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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.
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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).
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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

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.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Business Management and Entrepreneurial Studies, Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2013
Authors: Danielle Taylor

TripAdvisor reviews as an indicator of Relais and Chateaux experience fulfillment

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 17:08
Abstract: Social media can influence positive and negative customer expectations. The purpose of this inductive, qualitative, relational study is to determine how and if top-rated TripAdvisor reviewers should be given merit for their input, and why others care, compared to industry standards of a Relais and Chateaux rated experience in northeast destinations. A content analysis of TripAdvisor and the hotel sites will be studied to see if the responses represent Relais & Chateaux standard experiences or an un-realistic response. Customer responses, company history, its location, amenity information, mission statement, price of lodging will be indirectly observed and compared to Relais and Chateaux standards. This study can be of use to determine the effectiveness of ordinary guests, not industry experts, ability to judge an experience based on what a hotel stands for in a positive or negative manor to its ability to deliver a type of experience and their meet customers’ expectations.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Social Madness
Authors: Brandon May

Music Festival Management

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 21:59
Abstract: Abstract The purpose of this exploratory study is to determine the management skill set required for individuals seeking executive level management positions within the music festival industry. This study is being performed because of a lack of information specific to the music festival industry regarding important skill sets required to reach the executive level. A survey will be conducted with top level management in the music festival industry in order to determine which skills were most supportive in obtaining their top level positions. The specific management skills needed for the top level positions will be a combination of the opinion and personal experience of top level executives in the music festival industry. This study is applicable for individuals seeking to develop and refine the skills required in order to achieve an executive level position within the music festival industry.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Music Festival Management
Authors: Kristen Morse

Ritz-Carlton and the Campus Visit Experience

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 22:48
Abstract: The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore to what extent the transfer of service from Ritz Carlton practices and the Hospitality Guest Cycle can be intergraded into higher education enrollment procedures, specifically the campus visit using Paul Smith’s College as a model. Research from this study can contribute support to transfer of service methods for similar higher education enrollment institutions by way of increasing student engagement throughout the experience. Methodology will include creating a rubric designed to break down the campus tour process into the four groups of the Guest Cycle that will compare with Ritz Carlton guidelines to observe performance levels followed by an analysis and further recommendations to Paul Smith’s College. A goal is to be able to clearly identify gaps in the campus visit procedures to allow for growth and new procedures to be put in place that positively reflect Ritz Carlton service standards and the Hospitality Guest Cycle. Information gathered in a rubric encompassing the Ritz Carlton Standards and the Hospitality Guest Cycle could be used by other small rural private colleges as a design for improvement.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2013
Authors: Siobhan Shea