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Capstone Projects

Paul Smith's College Athletic Complex: A Vision

Fri, 04/29/2022 - 09:56
Abstract: This capstone investigated the current status of the Paul Smith's College (PSC) athletic complex. It highlighted the deficiencies: trainer’s room, dance room, pool, and locker rooms. It further looked at a vision for upgrades and expansion. This study included an interview with a professional sports trainer, Heather Wilson, from Colgate University. She indicated areas where PSC sports training areas could be improved. Last, we conducted focus groups based on the vision we have developed for the Paul Smith's College athletic complex.
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Major: Communication
Year: 2022
Authors: James O. Weathers III, Bailey Loatman and Eddie Kwaw

25 Year Bengal Fox (Vulpes bengalensis) Management Plan for Karnataka, India

Tue, 04/26/2022 - 11:18
Abstract: Bengal foxes (Vulpes bengalensis) are a small canid endemic to India and adjacent regions. They are opportunistic omnivores, consuming a wide variety of food-items which may vary in abundance seasonally and/or spatially. Conservation issues of primary concern include habitat loss, habitat degradation, poaching, and outbreaks of enzootic diseases. Space needed to accommodate the growing human population as well as increases in agricultural and industrial output has led to encroachment of humans onto Bengal fox habitat. This management plan aims to increase Bengal fox populations within Karnataka, India to ~10,000 individuals to allow grazing and development practices to continue. Objectives to reach this goal include estimating and mapping habitat suitability in Karnataka, performing a mark-recapture study to gain information on population dynamics, providing public education on Bengal fox conservation to residents and ecotourists, and increasing the survivorship of pup and juvenile age classes. To estimate habitat suitability, vegetation will need to be surveyed throughout Karnataka using a series of randomly generated plots. Measurements of habitat suitability will be compiled in a map utilizing ArcGIS which will help locate areas with potentially high Bengal fox densities. A mark-recapture study will be executed to gain knowledge on survivorship of the Bengal fox population in Karnataka. A Cormack-Jolly-Seber Model will be utilized to interpret survivorship of the Bengal fox population following the mark-recapture study. Data on current Bengal fox population dynamics is lacking from the literature and is necessary for the needs of this management plan as well as future studies on Bengal foxes. Public education of Bengal fox conservation will take place in public schools and various ecotourist destinations to help identify uncertainties and biases in knowledge. The distribution of surveys will evaluate public awareness and perceptions of Bengal fox conservation needs in Karnataka after public education initiatives have been implemented for multiple years. Community support and involvement will be crucial in minimizing poaching events and overgrazing of Karnataka’s grasslands. Survivorship of pup and juvenile age classes will be increased through the restoration of habitat, discontinuation of overgrazing, and declaration of Karnataka as a “Closed Area”. Local communities will qualify for incentives gained from revenues of localized protected areas to discontinue harmful grazing practices and allow habitat restoration to occur on their lands. By declaring Karnataka, a “Closed Area”, hunting of local wildlife species would be banned but development projects and overgrazing practices could continue. Therefore, public support of this management plan must be gained for conservation to be successful. Implementation of this management plan will potentially raise the Bengal fox population of Karnataka, India to ~10,000 individuals for the benefit of their ecosystem and the local ecotourism industry.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2022
Authors: Damon M. Emerson

Forest Health Assessment: Kate Mountain Farm

Fri, 07/08/2022 - 11:17
Abstract: Disturbances that degrade forested ecosystems can have significant impacts on forest health. These impacts should be of great concern for forest landowners. Natural disturbances such as insect and disease agents, and human caused disturbances such as logging, soil compaction, and pollution can have substantial economic and environmental impacts. It is of great importance for landowners to be given the right knowledge and tools to deal with these disturbances in order to avoid any large-scale losses of timber productivity, degraded water yields, depleted nutrient cycling, and/or decreased biodiversity. Forestland can provide many harvestable natural resources and ecosystem services for very long periods of time if they are managed sustainably and responsibly. This of course entails a forest being composed of healthy thriving trees.
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Major: Biology, Environmental Sciences, Forestry
Year: 2021
Authors: Matthew R. Wedge, Erin Reilly

50-Year Management Plan for the Pink Fairy Armadillo (Chlamyphorus truncates) in Argentina

