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Capstone Projects

Establishment of Self-sustaining Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus) Populations in South Korea

Sun, 04/30/2017 - 15:49
Abstract: The Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) is similar to the American black bear (Ursus americanus) in size and appearance and is distributed across much of Asia. They are omnivorous, but eat mostly plant matter and are heavily reliant on hard mast in the fall. When fall mast supply is low, these bears move out of forests and into fields, consuming crops to supplement their diet and negatively interacting with humans. Little is known about the biology of this species, but it is an IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Threatened Species and listed on national conservation lists in many of the countries in its range. The decline of this species has been linked to forest decline alongside the expansion of agriculture and hunting for their gallbladders. South Korea has a small, protected population of Asiatic black bears in Jirisan National Park and others scattered throughout the forests of the country. These bears can be successful if protected and studied, however they are common agricultural pests and public opinion toward them varies. Once part of the ancient culture of the area and because hunting them is illegal, they are now farmed for their gallbladders which produce high-value bile which is used in traditional medicine. As the bear is the mascot for the Paralympic Games, the nation should focus on restoring this bear to its former status both ecologically and socioculturally. The goal of this management plan is to make the Asiatic black bear a national icon for the country of South Korea and establish a growing population in the protected lands of the nation. This goal requires multiple objectives to ensure the success of the species. An analysis to assess the conservation gaps of the species will show where action is needed. A public education program will harbor support in South Korea. More biological studies must be funded and conducted to better inform management. If conservation of the Asiatic black bear is prioritized in South Korea and public opinion is improved, this species’ population will be able to sustain growth.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: Craig_MgmtPlan.docx
Authors: Robert Craig

Long-Eared Owl (Asio otus) Management Plan for Regions 5 and 6 of New York State

Sun, 04/30/2017 - 17:49
Abstract: Long-eared owls (Asio otus) are commonly associated with open grasslands, riparian areas and edge habitat which are used for hunting. Diet consists of 90% voles (Microtus spp.) with the other 10% consisting of other small mammals and rarely, birds. Nesting typically occurs in dense conifer stands where inactive corvid or hawk nests also exist. Inactive nests must be present because like other owl species, long-eared owls do not build their own nests. Outside of the breeding season long-eared owls are highly migratory and have been found to roost communally. Loss of habitat to urban expansion, forest succession and changing farming techniques are considered to be major threats to this species. Across North America, two sub species of long-eared owls exist, however this plan focuses on management of the eastern subspecies (A. o. wilsonianus) in Northern New York. Throughout the Northeast region the long-eared owl is listed as threatened or endangered except in New York where it has no additional protection. However, due to the species large geographic range and large worldwide population estimate it is listed as a species of Least Concern with a declining population on the IUCN Red List. The goals of this plan are to increase the population from 250 to 350 over the next 25 years and to provide information that leads to greater protection of the species in New York. The objectives to achieve these goals include: reductions in nest predation via predator exclusion, increases of nesting and hunting habitat via habitat artificial nest boxes and restoration, and population surveys via banding, radio telemetry and nest success surveys. Based on population modeling adult survival is the key factor to focus on when managing for this species. A 5% increase in adult survivorship should result in a positive population trend, with a 6% increase being more favorable to the overall goals and objectives. Long-eared owls are a lesser known species that deserve our help to ensure their survival and growth for the enjoyment of current and future generations of New York.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: LEOW_Mgmt_Plan.docx
Authors: Matthew Williams

Are Zooplankton As Patchy As Phytoplankton?

Mon, 05/01/2017 - 15:44
Abstract: Phytoplankton and zooplankton form the base of most lake food webs and are the primary sources of energy for higher trophic levels. Recent studies have shown that the horizontal distribution of phytoplankton is not even across the surface of lakes. While the vertical distribution of zooplankton has been well studied, little is known about the horizontal distribution of zooplankton in the surface waters of lakes or the spatial interactions among zooplankton and phytoplankton. The aim of this study was to quantify the spatial distribution of phytoplankton and zooplankton and determine if their spatial distributions are related. We sampled zooplankton and phytoplankton during the day and at night in a 24 point grid in Paul Lake, Michigan in the late spring and early summer of 2016. Phytoplankton and zooplankton were not uniformly distributed horizontally. Instead, there were high density patches of both zooplankton and phytoplankton, and in many instances there was positive autocorrelation. Additionally, zooplankton and phytoplankton concentrations were rarely correlated in space indicating that grazing is likely not a driver of zooplankton or phytoplankton spatial heterogeneity. If the goal of a study is to understand and characterize the entire population of either phytoplankton or zooplankton, we suggest taking multiple samples of the pelagic zone.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Jonathan Stetler, Cal Buelo

