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Capstone Projects

Managing for an Increasing Population of Bobcat (Lynx rufus) in New York State, through Harvest Expansion

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:11
Abstract: Bobcats (Lynx rufus) occur mostly in the United States, but also occur into northern Mexico and southern Canada (Nowell and Jackson, 1996). Bobcats are found throughout most of New York State, except for Long Island. They are protected under CITES causing federal protection and control over the exporting of their spotted pelts. The bobcat population is higher than any historic population in New York State and is estimated to be 5,078 and is increasing and expanding throughout their historic range. The rapid increase in the population as well as the potential to continue to increase has caused management efforts to begin. The goal of bobcat management in New York is to sustain a stable and healthy population of 5,000 bobcats, while minimizing the negative human-bobcat interactions. Increasing populations of bobcat are unsustainable, are unhealthy for the population, and cause increase negative human-bobcat interactions, which in the past has caused state-funded efforts to remove predators, which could be detrimental to the population. Actions to achieve this includes increasing the number of Wildlife Management Units (WMUs 4A, 4F, 5R, 6S, 6R, 7M, 7P, 4O, 7S, 7R, 8S, 8R, 8W, 8Y, 8T, 8X, 8P, 9P, 9Y, 9X, 9W, 9N, 9M, 9T, 9S, 9R, 9K, and 9J) in New York allowed to harvest bobcat, altering food sources, as well as doing nothing due to lack of funds, public cooperation, and time. These additional WMUs will be implemented for the 2012-2013 season and will be monitored after each hunting season for the first five years.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
Authors: William Carpenter

Monitoring and Managing the Africanized Honey Bee in Colorado

Fri, 04/27/2012 - 11:31
Abstract: When brought to Brazil in 1956 to create a more resilient strain of honey bee, the African honey bee (Apis mellifera scutellata) started hybridizing with the European honey bee (Apis mellifera mellifera) creating the Africanized honey bee. Since then, Africanized bees have spread north, entering the United States in 1990. Most of the southern states are now home to African bees. Colorado must do everything it can to prohibit and manage against these bees. This hybrid produces less honey than European bees and is dangerously more aggressive. Causing negative impacts on people, wildlife, tourism, agriculture and the economy, a management plan must be enacted to prohibit and regulate the establishment of permanent populations of the Africanized bee. This management plan proposes a regulatory and quarantine program to slow their entrance into Colorado. If and when they become established, this plan includes developing a research facility as the backbone of the project and creation of laws and regulations with apiaries to keep the European strain alive.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Complete plan.docx
Authors: Anthony Lisella

Management plan for nuisance urban American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) population control

Mon, 04/30/2012 - 12:54
Abstract: High population densities can be a problem for both humans and animals. American crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) occur in extremely high densities in urban settings across the United States. These populations increase the transmission rate of diseases such as West Nile Virus, damage businesses and structures near roost sites, and cause disturbances in the form of noise. For these reasons decreasing the size of urban roosts benefits both crows and humans. This management plan outlines an approach that can be taken to reduce nuisance American crow populations in urban settings. Using non-lethal methods such as pyrotechnic displays, exploders, handheld lasers, tape-recorded distress calls, and habitat modification this plan provides a course of action to disperse urban crow roosts. Extensive public relations are needed for this type of plan due to the disturbance the methods will cause in urban areas. A course of action is provided to inform the public of our actions and to enlist volunteers to help carry out the methods. For this plan to be considered successful a 75% reduction in urban crow population size must be seen along with consistent total population estimates that do not go above 110% or below 90% of the original population size.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Mgmt Plan 4-11.doc
Authors: Benjamin Eck

Implementation of an Antler Restriction Program for White-tailed deer in New York State’s Wildlife Management Unit 4F

Mon, 04/30/2012 - 16:03
Abstract: White-tailed deer are one of North America’s most popular big game species. Big game hunting provides a great amount of revenue for the state of New York. This reason alone makes its important to keep hunters in New York State satisfied. The problem arises when half of the hunting population wants to implement antler restriction programs and the other half do not. This management plan is designed to keep both types of hunters satisfied. The goal is to implement an antler restriction program in wildlife management unit 4F, which is located in central New York. The antler restriction that would be implemented would be based off of responses to a survey from resident hunters. The three options include an antler restriction that requires there to be three points that measure at least one inch in length on one side, one plan that requires at least two points on one side, or a plan that would take no action at all. The management plan would be implemented the following season and would be monitored for the next 5 years.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
Authors: Joseph Nelson