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 15:29
Abstract: The Pink Fairy Armadillo (Chlamyphorus truncates) is a fossorial species endemic to Central Argentina. They can be observed between 0 m to 1,500 m above sea level. This species weighs about .12kg and is about 13cm long. Unlike other armadillos, the carapace of this species is held to its body by a thin membrane instead of spinal fusion with the carapace. Due to lack of data about this species a max lifespan is assumed to be about 4 years in captivity. Conservation issues for this species span from sociocultural to economic. Sociocultural tradition of Argentinian natives have been reported to impact armadillos in the wild. The Wichís and Mestizos are two native groups who actively participate in the hunting of armadillos for sustenance. About 50% of people partaking in the illegal sale of armadillos made less than minimum wage. Due to these potential threats to the Pink Fairy Armadillo the overall goal of this management plan is to obtain stable populations of this species across their range. This will be accomplished through several objectives. Due to the data deficient nature of this species peer reviewed articles will be produced on the Pink Fairy Armadillos ecology. Topics such as current populations, disease prevalence, and cover preferences. These actions will be accomplished through camera trapping individuals in monitoring efforts, PIT (Passive Integrated Transponder) tagging, and radio-transmitters will be implanted in in order to track individuals throughout their life spans and to complete actions such as vaccinations. Increasing adult survivorship will be the second way the overall goal is accomplished. Using current surrogate data, the projected population will be extinct in approximately 40 years without intervention. An increase of 13.7% to adult survivorship will bring the population to a stable level. This will be done by vaccinating against diseases observed to exist in the population after assessment as to build immunity and help increase the current population. The final objective is to increase public awareness. This will be accomplished through a survey initially distributed to the public for initial feedback. Various workshops will be constructed and brought to various villages to increase rural and native peoples about this armadillo and why they are important. At the end of the assigned timeline a closing survey will be sent to villages to assess the success of the outreach efforts. At the close of this management plan, gained knowledge will be used to further our knowledge of this species.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2021
Authors: Kyla Kaczowski

Twenty-Year Management Plan for Gray Tree Frogs (Dryophytes versicolor) in New York State

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 15:58
Abstract: The gray tree frog (Dryophytes versicolor) is an unprotected and understudied tree frog native to the East Coast of North America. New York State does not have a management plan for this species, and it does not have any protected status. Gray tree frogs are key predators and prey in their ecosystem. They are found from Southeastern Canada to Northern Florida and from the East Coast into Texas. Due to the adults arboreal habitat, there is not high-quality population data available in New York. Conservation concerns include human frog habitat conflict, the lethal fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), and clear cutting forests. This management plans goal is to increase the adult population in New York State. The objectives to reach this goal are, over five years, to calculate the population size and range of adult gray tree frogs across all of New York State. Decrease human conflicts with gray tree frogs in residential areas by 75% over five years. Lastly, decrease the rate of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) infection and death in gray tree frogs by 50% over two years in the whole population range. Calculating the adult population size using mark and recapture using hand nets will allow for accurate execution of this management plan, identify locations where densities are high and additional research can occur. Using surveys and population density information, an educational program can be directed to areas where humans will have habitat conflicts with gray tree frogs. With the use of informational flyers and workshops, the public will be able to settle the conflicts in ways that do not include killing the frogs. Studying the effect of Bd on gray tree frogs will help calculate how detrimental Bd is to gray tree frog populations. It will also further other management plans to accurately manage gray tree frogs in areas where the fungus is also present. With the successful implementation of this management plan, information will be gained about an understudied species, and the adult population will be increases.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2021
Authors: Jacob Cleinman

Sixty-Five-Year Maned Sloth (Bradypus torquatus) Management Plan for the Atlantic Coastal Rainforest, Brazil

