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Capstone Projects

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.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Biology, Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Danielle E. Ball

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

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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Literary Rights: Off
Major: Biology
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Karl Van Osch

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.

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

Wellness Spas: A market analysis of the services a wellness spa could offer to middle class community members in a small New England town.

Mon, 04/22/2013 - 21:50
Abstract: Wellness spas, traditionally offered as a high end luxury model, are transitioning into a service available to all classes. There are services, within a certain price bracket, a wellness spa could offer to middle class community members of a small New England town. To be successful though, proprietors will need to better understand what services would be of interest to community members of a town like Keene, New Hampshire. The purpose of this study was to determine what wellness spa services would be of interest to those community members. Community members who qualify were given surveys to determine which services they would be most likely to use. The data was summarized to determine the most successful services according to the participants. This data can help indicate if there is a market in the area, and what the community members would be interested and not interested in.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Business Management and Entrepreneurial Studies, Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2013
Authors: Danielle Taylor

Impact of Wellness Policies on Public School A La Carte Food Sales

Mon, 04/22/2013 - 20:00
Abstract: While nutrition and wellness standards in schools have been a topic of concern for many nutrition experts, schools are sometimes reluctant to modify foods sold to meet healthier standards in fear it will negatively impact sales. The purpose of this quantitative, comparative study was to analyze the impact of varying types of wellness policies in Upstate New York public schools on a la carte food sales. Data was collected in the form of daily sales reports provided by school food service managers from schools with varying types of wellness policies in several Upstate New York public high schools and were compared to see the differences, similarities, and other notable patterns in sales of items sold. This will help schools in the process of producing wellness plans predict which a la carte sales will be most beneficial, as well as understand the implications of the USDA’s recently proposed guideline for school foods. This study will benefit school food services from a sales perspective while maintaining the effort to provide today’s youth with healthy options in schools.
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Literary Rights: Off
Major: Food Service and Beverage Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Capstone.docx
Authors: Amy Rogers

Rosemary Aroma: A study on the effect of rosemary aroma in stimulating alertness, improving concentration and increasing productivity in groups of people working in conference rooms.

Mon, 04/22/2013 - 21:46
Abstract: Rosemary aromatherapy has been found to positively affect the concentration and productivity when used on the individual scale. The purpose of this study was to analyze the effects of rosemary aroma on the groups scale, whereas, people worked together to accomplish brainstorming activities. In this group study, data was collected and quantified using a deductive (theory) approach. The study allowed a group of people to use the rosemary aromatherapy scent to stimulate alertness, improve concentration and increase productivity when working on the brainstorming activities. The group will be exposed to the aromas and give feedback on the effects. Using a general questionnaire each individual has elaborated on their opinions, feelings, emotions and memories of the experience. The data reveals how effective the aromatherapy was on enhancing the group’s ability to accomplish the tasks. The results of this study may further be developed into an offered amenity that conference centers can provide to potential guests.  
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: CAPSTONE.docx
Authors: Brianna Bentley

To Food Truck or Not: A Study of how effective it is to have a food truck as brand extension to create customer loyalty.

Mon, 04/22/2013 - 20:44
Abstract: Brick and mortar restaurant locations are opening food trucks to create a larger customer loyalty. When a customer visits a food truck and enjoys the food they are more likely to not only return to the truck, but also visit the brick and mortar location. The purpose of this quantitative study is to determine the effectiveness of having a food truck as a brand extension of a brick and mortar restaurant, to create customer loyalty. A semi-structured survey was designed to measure and compare customer perceptions of Lakeview Deli in Saranac Lake, NY having a food truck. The data that is collected will show if customers who go to Lakeview Deli are more likely to go to a food truck brand extension. The outcome of this study can be used by the owners of Lakeview Deli to determine if they would like to open a food truck to increase their customer loyalty. It can also be used by restaurant owners seeking to increase their customer loyalty. Current restaurant owners and current food truck owners will be able to see if having a brand extension food truck creates a stronger customer loyalty to the brand.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: CAPSTONE.doc
Authors: Chelsea Brodhead

A study of: The St. Lawrence and Franklin County Residents' perceptions of the economic impact of the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino on their region

Mon, 04/22/2013 - 20:34
Abstract: The results of the 2009 Taylor Study of the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino found that this tribal gaming establishment had positive economic impact on the St. Regis Mohawk Nation and the North Country counties of St. Lawrence and Franklin. This qualitative study will revisit the findings and seek to discover if the perception of the residents is as positive as the numbers assume. The purpose of this study is to determine how and to what extent the public perception compares to the findings of the 2009 Jonathan Taylor Study of the Economic Impact of the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino. This descriptive qualitative study will be conducted through surveys and semi-structured interviews. The residents’ responses to the surveys and interviews will reveal their perceptions and experiences of the economic benefits. The data will be coded using the Grounded Theory Method to find patterns in responses and perceptions. This information could also be valuable to the county governments to determine if they are informing these North Country residents of the contributions from the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino to their county budget.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Newman_FinalCapstone.doc
Authors: Molly Newman