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

Eastern Mud Turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum) Recovery Plan for Long Island, New York

Tue, 05/01/2012 - 12:05
Abstract: The Eastern Mud Turtle is a rapidly decreasing reptile in the most northeastern part of its range, Long Island, New York. They get their name from the behavior of digging through mud to hibernate. The biggest threats to them are road mortality, nest predation, and loss of habitat. They are slow to mature and therefore depend on high levels of adult survivorship to maintain populations. It takes 5-8 years for a female to mature. Then there is a high risk of the eggs being eaten and the females being hit by cars because they make annual movements to nest. Not many eastern mud turtles have been documented in New York. The goal of this management plan for the eastern mud turtle is to decrease the mortality drastically. Key components include decreasing road mortality, increasing the survival of juveniles, and getting the public more aware and involved. If these are addressed properly, then the eastern mud turtle population is should increase.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Full management plan.docx
Authors: Elena Zito

An analysis of social behavior in captive gray wolves and its effects on pack dynamics

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 17:55
Abstract: Animals live in groups for a variety of reasons, including access to certain prey items, defense of territory, and protection of resources. Canids have proved a popular subject for studies in social behavior, and many variables of behavior have been tested, providing an in-depth picture of how these animals typically live. Gray wolves (Canis lupus) in particular have been studied extensively throughout the years, both in the wild and in captivity. This study investigated social behaviors within a captive wolf pack so that an activity budget could be established with aid of an ethogram. A pack hierarchy was also established using tail positions as a guide, and behavior frequency was compared between each gender. Overall, resting behaviors were the most common for the pack under study, and most common for both males and females. This is likely because the study took place during the summer when temperatures were high and the animals didn’t expend much energy. Males and females did not show a significant difference in the proportion of time spent exhibiting each behavior (X2=1), likely because each sex plays a similar role in the pack. While play behaviors comprised only 12% of all recorded, I believe that social play is an important function for providing social cohesion and an outlet for aggression. Since there is still much to be understood about social play in adult wolves, I believe that it should be the focus of future studies. I also believe that this study can provide a framework for future investigations of a similar nature, and that such future studies should also attempt to draw comparisons between wild and captive wolf packs, as they differ in several respects.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2011
File Attachments: equandt_capstonefinal.pdf
Authors: Elizabeth Quandt

Hare Body Mass Index in relationship to habitat type andcover availability at the landscape scale in snowshoe hare in the Northern Adirondacks

Wed, 12/07/2011 - 12:38
Abstract: Snowshoe hares (Lepus americanas) are an important keystone species in environments in which they are present. An important indicator of fitness in many organisms is Body Mass Index (BMI). My question is whether the BMI and relative abundance (hares per unit effort) of snowshoe hares will change under different habitat scenarios as determined by National Land Cover Data. I hypothesized that snowshoe hares would have a higher BMI and greater abundance under areas of higher % conifer and mixed forest. I collected weight, foot length, hare harvest location, and hunt effort data from two hare derbies in the northern Adirondacks. I calculated BMI, relative abundance, and % area of each type of habitat cover and correlated habitat cover with my response variables. I then used principle component analysis to describe the four main configurations of habitat where hare were found and correlated those with BMI and relative abundance. Univariate analysis showed that BMI correlates negatively with % mixed forest and positively with % herbaceous wetland and % developed land. Relative abundance does not correlate with BMI, but relative abundance correlates with herbaceous wetland, grassland, and shrub. Principle component analyses showed that BMI was marginally significantly positively correlated with habitats that were developed, shrub, and mixed forest dominated. Relative abundance was negatively correlated with habitats that were developed, shrub, mixed, and woody wetland dominated. These outcomes are the opposite of my hypothesis. This suggests that hares are energy maximizers and choose habitats where they have the highest quality food over cover from aerial predation.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2011
File Attachments: DeGrave_2011_Capstone.docx
Authors: Caitlin DeGrave

Using Pellet Counts and Vegetation Analysis to Determine Moose (Alces alces) Densities in Vermont and in the Adirondacks, to Better the Understanding of Moose Densities for New York State DEC

Thu, 12/15/2011 - 14:46
Abstract: Using Pellet Counts and Vegetation Analysis to Determine Moose (Alces alces) Densities in Vermont and in the Adirondacks, to Better the Understanding of Moose Densities for New York State DEC
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2011
Authors: Nicole Bellerose, William Carpenter