Fri, 07/08/2022 - 09:43
Abstract: The maned sloth (Bradypus torquatus) is an arboreal mammal endemic to the coastal Atlantic Forest of southeastern Brazil. The species inhabits ombrophilous forest at elevations ranging from sea level to 1,290 m above sea level. Their cryptic behavior has resulted in a lack of data on population sizes and survival rates. Conservation issues of concern include deforestation of the Atlantic Forest, wildlife trafficking, illegal hunting, and urbanization. This management plan aims to increase overall populations of maned sloths in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil to a sustainable level by 2086 to prevent extinction. Objectives to achieve the goal include: (1) increasing adult survival by 45%, (2) increasing suitable maned sloth habitat by 50%, (3) increasing infant survival by 50%, (4) increasing juvenile and subadult survival by 30%, and (5) increasing public knowledge by 90%. To increase adult survival, a study on survival rates and population sizes will be conducted along with translocation experiments, increasing legally protected areas, and increasing the Forest Code Law. The population study will determine if management actions have been successful, if management actions need to be altered, and to collect data on population dynamics. Translocation experiments will be conducted with very high frequency (VHF) backpacks and radio telemetry and determined by habitat suitability indices. Legally protected areas will be increased via a local petition, and specific areas will be established using data from the HSI’s and translocation experiments. The Forest Code Law will be increased to 50% via a bill passed. To increase suitable maned sloth habitat, wildlife bridges and reforestation programs will be created. Wildlife bridges will be built connecting tree canopies in forest fragments through the coordination of various organizations. Reforestation programs will be created through funding from public utility usage revenues. The following actions will increase infant survival: reintroduction of the Fauna Act, increasing environmental law penalties and enforcement, inclusion in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and adding a ban on sloth trade. The Fauna Protection Act will be reintroduced via a bill passed and a public petition, the species will be listed in an appendix of CITES via a petition, and the trade ban will be introduced via a bill passed. Increased enforcement of the Biodiversity Policy will be achieved through increased local awareness of environmental rights, federal funding for state environmental agencies, and training for new enforcement officers. Increased penalties for the Biodiversity Policy will be achieved through increased enforcement of the act and a bill passed. The following actions will increase juvenile and subadult survival: implementing domestic dog spay/neuter and training programs in the Atlantic Forest. Funding and staffing from local animal organizations and state and municipal governments will help establish spay/neuter clinics and dog training programs in states with known maned sloth habitat. To increase public knowledge and involvement in sloth conservation efforts, pamphlets on environmental issues in the Atlantic Forest, tax incentives, and ecotourism will be distributed. Educational programs on illegal hunting and wildlife trafficking will also be implemented. Opinion surveys will be conducted to determine the effectiveness of the pamphlets, both internationally and locally. Free workshops will be conducted weekly for the education programs, offered every three years, and assessed annually with surveys. Significant knowledge on the species is lacking, and the creation and implementation of a successful management plan will increase maned sloth populations, increase public involvement, and provide previously unknown information on the species.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2021
Authors: Brooke Kiefer

40-year Management Plan for Increasing Mountain Nyala (Tragelaphus buxtoni) Populations in Ethiopia, Africa

Fri, 07/08/2022 - 09:49
Abstract: Mountain nyala are an ungulate species that are endemic to the southeastern highlands of Ethiopia. Over 90% of the mountain nyala population is located in the Bale Mountain National Park (BMNP). Mountain nyala require densely vegetated areas for cover and reproduction, but also require grasslands for feeding. Due to these habitat requirements, and the constant anthropomorphic infringement upon their required habitat, mountain nyala are now considered endangered by the IUCN Red List. At current rates of decline, mountain nyala populations could reach nonviable status within 40-years. In order to reverse the population trend, this management plan proposes two goals, 1) increase population size of mountain nyala to sustainable numbers within their current home ranges, and 2) increase the availability of suitable mountain nyala habitat, specifically within the BMNP. To achieve goal one, I propose two objectives, 1) increase adult survival rate of mountain nyala by 15% by 2061, and 2) acquire public opinion on management of mountain nyala and increase public support by 50% in order to achieve priority status by the WWF. Using greater kudu as a surrogate species, population models predict that increase adult survival by 15% will reverse the declining population trend and increase population size to 5000-plus. This will be accomplished by conducting population studies to monitor the success of other objectives and goals. Additionally, prohibiting the hunting of mountain nyala and increasing the penalty for poaching is crucial to increasing adult survival rates. To accomplish objective 2, surveys will be administered, and town halls will be conducted to increase public knowledge and concern for the species. With sufficient public support for management of the species, consideration and assistance from the WWF will be administered to help in the management of mountain nyala. In order to achieve goal 2, land managers need to make special considerations for mountain nyala habitat. With over 250 cattle per sq km, domestic cattle present the greatest competition to mountain nyala. To combat the overgrazing that is currently occurring in BMNP, I propose gathering public opinion to place effective grazing restrictions to increase available food supply for the species. Of those surveyed in BMNP in 2014, 74% were concerned of grazing restrictions being implemented, and quelling that fear will be a major component in the decision on how to restrict grazing. Additionally, habitat fragmentation within mountain nyala’s home range has created genetically distinct populations that in threat of allopatric speciation. To combat this, objective 2 proposes creating Corridor Management Areas (CMA’s) to allow travel routes between major population and increase gene flow. These CMA’s will be protected from any anthropomorphic disturbance including farming, burning, cattle grazing, and infrastructure construction. Similarly, burning and timbering throughout mountain nyala habitat has further fragmented available habitat. There has been nearly an 8% loss in forest cover throughout BMNP since 1987. Reversing this trend by restricting timbering, burning, and protecting steep sloped areas in required to save the species habitat. The creation and implementation of a successful mountain nyala management plan is critical to educating the public on proper land use management and is vital to saving the species from extinction.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2021
Authors: Cody Speicher

