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Capstone Projects

A Taste of Healthier Baking

Fri, 05/04/2018 - 16:42
Abstract: A Taste of Healthier Baking; We substituted fats and sugars in various recipes with their healthier counterpart.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Baking Arts and Service Management
Year: 2018
Authors: Megan Rivers, Victoria Sweet

Effects of Silvicultural Treatments on Wildlife Communities at the Paul Smith's College Forest Research Demonstration Areas

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 16:15
Abstract: Logging has drastically altered North American forest ecosystems for centuries. While extensive studies have been done to determine the impacts of different silvicultural practices on plant communities, minimal research has evaluated the impacts on wildlife communities, particularly in the Adirondack Mountains. Silvicultural practices may significantly impact wildlife communities due to the disturbances it causes, as well as the way it alters the habitat. We monitored winter wildlife communities in the Forest Ecosystem Research Demonstration Area owned by Paul Smith’s College in the Northern Adirondack Park. By analyzing the data collected by trail cameras, tracks and measuring percent browse, we compared the abundance and diversity of wildlife in three silvicultural treatments (i.e., clearcut, group selection, control). We also collected data regarding the physical aspects of the silvicultural treatment plot (i.e. canopy cover and snow depth) to indicate the kind of available habitat. We found that despite there being the highest average relative activity in group selection, there is no significant relationship between average relative activity and harvest treatment type. Using the Shannon-Weiner Diversity Index, we found that the highest diversity was in control/reference. Due to our limited treatment sample size, we did not have conclusive findings in most areas of our study. However, the highest total tracks and relative activity were found in the clearcuts. We suggest that more research be done on this study in order to eventually make forest management plans that properly account for both plant and wildlife species.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Biology, Environmental Sciences, Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2018
Authors: Jacob Adams, Caitlin De Bellis, Tyler Fisk, Hyla Howe, Mark McHugh, Daniel Sutch

Assessing the Use of Backpack Electrofishing to Index Age-0 Fish Abundance in Woody Structure Adjacent to the Lakeshore

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 10:50
Abstract: The preservation and monitoring of age-0 fishes and their habitat is imperative to the overall health of a lake and its fishery. The effectiveness of backpack electrofishing at capturing age-0 fishes along shorelines with coarse woody structure was assessed by attempting to correlate electrofishing catch rates with known population sizes. A 60x2m controlled study area along the shoreline of Lower St. Regis lake was selected and blocked off through use of a net encompassing the perimeter. Known population sizes were stocked into the net and a three-pass electrofishing depletion was conducted within the study area. Results indicated that there was no significant correlation between the known population size and the population estimate generated through electrofishing (p = 0.172). The lack of correlation may have been due to failure of the block net encompassing the study area.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
File Attachments: Full Report
Authors: Justin Rozema

Management plan for wild ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) populations in Wyoming County, New York

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 18:51
Abstract: Ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) are an upland game species found throughout much of the United States, including western New York. Pheasant population numbers throughout the state have decreased since their peak in the 1960s and 1970s, and continue to decline. Their diet is focused on small invertebrates as well as seeds, grains, roots, and berries. Their habitat consists primarily of small overgrown farm fields with abundant edge habitat and hedgerows for escape, thermal, and nesting cover. Much is known about the biology of this species but population numbers continue to decrease throughout New York despite current management actions. The decline of this species has been due to the loss of cover from monocultures and increased predation by red fox (Vulpes vulpes), coyote (Canis latrans), skunk (Mephitidae), raccoon (Procyon lotor), and avian predators such as the red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). Ring-necked pheasants are a primary game species in areas of New York that help contribute monetary funds to assist with the states conservation needs. Currently, the majority of hunters in the state rely on the introduction of pen-raised pheasants for a successful hunt. The goal of this management plan is to maintain a self-sustained wild ring-necked pheasant population for sporting, aesthetic, biologic, and scientific value in the town of Middlebury, Wyoming County, NY. This goal requires multiple objectives and actions to ensure success of the species in the Middlebury study area. Management plan objectives include: 1) increase available pheasant habitat on private lands by 10% in ten years, 2) increase the wild pheasant populations in the town of Middlebury by 15% in 10 years (2018-2028), and 3) control pheasant predator populations (coyote, red fox, red-tailed hawks, raccoons and skunks) in the town of Middlebury by decreasing them by 15% in the next ten years (2018-2028). Pheasant populations are important to ecosystem health by providing seed dispersal for many plant species as well as being an important prey species. Being that pheasants are a game species, they provide a source of monetary value to conservation funds that can be used for the conservation of other species. More habitat and predation studies need to be conducted in the town of Middlebury as well as the rest of the county to better inform managers on the needs of the species. If the conservation needs of the ring-necked pheasant are addressed correctly, a self-sustained wild population will be possible.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
Authors: Dakotta Loft

