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Capstone Projects

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.
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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

A Comparison of Macro-Invertebrate Communities in Different Substrates among Impacted and Minimally-Impacted Sites on Lower St. Regis Lake and Benchmark Sites on Black Pond

Wed, 05/03/2017 - 21:34
Abstract: Many shorelines today have been impacted by human activities which has resulted in changes in macro-aquatic invertebrate communities. Ecological restoration can be used in efforts to bring macro-aquatic invertebrates back into shorelines. However, data is needed to better understand how macro-aquatic invertebrates can be used in these efforts as indicator species to determine community structure health and function. This project compared the macro-aquatic invertebrate communities in impacted and minimally impacted sites located on Lower St. Regis Lake and benchmark sites located on Black Pond. The two objectives to this project were to 1) compare the species richness among impact levels and 2) compare the density among impact levels. Each impacted level has three sites and at each site ten samples were taken in a systematic way which resulted in 90 total samples. Samples were taken to the lab to be sorted and for macro-aquatic invertebrates could be identified to the family level. The macro-aquatic invertebrate community was different among each impact level. The overall family diversity was greater at the benchmark sites than the minimally impacted and impacted sites. Dominate substrate type that had a greater presence of different families were sites that had organic matter. The findings of this study create a more knowledge base which can be useful for future ecological restoration efforts on the impacted and minimally impacted areas located on Lower St. Regis Lake and to educate the public on the impacts on macro-aquatic invertebrates and their communities.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Biology
Year: 2017
Authors: Amber St. Andrew

Rooted Education: learning from aquaponics

Sat, 04/30/2016 - 15:02
Abstract: Aquaponics is the integration of soil-less agriculture (hydroponics) within closed-loop aquaculture systems to reduce the toxic accumulation of nutrient waste from aquatic animals. Bacteria naturally establish to purify water by oxidizing the ammonia secreted by fish, which reduces the toxicity of effluent while creating a usable nitrogen source for plants. The conversion of ammonia and nitrite into nitrate by living bacteria communities is called a biological filter, or biofiltration (FAO 2014). Aquaponics would not be possible without biofiltration; the slightest amount of ammonia would be fatally toxic to fish, and plants wouldn't receive the nitrates they need to grow. There are unique opportunities offered by an aquaponics system to learn about ecological and human communities. 1.1. Aquaponics enables users to grow fish and agricultural plants with limited space and resource use (water, soil, and time). This enables an aquaponics user to invest less physical energy and time into expanding sustainable food resources for their household use. 1.2. A small aquaponics system could promote cultural values of self-sufficiency, energy consciousness, and connection to food systems. It could inspire individual efforts to produce food for one’s household, to build healthier and more resilient systems, and a greater appreciation for farming. Therefore, this project aims to actualize a mobile and functional aquaponics system for the educational benefit of the Paul Smith's College community. I will provide the background knowledge needed to maintain an aquaponics system, as well as describe the general concept of aquaponics design.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Environmental Sciences, Natural Resources Sustainability Studies
Year: 2016
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Brian Jason Kohan

Would an underpass/tunnel on Keese Mills Road decrease the percentage of amphibian mortality due to road mortality?

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 18:09
Abstract: Road Mortality has had a huge impact on Amphibian populations worldwide. Several options are available to help maintain and preserve migrating populations across roadways. One method that is looked at during this study is underpass and fencing. In this study, I assessed the need for an underpass and if it could help reduce the amount of amphibian’s mortality by traffic and, if an underpass is necessary, properly predict a location. I also looked at if underpasses alone could reduce the mortality of amphibians. I constructed arrays and pitfall traps to simulate an underpass on Keese Mills Road at Paul Smiths and Santa Clara, Franklin County New York. I predicted that underpass would decrease the amount of amphibian being slayed. I also predicted that certain locations would have more usage then others. The results showed that there was no significant difference between the location of the sites and whether they would be used by the amphibians. The results also showed that there was no correlation between the species that were captured and the species that were killed.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Biology
Year: 2015
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Jorge Velazquez

The Effects of Varying Wavelengths of Light on Diatom Movement

Wed, 05/06/2015 - 16:18
Abstract: Diatoms were studied in order to determine in which wavelength of light they would be most active. It was surmised this knowledge would allow easier testing of future diatom movement hypotheses. This knowledge could, in turn, allow control over diatom movement in order to prevent or circumvent hazardous diatom blooms. Specimens were studied using a Parco scientific microscope in a dark room. They were studied both with and without cover slips to ensure the cover slips did not hinder movement. Sheets of high quality color transparency paper were laid over the microscope light, producing a single, strong color. In the end, the diatoms didn’t move at all, no matter the circumstances. The diatoms could have had no reason for movement or have been restricted by the small amount of water on the microscope slide due to the vast difference between the slide and the diatoms’ natural environment.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Biology
Year: 2015
File Attachments: Diatoms.docx
Authors: Eric Swiecki