Fifty-year Short-crested Coquette (Lophornis brachylophus) Management Plan for Guerrero, Mexico

Fri, 07/08/2022 - 08:57
Abstract: The short-crested coquette (Lophornis brachylophus) is an endemic Neotropical hummingbird found in a 25km stretch (1422 km2) in the Sierra Madre del Sur Mountains of Guerrero, Mexico at moderate elevations of 305m (~1000ft) to 450m (~1500ft). The difficulty in accessing their habitat and tracking their movements has resulted in limited knowledge and data pertaining to the species. Conservation issues of concern include habitat loss due to increased agricultural land and timber harvesting, increased foot traffic from ecotourism, and the potential impacts of climate change. This management plan aims to increase adult breeding populations to a sustainable level for the short-crested coquette in Guerrero Mexico. Objectives to reach this goal include increasing adult survival by 50% within 50 years (10.0% annually), increasing suitable habitat by 30% within 50 years within the Sierra Madre del Sur Mountain Range (5% annually), and increasing public knowledge of short-crested coquette conservation threats by 50% within 5 years (10% annually). To increase the survival of adults, the foraging foliage abundance of milkweed (Inga jinicuil) and snakewood tree (Cercropia obtusifolia) will be increased by planting the species throughout the short-crested coquette habitat. Throughout the 50-year management period, an adult survival rate and population size study will be initiated for the short-crested coquette along with monitoring the abundance of the foraging foliage. This study will be used to determine whether the management action is considered successful as well as to collect further data needed to monitor the short-crested coquette. The data will be collected by setting Ruschi nets throughout their habitat and banding their legs. This study will collect and provide data for the short-crested coquette. To increase suitable habitat for the short-crested coquette, the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range will become an Area of Protection for Flora and Fauna within Mexico’s Natural Protected Areas. This classification will provide the short-crested coquettes habitat the protection of LGEEPA (General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection), for the designated area to be preserved, transformed, and support the species of flora and fauna. After the implementation of Mexico’s Natural Protected Areas further habitat restoration measures will be taken to restore nesting and foraging habitat. To increase the short-crested coquettes suitable habitat timber harvesting companies will be provided financial incentives for wildlife sensitive harvesting. Best management practices for the critical short-crested coquette habitat are two-age cutting method in replacement for clear cutting. A deferment harvest permits the majority of the area to regenerate while retaining a limited canopy of dominant trees. Increased public knowledge of short-crested coquette conservation threats will be implemented by releasing surveys to the public to determine their base knowledge and opinion on the conservation actions needed to protect the short-crested coquette. Further hands-on activities will be provided to get the local community involved with the conservation efforts needed. Local surveys will determine whether ecotourism within the short-crested coquette habitat will be halted throughout their breeding season to increase their reproductive success. The species is not well known, and the implementation of an effective management plan will expand the current knowledge and data on the short-crested coquette while increasing their population size.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2021
Authors: Meaghan Hardeman

The Northern Bog Lemming (Synaptomys borealis) in the Northeastern United States: A 10-Year Management Plan

