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Capstone Projects

Margay (Leopardus wiedii) Management Plan for Mexico & Central America from 2017 to 2037

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 13:43
Abstract: Margays (Leopardus wiedii) are a mid sized Neotropical felid that is endemic to Central and South America. They are associated with forest habitat with a lot of tree canopy and considered to be highly adapted to arboreal life. Margays inhabit continuous forest to smaller forest fragments in deciduous, coniferous and savanna ecosystems. Overall, margay populations are declining throughout much of its range due to habitat fragmentation, conversion of forest to agricultural farmland and human expansion. Margay populations are expected to decline over the next 18 years at a rate close to 30%. Little is known about population densities of margays and more research needs to be conducted in order to further understand margay ecology and biology. Over the next 10 years scientists predict that forest degradation, hydroelectric dams, fire and deforestation will further fragment and isolate populations of margays throughout its native range. This management plan proposes five objectives, which are designed to educate native people about margays and provide incentives if there is human wildlife conflict, determine densities of margays throughout Central America and Mexico, determine the amount of spatial juxtaposition of corridors needed, monitor areas where margays and ocelots were both found and slow the rate of deforestation throughout Central America.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
Authors: Nick Petterelli

Management Plan for Bobcats in the Finger Lakes Region of Western New York

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 15:06
Abstract: Bobcats are a popular species for hunters and trappers due to the fact that they are so elusive from humans. Each year human development increases which leads to a decrease of suitable habitat for bobcats. This is the reason for the previous decline in bobcat populations in many regions throughout the United States. With proper management actions implemented, the Fingers Lakes region of New York has the potential to increase and maintain bobcat populations. The goal of this plan is to Increase and maintain a bobcat population in the Finger Lakes region of western New York to allow hunting in the region. To achieve this goal the following objectives will need to be met: 1. Increase bobcat population size to 2 individuals per square mile of suitable habitat in the next ten years, 2. Improve bobcat habitat in areas of intense agriculture annually in the Finger Lakes region of New York throughout the next 5 years, and 3. Create the opportunity for quality hunting and trapping experiences by the general public within the next ten years, or when the population size reaches 2 individuals per square mile of suitable habitat. Increasing bobcat population size will benefit hunters and trappers with the introduction of hunting and trapping seasons and an increase in opportunity and satisfaction and therefore presenting an economic benefit to the region. Also, several other species of wildlife may benefit from the efforts to restore habitat.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
Authors: Jared McAllister

Gunnison Sage Grouse (Centrocercus minimus) Range-wide Conservation Plan 2017-2027

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 17:57
Abstract: Inhabiting several isolated populations in southwest Colorado and southeast Utah, Gunnison sage grouse (Centrocercus minimus) have been mesmerizing bird watchers and ornithologists, and concerning wildlife biologists. This gallinaceous bird relies solely on leks for mating, and has been a species of concern since it was classified as a separate species from the Greater sage grouse. This species numbering roughly 5000 has been declining due to factors threatening their habitat and leking grounds, and factors affecting their genetic diversity. Human actions, whether it be construction of roads and housing, disturbance caused by natural resource exploitation such as drilling for natural gas and oil, or even grazing cattle to provide food for the population, have all severely impacted the ability of this species to persist. Genetic factors have also been a source for reduced fitness and population viability. Due to the isolated populations, inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity has begun to negatively affect these isolated populations, further reducing the overall viability of the species, with the number of alleles present being reduced to 2.13 in extreme cases. The goal of this management plan is to increase the health and size of the population by 2027, as well as to make Gunnison sage grouse a game species once adequate population sizes have been established. This goal will be achieved through restoration and improvement of sagebrush habitat on both private and public lands, along with transplants of individuals to isolated populations to increase genetic diversity. Private lands will be accessed and managed by providing land owners with incentives such as tax breaks and income compensation. The eventual classification of this species as a game animal will further increase the value of the species to human populations while also providing an additional reason to ensure that Gunnison sage grouse persist into the future.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: Capstone_final_bridge.docx
Authors: Dakota Bridge

Management Plan for Radiated Tortoises in Madagascar (Astrochelys radiata)

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 19:57
Abstract: Radiated tortoises are native to southern Madagascar. As of 2008, they have been listed as critically endangered. Human influences such as deforestation, increased poaching, and overexploitation are responsible for the decrease in their population. These tortoises are vulnerable to population decline because they reproduce between 16 and 20 years of age. Without management, they could go extinct within 30 years.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: final management plan.docx
Authors: Stephanie Weston

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

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