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Capstone Projects

Lyme Disease in the Adirondacks: Using Domestic Canines as Sentinels for Human Risk

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 14:46
Abstract: Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi) is the most prevalent zoonotic disease in the United States. With an increase of cases every year in new areas, it is crucial that researchers and veterinarians use sentinels, such as canines, to determine the prevalence of Lyme disease in emerging areas where tick density may be low. The main objective of this study was to determine the annual infection rate of Lyme disease in canines in Franklin and Essex County. An immunologic assay was performed to determine percent of canines exposed to Lyme bacteria as well as timing of exposure. Thirty-four random blood samples were collected from a local veterinary office during routine health screenings, and analyzed for Borrelia burgdorferi antibodies. Out of the thirty-four samples, two canines were positive for OspC antibodies (indicator of early infection) and three were positive for OspF (indicator of chronic infection). The annual infection rate for the 2017 year was 5.9%.
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Major: Biology
Year: 2017
Authors: Ashley G. Hodge

Riparian log gardens: examination of vascular plant communities and moss on logs in waterbodies

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 19:51
Abstract: Microsites can play a major part in facilitating plant diversity. Specific physical characteristics of microsites can create favorable conditions for certain species by isolating them from competition or protecting them from herbivory. Plant communities and woody debris can also facilitate the growth of other plants. I examined relationships between moss and vascular plants on log gardens in waterbodies to determine correlations between these organisms. I hypothesized that riparian log gardens, large woody debris in lakes and ponds supporting mats of terrestrial vegetation, serve as sites that may harbor rare species or have high plant species diversity. I also examined the relationship between bryophytes and plant communities based on the idea that bryophytes influence microsite characteristics. Knowing where rare species are harbored and what microsites encourage high diversity are important for preserving species. I surveyed plants on large woody debris in lakes and ponds in the northern Adirondacks and calculated the richness and diversity of the communities in relation to the presence of mosses. I found that logs that supported moss mats had more plants. The mean species richness of the riparian log gardens was 8.6 for all plants and 6.3 for herbaceous species. Some significant positive correlations were found for log area, log hardness, mat area, mat depth, and vascular plant diversity.
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Major: Biology
Year: 2017
Authors: David R. Lampman

Creating a Reliable Surveying Network: Does Adding New Survey Control Points to Paul Smith’s College Campus Enhance its Current Network?

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 18:48
Abstract: The goal of the project was to improve the current geometry of the Paul Smith’s College surveying network. Four new survey control points were added to the current network allowing for new connectivity to old control points. Previously, there was a Westside network and an Eastside network that were not connected and by connecting these two networks, it has expanded the current network further into the campus. Two different methods were used to help identify the new network. A traditional survey method, a closed traverse, was used to connect the old control points to the new control points by utilizing a Nikon DTM-352 series total station. A X90 OPUS GPS unit was used to connect the new control points into a geodetic network. After the data was collected a least squares adjustment was done to the closed traverse to correct for error within the traverse. The GPS data was processed by Topcon Tools utilizing a Continuously Operating Reference System (CORS) to obtain a better level of accuracy for the network it produced. The two different techniques used produced different results in the overall survey networks and supplied different coordinates than what has been previously used by students at the college. These results gained from the project are not of a consistent level of precision and are not recommended for use without conducting more closed traverses to increase precision within the network.
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Major: Forestry, Natural Resources Management and Policy, Surveying Technology
Year: 2017
Authors: Frederick C. Petzoldt, Michael S. Thompson

A MULTI-SCALE EVALUATION OF THE EFFECTS OF FOREST HARVESTING FOR WOODY BIOFUELS ON MAMMALIAN COMMUNITIES IN A NORTHERN HARDWOOD FOREST

Fri, 02/01/2013 - 16:19
Abstract: Forest harvesting and subsequent effects on forest structure have been shown to influence mammalian community assemblages and the abundance of individual species, however less attention has been paid to the implications of how harvested timber is used. This is particularly relevant in the Northern Forest, where a considerable portion of the forest harvesting is used to produce biofuels. Biofuels harvesting typically involves the process of whole-tree chipping which may lead to a dramatic reduction in the amount of woody material in the form of slash and coarse woody debris (CWD) left in harvested stands. The goal of our study was to assess the effects of biofuels harvesting on forest structure and subsequent effects on mammalian community structure and abundance. To address this goal, we focused on a ~35 Ha area of partially-harvested northern hardwood forest in the northern Adirondacks, New York. To sample mammals we used a combination of Sherman traps and track plates established at two scales across stands within this area. Our results showed that the response of small mammals to changes in forest structure is both species and scale specific. At the individual trap scale, CWD, slash, and understory cover were important drivers of the occurrence of individual species of small mammals. At the larger “grid” scale, small mammal relative abundance was driven by canopy cover and the density of woody stems. Our results indicate that the current harvesting practices used for biofuel production in the Adirondacks are unlikely to result in declines in abundance of common small mammal species. However, the retention of some slash post-harvest may be beneficial to some species, thus foresters may want to include slash retention when developing silvicultural prescriptions.
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Major: Environmental Sciences, Fisheries and Wildlife Science, Natural Resources Management and Policy
Year: 2012
Authors: Cody Laxton, Alisha Benack, Danielle Ball, Scott Collins, Sam Forlenza, Richard Franke, Stephanie Korzec, Alec Judge, Connor Langevin, Jonathan Vimislik, Elena Zito

Can black-capped chickadees learn to associate ultraviolet markers with a food source?

