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Capstone Projects

Tardigrade Abundance in Green Shield Lichens on Different Tree Species

Wed, 04/24/2013 - 18:43
Abstract: Many studies have been done on tardigrades, a microscopic, aquatic organism that feeds on plant cell fluid, bacteria, algae, protozoa, and other small invertebrates. Most of these studies have addressed their ability to survive extreme environments and not their preferred living habitats. Virtually no studies have been done investigating the ecology of tardigrades. This study focuses on which species of tardigrade live on a species of lichen (Common Greenshield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata) found on three species of trees; Red Maple (Acer rubrum), Black Cherry (Prunus serotina), and White Pine (Pinus strobus). Five trees of each species were chosen and five samples of the Common Greenshield Lichen were taken from all 25 trees during each of the fall and winter seasons. From every lichen sample processed, five slides were looked at, each containing two drops of the water that the lichen was suspended in for 2 hours. The samples were looked at underneath a compound microscope and a dichotomous key was used to identify tardigrades that were found. Due to the fact that liquid water is less available in winter, samples were taken during the fall and winter to look at the differences in species diversity and abundance. The greatest abundance of tardigrades was found on Red Maple, during both fall and winter. Black Cherry had the lowest abundance of tardigrades during both fall and winter. White Pine had an abundance less than that of Red Maple but greater than that of the Black Cherry. There were more tardigrades found on the lichen in fall than in winter. This implies that they find Red Maple a more suitable habitat than the Black Cherry and White Pine, may be related to acidity of the Black Cherry and White Pine being greater than that of Red Maple. Throughfall and stemflow on the trees may also contribute to habitat preference of the tardigrades.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Biology
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Capstone Report.docx
Authors: Heather Cooner

New York State Feral Hog (Sus scrofa) Management Plan: Species Eradication and Public Education

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 11:22
Abstract: Feral hogs, also referred to as feral swine, Eurasian or Russian wild boar, and wild pigs, are the same species Sus scofa. They are an aggressive invasive species introduced to the United States in the 1500s and have spread over most of the country in the last few decades (Gipson et al. 1998). Due to their unique life history feral hogs are a persevering ungulate species capable of causing extensive economical and ecological damage while causing a threat to human health and safety. They are considered one of the world’s worst invasive species (Lowe et al. 2000). Extinction of native species and loss of biodiversity due to this widely invasive species has been documented worldwide (Wolf and Conover 2003). This management plan describes the life history of feral hogs, the need for management in New York State, several action plans to address the need for management, and assessment protocol for each action plan. Also included in this plan is a grant request to fund the educational objectives in order to achieve more awareness and cooperation with the public, promoting higher probability of management success.
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Literary Rights: Off
Major: Biology
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Feral Hog Management Plan
Authors: William Schmieder Jr.

Compaction of Hiking Trails Located in the Northeastern Area of the Adirondack State Park, New York

Mon, 04/29/2013 - 12:19
Abstract: With continued increases in outdoor recreation in the United States, the physical impact of that use needs to be monitored for its effects. The purpose of this study was to explore whether a relationship exists between traffic numbers and soil strength of trails in the High Peaks Region of New York’s Adirondack state park. Soil strength was used as a measure of compaction because of its ability to indicate certain aspects of soil physical properties like bulk density, and hydrological condition (Mirreh & Ketcheson,1972), which are also soil physical properties that are effected by compaction (Hanna & Al-Kaisi,2009). These physical properties are important factors which influence a soils ability to carry out its biotic and abiotic processes (Kozlowski,1999). Initially the relationship between average soil strength of trails and traffic was insignificant. Upon further analyzing the data we found a significant relationship between on-trail and off-trail soil strength and used this relationship to create on-trail residual soil strengths. This was done to remove the influence that off-trail soil strength was having on the traffic vs. soil strength relationship. With the on/off-trail relationship influence removed, the relationship between on-trail residual soil strength and traffic was significantly improved. Literature discussed showed how the soil strengths collected could be used to infer possible effects on the sites tested. Relations between soil strength and bulk density, root elongation, root penetration, and trail recovery were all reviewed to provide insight on the quality of the soil at sample sites.
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Major: Biology
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Karl Van Osch

No Known Antidote: Quantification of a deadly toxin, tetrodotoxin, in red efts (Notopthalamus viridescens; Rafinesgue, 1820)

Mon, 04/29/2013 - 17:42
Abstract: Tetrodotoxin (TTX) in found in taxa worldwide including the eft life stage of the eastern newt (Notopthalamus virisdescens). Previous studies have shown that there is variability of TTX concentrations within efts and newts, and it is not known if the presence of TTX in these efts is common among populations. Our objective was to determine the distribution of TTX within the body N. viridescens efts. We hypothesized that the skin would have the highest concentrations of TTX as it is the area of the body that will likely come into contact with a predator. If certain regions of the skin come into contact with a predator more often than others, there may be significant differences in the dorsal, abdominal and pectoral regions of skin. Further, we hypothesized that the ova would have the second highest concentration of TTX as they are vital to reproduction yet vulnerable to predation. Through HPLC analysis we determined the concentrations of TTX within different tissues of N. viridescens efts including the: dorsal, pectoral, and abdominal skin; ovaries; testes; liver; pancreas; and alimentary canal. The concentrations of TTX between the different tissue types are not significantly different, nor were individuals significantly different in concentration of TTX from one another. Toxicity levels were high in comparison to other N. viridescens efts and more similar to the toxicity of highly toxic Taricha newts. The high toxicity of N. viridescens could be contributed to strong predation pressure by the slightly resistant garter snake (Thamnopsis sirtalis) and eastern hognose snake (Heterodon platirhinos).
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Literary Rights: Off
Major: Biology
Year: 2013
Authors: Kimberly M. Forrest

