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Capstone Projects

Managing for increased productivity and size of an American kestrel (Falco sparverius) population in northern New York

Mon, 05/07/2012 - 12:58
Abstract: American kestrel (Falco sparverius) populations have recently declined across most of the eastern states. As a result, managers and concerned citizens alike have installed nest boxes across large areas to increase productivity. Mr. Mark Manske has run one of these nest box programs in northern New York, across parts of St. Lawrence and Franklin counties, over the past ten years. Through the combination of his research and other long term management plans, the ideal future plan was developed. The focus of the new plan is to boost efficiency of resources, ease of expansion and sustain a steady or increasing population of kestrels. GIS software was used to analyze each nest boxes’ characteristics in order to develop a model that may predict areas of possible high productivity. Surveys and public outreach are emphasized to create a broader supporting base and possibly acquire future partners for land use, volunteers and advertising. The continued monitoring of the northern New York kestrel population will ensure the presence of this vital species for generations to come.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Environmental Sciences, Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Sauca_Final_Submision.docx
Authors: Tonnie Sauca Jr.

Comparative growth study of Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) and Northern watermilfoil (Myriophyllum sibiricum): a look at apical influence

Mon, 04/16/2012 - 18:13
Abstract: Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum L) (EWM) is a highly invasive aquatic plant that has infested lakes across North America. EWM grows rapidly to form a dense canopy and outcompetes other species for light through shading. Northern watermilfoil (Myriophyllum sibiricum Komarov) (NWM) is a native, non-invasive, milfoil that occupies similar habitats as EWM. Little research has been done comparing fragment growth in these two species. This study compared fragment growth of EWM to NWM to better understand the invasiveness of EWM. Fragments of both species with and without an apical tip were allowed to grow in laboratory conditions for a duration of 6 weeks. Data were collected weekly on lateral bud growth, rootlet growth, and apical tip growth. On average EWM and NWM developed a similar number of lateral buds, but EWM had longer lateral buds. EWM also had fewer rootlets and longer average apical tip growth than NWM. In natural settings the physiology of EWM may allow it to allocate resources to apical tip and lateral growth in order to build up a dense canopy and outcompete native plants for light. This study further validates that the competitiveness of EWM is directly linked to its ability to form a dense canopy.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: MHall.Capstone.4.16.12.docx
Authors: Michael S. Hall

Varyable diets in house mice, Mus musculus, do not influence ability to determine new food sources through olfaction

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 21:35
Abstract: The olfactory system is important in helping mammals to be aware of predators, interact with one another and find food. The olfactory epithelial layer is located throughout the nasal cavity and the olfactory system, and contains many nerve receptors. These nerve receptors are continuously replaced throughout the animal’s life time, and it is evident the nerve receptors are more or less sensitive to different stimuli based on the odors and other chemical cues the olfactory system is regularly exposed to, in the animal’s environment. Gustation, or taste, is also important for animals to be able to learn and identify what food sources are harmful and which are edible. Because the nasal cavity and the opening into the mouth share a small space of the same connecting canal, at the top of the throat and esophagus, they both have the perceived ability to interact and influence each other. In this study two groups of mice were given different diets from each other; one restricted to lab blocks (n=4) and the other provided a more diverse diet (n=5). The ability for the mice to discriminate new possible food sources through olfaction was assessed by comparing their preferences to sniff, spend time at and visit a known food item and a novel food item. Mice groups were then compared to each other to assess how gustatory experiences could alter new food identification through olfaction. Mice in both groups preferred the known food item over the novel item (p=0.019; p=0.005), and there was not a significant difference in responses between the two groups (p=0.126; p=0.336). Data suggest the ability of mice to identify new possible food sources by olfaction could be more dependent on gustatory experiences related to that particular food source, not by how diverse the gustatory experiences of mice had.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
Authors: Chantel Perkins

