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Capstone Projects

Environmental Values Represented in Successful Green Building; LEED vs. Passive House

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 12:02
Abstract: In a society struggling to synchronize human development with environmental quality, the construction sector is often the target of sustainability initiatives. The purpose of this research is to investigate the environmental values and themes that influenced the design process of two successful green building projects. The two buildings at the focus of the study are new residential construction in the state of Maine; one with LEED Platinum certification and one with Passive House certification. Both buildings were found to exemplify themes of energy performance, practicality, and bioregionalism and included a collaborative design effort. A better understanding of these themes and values that guided these project teams to construct paradigm-shifting structures can help form a model for mainstream applications of a sustainable built environment.
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Major: Environmental Studies
Year: 2014
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Heather Coleates

Optimal Clutch Size of American Kestrels (Falco sparverius) in Northern New York

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 12:08
Abstract: American kestrels readily use nest boxes, which makes them perfect candidates for studies on nesting activity and success. Nesting success is important to understand so that managers can effectively assess the productivity of a breeding population of kestrels. The goal of this study was to determine optimum clutch size for American Kestrels in Northern New York. The hypothesis was that optimum clutch size consisted of four eggs per clutch. The objective was to determine what clutch size is most effective at hatching young. The study was conducted during the months of June 2013 through August 2013 on 150 nest boxes that were established in 2002. The contents of each elevated nest box were observed using a video baby monitor attached to an extendible pole to minimize disturbance. Clutch size data and number of chicks hatched was compiled and analyzed using a Kruskal-Wallis test. This test was used because it allowed data to be separated into different clutch sizes, and determined the significance between the number of eggs in each clutch and the number of chicks hatched. Clutch sizes varied from 1-5 eggs, with occurrences of one and four eggs being most common. The majority of nesting attempts with one egg failed, resulting in a low probability of chicks hatching from one egg clutches. A clutch size of four eggs has the highest probability of successfully hatching chicks and the highest mean number of chicks hatched compared to the other clutch sizes.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Jennifer Miller

Managing Fisher (Martes pennanti) in Region 7 of Central New York: Opening a trapping season

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 20:40
Abstract: In the late 1800’s fisher were very abundant throughout New York State, but they were nearly trapped to extinction by the 1930s. Few populations survived until 1949 when the trapping season was closed. Today fisher can be found throughout approximately 26,000 square miles of forested habitat in the state; many of these areas have established management plans. Region 7 has not established a population estimate of fisher in the past because there have been few sightings until recently. In 2013, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) and Cornell documented fishers at 54 of 100 survey locations in Region 7. The goal of this management plan is to maintain a fisher population that is large enough to sustain itself and support annual trapping seasons in Region 7. To support the goal of opening a trapping season, fisher habitat will be improved by limiting fragmentation and increasing connectivity. Fisher harvests will be limited by issuing harvest tags, and monitored by pelt seal records. Opening a trapping season will improve recreational opportunities for trappers, while assisting in maintaining a healthy predator prey ratio.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Carter O'Gorman

Compaction of Hiking Trails Located in the Northeastern Area of the Adirondack State Park, New York

Mon, 04/29/2013 - 12:19
Abstract: With continued increases in outdoor recreation in the United States, the physical impact of that use needs to be monitored for its effects. The purpose of this study was to explore whether a relationship exists between traffic numbers and soil strength of trails in the High Peaks Region of New York’s Adirondack state park. Soil strength was used as a measure of compaction because of its ability to indicate certain aspects of soil physical properties like bulk density, and hydrological condition (Mirreh & Ketcheson,1972), which are also soil physical properties that are effected by compaction (Hanna & Al-Kaisi,2009). These physical properties are important factors which influence a soils ability to carry out its biotic and abiotic processes (Kozlowski,1999). Initially the relationship between average soil strength of trails and traffic was insignificant. Upon further analyzing the data we found a significant relationship between on-trail and off-trail soil strength and used this relationship to create on-trail residual soil strengths. This was done to remove the influence that off-trail soil strength was having on the traffic vs. soil strength relationship. With the on/off-trail relationship influence removed, the relationship between on-trail residual soil strength and traffic was significantly improved. Literature discussed showed how the soil strengths collected could be used to infer possible effects on the sites tested. Relations between soil strength and bulk density, root elongation, root penetration, and trail recovery were all reviewed to provide insight on the quality of the soil at sample sites.
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Major: Biology
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Karl Van Osch

Sous Vide Cooking

Mon, 12/02/2013 - 08:49
Abstract: In the present time, Chefs in restaurants that serve all types of cuisines are looking for different and new ways to manipulate flavors and textures. Some Chefs have found that the sous vide cooking technique is a great way to do just that. Most cuisines are fairly easy to change for the better, but Italian is more difficult since the dishes are typically the same in every Italian restaurant. The purpose of this qualitative, exploratory study is to determine how the sous vide cooking technique can be used in high end Italian cuisine to make the flavors superior to traditional ways of cooking. Data will be collected through a taste testing with product evaluation sheets. The evaluations collected will be thoroughly analyzed to determine which way of cooking is preferred by the culinary and baking students, and also the Chefs at Paul Smith’s College. The result of this study will give Chefs that are cooking Italian cuisine a new way to manipulate the flavors and textures for the better.
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Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Sabrina Tessitore

Organic vs. Inorganic- Perceptions A Study of the Perceived Flavor Differences between Organically and Inorganically Produced Foods Based on the Label “Organic”

