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Capstone Projects

Management Plan to Prevent Regional Extinction of Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) in Northeastern United States

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 01:11
Abstract: Since the first record of white-nose syndrome in 2006 outside Schenectady, NY, populations of hibernating bats in the northeastern United States have continued to decline making more susceptible hibernating bat species, such as the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), at risk for regional extinction (Frick, et.al, 2010). There have been management plans to control the spread of white-nose syndrome and protect areas not yet inflicted with the disease, but nothing to stop the development of the disease or restore the survival rates on infected populations. The goal of this management plan is to increase the population size and prevent the regional extinction of little brown bats in the northeastern United States. In order to achieve this, summer roosts must be more available to increase fat build up before winter, and then have artificial hibernacula with regulated internal temperatures to deter the growth of the white-nose fungus on hibernating bats.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
Authors: Abigail Bradley

Temporal Variation in Relative Abundance of Aquatic Macro-Invertebrates and its Implications for Water Quality Assessments

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 16:06
Abstract: Macro invertebrate sampling is widely used to assess the water quality of streams. Sampling can be performed throughout the year depending on the geographical location. In this study a repeated sampling of rivers and streams in the St. Lawrence River basin located in northern New York State was carried out to determine if seasonal changes affect aquatic invertebrate relative abundance within macro invertebrate communities. This relationship was compared to water quality assessments to determine the most accurate time for sampling. By assessing the changes in relative abundance of macro invertebrates we can determine if those changes affect the measures used to infer water quality. By comparing changes in the inferred water quality to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) assessments, an appropriate sampling window was determined. Kick sampling methods following the DEC’s protocols were used to collect aquatic invertebrates throughout the scale of eight months in six rivers throughout the northern Adirondacks. Currently the DEC recommendation for sampling is June through September. The findings of this study illustrate that June and July is not an appropriate time for sampling in the northern Adirondacks. The most stable time to sample for aquatic macro-invertebrates, according to the 2013 sampling events is August through October.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: Powells_Capstone.docx
Authors: Jason R. Powell

Evaluation of the First 10 Years of Long-Term Ecological Monitoring of Fishes and Physical Habitat with Regional Temperature and Precipitation Regimes in the Smitty Creek Watershed with Recommendations for Future Efforts

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 13:39
Abstract: Long-term ecological monitoring of freshwater ecosystems is a relatively recent trend in the scientific community. Trends in such monitoring data help fisheries biologists in determining best management practices to ensure the sustainability and longevity of these commonly used natural resources. Ten years of standard physical habitat and fish capture data has been collected from the Smitty Creek Watershed (upstate New York) from 2004 to 2013. The goals of this study were (I) to determine if there were significant changes in stream reach hydromorphology between 2004 and 2013 and (II) to detect any long-term trends between local precipitation and temperature regimes and fish catches in Smitty Creek. A one-way analysis of variance was conducted to determine significant changes in stream reach widths between 2004 and 2013. Total catches of the most common fishes found in the sampling reaches and age-0 brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) were related to yearly and monthly precipitation and temperature regimes using Pearson correlation matrices with a ~95% confidence interval. Correlation matrices were also used to assess species catches versus species to determine if certain species catches are related. All four mean stream reach widths increased to some extent from 2004 to 2013. Both Little Aldo Creek and Aldo Creek mean stream widths increased significantly, while Middle Smitty and Lower Smitty only increased marginally (Table 1). Smaller streams increased significantly more than larger ones; suggesting that smaller streams are more susceptible to hydro-geometrical changes during high flow events than larger streams. Over 60 statistically significant relationships were found between fish catches and various temperature and precipitation variables. The most intriguing findings were that overall brook trout catches and age-0 brook trout catches were highly negatively correlated with December lowest temperatures and highly positively correlated with January total precipitation. Suggesting that brook trout recruitment in the Smitty Creek Watershed is sensitive to winter precipitation and temperature regimes. Cold winters with high snowfall may stabilize these small streams, providing safe and suitable habitat for the early life history stages of brook trout. Overall, the results of this study provide a comprehensive analysis and outline of the major trends and relationships found in the Smitty Creek Watershed. In addition, it provides numerous recommendations for future research and analysis of these trends and relationships.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
Authors: Nathan T. Mills

