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Capstone Projects

The Effects on Soil Caused by Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) in a Northern Hardwood Forest in the Northern Adirondack Mountains

Mon, 12/02/2013 - 10:54
Abstract: Plant invasions are thought to be among the worst causes of biological extinction and biodiversity loss in the modern world. With the United States spending upward of thirty four million dollars a year in attempts to control and repair the damages caused by invasive plants, not only are we feeling the biological effects, but we financially cannot afford to keep combating these invasive species (Barto and Cipollini, 2009). Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) can invade multiple types of sites whether the soil is sandy or if a site has been disturbed. This invasive species will take over the understory and alter soil chemistry (Morris, McClain, Anderson and McConnaughay, 2012). This study aimed to look at how garlic mustard is affecting soils in the northern Adirondack Mountains in New York State. Although currently scattered and not very prevalent, there have already been changes to the soil chemistry. This study was conducted by setting up multiple plots within areas where garlic mustard was present and gathering soil to be used to test for nutrient values. It was found in this study that calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, sodium, aluminum and soil pH values changed due to the presence of garlic mustard.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Biology, Forestry
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Capstone Final.docx
Authors: Kyle Dash

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

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.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Biology
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Feral Hog Management Plan
Authors: William Schmieder Jr.

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).
Access: Yes
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

The effects of plate size on the consumer’s perception of being full.

Mon, 12/02/2013 - 07:59
Abstract: Currently, there has been a drastic change in the amount people eat. With the introduction of fast food restaurants catering to people’s quick lifestyles, much of portion size has been distorted and this is known as portion distortion. Along with increasing portion sizes, there has also been an increase in plate size (Wasink, 2007). However, it is not known how and to what extent the size of the plate affects or influences the consumer’s perception of being full. The purpose of this descriptive study is to determine how and to what extent the size of a plate affects or influences the consumer’s perception of being full. Data will be collected through the use of observation. The menu will consist of a five day cycle menu. The venue that this research will be collected in is at the Ganzi lab in Cantwell on Paul Smith’s College campus. The tasting will be of one menu item off of the cycle menu and served to a small group of Paul Smith’s College students and faculty. The results collected will be collected through scorecards and then be analyzed to determine how and to what extent plate size effects or influences the consumer’s perception of being full. This is significant in the culinary industry because this increase in plate size has the potential influence on an increase in consumer’s portion size.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: FINAL CAPSTONE.docx
Authors: Iris Lioy

Family Restaurants offering Healthier choices

Mon, 12/02/2013 - 08:15
Abstract: The purpose of the study is determined what small restaurants or their equivalent can do to have a healthier menu. To achieve this study I will do surveys and tasting to gather basic info about what foods people will order from family style restaurants if given a healthier choice. The info will be used in making of the tasting meal for about 8-10 people. This study will not be about counting nutritional info. The info will be important to family restaurants or their equivalent because people are looking for more healthy options for them self’s and their families and it can help them with the making of a new menu. The study over all will answer if can take regular family restaurant style menu items and make them healthier versions that people will enjoy.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Capstone edited.doc
Authors: Ellis Snipes

Molecular cooking

Mon, 12/02/2013 - 08:25
Abstract: Molecular cooking is a style of cooking that uses new ingredients and scientific tools and methods in order to produce a different or better quality product. Many famous chefs have been inspired by this new style. The purpose of this study is to determine whether or not foods which are prepared using molecular cooking techniques are acceptable alternatives to foods which are prepared using traditional cooking techniques found in most restaurants. In order to determine this, participants in the study were given two plates of food cooked using molecular cooking techniques. The participants were also given score cards to rate different aspects of the food including taste, texture and flavor. The scorecards were then analyzed and used to determine whether or not this style of cooking was indeed an acceptable alternative.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: capstone portfolio.docx
Authors: Ryan Babcock

Getting Kids to Eat Healthy by the Use of Color

Mon, 12/02/2013 - 08:36
Abstract: Understanding what natural colors of food fourth grade children prefer and by doing this School Food Service Directors can better encourage their students to eat healthier. It’s not completely understood what natural colors children prefer to see in their school lunches. By understanding what natural colors of food that they prefer school Food Service Directors can use this information to encourage students in healthier eating habits in their schools. The purpose of this study is to determine how and to what extent colors and plating designs elements affects the eating habits of children. This quantitative exploratory study will seek to find what natural colors preteen children prefer versus what they currently are taking during school meals. The participants will be Mrs. McCormick’s fourth grade class in the Petrova Elementary School in the Saranac Lake School District. Food Service Directors of schools will be able to use these results to help make their students eat healthier and continue to stay in pace with the Federal School Lunch Program guidelines.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2013
Authors: Tim Pettit Jr