Mon, 04/22/2013 - 11:43
Abstract: This research project is a study based on ideas of Jenny Wan-chen Lee and Mitsuru Shimizu’s study (You Taste What You See: Do Organic Labels Bias Taste Perceptions?) This study was specifically focused on culinary students to see if they would be more or less influenced by the label “organic.” It is also a psychological food study on the label organic and the way that such claims affect the consumer’s view on the quality of the product, specifically culinary students. This is done through a blind taste testing study where 24 culinary students and 24 non-culinary students were asked to try same product, but were told that one of the two unlabeled products was “organic” and the other “inorganic.” This study also goes into the qualifications a product must meet in order to be considered USDA certified organic. However, there is a pre-conceived notion that organic food equals a higher quality flavor and the purpose of this study is to see if that pre-conceived notion will affect the way these students can identify differences between two products when they are the same product. The hypothesis is that the culinary students will be less influenced by the label and judge the flavors more critically than those who are untrained in the culinary field.
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Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Thomas Stile

The Utilization of Preservation Techniques in Restaurants: A study of consumer perception on the availability of preserved local products during off-seasons in restaurants

Mon, 04/22/2013 - 21:59
Abstract: The availability of local food has an impact on a consumer’s restaurant choice. Restaurants could generate additional income by providing locally grown food during off seasons. Restaurateurs could generate income by attracting guests that are interested in consuming locally grown foods, by providing them in their restaurant during the off-season. The purpose of this study is to determine to what extent in-house preservation of local products would benefit restaurants. This is a qualitative, exploratory relationship study, focused on how and to what extent the availability of preserved local products will affect a consumer’s selection of a restaurant. Data was collected through the administration of surveys to residents of Suffolk County, New York. The participants were asked their opinion on the ideas of preserved local food, and the role it plays in their dining choices. Data from the surveys was coded, based upon common responses, to analyze the participant feedback. These coded responses were compiled to present the findings. This study is helpful to people looking into opening a restaurant, and current owners of restaurants, by determining if the year-round offering of local products has financial benefit to their business.
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Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Preston Hulse

Evaluating the Recovery of Lakes from Acid Deposition in the Adirondack Park

Mon, 12/02/2013 - 22:49
Abstract: Acid rain has been an environmental problem since the 1980’s and has been a core issue in the Adirondack Park located in the northern part of New York State. Acid rain is created by acidic gases from anthropogenic uses that mix in the atmosphere with precipitation and forms acid deposition. Acid Rain lowers the pH of water which has detrimental effects on the biota living within lakes. There is a general consensus that the chemistry of lake water is recovering from acid deposition, however, there have not been sufficient studies on the state of recovery from acid rain in the Adirondack Park or much of the United States. This study will investigate if lake recovery is indeed happening in the Adirondack Park. This study analyzed the water chemistry of lakes using data collected from the Adirondack Lake Survey Corporation (ALSC) and New York State Department of Conservation (DEC). The object of this study is to find a trend in the water chemistry and combine it with DEC data to evaluate the present condition of lakes within the park. The results showed that there are not significant correlations of the data besides SO42- concentrations, which have been approving in the park in the last 20 years.
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Major: Environmental Sciences
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Timothy Grossman, Ryan Kish

Management Plan for American Black Ducks in New England

Wed, 04/24/2013 - 17:38
Abstract: The American black duck was selected as a focal species for this management plan due to its conservation need. At one time the American black duck was the most abundant fresh water duck in the Atlantic Flyway, and particularly in New England where they were year round residents (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011). Although relatively stable over the last 15 years, the black duck population experienced a 50% decline from the 1950’s to the 1990’s and are below the desired abundance (Denvers & Collins, 2011). While the reason for black duck population decline is still unclear, researchers hypothesize that loss of wintering and breeding habitat, competition and hybridization with mallards, and overharvesting may be responsible (Denvers & Collins, 2011; US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011; Black Duck Joint Venture, 2008). This management plan outlines an approach that can be taken to increase the total breeding population of American black ducks from ~ 565,000 breeding individuals to 650,000 breeding individuals, the desired breeding populations (Denvers & Collins, 2011). By increasing preserved breeding habitat, increasing nest success and reducing harvest mortalities in New England, this goal is feasible. A possible course of action is provided to inform the public of our planed actions. Cooperation with state governments and sportsmen within New England is essential in order to reach the desired black duck population. In order for this plan to be deemed successful the American black duck population must increase to at least 650,000 breeding individual.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Joshua Curtis

Management Plan for Nutria (Myocastor coypus) in Louisiana Marshlands

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 11:25
Abstract: Nutria have been in Louisiana from the late 1800’s and has been destroying the Louisiana marshes since their release in the 1930’s. Nutria are large rodents that feed extensively on marsh grasses and roots. The nutria harvest 25% of their body weight (5.5Kg) each day, however they only consume 10% of the food they harvest. The goal of this management plan is to eradicate the nutria from the Louisiana ecosystem through hunting and trapping with economic incentives. There are two reasons that eradication is the answer to the nutria infestation. The first reason for their eradication is they are an invasive species that has replaced the native muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus). The second reason for their eradication is that they have incredibly high rates of reproduction with relatively low rates of predation. If the nutria is left to exist on its own, the population would soon get out of control and completely destroy Louisiana’s ecosystems. Nutria need to be eradicated in order to save the remaining marshlands and prevent erosion in the Louisiana marshland.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Stephen Jennings