Management Plan of Harlequin Ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus) on the East Coast of the United States (2017-2027)

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 19:16
Abstract: Harlequin ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus) are sea ducks that winter on the east coast of North America and breed in eastern Canada. They nest along rapid streams that provide suitable nesting habitat along with high abundancy of aquatic invertebrates. Harlequin ducks are a species of special concern in Canada as well as on the east coast of the United States. The species is declining they prefer have thin breeding habitat requirements, a relatively small population size, and are sensitive to disturbances on their wintering and breeding grounds. Such disturbances include transformation of habitats and human disturbances. This plan has goals that mainly focuses on the conservation of Harlequin duck populations and habitat from 2017 to 2027. The first goal of this plan is to create and maintain possible habitat for Harlequins to breed and winter on the east coast of the United States. The objectives to achieve this goal are to identify and map by 2019 all-important Harlequin ducks wintering and potential breeding habitats on the east coast of the United States, through 2027 create, protect, and manage important and possible areas for breeding and wintering habitats, and by 2020 set guidelines to protect Harlequin duck habitat from industrial, recreational, and fisheries activities. The second goal of this plan is to increase the distribution and abundance of Harlequins wintering. The objective for this goal is to increase the egg and hatch year bird survival by 10% for all Harlequin ducks on the east coast of United States as well as the overall population by 30% by 2027. The final goal is to inform and educate recreational users and hunter’s about Harlequin ducks and their habitats, and threats. For this goal the objectives are to mitigate factors that are restricting the species wintering survival on the east coast of the United States by 2022. The second objective to this final goal is by 2019, develop an educational program on the east coast of the United States that will promote the understanding of Harlequin ducks and their wintering requirements.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: Management Plan.docx
Authors: Dakota Urban

Management Plan of Bobolinks (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) Breeding in The Finger Lakes Region of New York

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 10:50
Abstract: Bobolinks (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) are sexually dimorphic, medium-sized, songbirds that commonly breed across North America. In New York, bobolinks begin nesting around mid-May in open grasslands or hayfields larger than 2 hectares with 3-4 cm of thatch on the ground. Bobolinks are typically philopatric, however land-use practices may alter habitat suitability and negatively affect nesting success. During a ten-year period from 2003 to 2013, bobolink populations have decreased -1.19% across North America (Renfrew 2015). Modernization of hay harvesting practices have increased the occurrence and frequency of disturbance to nesting bobolinks. In New York, the main cause of nest failure is cutting for hay during the nesting season. The goal of this management plan is to increase the population of bobolinks breeding in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. This plan aims to improve bobolink breeding habitat by creating a program that uses policy and philanthropy to balance habitat requirements of bobolink with stakeholder needs through compensation of financial loss due to habitat protection. Coordinating best management practices among landowners and increasing enrollment within the Conservation Reserve Program will reduce edge effects and increase available breeding habitat in the Finger Lakes region. Failure to alter unsuccessful management strategies will permit the current declining population trend to continue. Management is necessary to maximize protection of nesting bobolinks while minimizing financial and legal restrictions encountered by farmers. If this management plan is successful, there will be an increase in the population size of bobolinks returning to the Finger Lakes Region during the breeding season and the once declining population trend will stabilize within the region.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
Authors: Emily Eidman

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

Planning for Accessibility in Wilmington Notch New York State Campground

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 10:47
Abstract: A paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Science in Park Conservation Management
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Major: Parks and Conservation Management
Year: 2017
File Attachments: KIC Document 1.pdf
Authors: Christina Barton, Elayna Grove, Spencer Nolan, Katherine Nussbaumer

