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Capstone Projects

Walden Pond: Ecological and Anthropological History Reflected in the Sedimentary Record

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 23:13
Abstract: This study examined environmental changes reflected in the microfossil record of a sediment core taken in August 2015 from Walden Pond, Massachusetts spanning the last 600 years. In particular changes in the eutrophication status, inorganic sediment deposition due to land use, lake water depth and temperature were examined using phytoplankton indicator species—diatoms and chrysophytes— to reconstruct environmental conditions. The study site was a basin shallower and closer to the source of anthropogenic N and P inputs than the site of previous studies at Walden’s deepest basin, allowing for finer detection of changes in water level and organic content of sediment. A gravity corer was used to collect the sediment core to preserve topmost sediment layers for analysis, as more than a decade has passed since the last published study of this kind at Walden Pond by Köster et. al. (2005). Results show a significant increase in indicators of eutrophic lake conditions since European settlement ca. 1630, and especially since the 20th century. However, relative Asterionella formosa and Synedra nana abundances had not changed significantly in the last decade since Köster et. al.’s 2005 study, and have in fact decreased somewhat, suggesting water treatment efforts by the Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) have had some success. Loss on ignition (LOI) of organic content shows a precipitous decline from the mid 19th century from 37% to 22%, representing intensive land clearance and development until the 1970’s when DEP management began. After that point, LOI rose, perhaps due to increased lake productivity, and has fluctuated around 25%. Relative Discostella stelligera abundance, while used in the WAl-3 piston core as a proxy for water depth, could not be used in the WAL-1 gravity core from this study as eutrophication has significantly impacted their abundance. Chrysophyte scale:diatom ratios corroborate an observed trend of increasing abundance in lakes globally since the 20th century, perhaps in response to rising global temperatures over the same period.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Biology
Year: 2016
File Attachments: Capstone Paper.docx
Authors: Erik Yankowsky

Analysis of Forage Quality in Adirondack Macrophytes: Implications for Waterfowl Nutrition

Fri, 04/29/2016 - 14:48
Abstract: To understand the relative nutritional value of macrophyte food sources for Adirondack waterfowl, the forage quality of four common Adirondack macrophytes were assessed. An analysis of two native pondweeds (Potamogeton) and two invasive watermilfoil (Myriophyllum) was conducted to deduce how invasive and native macrophytes compare in their relative concentrations of nitrogen and mineral content; important indicators of forage quality for waterfowl. Nitrogen content is used as a metric for relative concentration of protein. Macrophyte species were sampled from four Adirondack lakes of the same trophic status to account for effects of lake nutrient characteristics on plant nutrient uptake and synthesis. Total nitrogen was determined with the Kjeldahl procedure using flow injection analysis. Ash (mineral) content was acquired through high-heat burning in a muffle furnace. The invasive watermilfoil species had a higher percentage of nitrogen than the native species. There was no significant difference in the ash content between the species. It is critical to understand the ecological function of these species in relation to wildlife populations. The nutritional value of these aquatic macrophytes may have implications for the fitness and distribution of breeding herbivorous waterfowl in Adirondack lakes. These results may indicate that invasive plants will serve as a viable food source for herbivorous waterfowl as watermilfoil continues to spread across Adirondack aquatic systems.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Biology
Year: 2016
Authors: Bianca Fournier

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

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

The Pixelated Industry

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 13:36
Abstract: Video game enthusiasts come in multiple forms and there are many more people who don't play games. Market trends and cultural preferences change over time, and because of this, game developers are constantly changing to meet the needs of this demographic. The goal of this study is to inform the general public on aspects of what game enthusiasts as a demographic feel is important as well as how to attract those who are not in the primary demographic into this market. Through surveys and focus groups, research will begin to provide insight on the world of gaming and what keeps non-gamers from becoming consumers. Multiple factors affect the growth of this industry and separate factions including traditional computer gaming, console gaming, and other forms of media can help to shape this industry and its future.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Business Management and Entrepreneurial Studies
Year: 2014
File Attachments: CAPSTONE.docx
Authors: Dellyn Antione, Ryan Davis