Optimal Clutch Size of American Kestrels (Falco sparverius) in Northern New York

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 12:08
Abstract: American kestrels readily use nest boxes, which makes them perfect candidates for studies on nesting activity and success. Nesting success is important to understand so that managers can effectively assess the productivity of a breeding population of kestrels. The goal of this study was to determine optimum clutch size for American Kestrels in Northern New York. The hypothesis was that optimum clutch size consisted of four eggs per clutch. The objective was to determine what clutch size is most effective at hatching young. The study was conducted during the months of June 2013 through August 2013 on 150 nest boxes that were established in 2002. The contents of each elevated nest box were observed using a video baby monitor attached to an extendible pole to minimize disturbance. Clutch size data and number of chicks hatched was compiled and analyzed using a Kruskal-Wallis test. This test was used because it allowed data to be separated into different clutch sizes, and determined the significance between the number of eggs in each clutch and the number of chicks hatched. Clutch sizes varied from 1-5 eggs, with occurrences of one and four eggs being most common. The majority of nesting attempts with one egg failed, resulting in a low probability of chicks hatching from one egg clutches. A clutch size of four eggs has the highest probability of successfully hatching chicks and the highest mean number of chicks hatched compared to the other clutch sizes.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Jennifer Miller

Craft Beer Distribution

Wed, 12/10/2014 - 12:22
Abstract: Craft beer is distributed in many different places. The purpose of this research is to show how the breweries want to expand on getting out more and different varieties of beers to be sold outside of breweries. This study will use case interviews with existing craft brewers. Included in the interviews will be inquiries on where and why the beer is distributed to certain distribuitors that they have selected. Of the five breweries interviewed, it will explore and give insight on how well the beer is distributed. Beer distribution is huge for breweries and to be able to keep up with what is popularity and explore new varieties will help show if the company is going to be profitable or not.
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Literary Rights: Off
Major: Food Service and Beverage Management
Year: 2014
File Attachments: beer project.docx
Authors: Kacie McKeown

Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities at the Paul Smith’s College VIC

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 15:41
Abstract: The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) says that public facilities, including such places as parks and recreation trails need to be accessible to everyone., Barnum Brook Trail at the Visitor's Interpretive Center (VIC) is considered a mobility challenged accessible trail. Researching other parks throughout the United States can help determine if making this trail at the VIC accessible for persons with a number of disabilities will be beneficial. The other trails will help define who and how big the potential market is for accessible trails. These trails can show us different aspects that exist at other parks, such as Braille signage, ramps and lifts, that we could bring to the Barnum Brook trail and the rest of the VIC. Current such trails include John Dillon Park in upstate New York, in Colorado: Coyote Valley Trails, Sprague Lake, and Lily Lake, Arlington Lions Club Park in Florida, and Papago Park in Arizona. Interviewing people in the surrounding area including those that are providing services to persons with different disabilities at ARC and North Star Industries can help determine if groups of people would be willing to come spend a day enjoying the VIC facilities and trails.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Food Service and Beverage Management
Year: 2014
Authors: Stacy Cavanaugh

Extracurricular Activities and Academic Success

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 12:20
Abstract: This report investigates whether student activities has an impact on academic success. The student activities were broken into five categories: on campus clubs and organizations, off campus clubs and organizations, team sports, independent athletics, and jobs. While this subject has been studied before, results tend to differ widely due to college type or sample size. In order to study this on Paul Smith’s College campus, a survey was sent to students containing questions regarding their GPA and in what activities from the five categories they regularly participated. There were 120 responses to the survey. Out of those 120 students, 83 percent reported that they did participate in student activities. Of that 83 percent, 76 percent of students stated that they felt extracurricular activities had helped improve their performance in their academic studies. Of the 83 percent, 45 percent had a 3.5 to 4.0 GPA. While this does seem to support that extracurricular activities has a positive effect on academics, it is uncertain whether students who are more determined and academically inclined are the ones more likely to do extracurricular activities. That would be a topic for further study.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Food Service and Beverage Management
Year: 2014
Authors: Melissa Tiedt

Alpine Ecosystems on Ski Area Summits in the Northeast: A Best Management Practices Manual

