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Capstone Projects

A Paleolimnological study of precipitation variability in the Adirondacks over the last thousand years

Mon, 12/02/2013 - 20:40
Abstract: At present, most regional climate models anticipate wetter conditions by the end of this century, but a few models anticipate drier conditions. This study uses foresight to test these models, as well as describe the relationship between the dominant climate system in the region and past precipitation in the Adirondacks. Precipitation was inferred from diatom assemblages observed along a lake sediment core extending into the 1000 years. This study shows that abrupt, extreme wet events were common during the last 1000 years, and a relationship between the dominant climate system (North Atlantic Oscillation) and precipitation was irregular during the cool Little Ice Age but negatively associated during the warm Medieval Climate Anomaly. With temperatures in the Northeast projected to increase by 2-5 degrees C by 2100 AD, our study suggests the region may become more arid rather than wetter, opposite of what models currently suggest.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Biology, Environmental Sciences
Year: 2013
File Attachments: regalado.serwatka.docx
Authors: Sean A. Regalado, W. Martin Serwatka

The Conservation and Management of Wolverine (Gulo gulo) Populations in Northern Idaho to Help Prevent Human Caused Extirpation from the Contiguous United States

Thu, 05/02/2013 - 11:21
Abstract: Wolverines (Gulo gulo) were once a thriving species in the North Western United States, but large scale trapping and poison programs in the early 1900s lead to the species near extinction. Since then, populations in the United States have been struggling to maintain a strong presence in Idaho. Its current listing as threatened on the Endangered Species Act prohibits hunting and trapping, but more management is needed to sustain populations. Human development and recreation activities have caused wolverines to disperse from its nature range. Using habitat preservation techniques on current and historical wolverine habitat, increase availability and connectivity will improve dispersal. Close relationship with state officials will provide protection regarding land use, recreation, hunting, trapping and harassment. Public education will teach residents ways they can help prevent wolverine populations from further decline. Extensive research and population monitoring are needed due to the currently declining populations and the low fecundity of the species.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Biology, Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Danielle E. Ball

Evaluating the Recovery of Lakes from Acid Deposition in the Adirondack Park

Mon, 12/02/2013 - 22:49
Abstract: Acid rain has been an environmental problem since the 1980’s and has been a core issue in the Adirondack Park located in the northern part of New York State. Acid rain is created by acidic gases from anthropogenic uses that mix in the atmosphere with precipitation and forms acid deposition. Acid Rain lowers the pH of water which has detrimental effects on the biota living within lakes. There is a general consensus that the chemistry of lake water is recovering from acid deposition, however, there have not been sufficient studies on the state of recovery from acid rain in the Adirondack Park or much of the United States. This study will investigate if lake recovery is indeed happening in the Adirondack Park. This study analyzed the water chemistry of lakes using data collected from the Adirondack Lake Survey Corporation (ALSC) and New York State Department of Conservation (DEC). The object of this study is to find a trend in the water chemistry and combine it with DEC data to evaluate the present condition of lakes within the park. The results showed that there are not significant correlations of the data besides SO42- concentrations, which have been approving in the park in the last 20 years.
Access: No
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Environmental Sciences
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Timothy Grossman, Ryan Kish

Alternative Management Methods for Acid Deposition in Lakes

Fri, 04/26/2013 - 18:09
Abstract: Acid deposition has been causing the acidification of lakes in the Northeast United States for decades. The result is lake ecosystems with abnormally low pH that stresses the organisms that live there. Management plans in place in the Adirondack Park have been working to remediate acidified lakes for the past few decades. Limestone (CaCO3) has been the generally accepted method for managing these lakes, in an attempt restore the lakes pre-impacted conditions. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of liming in reversing the effects of acidification, and to identify effective alternatives. Five alternatives were tested against limestone: Sodium carbonate (Na2CO3), Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), Sodium acetate (CH3COONa), Magnesium carbonate (MgCO3), and Potassium carbonate (K2CO3). Double End-Point Titration tests were performed on all of the compounds, using both distilled water and lake water, to determine the relative alkalinity of each compound. Alkalinity is the measure of the ability of a solution to neutralize acid, also known as its "buffering capacity." Lake water was used in the titration tests in an attempt to mimic in-situ testing. The results of the titrations showed limestone proving to be the most effective in the lake water tests, with Magnesium carbonate and Potassium carbonate ranked closely behind. While limestone has proven to be an effective management method, its reliability is dependent upon the characteristics of the lake catchment, making it important to continue to look for alternative solutions.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Environmental Sciences
Year: 2013
Authors: Derek Scott

Perception of the Color Blue in North American River Otters, Lontra canadensis

Fri, 12/06/2013 - 11:41
Abstract: Color vision is essential to many animal species, playing major roles in activities such as foraging and mate selection. Most animal phyla have 4 cones that aid in color vision, while mammals typically only have 2. This study aimed to provide evidence of the blue-range color vision in North American river otters, Lontra canadensis, by behavioral testing 4 captive otters. The subjects (2 male and 2 female adults) were tested individually over a period of 42 weeks. Each otter was presented with 3 cards, with choices between 2 white control cards and a blue test card (n = 1213). In later tests, all subjects were presented with 1 white control card, 1 blue test card, and 1 gray card (n = 417). All subjects distinguished the blue test card from the white control cards but only 1 subject differentiated the color blue from a grayscale correspondent (One-proportion z-test, p = 0.011). A bias based on card location was present only in 1 subject in the blue-white phase of testing (One-proportion z-test, p = 0.201) and in 3 subjects in the blue-grey phase of testing. The cause of this bias was unknown. The ability of 1 subject to reliably select the test card (One-proportion z-test, p = 0.011), provided some evidence that L. canadensis perceive the color blue.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Chelsie LaFountain

