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Capstone Projects

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

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

Global Cuisine; Italy

Roots of Paul Smith’s - Interpreting Our Past to Inspire Our Future : A conceptual design for an interpretive trail guide exhibit on Paul Smith’s College campus

Tue, 05/10/2016 - 13:17
Abstract: It is a pivotal time for Paul Smith’s College (PSC) where many of those directly involved with its inception are no long with us. PSC history was shaped by the Adirondack wilderness and together they influence how the college is run today. This project aimed to create the conceptual design for an interpretive trail exhibit on PSC campus. I worked with a professional exhibit designer to develop artistically inspired signage using archival photos to bring to life the heritage and natural history of the Paul Smith’s. Extensive research, input from stakeholders, and professional design guidance were utilized to create the content for six interpretive signs, a conceptual design, two formative evaluations, an estimated budget, and two campus sustainability fund proposals. These signs are meant to engage and inspire the current and future members of the Paul Smith’s College community, to build a deeper appreciation for the heritage that makes us unique.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Integrative Studies
Year: 2016
Authors: Leanne Ketner

Vermont VS Canadian, A study of the differences between Vermont and Canadian syrup

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 20:07
Abstract: The research question for this capstone is one that I have long pondered. Can someone taste the difference between Vermont and Canadian syrup? The inspiration to use this as my capstone question came on the first day of class when chef Pino gave us an example of a capstone question, it was “Can you tell the difference between grade A light maple syrup and grade B?” upon hearing this I decided to use this capstone as a chance to test my long standing theories. As the question implies the menu uses entirely maple syrup based dishes with an even balance between the two types. There are two chicken based dishes that were used for the tasting. By using two identical dishes I hoped to better allow the tasters to make the call as to whether or not the two syrups are noticeably different. The menu also includes pork, beef and a pasta dish that all feature Maple syrup or sugar as a major part of the recipe. The questions to the patrons are designed to tell me if people could taste any difference between the two dishes and if there was any reasons other than the maple flavor that could have accounted for this. Also, if they could taste a difference between the two plates, could they distinguish which one is from where?
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2014
Authors: Ryan Gingras

Grass Fed vs. Grain Fed Beef

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 08:29
Abstract: Popular in the media today are chefs that boast only the best ingredients, but can the consumer even tell? The question being tested is this, can the average American taste the difference between grass fed beef and commercial beef, with the grass fed being more expensive? This concept is beneficial to explore for two main reasons. Number one, if there is a noticeable difference; culinary professionals will want to use the best ingredients they can find because people can taste the quality. Number two, if the guest can’t tell the difference between two cuts of meat that vary significantly in price, why would chefs waste money on it? To test this theory I will be providing a sample of plates with same cut of beef however one raised on grass and the other on corn and grain. There will be a simple and short survey asking the guest to vote on their favorite dish and why they liked it. With this information, gathered from random people with varying age and gender, it will provide evidence for or against the use of grass fed beef in our restaurants today.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2014
Authors: Brandon Horner

A Maple Comparison By Tyler Sheridan

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 13:56
Abstract: Being in the northeast especially during this time of year allows you to witness some of the rarest and yet oldest tradition to the area, the time of year where the tree are struck and harvested for the sugary liquid as they begin to wake up for the spring and summer seasons. Sugaring season is in full swing running from the first thaw to the sprouting of tree buds, smoke stacks bellow from pockets of forest as farmers scramble to collect every drop while it still runs. With a tradition that dates back to the Northeast back to the time of Eastern settlers and Native America’s it’s only been of late that the production of syrup has come short to the consumer demand. Hence the introduction of artificial maple syrup, brands like: Aunt Jemima, Kellogg’s, and Log Cabin the market has been saturated with corn syrup imitation at a lower price point. This competition in the market has led to people come up with a preference to one over the other with equal group on both sides. However they all agree that one taste different than the other, does this make artificial maple syrup an imitator or a substitute. It is said that Maple Syrup is the only flavor that cannot be recreated in an artificial manner, which would give substance to the statements of the syrup tasting differently. I am curious to know if there truth behind the whole debate. To solve the question I will put three plates of breakfast themed dishes. Each course will feature two identical plates per course, one using real syrup, the other featuring artificial syrup, I will ask a panel of culinary and maple based experters to find out which plate they think has a better maple flavor and appropriate texture. All of this done without telling them which plate contains the real and which has the imitation. If the panel states that each plate has the same level of maple flavor than it would debunk the speculations of different tasting syrups. However If the panel states that the two plates taste differently than I could conclude the imitation has a different taste than the real.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2014
Authors: Tyler Sheridan

Healthy Food Truck Menu, in a Festival Setting

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 15:57
Abstract: How could more nutrient dense food be served to a large number of people in a food truck, while maintaining a low cost to the customer and seller alike in an outdoor event setting? When in a music festival setting for example, there are a number of people that go without food, or eat very minimal meals that contain almost no nutritional value over the course of two to three days. Small snacks or one or two meals in two to three days can really take a toll on the body, especially in a party type of event like a music festival. One of the reasons for this is healthier food comes with a cost, the proposed menu is low cost, nutrient dense, flavor packed food that can be carried around easy by festival/ outdoor event goers. The research method used would be a survey to the panel about how much it means to them to have healthy foods or not, how much would this person be willing to spend for the healthier option, if they thought the tasting was a healthier option, and of course taste of the food. With a quick look at catering, and a great deal of information on the food truck trend, where it’s going, and what is being done. This is a chance to tie together the two of the fastest growing trends in the industry, food trucks and health food in a way that could be sold at an affordable cost to the customer, and still be cost effective to the vendor in an outdoor event setting.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2014
Authors: Logan Beem

The Vegan Experiment

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 16:43
Abstract: The vegan diet has a reputation as extremely light and unsatisfying “rabbit food.” In reality, eating a vegan diet can be satisfying to the palate and the belly. Health benefits of a vegan diet include reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other chronic ailments, plus weight reduction, increased energy, and better sleep patterns. However, Americans tend to believe that they cannot get proper nutrition without animal products. Studies have shown that proper nutrition can be achieved through a whole foods plant based diet. The meal I presented was designed for carnivores to test whether they missed animal products in the dishes served.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2014
Authors: Carrie Oderman

Subtle Differences

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:41
Abstract: Our sense of smell and taste work together to allow us to taste and differentiate between different flavors in food. This study was designed to determine the effects of introducing aromatics during the dining experience. Can aromatics change the customer's perception of the flavors or ingredients in a dish? The method used to gather data for the study was a tasting consisting of ten taste panelists. Guest panelists were kept unaware of what the topic was until after the tasting was finished. The two plates in the first course, as well as the second course, were identically prepared so that an aroma could be introduced during the second tasting of the two courses. Each taste panelist received a tasting card containing suggestive statements regarding the texture, flavor, creativity, quality, and professionalism of the dishes presented. Based on a five level Likert-type scale, the tasting card statements required the panelists to circle numbers corresponding to what level they agreed or disagreed with each statement. The final question asked the panelists to choose what the most apparent difference was between the two dishes of each course. In both courses, flavor and ingredient were the options predominately chosen as the most apparent differences.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2014
Authors: Alyssa Fredericks