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Capstone Projects

Current Status and Management Plan for the Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) to Manage White-nose Syndrome in Northeast North America

Thu, 05/02/2013 - 11:29
Abstract: Bats are an important part of many ecosystems, and provide numerous benefits to humans, including saving the agricultural industry billions of dollars a year. The little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) is the most numerous and widespread species of bat in North America, and in northeast North America, their populations have been decimated by a disease known as white-nose syndrome. White-nose syndrome is caused by a cold loving fungus and causes infected bats to arouse early from hibernation and use up critical fat reserves. The goal of this management plan is to increase and maintain the population of little brown bats to a sustainable level to prevent regional extirpation and range-wide extinction of the species through; increasing protection and regulation, researching white-nose syndrome more, and educating people about bats and white-nose syndrome. If nothing is done, little brown bats face regional extirpation, if not range-wide extinction.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Jeremy Chamberlain

Increasing American Marten (Martes americana) Populations in New York State for Increased Fur Harvest Opportunity

Thu, 05/02/2013 - 11:29
Abstract: American Marten (Martes americana) can be found throughout the Northern portion of North America including Alaska and almost all of Canada (Figure 1) (Buskirk and Ruggerio 1994). They are only found within the Adirondack Mountains in New York with the densest populations being in the High Peaks Wilderness area, Five Ponds Wilderness area, and the Pigeon Lake Wilderness area (NYSDEC 2013). Figure 3 shows the areas where marten can be harvested during the specified trapping season (October 25- Decemeber 10 yearly). Marten are a furbearing species in New York meaning they are eligible for harvest during regulatory trapping seasons mandated by the states department of environmental conservation. Marten are protected by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meaning they are viewed on an international scale to protect them on a federal level and to manage the trade of there valuable pelt/furs. The goal of the marten management plan in New York is to increase population numbers so that eligible trappers may be able to harvest such an elusive species on a more frequent basis, while still limiting the number they are able to harvest yearly to prevent possible extirpation. Increasing marten populations is largely based on enough suitable habitats to sustain viable populations. Actions to achieve the goal are to restore habitats to the needs of martens along with creating corridors to areas with suitable habitats to increase the overall range they are found throughout. Live trapping and relocation may be necessary to create viable populations in areas with existing suitable habitat. These techniques will be used starting in 2013 and continue for 10 years reassess after those ten years more analysis will be done to see if the plan was a success.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Ryan Kelley

Determining Habitat Suitability for Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) in Five Forest Harvest Method Plots on the Paul Smith’s Visitors Interpretation Center Land to Promote Long Term Suitable Habitat.

Sun, 04/28/2013 - 11:42
Abstract: Ruffed grouse (Bonansa umbellus) populations are in a steady decline due to the loss of early successional forests. Our study focused on the suitability of ruffed grouse habitat which is considered an area with adequate food and cover in. We used a habitat suitability index designed for ruffed grouse in Colorado that included average height of woody stems, percent conifers, density of mature yellow birch, and total equivalent stem density as the variables that indicate whether an area has suitable cover and food for ruffed grouse. Using the habitat suitability index we measured the vegetation in five forest harvest methods including: single tree selection, two-age cut, shelter-wood cut, clear-cut, and a control plot to determine if a habitat suitability index developed in Colorado can be used to assess habitat suitability for ruffed grouse in New York. These plots are located in the Adirondacks in Northern New York State at the Paul Smith’s College Visitors Interpretation Center (VIC). Our results suggested that 14 years after harvest a single tree selection harvest method has the highest overall habitat suitability (0.95) for ruffed grouse. This is different from other studies we found that indicated clear-cut was the most suitable forest harvest method for ruffed grouse. We also projected the change in habitat suitability for height of woody stems over time for the clear-cut based on the yearly growth rate of 0.656 feet. Based on our findings from the study we made recommendations to land owners and land managers to develop and promote short term and long term suitable habitat for ruffed grouse. These recommendations included using a variety of forestry practices that included: single tree selection, shelterwood, and clear-cut because ruffed grouse require a variety of different cover types and habitat over their lifetime.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science, Forestry
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Final_Draft.doc
Authors: Jeremy Anna, Jake Baulch

Current summarization and future recommendations: A universal management plan for American beaver (Castor canadensis) across the northeastern U.S.

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 15:18
Abstract: The northeastern United States has the most diverse trapping regulations of the entire country. Driven by political and socio-cultural views on trapping, laws have been passed in recent years that are not based on the best available science. A summary has been completed of the current regulations throughout the northeast with management implications for the future. The intent of this management plan is to create steps to improve laws so they are based solely on the current ecological problems of the species.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Tyson Morrill

Poaching: Does The Local Economy Influence Poaching in New Hampshire

Wed, 04/24/2013 - 17:35
Abstract: Because one of the most commonly cited reasons for poaching is to feed one’s family, I investigated whether economic indicators (unemployment, poverty, median household income) affected poaching in New Hampshire on the county level for years 2005-2011. Economic indicator data was collected through the US Census while poaching data was collected from NH Fish and Game. Violations per capita was calculated by dividing the number of violations in each county by the population of the respective county. As the amount of rural area may influence poaching rate, huntable/fishable area in each county (total county area minus residential and transportation area) was calculated as a metric of ruralness. First, in an effort, to determine which economic indicators to use, I sought to determine if the three economic indicators correlated with each other. Because poverty level correlated with household median income, poverty was excluded from the regression analysis. A multiple regression was conducted with unemployment, household median income, and available huntable fishable area as predictors of violations per capita. Due to Coos being an outlier in each of the categories of interest, Coos was excluded from the statistical analysis. Unemployment (coeff = -0.0048752, p = 0.016), household median income (coeff = -0.0000002, p = 0.008), and huntable and fishable area (coeff = 0.0009837, p = 0.029) were significant factors in predicting violations per capita in NH. Although unemployment, household median income, and huntable fishable area can be possible predictors of poaching, other variables may also influence poaching.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Capstone Paper Final.docx
Authors: Joshua Curtis

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

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

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

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

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