Management Plan for Pig-nosed Turtles of the Kikori Region, Papua New Guinea

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 12:01
Abstract: Pig-nosed turtles (Carettochelys insculpta) are the last remaining turtle of its family and it is estimated roughly 3,000 individuals remain in the wild. In the Kikori region of Papua New Guinea, the population of this turtle has been on a severe and rapid decline over the past 30 years as a result of population growth of the local villages, causing increased turtle harvest rates. The more blatant aspect causing affect is the harvesting for food by the locals, as they eat both the eggs and the adult turtles. Nests are raided and all the contents are removed and adults are harvested with close to a 90% successful catch rate. Habitat destruction caused by village development and fresh water collection, and collection pressures from the pet trade are also additively responsible for the population decline. In order to establish an effective manner to increase populations to a sustainable level, much more research needs to be conducted on these turtles, as little is known about them. It may also be imperative to their survival to establish other ways local villages can acquire protein sources.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Final Management Plan.docx
Authors: Chantel Perkins

Managing for an Increasing Population of Bobcat (Lynx rufus) in New York State, through Harvest Expansion

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:11
Abstract: Bobcats (Lynx rufus) occur mostly in the United States, but also occur into northern Mexico and southern Canada (Nowell and Jackson, 1996). Bobcats are found throughout most of New York State, except for Long Island. They are protected under CITES causing federal protection and control over the exporting of their spotted pelts. The bobcat population is higher than any historic population in New York State and is estimated to be 5,078 and is increasing and expanding throughout their historic range. The rapid increase in the population as well as the potential to continue to increase has caused management efforts to begin. The goal of bobcat management in New York is to sustain a stable and healthy population of 5,000 bobcats, while minimizing the negative human-bobcat interactions. Increasing populations of bobcat are unsustainable, are unhealthy for the population, and cause increase negative human-bobcat interactions, which in the past has caused state-funded efforts to remove predators, which could be detrimental to the population. Actions to achieve this includes increasing the number of Wildlife Management Units (WMUs 4A, 4F, 5R, 6S, 6R, 7M, 7P, 4O, 7S, 7R, 8S, 8R, 8W, 8Y, 8T, 8X, 8P, 9P, 9Y, 9X, 9W, 9N, 9M, 9T, 9S, 9R, 9K, and 9J) in New York allowed to harvest bobcat, altering food sources, as well as doing nothing due to lack of funds, public cooperation, and time. These additional WMUs will be implemented for the 2012-2013 season and will be monitored after each hunting season for the first five years.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
Authors: William Carpenter

Management Plan for Giant Panda Bear (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) in 3 Chinese Provinces: Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:33
Abstract: Found only in China, one of the world’s fastest growing and most populated regions, the giant panda clings to survival. The panda is endangered for same fundamental reason that is nature is imperiled throughout China, and indeed throughout the world: Explosive population and unsustainable use of natural resources are causing habitat for wildlife to vanish. Compounding these unrelenting pressures are a host other impediments to giant panda conservation, such as habitat degeneration and fragmentation due to human activi-ties, poaching, poor local communities who rely on natural resources for their livelihood, and a lack of equipment and facilities for patrolling. The goal of this management plan is to protect the remaining giant panda bear community while allowing China to continue to grow and prosper economically. Specifically, this plan intents to (1) decreasing the num-bers of poaching within the reserves, (2) protecting the reserves by promoting ecotourism, (3) and reaching out to landowners to lease their land to the government to plant bamboo. A course of action is provided for these objectives that include the anticipation to develop volunteer programs to assist in patrolling reserves, create forms of panda viewing within the reserve, and evaluate surveys in order to determine the percentage of people willing to plant bamboo on their land.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
Authors: Joelle Guisti

