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Capstone Projects

Restoring Allegheny Woodrats (Neotoma magister) to New York’s Appalachian Mountain Range

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 19:31
Abstract: The Allegheny woodrat has recently been extirpated from the northern extent of its range due to a combination of anthropogenic factors, including habitat destruction, fragmentation disconnecting metapopulations, and contributing to increases in raccoon populations. Populations in New Jersey have been stabilized at present, and may be increasing. There is speculation that metapopulations could slowly reestablish themselves in New York form New Jersey’s recovering populations. Regardless, efforts to aid the species’ recolonization would return a formerly prevalent species to New York. Ultimately, 50 genetically diverse, captive-reared Allegheny woodrats will be released throughout the northern extent of the Appalachian mountain range contained within southern New York. Released individuals will be from neighboring states’ captive breeding programs for a more genetically diverse gene pool to help prevent bottleneck effects within metapopulations, and their status will be monitored via radio telemetry tracking. Before reintroducing subjects to the area, tree loggers of the northern Appalachian range should enact policies to conserve mast crop trees and increase overall yield for the area of the range which extends into New York State. Habitat connectivity would need to be restored to aid the woodrats’ recolonization. Raccoons (Procyon lotor) are both predators of Allegheny woodrats and the fatal source of raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis) exposure, either situation almost guaranteed to result in woodrat fatality. Increasing raccoon take in the southern half of New York State would better the recolonization specimens’ chances of reestablishment, crucially combined with the distribution of anthelmintic baits to passively deworm remaining raccoons in the area. With these objectives accomplished after five years, Allegheny woodrats will have a greater potential to reestablish former metapopulations within New York.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
Authors: Kara L Meierdiercks

An Assessment of Heavy Metal Concentrations in Adirondack Waterfowl

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 22:53
Abstract: We analyzed heavy metal concentrations in waterfowl liver and breast tissue from ducks harvested within the Adirondack Park from October 3 to November 13, 2015. Interspecific, intersex, and feeding behavior variation in heavy metal concentrations were assessed. Waterfowl from two feeding behavior groups (diving and dabbling) were harvested from the watershed within a 50 mile radius of Paul Smith’s, New York. Harvested waterfowl species included mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), American black duck (Anas rubripes), common merganser (Mergus merganser), ring-necked duck (Aythya collaris), bufflehead (Bucephala albeola), and hooded merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus). Legal harvest of these species during regulated New York State duck hunting season allows for permissible use of internal organs for heavy metal determination. Dry weight (mg/kg) of digested liver and breast tissue samples were analyzed using atomic absorption spectroscopy. Due to unknown laboratory error, absolute concentration values were inaccurate, thus, rendering accurate analyses unfeasible. However, relative observable trends were able to be assessed given our data’s high precision. Analyte concentrations were significantly greater in liver tissues and there were significant differences between species. Variation in mercury, lead, bismuth, cadmium, chromium, and zinc concentrations in waterfowl serve as an indicator of the presence, cycling, bioaccumulation, and temporal trends of these metals in northeastern aquatic habitats.
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Major: Environmental Sciences, Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2016
File Attachments: Final2.docx
Authors: Brandon Snavely, Lewis Lolya

Management Plan of the Ring-Tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) at Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve in Madagascar

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 11:29
Abstract: The need to protect Ring-tailed lemurs is evident. Lemurs are the most threatened group of vertebrates in the world with the IUCN listing 94% of lemur species as threated. This high percentage is in part due to the fact that lemurs only occur naturally in Madagascar so changes to the island effects the whole infraorder (Lemuriformes). Helping to curb illegal activities will protect not just the habitat for Ring-Tailed lemurs but will help the entirety of Madagascar’s Wildlife that has evolved on an island that used to be covered by up to 90% forest. These illegal practices are often protected by armed guards which may require assistance from the Madagascar government for adequate protection of the islands forests
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2016
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Elias Carter

Recovery and Management Plan for the Houston Toad (Bufo houstonensis) in Bastrop County, Texas

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 11:24
Abstract: The Houston toad (Bufo houstonensis) was the first amphibian listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1973 and has been extirpated from 3 of 12 counties of its historical range throughout Texas. The driving factor of Houston toad declines is habitat loss, primarily via fragmentation and destruction from expansion of cities. The Lost Pine Ecoregion in Bastrop County, Texas holds the largest remaining populations in the Bastrop County State Park and the Griffith League Ranch. The proposed recovery plan is designed to accurately assess the current population sizes within the Griffith League Ranch and Bastrop State Park and increase the survivorship of adults and juveniles within the populations. Issues involving invasive species, predation, cattle grazing, and public awareness of Houston toads and actions to resolve the issues are addressed throughout the management plan. The success of this management plan is critical to increase Houston toad populations within its native range and decrease potential of extinction.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2016
File Attachments: KFitchette_Final.docx
Authors: Kayla Fitchette

Management of the Invasive American Mink (Neovison vison) Populations in the Southern Region of South America (Cape Horn Biosphere)