Population Management for Invasive Cane Toads (Rhinella marina) in Florida

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 20:59
Abstract: Cane toads (Rhinella marina) are a relatively large species of anuran that are historically native to South America through Central America and as far north as extreme Southwestern Texas. This range has been artificially expanded by humans to numerous areas of the globe, usually as a form of biological pest control, the most infamous of which is the release of a population of cane toads in Australia in the 1930’s that failed and has wreaked havoc on the native ecosystems and residents of the country ever since with no evidence of stopping. Cane toads were also inadvertently released into Florida in the 1950’s when a population escaped from the Miami airport, and was supplemented by subsequent releases from pet owners. The main concern with cane toads is their particularly potent toxin that they release when threatened which has led to many cases of pet death and emergency vet visits for curious dogs in Florida and the decline of some entire species of predator in Australia. However the detrimental effects can also come in other forms as cane toads can be hosts for “the parasite spill back” phenomenon, in which an invading species such as cane toads can be the perfect breeding ground for a parasite and then through expanding range and increasing population numbers disseminate it to other related species. As of now cane toads are mostly a problem for pet owners in Florida and do not seem to be much threat to the natural ecosystems as they are limited in movement by Florida’s tall grass ecosystems. This threat should not be ignored however, as cane toads are highly adaptable and in Australia the invading population has adapted to habitats in which they are not usually encountered. The goal of this management plan is to use the lessons of Australia and what little research has been done in the United States to reduce the population of, and prevent or limit the spread of cane toads further into urban areas and prevent potential degradation of natural habitat by 2028. This includes the education and training of the public to help get the highest numbers of individuals captured, along with education for pet owners on what to do should your pet become poisoned and the best ways to prevent this. Should this plan be successful it will help to prevent a potentially disastrous situation resembling the one that has occurred in Australia while the cane toad is still very limited in its movements and vulnerable to large scale elimination efforts.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
Authors: Christopher Rappleyea

Wildlife Management Plan for Amur Leopards (Panthera pardus orientalis) in the Primorski Krai Region of Northeast Russia

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 21:21
Abstract: The Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) is an endangered subspecies of leopard that inhabits the far eastern regions of Asia. It is also locally known as the far-eastern leopard, Manchurian leopard, or Korean leopard. These large carnivores are solitary animals that prefer habitat of mixed coniferous and deciduous woods with rocky outcrops, cliffs, and fallen timber. They are elusive mammals that are especially adapted to living in the snowy winters in Russia and populations are declining at an alarming rate. Habitat loss is the leading cause of population decline in the species, but other factors include disease, poaching, retaliatory killings, a decrease in prey bases, leopard-human conflict, and other unnatural causes. Understanding these issues and background of Amur leopards is difficult because there is a lack of data regarding the species’ reproduction, immigration and emigration, population, and habitat use. This management plan aims to increase the population of Amur leopards in Primorski Krai to numbers that are economically, ecologically, and culturally appreciated. Several techniques like fully understanding the species with camera traps, habitat conservation, education and incentive programs, stabilizing prey species, and reducing human-leopard conflicts may be used to help accomplish this goal. Many of the actions and objectives involve the patience and support of researchers and conservationists, as the collection of data regarding the Amur leopard is extremely time consuming. The recovery and success of this leopard depends on the cooperation of public and private organizations as well as stakeholder support. Through the implementation of this management plan, the recovery and long term success of the Amur leopard will be ensured.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
File Attachments: AmurLeopard_FinalDraft.docx
Authors: Hannah Poljacik

Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) Management Plan for Southern Spain

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 22:58
Abstract: Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) are a large cat predator species that are genetically different from their sister taxa, Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx). Their distribution includes Portugal and Spain, but most of the populations are established in the Iberian Peninsula of southwest Spain. This is a territorial species that only interact with one another for a short time during the breeding season. Only two breeding populations are remaining in the Iberian Peninsula, Sierra Morena and Doñana, which operate on a source-sink dynamic to the smaller metapopulations. Iberian lynx have a preference for Mediterranean scrubland and a diet that comprises mostly European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and some small mammals. The species is currently listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is categorized as greatest regional and global concern. Habitat destruction to promote agriculture and illegal take by humans are major contributors to the decline of species population densities. Disease outbreak in European rabbit populations causing a decline in prey densities and an outbreak of feline leukemia in the breeding populations has contributed to their inability to persist as well. The goal of this management plan is to increase Iberian lynx populations and create a positive relationship between the species and citizens of Spain. These goals can be achieved through a series of objectives and actions which include: habitat restoration, captive breeding programs, stricter enforcement of laws, livestock compensation programs, and increase public awareness. With the cooperation from public, political, and conservation managers the establishment of a self-sustaining Iberian lynx population in Southern Spain may be possible.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
Authors: Mikayla Krahl