Monitoring the Zebra Mussel Invasion Front: Use of New Technology

Thu, 02/09/2012 - 15:39
Abstract: Zebra mussels are invasive mollusks that are affecting the well-being of the water bodies in the United States. This study uses environmental DNA (eDNA) is a sensitive early detection system that may be useful in monitoring their spread. The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of eDNA technology in identifying infested water bodies, to determine if zebra mussel DNA is in the Adirondack water bodies not known to be infested, if the water chemistry of these water bodies is favorable for zebra mussel establishment, and if the eDNA technology is transferable to an institution like Paul Smith’s College. Eighteen lakes, all in New York State were sampled, fifteen of which are located in the Adirondack Park. DNA was extracted from water and plankton samples and species specific primers were used for PCR amplification to determine if zebra mussel DNA was present. Of seven samples taken from sites known to be infested, five of these tested positive for zebra mussel eDNA. Four lakes not known to be infested within the Park also tested positive for zebra mussel eDNA. Based on zebra mussel risk parameters (water chemistry) applied to 1,469 Adirondack water bodies, less than 3% are at risk of zebra mussel establishment. However it is possible that established populations could occur at microsites that may have locally high levels of calcium and higher pH.
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Major: Biology, Environmental Sciences, Environmental Studies, Fisheries and Wildlife Science, Forestry, Natural Resources Management and Policy
Year: 2011
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Alexandria Bevilacqua, John Bishop, Charles Cain, Tyler Clark, Seth Crevison, Robert Culyer, Ryan Deibler, Brian DeMeo, Jonathan Eckert, Kirsten Goranowski, Joelle Guisti, Alan Jancef, Korinna Marino, Michelle Melagrano, KaitlynNedo, Joseph Nelson, Aaron Palmieri, Cole Reagan, John Scahill, JohnathanStrassheim, Scott Travis, Sarah Van Nostrand and Sarah Vella

Promoting Conservation of Biodiversity in the Adirondack Park Through Understanding and Engaging Stakeholders

Thu, 02/09/2012 - 11:31
Abstract: Anthropogenic disturbance of natural environments has led to the widespread loss of native biodiversity and degradation of ecosystems. It is increasingly recognized that addressing this “biodiversity crisis” entails understanding the societal drivers of unsustainable patterns of use. Conservation psychology is a new discipline that specifically focuses on understanding the linkages between human behavior and action and promoting a healthy and sustainable relationship between humans and nature. In this project, we employed principles of conservation psychology with the goal of improving the efficacy and efficiency of conservation of biodiversity in the Adirondack Park (AP). To meet this goal we employed three specific strategies. The first of these strategies was the use of surveys to assess the values, attitudes, and actions different stakeholders have in regards to conservation of biodiversity in the AP. These surveys were disseminated via both direct mailings and online, and included 30 questions. Our second strategy was to use discourse analysis to create a dictionary of terms and phrases employed in a positive, neutral, and negative light in regard to conservation of biodiversity. This entailed analysis of 30 emic accounts derived from opinion articles written by stakeholders in the AP, as well as analysis of a number of etic accounts drawn from online sources. Our third strategy was to use conservation psychology literature to assess ways in which the presentation of information and peer-dynamics influenced the responses of stakeholders towards conservation of biodiversity. Using the combination of these three strategies, we were able to provide a holistic understanding of how different stakeholders in the AP perceive and act towards biodiversity conservation; identify language that can be used to illicit a more positive response from these stakeholders; and identify specific tools based on principles of psychology that can encourage more active and effective engagement in conservation of biodiversity by different stakeholders. Our research findings will allow groups focusing on promoting conservation of biodiversity in the AP to be more effective and efficient in their work in the future.
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Major: Environmental Sciences, Fisheries and Wildlife Science, Forestry, Natural Resources Management and Policy, Recreations, Adventure Travel and Ecotourism
Year: 2011
Authors: Christopher Critelli, John Ghanime, Derek Johnson, Samantha Lambert, Justin Luyk, Matthew Parker, Robert Vite, Heather Mason, Jesse Warner, Ethan Lennox, Sarah Robbiano, David Mathis, David A. Patrick

Assessment of Anion Retention within Variable-Charged Eastern-Central Adirondack Forest Sub-Soils

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 10:20
Abstract: Anthropogenic influences such as acid deposition and road salting have caused shifts in both the pools and fluxes of nutrients within Earth’s biogeochemical cycles. The mobility of ions within forest soils is a very well documented concept; however the significant mechanisms affecting these patterns are poorly understood. One mechanism affecting anion retention is the electrostatic attraction to soil colloid surfaces, which is poorly documented in the Adirondack Park. Soils were sampled from both glacial till and outwash sites with predominantly deciduous canopies. The amount of anion retention was documented through multiple soil ion extractions over a pH gradient from 2 to 9. A loss on ignition procedure was used to understand the relationship between both organic matter or Fe/Al oxides and the overall soil surface charge. The estimated retention of Cl- and NO3- is 252 Kg/Ha and 440 Kg/Ha, respectively. Using hypothetical watersheds, we calculated that it will take 14 years to saturate the subsoil with NO3- and only 7 years to saturate with Cl-. These results suggest that the effects of acid deposition may be seen up to 14 years even after deposition has ceased. The relatively limited retention of Cl- however, may explain increased salinization of freshwater ecosystems.
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Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2011
File Attachments: Capstone Final Paper.docx
Authors: John Mullins