Thu, 12/06/2012 - 07:22
Abstract: Food storing birds, like black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus), have a higher hippocampal volume than other birds, giving them the ability to hide food in small caches and retrieve them hours later with great precision using physical features of the surrounding area as guides. This capacity for learning spatial information may be able to translate to other forms of learning, such as association. Black-capped chickadees are also able to see in the near ultraviolet range (~370nm), theoretically to allow for more vibrant plumage during the breeding season. I hypothesized that black-capped chickadees have the ability to associate an ultraviolet marker with a food source. If they can, perhaps birds can be 'taught' to go towards or away from things like wind turbines, windows, and other hazardous objects. I tested my hypothesis by counting the number of chickadees that landed on two different feeders, one with an ultraviolet marker and food and one with neither. I found that there was no significant trend, either within or between days, that would indicate that the birds learned (χ2 test and Student’s t-test). As a management use, researchers propose that ultraviolet markers on wind turbines could decrease the collision rate of birds with turbine blades.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Eck_Capstone_Final.doc
Authors: Benjamin Eck

The influence of temperature, moon phase and cloud cover on the catchability of bats in the Upper Connecticut River Basin and the Merrimack River Basin

Sun, 12/09/2012 - 15:28
Abstract: Small mammals modify their behavior in response to environmental factors such as weather, temperature, moon phase, visibility and the time of night at which they forage. The goal of my study was to determine how environmental variables such as temperature, moon phase and visibility (cloud cover) affected the efficiency (bat captures/net meter/ hour) of bat mist netting. Mist nets were placed in the months of June, July, August, September and November from 2003 to 2012 using mist netting surveys at 23 Army Corps of Engineers dams and recreation projects in New Hampshire and Vermont. Catch rate of bats was not affected by moon phase (P= 0.317) or cloud cover (P=0.130), but were slightly affected by temperature (P=0.053). These results were consistent with other studies that looked at the effects of moon phase, cloud cover and temperature on bats. Knowing the effects of environmental conditions on catchability could be useful to biologists in determining if it is worthwhile to mist net bats on nights with certain conditions to maximize efficiency of catching bats
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
Authors: Jeremy Chamberlain

Guest Retention due to Value-Added Services within Resorts: A study of the relationship between value added services and guest loyalty in both large and small resorts

Mon, 12/03/2012 - 00:52
Abstract: The resort market is currently an industry of service, rather than simply selling rooms as it was in the past. The concept of a value-added service during a stay in a resort rather than a tangible room is now very important to an individual guest. The purpose of this project is to find out if value-added services make or break the potential for a first time guest to become a return guest. Also, the study shows if these value-added services contribute to customer loyalty. The methods used show the link between a value-added stay and return guests of both small boutique hotels and larger resorts. This data was collected through the form of interviews of front office managers of these types of resorts. The significance of this project will aid hoteliers in both small and larger resorts in deciding the type of service provided by their employees. It will also show them what additional services not already put in place they may want to implement to further guarantee repeat guest business.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2012
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Ashley Booton

How are hotels responding to the increase in demand for pure/ hypoallergenic rooms?

Mon, 12/03/2012 - 10:05
Abstract: Americans today have become more and more aware of the germs that are around them. The television advertisements have influenced the idea that there are a lot of germs that people need to be aware of. For example, there is a hazmat advertisement for Hampton Inn that shows a woman being afraid to climb into bed. A housekeeper then comes into the room, in a hazmat suit to take apart the bed stating that Hampton Inn always washes their sheets and duvets, implying that other hotels may not. The purpose of this project is to determine how hotels are responding to the increase in demand for hypoallergenic/pure rooms. The general managers of chain hotels in the northeast will be surveyed. This information will then provide results of how the hotels plan to accommodate these travelers. This will also help determine if the demand for pure rooms will increase the supply of pure rooms. This information can be used by hotel chains to improve their customer expectations of the hotel as well as meet the needs and wants of their travelers.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Capstone Final Paper.docx
Authors: Ashlee Lansing

Wine Applications in Restaurants

Mon, 12/03/2012 - 16:19
Abstract: Research and studies have revealed that wine applications (apps) have an impact on the way wine consumers purchase wine at a restaurant and the way hospitality professionals sell wine at their property. The purpose of this study was to find out how many wine consumers are using wine apps as well as to determine how they are using them. The study then looked at how trend-setting hospitality professionals have adapted their wine selling techniques to assist the wine consumers in their wine selection. The information for this project was obtained through a survey of wine consumers as well as survey of the individual(s) who is in charge of wine sales at the restaurants being surveyed. The results of this study will determine if restaurants should allow and encourage the use of wine apps in their establishment to increase wine sales. Therefore, the results of this study can benefit restaurant properties uncertain if their establishment will be affected by wine apps and are unsure how they should react to the new technology that is offered to wine enthusiasts.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2012
Authors: Shelby Stetson

Bringing Families Back to the Drive-In

Mon, 12/03/2012 - 17:55
Abstract: Drive-in theaters have been in existence since 1933. However, within the past 30 years the number has been declining. Now there are indications that they have been making a comeback. The number of operating drive-in theaters went from 366 in 2011 to 368 this year according to drive-ins.com. This study seeks to determine how drive-in theater can appeal to families, and how they may best cultivate their comeback. The opinions of both families and drive-in theater owners will be gathered through the use of surveys. The results will be used to determine what steps drive-in theater owners will take to attract more families back to the drive-in theater also what features families would want available at the drive-in theater. The long term goal is help the family become a unit.
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Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2012
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Eric Kowalik