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Capstone Projects

Rooted Education: learning from aquaponics

Sat, 04/30/2016 - 15:02
Abstract: Aquaponics is the integration of soil-less agriculture (hydroponics) within closed-loop aquaculture systems to reduce the toxic accumulation of nutrient waste from aquatic animals. Bacteria naturally establish to purify water by oxidizing the ammonia secreted by fish, which reduces the toxicity of effluent while creating a usable nitrogen source for plants. The conversion of ammonia and nitrite into nitrate by living bacteria communities is called a biological filter, or biofiltration (FAO 2014). Aquaponics would not be possible without biofiltration; the slightest amount of ammonia would be fatally toxic to fish, and plants wouldn't receive the nitrates they need to grow. There are unique opportunities offered by an aquaponics system to learn about ecological and human communities. 1.1. Aquaponics enables users to grow fish and agricultural plants with limited space and resource use (water, soil, and time). This enables an aquaponics user to invest less physical energy and time into expanding sustainable food resources for their household use. 1.2. A small aquaponics system could promote cultural values of self-sufficiency, energy consciousness, and connection to food systems. It could inspire individual efforts to produce food for one’s household, to build healthier and more resilient systems, and a greater appreciation for farming. Therefore, this project aims to actualize a mobile and functional aquaponics system for the educational benefit of the Paul Smith's College community. I will provide the background knowledge needed to maintain an aquaponics system, as well as describe the general concept of aquaponics design.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Environmental Sciences, Natural Resources Sustainability Studies
Year: 2016
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Brian Jason Kohan

Management Plan of the Ring-Tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) at Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve in Madagascar

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 11:29
Abstract: The need to protect Ring-tailed lemurs is evident. Lemurs are the most threatened group of vertebrates in the world with the IUCN listing 94% of lemur species as threated. This high percentage is in part due to the fact that lemurs only occur naturally in Madagascar so changes to the island effects the whole infraorder (Lemuriformes). Helping to curb illegal activities will protect not just the habitat for Ring-Tailed lemurs but will help the entirety of Madagascar’s Wildlife that has evolved on an island that used to be covered by up to 90% forest. These illegal practices are often protected by armed guards which may require assistance from the Madagascar government for adequate protection of the islands forests
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2016
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Elias Carter

Management of the Invasive American Mink (Neovison vison) Populations in the Southern Region of South America (Cape Horn Biosphere)

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 11:24
Abstract: American mink (Neovison vison) are an invasive species in South America, Europe and a few other countries. An invasive predator like the American mink can have negative effects on ecosystem function. In the Cape Horn biosphere, mink have no natural predators and have established themselves as top predator in that ecosystem (Crego 2015). Their populations have steadily increased in the Cape Horn Biosphere Region since their release from mink farms in 1930 (Ibarra et al. 2009). The Cape Horn biosphere is affected by the loss of native fauna such as Magellanic woodpeckers (Campephilus magellanicus), Olive Grass Mouse (Abrothrix olivaceus), and different types of ducks (Anseriforms) due to American mink predation. The Cape Horn Biosphere is a research, education, and conservation land that is used by institutes and universities (Ibarra et al. 2009). There are four objectives to help prevent the further spread of the invasive American mink that include: Educating the general public in the Cape Horn Biosphere region on the negative implications of invasive species, increasing the number of minks trapped by 15% in 1 year, setting environmental laws against the release of mink from fur farms within 5 years, creating a tactile agency to enforce those laws within 5 years. When all objectives are complete there will be a decreasing trend in American mink populations in Southern South America.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2016
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Eleanor Congden

A Comparison Study of Adirondack Region Clearcutting Implementation to that of Paul Smith’s College VIC FERDA Plots

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 10:44
Abstract: The students of Paul Smith’s College have a unique opportunity to explore the parameters of silviculture and forestry practices. Gaining the base knowledge of silvicultural systems while also, properly implementing timber harvesting methods in order to achieve the specific goals and objectives of these systems is tremendously useful for implementation in future years. This study investigated the silvicultural prescriptions of the Forest Ecosystem Research and Demonstration Area (FERDA) plots on Paul Smith’s College lands, in Paul Smiths, New York. Comparing the inventory of the two clearcut sites upon these lands to that of other harvests within the Adirondack Park can supply further knowledge on what can be expected after a specific silvicultural system. Clearcutting has the greatest effect on forest succession by removing the forest cover and allowing light to reach what was once a shaded forest floor. Comparing experimental five acre clearcuts to that of larger commercial clearcuts in the same region can further our understanding of regeneration composition after such timber harvesting operations occur. The variance between the age of the FERDA plot harvests and the age of the harvests completed on Landvest timberlands resulted in varying data. However, if four to eight more years was given for pseudo FERDA plots to mature, it is believed that these harvests would be similar in composition and structure.
Access: No
Literary Rights: On
Major: Forestry
Year: 2016
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Ryan Krzys, Louis Ferrone III