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 11:24
Abstract: American mink (Neovison vison) are an invasive species in South America, Europe and a few other countries. An invasive predator like the American mink can have negative effects on ecosystem function. In the Cape Horn biosphere, mink have no natural predators and have established themselves as top predator in that ecosystem (Crego 2015). Their populations have steadily increased in the Cape Horn Biosphere Region since their release from mink farms in 1930 (Ibarra et al. 2009). The Cape Horn biosphere is affected by the loss of native fauna such as Magellanic woodpeckers (Campephilus magellanicus), Olive Grass Mouse (Abrothrix olivaceus), and different types of ducks (Anseriforms) due to American mink predation. The Cape Horn Biosphere is a research, education, and conservation land that is used by institutes and universities (Ibarra et al. 2009). There are four objectives to help prevent the further spread of the invasive American mink that include: Educating the general public in the Cape Horn Biosphere region on the negative implications of invasive species, increasing the number of minks trapped by 15% in 1 year, setting environmental laws against the release of mink from fur farms within 5 years, creating a tactile agency to enforce those laws within 5 years. When all objectives are complete there will be a decreasing trend in American mink populations in Southern South America.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2016
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Eleanor Congden

Florida Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) Management Plan in Southern Florida

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 11:24
Abstract: Florida scrub-jays are large songbirds endemic to Florida. They are extremely habitat-specific, sedentary, and territorial. Florida scrub-jays were listed as a threatened species in 1987. Since then their populations have declined by approximately 50% due to fragmentation and degradation of xeric oak-scrub habitat throughout Florida. Majority of this destruction is because of residential housing, commercial development, and fire suppression. Conservation of remaining habitat and long term management of the land with prescribed burns is vital for increasing Florida scrub-jay populations.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2016
File Attachments: Final Management Plan.docx
Authors: Ashley Gocha

Managing and Conserving the Grey-Headed Flying Fox (Pteropus poliocephalus)

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 11:25
Abstract: The grey-headed flying fox is one of the largest bats in the world and currently the largest bat in Australia. This species is nomadic and distributed along the forested areas of the south-eastern coast of Australia Queensland to Victoria respectively. Grey-headed flying foxes are an endemic specialist that are of key importance in Australia’s declining coastal forest ecosystems. A recent increase in population decline of at least 30% over the last 3 generations can be attributed to mass die offs from extreme heat events and multiple anthropogenic sources including habitat loss from increased urbanization (Department of the Environment 2016). In order to see a healthy population in the future both human and species dimensions need to be addressed through scientific help and political means. I propose a rigorous course of action requiring public, government and scientific help by increasing adult survivorship, increasing native trees, and creation of a positive association between bats, humans and their ecosystem.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2016
File Attachments: Final Managment Plan.docx
Authors: Zoe Stewart

Wildlife Habitat Conservation and Recovery Plan of Spotted-tailed Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) in Eastern Australia Mainland

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 11:29
Abstract: In Eastern Australia, spotted-tailed quoll have been an important marsupial for tourist attractions and ecological control over small invasive species. This species’ population has been slowly declining due to anthropogenic threats to their habitat (Figure 1). Spotted-tailed quoll prefer moist forests such as rain forests or eucalyptus forests that provide abundant amount of food resources and available shelter opportunities. The goals of this management plan are to increase spotted-tailed quoll populations through decreasing anthropogenic threats such as housing construction, agricultural land uses, carrion removal, and road networks. The goals will be achieved by reducing quoll mortality by roadways, illegal killing, and translocation of the species to suitable habitat elsewhere in Australia. Decreasing human-quoll conflicts on roadways, farmlands and in construction areas will improve the chance of quoll population increase. The management sites will be monitored to oversee effects of the management strategies and allow managers to develop a better plan or further extend the following plan to be successful. In addition, the public and private landowners will be vital to increasing the quoll populations through participation of protecting the quolls from further decline through proper carrion removal from roadways and farmlands, conservation of suitable habitat, and awareness of the native species. To ensure future spotted-tailed quoll populations persist, actions need to be done now or the continuation of habitat degradation and human-quoll conflicts will increase.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2016
Authors: Bridget Parks

Management Plan for Giant Anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) in Emas National Park

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 14:09
Abstract: Throughout their range, giant anteaters are an unmanaged species and population estimates are broad, if available. This plan suggests using prescribed burns to control the spread of invasive grasses, reducing the buildup of wildfire fuel and restoring more favorable habitat. Also the construction of underpasses at large highways, will reduce the amount of road collisions and increase gene flow through dispersal. Giant anteaters are extremely vulnerable to population declines because it takes so long for them to reach sexual maturity and they only produce one offspring each year.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2016
File Attachments: Final Management Plan.docx
Authors: Alex Roberts

A Global Management Plan for the Bristle-thighed Curlew (Numenius tahitiensis)

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 15:44
Abstract: In the past three centuries, shorebird populations have declined ubiquitously across the North American landscape as over harvesting and habitat conversion became common practice. The bristle-thighed curlew (Numenius tahitiensis) is a large bodied shorebird whose global population is threatened with future declines. The small breeding population of approximately 3,500 pairs is faced with unnatural mortality from introduced predators, human development, climate change induced habitat alteration, and over harvesting. Compounding these problems is a general lack of information regarding key biological characteristics of the specie’s life history, including population densities on wintering islands, key migration routes, existence of stopover sites, and survivorship of certain life stages. The primary focus of current day management of the bristle-thighed curlew is to promote the survivorship of adults and increase suitable habitats for curlews on their wintering grounds. This management plan aims to gain an understanding of the the biology of bristle-thighed curlew and propose methods to stabilize their global population. The success of the species depends heavily international cooperation, intensive research, and the conservation and management of key habitats.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2016
File Attachments: Final Managment Plan.docx
Authors: Lewis M. Lolya