturally formed by tree roots. Ecological concerns threatening honey badger populations include deforestation, lack of space, and disease. Sociocultural and economic threats to honey badgers include bush meat trade, medicinal uses, illegal fur trade and apiarist’s defending their hives from honey badgers. All of these issues have been documented in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the majority of research for this species has been done. The scope of this management plan focuses in Karnataka, India, these threats, are relevant and current concerns to honey badger populations in Karnataka. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species has the honey badger listed as a species of least concern, this listing is given due to the absence of information on this species. The goal of this management plan is to increase and stabilize honey badger populations in Karnataka in order to make the honey badger a flagship species for the state (2018-2048). Objectives of this goal include: increase protected honey badger habitat, by 10% in ten years, increase understanding of honey badger ecology in Karnataka in eight years publishing four, peer reviewed scientific articles, evaluate 85% of honey badger populations in Karnataka in five years, and having a honey badger acceptance rate of 70% by human populations in thirty years. Honey badgers are an elusive and unique species who have increased acclaim due to the use of social media websites. With proper management this species can have sustainable and sizable populations for the state of Karnataka.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
File Attachments: Management_Plan_Woods
Authors: Alaina Woods

2018 Management Plan for Fossas (Cryptoprocta ferox) in Madagascar

Mon, 04/30/2018 - 11:28
Abstract: Fossas (Cryptoprocta ferox) are an endemic species to Madagascar with features resembling members of Felidae, Herpestidae, and Viveridae. They are widely distributed throughout the island and are located in rainforests, dry forests, and mountainous terrain. As the top-predators of Madagascar, fossas are opportunistic hunters and will feed on the most abundant prey in an area, which are usually the various lemur species inhabiting Madagascar. Fossas are often overlooked in terms of research for their lemur counterparts, resulting in a lack of information pertaining to the species. Fossas are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List and under Appendix II of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). The species has declined by 30% over the last 21 years and are projected to mirror that decline over the next 21 years. The fossas’ decline is primarily linked to habitat destruction and fragmentation and hunting of the species. Invasive species are likely also contributing by transmitting foreign pathogens to fossas, but more research in this area is required. Madagascan forests are continuing to decline annually as more are cleared to make room for agricultural practices. Local Madagascans hunt fossas due to their negative view in local culture, to protect their fowl and livestock, and as a source of bushmeat in some areas. Of Madagascar’s 46 protected areas, many of them contain established populations of fossas. However, these populations are too small or fragmented and will not remain viable into the future. Fossas can be successful if their habitat is preserved and their negative perception by Madagascan villagers is altered. Their top-predator status, unique morphology and taxonomy, and endemic nature make them a valuable species worth restoring to sustainable population levels and protecting for future generations. This management plan has two goals; (1) Establish fossas as a valuable wildlife species among wildlife stakeholders and (2) improve the negative ecological conditions facing fossas to foster population growth. Both goals require multiple objectives to be met to be completed and thus ensure the survival of the species. Educational programs will improve fossas’ negative perception and negative interactions between fossas and Madagascans will be decreased to lessen the numbers harmed or killed by locals. Ecotourism focusing on fossas will be established to increase awareness and funding for conservation. Protected areas of fossa habitat will be enlarged or connected to better suit their needs. Fossa food availability will be increased indirectly by increasing the size of their protected habitat. Invasive species populations of felines and canines will be decreased. Further research on fossa ecology is necessary to improve understanding of fossas and their demographics and improve management practices in the future. If fossas’ habitat requirements are met and protected and their negative view in the eyes of Madagascans is reversed, the species’ decline will be reversed and the population will become sustainable into the future.
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Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
File Attachments: Notoris_2018_04_25.docx
Authors: John Notoris