Mon, 12/01/2014 - 15:19
Abstract: Over the past half a century, anthropogenic climate change has triggered temperatures in the northeastern United States to rise. This increase has led to decreased winter precipitation and a longer annual growing season. Species found in upland/montane habitats on the southern edge of their range limits are particularly threatened by these changes. Warmer temperatures have allowed larger woody plants to advance up mountain slopes, entering the habitat of these fragile species. In the next decade, we will witness a complete disappearance of alpine flora from several locations across the northeast including Whiteface in New York, Sugarloaf in Maine and Mount Mansfield in Vermont. Managers of ski resorts can therefore play an important role in promoting the continued persistence of high-altitude flora and fauna through carefully considered management decisions can also serve to promote the reputation of the ski industry as stewards of mountaintop ecosystems. Doing so will allow for continued study of the species that exist within these communities, the protection of biodiversity, and increased revenue for the resort itself through elevated public image and mountain-top tourism. To help begin these conservation efforts, we have created a best management practice (BMP) manual to guide ski area managers in making these developments. It includes techniques for sustainable slope, soil, vegetation and wildlife management, erosion control, artificial snow production, and ski slope construction and design. Also included are marketing techniques and an overview of the economic viability of the practices outlined in this manual.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Forestry, Natural Resources Management and Policy
Year: 2014
Authors: Pali Gelsomini, Dylan Randall

Forest Succession's Effect on Soil Physical and Chemical Properties after Agriculture Abandonment

Mon, 12/01/2014 - 11:00
Abstract: Landscapes have been significantly altered by humans and replacing forests with agricultural crops is a major alteration humans have made. This landscape change has affected soils significantly. Agriculture practices can potentially have detrimental effects on soils. However, through the 20th century forest cover drastically increased in the United States through the recruitment of second growth forests as a result of agriculture abandonment. Forests reclaiming farm lands through forest succession can have a significant effect on recoveries in soil physical and chemical properties such as bulk density, soil strength, porosity and fertility. Therefore, the goal of this study was to investigate forest successions effect on soil physical and chemical properties after agriculture abandonment. Three specific hypotheses were tested: 1) Bulk density and soil strength will decrease while micro and macro porosity will increase as forests reclaim farm lands. 2) Soil carbon and available nitrogen will increase over time. 3) Soil pH will decrease and electrical conductivity will increase over time. These hypotheses were explored on abandoned agriculture fields in a chronosequence study on coarse loamy Inceptisols in upstate New York across a 60 year temporal scale. Data showed that total porosity, total carbon and available nitrogen increase while soil pH, bulk density, soil strength and electrical conductivity decline over time. These results support all three hypotheses except for the latter half of hypothesis number three. The findings of this study suggest that although agriculture may disturb soil properties, time coupled with forest succession can result in significant recoveries.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Forestry
Year: 2014
File Attachments: Final Report.docx
Authors: Nathan Piché

Differences in soil fertility along roadsides between state and locally managed roadways in Franklin County, New York

Thu, 05/08/2014 - 20:30
Abstract: Techniques for managing roadways often incorporate use of sodium chloride, or roadsalt. Use of this substance can vary greatly depending on whether state or local municipalities are prescribing management for particular roadways. Roadsalt has the potential to affect the chemical composition of roadside soils. This study sought examine relationships between winter management techniques and soil chemical properties as distance increased from roadsides. Transects were set up perpendicular to 5 roads managed by the State of New York, and 5 roads managed by towns in Franklin County, New York. 10 samples were removed from the soil surface at each transect, every two meters back from each roadside from 2 to 20 meters. pH, conductivity, abundances of Ca, Na, K, Mg, Cl, % Na on CEC, & % Ca on CEC were determined for each sample. Using ANOVA equations pH, % Na, and Cl concentration were found to have significant relationship with distance while %Na, % Ca, and Na concentration had significant relationships with regards to management. It was concluded that Na is displacing large amounts of Ca on exchange near state managed roads, decreasing soil fertility specifically in those areas. Results follow trends found in other studies that cite increasing concentrations of both Na and Cl on watershed scales.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Forestry
Year: 2014
File Attachments: Actually Done.docx
Authors: Dylan Kirk