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Capstone Projects

An Assessment of Heavy Metal Concentrations in Adirondack Waterfowl

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 22:53
Abstract: We analyzed heavy metal concentrations in waterfowl liver and breast tissue from ducks harvested within the Adirondack Park from October 3 to November 13, 2015. Interspecific, intersex, and feeding behavior variation in heavy metal concentrations were assessed. Waterfowl from two feeding behavior groups (diving and dabbling) were harvested from the watershed within a 50 mile radius of Paul Smith’s, New York. Harvested waterfowl species included mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), American black duck (Anas rubripes), common merganser (Mergus merganser), ring-necked duck (Aythya collaris), bufflehead (Bucephala albeola), and hooded merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus). Legal harvest of these species during regulated New York State duck hunting season allows for permissible use of internal organs for heavy metal determination. Dry weight (mg/kg) of digested liver and breast tissue samples were analyzed using atomic absorption spectroscopy. Due to unknown laboratory error, absolute concentration values were inaccurate, thus, rendering accurate analyses unfeasible. However, relative observable trends were able to be assessed given our data’s high precision. Analyte concentrations were significantly greater in liver tissues and there were significant differences between species. Variation in mercury, lead, bismuth, cadmium, chromium, and zinc concentrations in waterfowl serve as an indicator of the presence, cycling, bioaccumulation, and temporal trends of these metals in northeastern aquatic habitats.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Environmental Sciences, Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2016
File Attachments: Final2.docx
Authors: Brandon Snavely, Lewis Lolya

Recovery and Management Plan for the Houston Toad (Bufo houstonensis) in Bastrop County, Texas

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 11:24
Abstract: The Houston toad (Bufo houstonensis) was the first amphibian listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1973 and has been extirpated from 3 of 12 counties of its historical range throughout Texas. The driving factor of Houston toad declines is habitat loss, primarily via fragmentation and destruction from expansion of cities. The Lost Pine Ecoregion in Bastrop County, Texas holds the largest remaining populations in the Bastrop County State Park and the Griffith League Ranch. The proposed recovery plan is designed to accurately assess the current population sizes within the Griffith League Ranch and Bastrop State Park and increase the survivorship of adults and juveniles within the populations. Issues involving invasive species, predation, cattle grazing, and public awareness of Houston toads and actions to resolve the issues are addressed throughout the management plan. The success of this management plan is critical to increase Houston toad populations within its native range and decrease potential of extinction.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2016
File Attachments: KFitchette_Final.docx
Authors: Kayla Fitchette

Florida Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) Management Plan in Southern Florida

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 11:24
Abstract: Florida scrub-jays are large songbirds endemic to Florida. They are extremely habitat-specific, sedentary, and territorial. Florida scrub-jays were listed as a threatened species in 1987. Since then their populations have declined by approximately 50% due to fragmentation and degradation of xeric oak-scrub habitat throughout Florida. Majority of this destruction is because of residential housing, commercial development, and fire suppression. Conservation of remaining habitat and long term management of the land with prescribed burns is vital for increasing Florida scrub-jay populations.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2016
File Attachments: Final Management Plan.docx
Authors: Ashley Gocha

Managing and Conserving the Grey-Headed Flying Fox (Pteropus poliocephalus)

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 11:25
Abstract: The grey-headed flying fox is one of the largest bats in the world and currently the largest bat in Australia. This species is nomadic and distributed along the forested areas of the south-eastern coast of Australia Queensland to Victoria respectively. Grey-headed flying foxes are an endemic specialist that are of key importance in Australia’s declining coastal forest ecosystems. A recent increase in population decline of at least 30% over the last 3 generations can be attributed to mass die offs from extreme heat events and multiple anthropogenic sources including habitat loss from increased urbanization (Department of the Environment 2016). In order to see a healthy population in the future both human and species dimensions need to be addressed through scientific help and political means. I propose a rigorous course of action requiring public, government and scientific help by increasing adult survivorship, increasing native trees, and creation of a positive association between bats, humans and their ecosystem.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2016
File Attachments: Final Managment Plan.docx
Authors: Zoe Stewart

Wildlife Habitat Conservation and Recovery Plan of Spotted-tailed Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) in Eastern Australia Mainland

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 11:29
Abstract: In Eastern Australia, spotted-tailed quoll have been an important marsupial for tourist attractions and ecological control over small invasive species. This species’ population has been slowly declining due to anthropogenic threats to their habitat (Figure 1). Spotted-tailed quoll prefer moist forests such as rain forests or eucalyptus forests that provide abundant amount of food resources and available shelter opportunities. The goals of this management plan are to increase spotted-tailed quoll populations through decreasing anthropogenic threats such as housing construction, agricultural land uses, carrion removal, and road networks. The goals will be achieved by reducing quoll mortality by roadways, illegal killing, and translocation of the species to suitable habitat elsewhere in Australia. Decreasing human-quoll conflicts on roadways, farmlands and in construction areas will improve the chance of quoll population increase. The management sites will be monitored to oversee effects of the management strategies and allow managers to develop a better plan or further extend the following plan to be successful. In addition, the public and private landowners will be vital to increasing the quoll populations through participation of protecting the quolls from further decline through proper carrion removal from roadways and farmlands, conservation of suitable habitat, and awareness of the native species. To ensure future spotted-tailed quoll populations persist, actions need to be done now or the continuation of habitat degradation and human-quoll conflicts will increase.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2016
Authors: Bridget Parks