Fri, 07/08/2022 - 09:00
Abstract: The northern bog lemming (Synaptomys borealis) is a small, vole-like rodent characterized by a short, distinctly bicolored tail and a body length of 118-140 millimeters (mm) (Howell 1927, Reichel and Corn 1997). It is best distinguished by having 8 mammae while its close relative, the southern bog lemming (S. cooperi), has 6 mammae. There is very little population data available about this species, yet they are not listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 (16 U.S.C. §§ 1531-1544). According to the IUCN Red List, they are categorized as “Least Concern”, which is contradictory to the lack of population data (Cassola 2017). Petitions have been submitted to create increased conservation efforts, but they are still under review and the northern bog lemming’s listing has been in consideration since 2014 (Jones and Melton 2014). While their entire geographic distribution is not confirmed, their habitat requirements are known and are as follows: wetlands and wet woodlands within 400 meters (m) and 1,375m above sea level, and a dominant Sphagnum spp. moss presence (Clough and Albright 1987). Within this habitat, they feed on grasses and sedges. Their general range spans from Alaska through Canada to Maine, New Hampshire, New York, the Pacific Northwest, and Montana (Howell 1927, Clough and Albright 1987, Reichel and Corn 1997, Benson 2019). The primary issues presently affecting them are climate change and habitat fragmentation due to their strict habitat requirements, as well as an overall lack of data, lack of dedicated legal protections and potential anthropogenic causes such as litter and road mortality (Oxley et al. 1974, Jones and Melton 2014, Hamed and Laughlin 2015, Rowe et al. 2015, Santoro et al. 2016)This plan’s goals, objectives, and courses of action detail future action to survey potential habitat and collect more recent data about S. borealis, reduce overall mortality by anthropogenic causes, and finally, increase legal actions to protect the species and the habitat in which it resides.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2021
Authors: Kyle L. Patterson

Five-Year Akohekohe (Palmeria dolei) Management Plan for the island of Maui, Hawaii

Fri, 07/08/2022 - 09:39
Abstract: Akohekohe (Palmeria dolei) are a member of the Fringillidae (finch) family and Drepanididae (honeycreeper) subfamily, found on the island of Maui, Hawaii. Their range consists of a 23 km2 sized patch of wet forests at around 1,676-1,981m in elevation on the northeastern slope of the Haleakala volcano. Due to increased encroachment of mosquito (Culex quinquefasciatus), akohekohe are threatened by the possible infection of avian malaria (Plasmodium relictum) and avian pox (Poxvirus avium). Some other threats to akohekohe populations include the spread of rapid Ohia death, a fungus that damages the akohekohe’s primary food source, and feral pigs (Sus scrofa scrofa) destroying understory habitat and young Ohia trees. In recent years, the range at which akohekohe reside has decreased 60% from 58 km2 to 23 km2 and with population sizes decreasing from 3,800 ± 700 to approximately 2,411 individuals. The primary goal of this management plan is to restore akohekohe populations to their previous size and range on the island of Maui, Hawaii. Objectives under this goal are to publish 3 peer reviewed articles on the current geographic distributions of akohekohe, feral pig distributions and suitable southern house mosquito habitat within the historical (30 year) geographic distributions of akohekohe. Initially, there will be a series of point count surveys during the summer months (May-August) where adult males are aggressively defending territories. During this time, there will also be studies being conducted on areas of suitable habitat for mosquito populations, as well as a study on the activities of feral pigs within the historic range of akohekohe. Mosquito populations will be controlled through the management of suitable habitat, and feral pig populations will be controlled through the increase of electric fencing and snare traps. Mosquito control will limit the threat of the spread of mosquito-borne disease, and feral pig control will limit suitable mosquito habitat and increase forest health. The control of both feral pigs and mosquitos will subsequently increase the range of akohekohe into their historic range. Increasing the range of which akohekohe reside will allow juvenile akohekohe to expand their home ranges without the threat of mortality from mosquito-borne disease that exists just outside their current range. The establishment of a secondary population will not only provide akohekohe with a “backup plan” in case they were to go extinct in the wild but will also increase the wild populations through translocation and release of captive birds.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2021
Authors: Brenna Fuller