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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

Pop Up Restaurants: Are They Here to Stay? A Study of Consumer and Professional Awareness and Future Demand

Fri, 04/20/2012 - 13:23
Abstract: The focus of this study is to determine in the next 10 to 15 years if pop up restaurant will become a new permanent venue. This study provides information for professionals and people entering the restaurant industry for potential job opportunities. Pop ups are a style of restaurant that takes over a venue for a short period of time (48 hours to a week). This research is based on professional willingness to enter the pop up industry and research measuring consumer knowledge of pop ups and future demand. Research is based on surveys filled out by the general population, and surveys to restaurant professionals.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Capstone.doc
Authors: De Anna Wasiewski

Perception Connection - Defining Local Food, and the Gap Between Chefs and Consumers

Mon, 04/23/2012 - 11:01
Abstract: With increasing numbers of restaurants using the word “local” on their menus, and consumers seeking out farmers markets and purveyors who label their products as local, it has become necessary to take a closer look at just what is being talked about. When a chef puts the word local next to his featured dish of the day, what does that mean to him? Conversely, what does a customer reading that menu expect to be getting on their plate? Currently, there are no government regulations for the use of the “local” description, unlike “organic” and “all-natural” foods. Since there are no legal expectations, it is at the discretion of the chefs to decide how they will market certain items, and in the minds of the consumers what they expect to be consuming based upon an image. This capstone will explore, through the use of surveys, distributed to both culinary professionals, and culinary consumers, what their expectations of a locally sourced food item are. The results of these queries will demonstrate whether there is a gap between the two facets. The project does not seek to establish a basis for regulation, but rather to explore the ideals of two symbiotic groups. The conclusions based upon what this project discovers will educate both chefs and consumers on commonly accepted standards in local food. It will also offer them the opportunity to evaluate any gaps between standards, and decide how they might approach using or buying “local” food. 
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Capstone project.docx
Authors: Kelcey Rusch

Cornopoly A Study of a Cost Effective and Corn-free Menu

Mon, 04/23/2012 - 11:50
Abstract: In the past ten years the price of corn has quadrupled as the result of the increasing demand for corn. Today, there are wide ranges of items being produced that include corn as an essential ingredient. This project looked into developing ways to help food service establishments to remain cost effective despite the increased price of corn and thus corn derived products. For this project we held a blind taste test meal to find consumer preference. During the meal we supplied questionnaires to collect data on preferences. We found that the price of corn had not reached a high enough point to force a change to non-corn derived products; however, we felt that through statistical forecasting, the price of corn would rise to a point that would not allow restaurants to remain cost effective.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Final Capstone Paper.doc
Authors: Jeffrey Dineen, Matthew Cusimano

Self-Actualization through the use of food

Mon, 04/23/2012 - 12:19
Abstract: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a table consisting of human needs according to necessity; in order to reach a new level, needs of the previous level must be met first. Among the physiological needs located at the bottom of the pyramid, is food. Food can be controlled unlike other biological needs and therefore may play a crucial role in reaching the ultimate goal of self-actualization. The purpose of this capstone is to show how food can go beyond the need of hunger, and bring us to a self-actualizing moment. The surveys will be conducted to gather statistics and opinions of outdoor recreationists and other relevant professionals such as chefs and culinary students. The question that is going to be answered through this capstone is: Is food preparation and consumption an enriching and exciting enough experience to achieve self-actualization? The results should vary between the two populations, but the ultimate prediction is that food will be shown to be a major factor in the achievement of self-actualization. The significance of this study is to reach a new level of understanding about the importance of food to the human body, and show that food can bring that self-actualizing moment without meeting all the other needs of the pyramid beforehand.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2012
Authors: Stephanie Curtis

Food Allergies: How might a chef's creative vision be influenced by mandated food allergy legislation?

Mon, 04/23/2012 - 12:57
Abstract: It is estimated that one in twenty-five Americans suffers from a food allergy. As a result Massachusetts State Legislation has set a precedent by creating food allergen training laws to ensure safe food handling practices. This study seeks to determine if and how mandated food allergy legislation might affect a chef’s creative vision. Data concerning food allergies will be collected from: professional chefs and restaurant customers who suffer from a food allergy in the form of a survey. The information will demonstrate if chefs are proactively adapting their restaurant menus before having to be reactive to government mandated regulations. This study will also raise awareness of the prevailing number of food allergies.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2012
File Attachments: GORSKI FINAL CAPSTONE.docx
Authors: Jeffrey Gorski

Age and its Effects on Taste: Does age play a factor in tea preference?

Mon, 04/23/2012 - 13:23
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to determine if age was a factor with consumer’s taste buds between the flavors of neutral oolong tea, vegetative green tea, mild white tea and astringent black tea. The method used to retrieve this data was a tea tasting, pared with surveys. The results were compiled in a series of charts. This study was based on age to assist restaurateurs with making a decision of what tea to offer in their establishment. Tea drinkers were surveyed, as well as participated in a tea tasting to decide the answers to these questions.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2012
Authors: Kathryn Woehrle

"Farm-to-Table"

Mon, 04/23/2012 - 16:51
Abstract: "Farm-to-Table" has proven to be a major trend in the foodservice industry in the past decade. According to restaurant.org the top two trends for 2012 are locally sourced meats and produce. When referring to the literature review on the subject, it is clear that this trend involves numerous aspects. The purpose of this capstone is to come up with a conclusion as to what aspects a younger demographic, namely the 18-25 age group, view as the most important in this growing trend. Information will be gathered from surveys handed out to customers at Eat-N-Meet in Saranac Lake, NY (the local "Farm-to-Table" restaurant) as well as surveys sent to the student population at Paul Smiths College. With the compiled information, a chef or restaurateur involved with the trend in the next couple decades can hope to realize what future customers of this age group will be looking for when dining out at a "Farm-to-Table" establishment.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Ealy Final Capstone.doc
Authors: Justin Ealy