Monitoring and Managing the Africanized Honey Bee in Colorado

Fri, 04/27/2012 - 11:31
Abstract: When brought to Brazil in 1956 to create a more resilient strain of honey bee, the African honey bee (Apis mellifera scutellata) started hybridizing with the European honey bee (Apis mellifera mellifera) creating the Africanized honey bee. Since then, Africanized bees have spread north, entering the United States in 1990. Most of the southern states are now home to African bees. Colorado must do everything it can to prohibit and manage against these bees. This hybrid produces less honey than European bees and is dangerously more aggressive. Causing negative impacts on people, wildlife, tourism, agriculture and the economy, a management plan must be enacted to prohibit and regulate the establishment of permanent populations of the Africanized bee. This management plan proposes a regulatory and quarantine program to slow their entrance into Colorado. If and when they become established, this plan includes developing a research facility as the backbone of the project and creation of laws and regulations with apiaries to keep the European strain alive.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Complete plan.docx
Authors: Anthony Lisella

Endangered Woodland Caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou): A Management Proposal to Decrease Mortality Rates Caused by Logging and Predation

Fri, 04/27/2012 - 20:22
Abstract: Woodland Caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) are a subspecies of caribou and are considered endangered with fewer than 5,000 individuals remaining. There are several factors that can be attributed to the population decline of the R. tarandus caribou but the two main ones are habitat destruction/ fragmentation and predation. This management plan focuses on reducing the effects of logging through education and fundraisers, predation is reduced through constant population monitoring and harvesting/ removal. The management plan includes a population model that shows the effects of decreasing mortality rates, a vegetation analysis study to see what areas R. tarandus caribou utilize the most and to see what their diet consists of. A survey was also created to gather information on the human knowledge about R. tarandus caribou and if they are willing to help out in their management. A course of action is outlined in detail on how the population should be managed through the reduction of logging and a reduction in predators.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
Authors: Charles Cain III

Management of the Ethiopian Wolf (Canis simensis) in the Afroalpine habitat of Ethiopia

Mon, 04/30/2012 - 09:52
Abstract: Ethiopian wolves are an endemic species of the Ethiopian highlands. These wolves are highly specialized for existence in the afroalpine habitat of Ethiopia, a harsh montane ecosystem extending above 3,400m. This endangered species is threatened by habitat destruction, competition for food, and hybridization with and disease transmission from domestic free roaming dogs. Rabies epidemics in the early 1990s and again in 2003 have decimated 75% of the global population, which is now estimated at 500 individuals. Ethiopian wolves are on the IUCN red list, and are officially protected in Ethiopia. This plan aims to outline a suitable course of action that can be taken to maintain a viable population of wolves, and to reduce the habitat loss caused by human and livestock encroachment. Increasing the population size will provide more genetic diversity, as metapopulations grow and disperse. A rabies vaccination program will be implemented as a part of this plan, as rabies is the number one cause of mortality of Ethiopian wolves. The population will continue to be monitored and the plan reassessed as necessary after 10 years.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
Authors: Samantha Lambert

Canvasback (Aythya valisneria) Population Growth through Submersed Aquatic Vegetation Restoration in the Chesapeake Bay

Mon, 04/30/2012 - 10:14
Abstract: Perhaps no single North American waterfowl species has experienced the drastic population swings and over exploitation to the degree that the canvasback (Aythya valisneria) has. Their abundance and exceptional table fare made canvasbacks the foremost target of market hunters. The Lacey and Migratory Bird Treaty Acts helped to bring the infamous market hunting era to an end, but canvasbacks are still facing significant challenges relative to habitat quality. Canvasback winter survival and wintering population increases as the percentage of submersed aquatic vegetation present in their diet increases. Submerged aquatic vegetation in the Chesapeake Bay has decreased, mainly due to the decreased clarity of the water. This decrease in clarity is attributed to increased suspended sediments, increased nutrient inputs, and a drastic decrease in the amount of oysters (Crassostrea virginica) filtering the bay water. To protect the canvasback species and increase the wintering population of canvasbacks on the Chesapeake Bay, so that it is closer to historic levels, it is imperative that measures are taken to increase submersed aquatic vegetation and overall functionality within the bay. The goal of this management plan is to have one-quarter of the continental population of canvasbacks winter on the Chesapeake Bay (n≈170,000). To achieve this goal, this management plan sets to increase submersed aquatic vegetation, establish a refuge, and decrease harmful human activities
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Canvasback Paper.docx
Authors: Matthew D. Hamer