Building Families Stronger

Tue, 05/05/2015 - 14:05
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to design a program that can be implemented in local camps to accommodate the needs of individuals in a family group affected by mental illness. The study will explain the importance of educating individuals about mental illness and integrating supportive behaviors. This program is designed to help families cope with the effects mental illness can have on the entire family dynamic. Families are often the strongest support system for dealing with mental illness and educating families is essential for success of the mentally ill. Team building games are used to enhance social behaviors and encourage group bonding, this program uses a recreational therapeutic approach to addressing issues in the lives of those affected by mental illness. To figure out how many people will be most likely be using the therapy program, a survey was created using a series of questions that went with the topic for respondents to answer. In fact the survey established that the majority of people agree on recreational approach to therapy as a means of coping with their illness in real life tasks. Other questions asked was what their favorite activities where, such as paddle sports and hiking. Another question was what disability was so as to get an idea what accommodations would be need and services for patients involved with the program.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science, Natural Resources Environmental Science, Parks, Recreation and Facilities Management
Year: 2015
Authors: Courtney Berg, Douglas Menge, Ashley Beldock

Opportunity Cost of Common Core Development: Analysis of Course Preparation in the Fall Mountain school system and the Saranac Lake school systems

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 13:44
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to identify the cost to a school of adopting the Common Core State Standards through the reallocation of a teacher’s time. This study compares two similarly sized school districts, Fall Mountain Regional and Saranac Lake Central. To obtain the information to do this study a survey was comprised and distributed to the teachers of the two school districts. The data was then used to determine the average cost for a teacher to redo their lesson plans to accommodate the new Common Core, and the opinions they have on the effectiveness of the Common Core State Standards, among other statistical data as a result of the aforementioned survey. The data will then be used to do a comparison of the two school districts to see how the Common Core has affected schools in different states and areas. Based on the results of this study a discussion will be made and recommendations for the future proposed.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Business Management and Entrepreneurial Studies
Year: 2014
Authors: James Chamberlain

Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks An analysis of two competitors

Sat, 12/06/2014 - 12:18
Abstract: Abstract The purpose of this research is to find out exactly what the difference is between Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks. It attempts to show how the companies are run differently, as well as illustrating aspects that are not visible to the public. This research will include how the employees are treated differently along with what company is more popular with college students. Surveys will be sent out to Paul Smith’s College students, faculty and staff. Once the data is collected it will be analyzed to determine what company people choose more often and why. The data that is collected for this project will come from primary and secondary sources.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Business Management and Entrepreneurial Studies
Year: 2014
File Attachments: capstoneproject.docx
Authors: Rebecca Raffan

The Business of Fashion Buying

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 21:50
Abstract: Fashion buyers in the retail industry are responsible for determining the appropriate merchandise for a store or specialized department. A buyer follows the latest trends and selects the suitable products in attempts to bring in the highest revenue for that particular market. To be successful as a fashion buyer, an individual must possess necessary skills in negotiation, financial analysis, presentation and proficiency in Microsoft Word and Excel. Those who seek a career as a fashion buyer must prepare for a fast-paced, dynamic career experience that is consistently fluctuating. The purpose of this study was to analyze the personality traits of current and former fashion buyers in the industry. Through the use of the Jung Typology Personality Test, respondents were surveyed to obtain a four-type formula result in determining the personality traits of those involved. Combined with comprehensive research on the industry and career path that is required of a successful buyer, this data will be used to determine the proper qualities of one who wishes to participate as a fashion buyer in the corporate retail industry.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Business Management and Entrepreneurial Studies
Year: 2014
Authors: Hannah Beaumont

Adirondack Aquaponics

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 12:00
Abstract: This project aims to create an aquaponics system for Paul Smith’s College. This project would help further efforts in developing sustainable environments for both learning and practical use within the student community. This would integrate culinary, business, environmental science/fisheries disciplines to help facilitate a diverse educational experience. An aquaponic system is the use of effluent byproduct from fish to fertilize and grow vegetation in less than ideal environmental settings such as winter months in northern climates. Fish are contained in a large tank and the nutrient rich water from the fish excrement is cycled through planting medium and is absorbed by the plants as energy/food. This sustainable agricultural practice is a closed loop form of food production, involving minimal inputs for a large output. An aquaponics system would provide integrated studies between disciplines and expand the unique experiences that Paul Smith’s College has to offer. The presence of such a system would hopefully provide more reason for prospective students to consider Paul Smith’s as their top choice. In effect, bringing in more students and increasing the economic value of Paul Smith’s College. The general population of students attending Paul Smith’s work towards a more sustainable lifestyle and this system is of high interest to the general student body. Beyond the student body there is also a growing trend of sustainability throughout the United States along with the entire world. Along with general interest there is also an opportunity for cutting operating costs of Paul Smith’s College by creating a commercially sized aquaponics system. This system could provide more than just an educational value, it could provide food to be utilized in food service areas on campus. For more information, see attached grant proposal.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Business Management and Entrepreneurial Studies
Year: 2014
File Attachments: Capstone Final Report.doc
Authors: Jacob Sporn, Matthew Pelkey