Determining the Authenticity in Ethnic Cuisines

Mon, 12/03/2012 - 21:10
Abstract: The United States is often referred to as a melting pot. As many cultures have melded together, so have their cuisines. In recent years, ethnic cuisines’ demand has grown steadily and the market has become saturated with restaurants claiming to be authentic. With this popularity of ethnic foods in the United States, a demand for increased authenticity in ethnic restaurants is higher than ever. However, what makes an ethnic restaurant authentic? The purpose of this study is to look at the opinions of both consumers and industry professionals to find what each group finds important when determining authenticity. Research was done via online surveys sent to culinary professionals working in ethnic restaurants and diners of ethnic restaurants to determine what each population deemed most important when preparing ethnic food and when choosing an ethnic restaurant. The outcome of this study can be used by any person looking to open an authentic ethnic restaurant or looking to improve on their already existing restaurant.
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Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2012
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Blue Swan Otto

An Evaluation of the Substrate and Vegetative Cover Selection of Nesting Piping Plovers

Fri, 04/20/2012 - 13:11
Abstract: The Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) is a migratory shorebird that utilizes the coastal regions associated with the Atlantic Ocean for nesting areas. The population of Piping Plovers is considered threatened in this region, and is limited by predation, habitat loss and abandonment. As a means of investigating the factors affecting the success of the species, data concerning the preferred habitat characteristics of breeding plovers could provide valuable insights. This study addresses the topic “What are the preferred substrate and vegetative cover of nesting Piping Plovers?” These aspects were investigated at three County Park beaches on Long Island NY. After the plover chicks hatched and were no longer reliant on or utilizing the nest, the percentage of vegetation and substrate composition were quantified. Random locations on the beach were also sampled in the same manner. Plovers were found on average to nest in areas with a substrate dominated by sand (80%), as well as 9% vegetation. However in some cases Plovers were found to nest in areas significantly different from the nearby matrix. As the preferred habitat/nesting site characteristics of Piping Plovers are determined, these data can be used to identify areas suitable for breeding Piping Plovers and aid in creating restoration zones specifically for their purposes.
Access: No
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Jordan Talmage

Plan to Deal With Environmental Toxins in Bald Eagle Populations In New York

Mon, 04/30/2012 - 09:34
Abstract: The purpose of this management plan is to have courses of action in place in case environmental toxins impact Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) populations. H. leucocephalus requires habitat near a fishery that has minimal disturbance. At these sites they build nests and return every breeding season. Clutch sizes range from one to three but usually one chick survives to fledge the nest. The diet of eagles change seasonally from fish in the summer to mammals and waterfowl in the winter. From these food sources eagles obtain environmental toxins in their bodies. These toxins biomagnify and begin to affect the birds and their offspring at certain levels. Eagles get rid of these toxins from their bodies by demethylation and depositing toxins in their eggs. This has negative effects on their offspring because, early life stages of organisms are highly vulnerable to chemicals. This management plan examines the effects of three toxins (mercury, lead and chlorinated hydrocarbons) on a theoretical population of eagles in New York State and how to respond to it. The plan’s goal is to maintain a stable population of eagles in New York that are being affected by environmental toxins. Three objectives will help achieve this plan: monitoring, supportive actions and public education all with courses of action and assessment protocol. The first course of action is to determine the causes of a population decline or abnormal behavior. This action will be successful if only ten percent decline of the population is undetected and if it has been affected by a toxin. If the action is not working the assessment protocol will find new ways to monitor. The second action is to implement techniques that will stabilize a population being impacted by toxins. This will be successful if there is only a ten percent decline in the population due to environmental toxins. The final course of action is to publicly educate citizens around the impacts of toxins on eagle population. This will be successful if there is a significant amount of respondents that answer in favor of conservation and knowledge about environmental toxins. Overall, this management plan is designed to be used once a toxin has impacted a population. The best management dealing with environmental toxins is to prevent them from causing an impact.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Ryan Deibler

Red Breasted Geese: An effort to restore and protect a threatened population.