Management Plan for Giant Anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) in Emas National Park

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 14:09
Abstract: Throughout their range, giant anteaters are an unmanaged species and population estimates are broad, if available. This plan suggests using prescribed burns to control the spread of invasive grasses, reducing the buildup of wildfire fuel and restoring more favorable habitat. Also the construction of underpasses at large highways, will reduce the amount of road collisions and increase gene flow through dispersal. Giant anteaters are extremely vulnerable to population declines because it takes so long for them to reach sexual maturity and they only produce one offspring each year.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2016
File Attachments: Final Management Plan.docx
Authors: Alex Roberts

A Global Management Plan for the Bristle-thighed Curlew (Numenius tahitiensis)

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 15:44
Abstract: In the past three centuries, shorebird populations have declined ubiquitously across the North American landscape as over harvesting and habitat conversion became common practice. The bristle-thighed curlew (Numenius tahitiensis) is a large bodied shorebird whose global population is threatened with future declines. The small breeding population of approximately 3,500 pairs is faced with unnatural mortality from introduced predators, human development, climate change induced habitat alteration, and over harvesting. Compounding these problems is a general lack of information regarding key biological characteristics of the specie’s life history, including population densities on wintering islands, key migration routes, existence of stopover sites, and survivorship of certain life stages. The primary focus of current day management of the bristle-thighed curlew is to promote the survivorship of adults and increase suitable habitats for curlews on their wintering grounds. This management plan aims to gain an understanding of the the biology of bristle-thighed curlew and propose methods to stabilize their global population. The success of the species depends heavily international cooperation, intensive research, and the conservation and management of key habitats.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2016
File Attachments: Final Managment Plan.docx
Authors: Lewis M. Lolya

Species Recovery Plan for the Fiji Banded Iguana (Brachylophus bulabula)

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 23:15
Abstract: Fiji banded iguanas (Brachylophus bulabula) are one of three species of small, herbivorous arboreal iguanids endemic to the central islands of Fiji (IUCN 2012). Diurnally they occupy the mesic forest canopy, making them difficult to observe. Little is known about their population status on most of the central islands, with exception of Makogai and Makodroga, where approximately 6000 individuals exist (IUCN 2012). Fiji banded iguanas have experienced a population decline of over 50% in the past four decades due to a combination of factors. Approximately 40% of Fiji’s native forests have been converted to agriculture and hardwood plantations, significantly decreasing mesic forest habitat that Fiji banded iguanas occupy (IUCN 2012). Predation from invasive mammals such has feral cats (Felis catus) has contributed to the Fiji banded iguana’s decline. Feral goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) outcompete them for their native food resources and prevent forest regeneration. If no action is taken, iguana populations are projected to decline by at least 30% in the next four decades (IUCN 2012). This recovery plan proposes five management objectives which are designed to increase our knowledge about life history and population status, provide legislative protection with the designation of a national park, eradicate invasive mammals to decrease predation and competition, and increase forest regeneration. If these objectives are achieved, I predict that the population will have at minimum stabilized, and at best increased among the central islands of Fiji.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2016
Authors: Brittany Peck

Management Plan for Roseate Spoonbills (Platalea ajaja) in the Everglades National Park

Thu, 05/05/2016 - 14:04
Abstract: This is a management plan for the roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) in the Everglades National Park.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2016
Authors: Michael Campbell

Conservation and Management of the Pine Barrens Treefrog (Hyla andersonii) in New Jersey

Fri, 05/06/2016 - 08:54
Abstract: The Pine Barrens Treefrog (Hyla andersonii) is a medium-sized frog found in 3 disjunct populations on the east coast of the United States. The three populations are found in the sandhills of North and South Carolina, Florida panhandle and the main hub of the three populations is in southern New Jersey. They inhabit many wetland areas, including Atlantic white-cedar swamps, pitch pine lowlands and herbaceous wetlands. Preferred breeding habitat is very acidic ponds surrounded by early-successional vegetation, wetlands and seepage bogs with a high vegetative cover along edge of ponds. The IUCN has this species listed as near threatened due to its distribution being less than 20,000 km2. New Jersey currently has them listed as threatened due to critical habitat loss and degradation due to development. Populations seem to be relatively stable for the short term but their populations could decline 30%-50% in the long term. Compounding these issues management of this species may be ineffective due to a lack of knowledge on non-breeding distributions of adults from breeding ponds as well as survival rates at each of its life stages. This plan proposes 5 objectives to help stabilize the population in New Jersey Pine Barrens. These objectives include: conserving and restoring critical habitat and improving ecological knowledge.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2016
Authors: Brandan Aschmutat