Management Plan for Pygmy Three-toed Sloths (Bradypus pygmaeus) on Isla Escudo de Veraguas, Panama, 2018-2058

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 01:50
Abstract: Pygmy three-toed sloths (Bradypus pygmaeus, hereafter PTTS) are an arboreal folivore that live on Isla Escudo de Veraguas, a 4.3km2 island off the coast of Panama. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List lists PTTS as critically endangered due to low populations and small extent. Population estimates vary between 50 and 5000. PTTS have only been recognized as a unique species since 2001. PTTS spend most of their time in red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle) on the edge of the island. PTTS will move in to the surrounding interior forest, however. PTTS feed mostly on red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) leaves. This makes mangle a critical habitat to the species. Mangle refers to the intertidal ecosystem centered around mangrove trees. Each female PTTS will have one offspring per year. Populations have been declining due to habitat degradation from human visitation to the island. Legal protection of the island and PTTS has varied over time. The main goal of this management plan is to increase the population of PTTS to carrying capacity. This will be achieved by meeting several objectives. The first objective is to double the extent of mangrove habitat. Other objectives include improving sloth populations, educating the public about sloth conservation and improving legal protection of sloths. Isla Escudo de Veraguas is in danger of losing a unique member of its ecosystem.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
File Attachments: Davis_PTTSplan.docx
Authors: Quinn Davis

Managing the Declining Population of Northern long-eared bats in New York State

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 08:02
Abstract: White-nose syndrome (Geomyces destructans) is a fungal disease that has caused over 5.5 million bat deaths in eastern North America. The fungus affects any open skin including the bat’s patagium and causes lesions. The fungus consists of microscopic spores which can attach to anything it comes into contact with to spread the disease. The fungus is spread from bat to bat and cave systems as well as facilitated by human tourism. Northern long-eared bats (Myotis septentrionalis) are currently threatened in New York State. The northern long-eared bat is an insectivore and must hibernate when its food source is unavailable. During hibernation the bat’s immune system is suppressed, making it more vulnerable to the effects of white-nose syndrome. The bat will deplete its fat reserve to fight off the disease, which will lead to death if the bat cannot find a food source. White-nose syndrome has decreased the northern long-eared bat population by 90% in New York State. There is no cure for white-nose syndrome, and the northern long-eared bat population continues to decrease in New York State. The northern long-eared bat population is relatively unknown, but estimated to be 20,000 individuals in New York State. Population projections predict that the bat may become extirpated from New York State in the next 5 years. Increasing the survivability of the juvenile bat population to 70% and the adult bat population to 80% would prevent the extirpation of the species. The goal of this management plan is to increase the population of northern long-eared bats in New York to prevent the extirpation of the species from the state and create a sustainable population. This should be done by preventing further human facilitation of the disease, increasing educational resources for the public and gathering more information about the fungus and the northern long-eared bat population in New York.
Access: No
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Bailey Muntz

Management Plan for Canvasback (Aythya valisineria) Breeding Populations in Saskatchewan

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 08:39
Abstract: Canvasbacks (Aythya valisineria) are a migratory waterfowl species that commonly breed in pothole wetlands located in and around Saskatchewan. Canvasbacks are hunted in both the United States and Canada. This species population is declining due to habitat destruction and loss of wetlands for agricultural purposes. In the past humans, have also been responsible for this species ingesting heavy metals, causing the species population to decline drastically from hunting and leading to a change in the diet of this species from a plant based to more of a clam based diet which can be detrimental during times of food deprivation. The goal of this plan is to increase the breeding population of canvasbacks in Saskatchewan. The objectives of this goal are to increase the overall population to over 2 million over the course of 10 years (2018-2028), create and restore 50% of wetlands in the breeding range of canvasbacks over 10 years, enhance the education of farmers and the public in the surrounding areas about conservation issues regarding canvasbacks and increasing knowledge by 50% in 3 years (2018-2021), and reduce parasitic nest intrusions to below the average 4.7 eggs per nest over 10 years. Without proper management, canvasbacks could continue to have a loss in habitat and decreases in population. If populations were to plummet, a sought after game species could no longer be appreciated by both the hunting and birding communities. Populations do not have to decrease and with proper management populations could increase and be sustainable.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
File Attachments: compiledplan.docx
Authors: Hunter Weber