Tue, 05/01/2012 - 11:50
Abstract: Red Breasted Geese or Branta ruficollis, are small, migratory geese that have a known geographic extent that includes the countries of Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Romania, and Bulgaria. With a current approximate population of 37,000 individuals, this species of goose has recently been host to an extreme level of population fluctuation, and as is such has been classified endangered under the ICUN Red List. Red Breasted Geese face numerous threats throughout the year, including the loss of habitat, mortality due to hunting, and mortality due to agriculture based chemical use in the wintering grounds. The goal of this management plan is to increase and stabilize the population of Red Breasted Geese throughout its range, allowing for the de-listing of the species from the IUCN Red-List. This will be achieved through several actions, including the limitation of future harvest during hunting season, the reduction of the use of rodenticides within the agricultural industry near the Black Sea, and the identification of parameters such as adult mortality and required forage intake of breeding Red Breasted Geese.
Access: No
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Jordan Talmage

Management Plan for Marbled Murrelets (Brachyramphus marmoratus) in the Pacific Northwest

Tue, 05/01/2012 - 11:52
Abstract: Marbled murrelets in North America (Brachyramphus marmoratus) are small seabirds found from the Bering Sea to central California (Ralph et al., 1995). They are unique from other Alcids in that they are dependent upon old-growth forests for nesting sites. Within the southern limits of their range in Washington, Oregon, and California, their breeding distribution is determined by the distribution and accessibility of old-growth and late-successional coniferous forests (Ralph et al., 1995). The majority of nests are found within 60 kilometers of the coast on large diameter, moss-covered limbs (Ralph et al., 1995). The primary threats to marbled murrelets are the loss of nesting habitat and habitat fragmentation caused by humans. In the last decade, over a quarter million acres of old-growth forest in the United States was lost due to logging practices (Perry, 1995). Predation of nests, especially by crows and ravens, increases as fragmentation increases from habitat loss (Nelson and Hamer, 1995). Fisheries by-catch and loss of foraging habitat pose as potential threats, increasing adult mortality (Burkett, 1995). Combined, these factors along with other threats are causing the decline and fragmentation of marbled murrelet populations in the Pacific Northwest. Marbled murrelet populations are declining at a rate of 4 to 6 percent annually (Ralph et al., 1995). This significant decline has caused alarm in the Pacific Northwest and globally. In 1991, the state of California listed the species as endangered due to the extreme loss of old-growth forests (Ralph et al., 1995). In February of 1993, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service listed marbled murrelets as threatened in Washington, Oregon, and California (Ralph et al., 1995). Globally, marbled murrelets are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List (Ralph et al., 1995). This plan focuses on the most prevalent threats to marbled murrelets presently and to propose actions which may slow or halt the decline of the species in the Pacific Northwest. Specifically, this plan intends to (1) assess and protect the amount of old-growth forest needed to sustain a healthy population of marbled murrelets across Washington, Oregon, and California and (2) to better understand the foraging ecology of marbled murrelets at offshore and inshore sites. These two broad goals represent the imperative need to protect the habitat they depend on and to gain better knowledge of an aspect of the species not well-known, respectively.  
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Chelsea DiAntonio

Management Plan for Common Loons (Gavia immer) in Maine

Tue, 05/01/2012 - 11:55
Abstract: Common loons (Gavia immer) have been a symbol of remote northern lakes and wilderness. Due to their eerie call, beautiful plumage and their habitat choice of remotes lakes coinciding with people’s choice of remote lakes, the common loon is recognized across North America. Due to shooting mortality by humans, habitat loss due to development of lakes, and many others, loon populations declined throughout much of their range in the twentieth century, increasing human awareness and protection of loons. Today, the world population for the common loon is approximately 607,000-635,000. Current threats to their population include lake shore development, increased human lake recreation, and a daunting rise in mercury levels in lakes due to atmospheric distribution by power plants and other anthropogenic causes. Two goals are consisted for common loons: To increase Common Loon populations in Central, Western, and Northern Maine (focus on 56 lakes throughout the state), and to reduce mercury (Hg) levels in Common Loon populations in Maine. Courses of action include monitoring the current population, capture and band common loons on 56 lakes located in Central Maine, Western Maine, and Northern Maine assess and create better nesting habitat for COLO by implementing the use of nest rafts, reducing human traffic (i.e. jet skis, motor boats etc.), and to reduce mercury levels in those lakes through harsher restrictions on power plants. An assessment protocol for each course of action is included. Implementing the components of this management plan will lead to an increased population of common loon populations in central Maine.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Nicole Bellerose