The Response of Captive Gray Wolves (Canis lupus) to Agonistic Howl Recordings

Thu, 12/05/2013 - 18:58
Abstract: Gray wolves (Canis lupus) are a highly social carnivore that communicates through olfactory and acoustic signals, maintaining their social bonds and hierarchy with body language and touch. Long distance (i.e. howling) and olfactory communication are important in maintaining territory boundaries and mitigating interpack conflict or strife. The study area is a private, not-for-profit wolf conservation and education center in southern New York in the northeast United States. The goal of this study was to determine the overall change in behavior of wolves when faced with a long distance form of communication conveying an aggressive message. I hypothesized that wolves will respond with more activity during and after the howl recordings. An ethogram was adapted from Quandt, but upon personal observation, was altered as additional behaviors were observed. Instantaneous focal sampling was used during data collection at an interval of 15 seconds to sample two gray wolf siblings. The behaviors between wolves were not significantly different from each other (chi square = 0.86, critical value = 14.07, df = 6). This information has many management implications such as determining home range of packs, pack size, and could serve as a possible tool for deterring predation on livestock.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Write-Up.docx
Authors: Erin Brinton

Tasmanian Platypus Management Plan

Fri, 12/06/2013 - 01:12
Abstract: Platypuses are an iconic mammal endemic to Australia (Furlan et al. 2010). They are an integral part of biodiversity of freshwater ecosystems. They are the only living representative of a significant lineage of platypus-like animals with a 60 million year fossil history (Grant and Temple-Smith 2003). Platypuses are regularly seen in Tasmania and promote curiosity and interest. They directly benefit ecotourism. A number of businesses including sanctuaries, wildlife tours, restaurants, cafes, caravan parks and motels benefit from their popularity (Gust and Griffiths 2010). Freshwater resources are essential to sustaining human existence and as a result, anthropogenic activities have severely diminished the quality of freshwater ecosystems worldwide. Physical alteration, habitat loss, water withdrawal, pollution, overexploitation, and the introduction of non-native species all have contributed to the decline in freshwater species (Revenga et al 2005).
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: final_Pritchard.pdf
Authors: Tori Pritchard

Protecting and Monitoring the Population of Florida Manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) in Lee County, Florida

Thu, 05/09/2013 - 10:57
Abstract: The Florida manatee is a subspecies of the species West Indian Manatee. It has been listed as Endangered on the basis of a population that has been in decline since the 1800s in Florida. Although, the exact population of Florida manatees is not currently known, biologists have seen a gradual decrease in contrast to the past. This is due to factors such as: watercraft collisions, cold stress, Red Tide, and other human related mortalities. Manatees are protected by several laws and regulations. These include: the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act, and the Endangered Species Act. The goal of this management plan is to increase the Florida manatee population to a stable population and to maintain the population into the future. The objectives are to: investigate the distribution and status of Florida manatees in Lee County by conducting synoptic surveys twice every year; within five years, increase public awareness and education by 25%; within five years, increase the amount of protected and managed manatee habitat by 15%, and within five years, protect and enhance existing populations by identifying and minimizing causes of manatee injury, mortality, and disturbance by decreasing it by 20%.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Jordan Shypinka

Increasing and Protecting the Population of Canada Lynx (Lynx canadensis) In the State of Maine

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 12:16
Abstract: Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) was listed as a “threatened” species on March 24, 2000 (USFWS 2013). Canada lynx (hereby referred to as lynx) are a species known to trappers for their thick, long pelts. These pelts can be sold in the fur trade for on average about $175. They are highly sought after in areas where trapping is legal, but in Maine it is not legal to trap lynx. This management plan is going to work to achieve an increase in the population size of lynx in the state of Maine and to protect areas in Maine where there are current populations of lynx that are reproducing. The lynx is currently a threatened species, the USFWS on the Endangered Species Act, throughout its range due to it being a widely roaming organism. It is listed as a species of least concern according to the IUCN Red List. The goal of this plan is to achieve and maintain a sustainable population of Canada lynx in the state of Maine. The goal is going to be accomplished by three objectives. The first objective is to protect all areas of habitat in western and northeastern Maine with current reproducing populations of lynx for the next 10 years. The second objective is to manage areas of timber to establish more suitable habitat in northern Maine for the next 10 years. The third objective is to reduce the amount of incidentally harvested lynx in western and northeastern Maine by 25% each year for four years.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Brown - Submission2.docx
Authors: Heath A. Brown

Management of Feral Swine (Sus scrofa) in New York: Eradication and Damage Elimination of an Invasive Species

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 10:55
Abstract: Abstract: Feral swine (Sus scrofa) populations have spread across much the United States with invasive-like qualities. Feral swine are prolific breeders and are opportunistic omnivores. These invasive species modify the terrestrial habitats they invade. Feral swine have drastic impacts on the economy and ecology of the areas they inhabit. Populations are now present in New York and without proper management drastic negative effects to the ecosystems and regional economies will occur. This document outlines management objectives and actions to curb the damage of feral swine. Current population levels are currently low enough to for complete eradication, the only way to eliminate devastating damage from feral swine.
Access: No
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Josh Pierce