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

Effectiveness of Diabetes Prevention Programs

Mon, 04/22/2013 - 09:32
Abstract: This capstone researches educational methods used in programs (seminars or demonstrations) that target Type 2 Diabetics In order to determine the effectiveness meaning, do attendees find education programs to be helpful and effective, and are attendees following the program after completion of the seminar and/or Diabetic Prevention Programs. This research will assist in determining if educational programs like those studied for this capstone are effective in achieving the goals and objectives discussed in the literature review. Demonstrations already exist that educate individuals living with Type 2 Diabetes, some programs are only a few hours long while others last a year or more. The purpose of this capstone is to determine if educational methods used in Diabetic Prevention Programs are perceived as effective by attendees of the programs. Primary research will come via survey responses from individuals that have already attended a Diabetes Prevention Program.
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Literary Rights: Off
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2013
Authors: Rebecca Haley

Organic vs. Inorganic- Perceptions A Study of the Perceived Flavor Differences between Organically and Inorganically Produced Foods Based on the Label “Organic”

Mon, 04/22/2013 - 11:43
Abstract: This research project is a study based on ideas of Jenny Wan-chen Lee and Mitsuru Shimizu’s study (You Taste What You See: Do Organic Labels Bias Taste Perceptions?) This study was specifically focused on culinary students to see if they would be more or less influenced by the label “organic.” It is also a psychological food study on the label organic and the way that such claims affect the consumer’s view on the quality of the product, specifically culinary students. This is done through a blind taste testing study where 24 culinary students and 24 non-culinary students were asked to try same product, but were told that one of the two unlabeled products was “organic” and the other “inorganic.” This study also goes into the qualifications a product must meet in order to be considered USDA certified organic. However, there is a pre-conceived notion that organic food equals a higher quality flavor and the purpose of this study is to see if that pre-conceived notion will affect the way these students can identify differences between two products when they are the same product. The hypothesis is that the culinary students will be less influenced by the label and judge the flavors more critically than those who are untrained in the culinary field.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Thomas Stile

Sustainable Foie Gras: A study of sustainable and ethical methods in raising geese and ducks for foie gras

Mon, 04/22/2013 - 17:14
Abstract: Foie gras has been a culinary delicacy worldwide for thousands of years and is currently in danger due to controversy surrounding the methods which are used to produce it. Conventional waterfowl care methods are gradually being deemed inhumane and unethical at farms worldwide and as a result bans and laws against foie gras production are being formed. Foie gras is the fatty enlarged liver of a duck or goose, conventionally created by means of “gavage” or force feeding the birds by placing a funnel into the bird’s mouth two to four times per day and pouring corn directly into the throat. Alternatively, one unique farm in Spain plants a garden full of edible goods for the birds and when the cold season arrives the birds naturally choose to force feed themselves. The end result is a foie gras that has won blind taste tests in France against major conventional producers. This method is not known to be used anywhere else in the world, but is being experimented with on a farm in Pocantico Hills, NY (South-Eastern New York) at the Stone Barns Center. If successfully executed, this method could be implemented on any farm as an alternative to conventional methods.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Capstone.doc
Authors: Dana Gagne

Hernandez Taqueria and Grocery: A feasibility study on the profitability and demand of a new business in Eonosburg Falls, Vermont.

Mon, 04/22/2013 - 21:01
Abstract: In recent years, there has been a rapid increase of consumption of Mexican food; in addition it is also becoming more popular for home preparation. Preserving regional authenticity, as well as seeking to preserve Mexican cultural integrity, are increasingly important trends in the restaurant and retail supermarket industries. Furthermore, there are a large and growing group of people in the Franklin area of Vermont willing to purchase authentic, traditional and unique products as well as food of Mexico. Hernandez Taqueria and Grocery will be a casual food and retail store for those seeking Mexican food. It will offer a selection of authentic Mexican groceries, as well as a place to sit down and enjoy a hot traditional meal, making it an experience you would otherwise find only in Mexico itself. This feasibility study will serve as a template for others seeking to open a similar business, as well as show whether or not it is feasible to open Hernandez Taqueria and Grocery in Enosburg Falls, Vermont. Through a survey the target market will be identified and a projected income statement will be prepared to figure out if expenses will be covered and if profits will be generated.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Hernandez_FinalCapstone.doc
Authors: Cynthia Hernandez

Customer Loyalty at the ‘American Diner’: A study of the ‘American diner’ experience and factors that influence customer retention.

Mon, 04/22/2013 - 21:18
Abstract: When families are satisfied with their ‘American diner’ experience, it’s more likely they will become loyal guests. The typical ‘American diner’ seeks to determine what influences families to become loyal guests. The purpose of this study is to see what factors are influential to persuading the target market, middle-income families, into loyal guests when presented with the ‘American diner’ experience. This will be a loyalty and market analysis that seeks to determine the correlation between middle-income families and the typical ‘American diner’ experience. Data will be collected through the method of a survey. Surveys will be disbursed electronically to families that have ever experienced the typical ‘American diner’ experience. The data will be collected, organized, and analyzed to determine what factors influence customer retention at the typical ‘American diner,’ and what characteristics define the typical ‘American diner’ experience. This study will provide a firm understanding of what about the ‘American diner’ experience influences repeat guests and some advice for those who would like to eventually own or operate their own diner.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: O'Brien_FinalCapstone
Authors: Dana O'Brien