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Capstone Projects

Lower St. Regis Lake Survey: A Comparative Study of Fish Population Structure and Function over Time

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 14:24
Abstract: Lake surveys are performed on bodies of water to provide a health analysis of fish populations over time. Lake surveys can be conducted in a variety of ways to attain specific data. Lower St. Regis Lake was surveyed to determine the fish community composition and to understand fish population traits. Using fyke nets placed at six predetermined locations for 24 hours, as well as fishing, we collected data for age, length (mm), weight (g), and parasites present. Data was analyzed in the lab using Excel to form graphs and tables to demonstrate our findings. Catch rates were lower compared to years before and comparing our data to New York State Department of Conservation data found that our length-at-age data was lower for the six-species sampled. Pumpkinseed and yellow perch were the only two species to have over twenty fish sampled. Decreased air temperatures brought in by a cold front during the week of our sampling may have been a reason for our lower number of fish caught. Mesh size is also a bias while using these nets as smaller fish can escape, and predatory fish can prey on smaller fish while in the net. Some species of fish such as black crappie may be more susceptible to capture due to its habit of associating with structure.
Access: Yes
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Major: Biology, Environmental Sciences, Environmental Studies, Fisheries and Wildlife Science, Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2018
File Attachments: Capstone_Final.docx
Authors: Deacon Chapin, Jared Chlus, Louis Daversa, Jon Herrman, Robert Visicaro

A Taste of Paul Smith's & The Adirondacks

Sun, 12/09/2018 - 15:50
Abstract: Using what we have learned over the last four years our task was to put on a themed Capstone Dinner. This dinner was experiential and progressive, guests were transported to different parts of the Paul Smiths College campus for each course of the dinner. The focus of this Capstone was to capture the essence of the Adirondacks to portray it through a five course meal. I first looked to the woods for help building inspiration for each dish. Along with the dinner, comes many other tasks from ordering to costing.
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Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2018
Authors: Sean Conroy

A Taste of Local Goat Cheese

Sat, 12/08/2018 - 11:22
Abstract: This capstone features the variety of goat cheeses in each of the courses!
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Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2018
Authors: Julia Ho(:

Modern Cooking Techniques

Tue, 05/08/2018 - 12:13
Abstract: The history of molecular gastronomy and the methods.
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Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2018
Authors: Averie Riel

Minnow Abundance in Heron Marsh: Spatial Variation, the Status of the Non-Native Fathead Minnow, and Hybridized Redbelly and Finescale Dace

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 09:27
Abstract: Due to their distinct influence on surrounding ecosystems and food web dynamics, minnow populations have been monitored in Heron Marsh, in the northern Adirondacks in New York, since fall of 2012. This study documented the presence of species known to predate on minnows, the hybridization between redbelly dace (Chrosomus eos) and finescale dace (Phoxinus neogaeus), and the presence of the recently documented fathead minnow (Pimephales prometas). To survey piscivores, two fyke nets were set around the marsh for one trap night. The fishes were then identified and measured. The collection of predators is part of a preliminary study to document the presence of predator fish species within Heron Marsh. Minnow data was collected via minnow traps set at long term study sites and one new site. The traps were set over night and collected the following day. The minnows were identified and measured to the nearest mm. When analyzing the data collected in the field, the data from previous years was compared to this years data. The findings indicate that hybrids of redbelly and finescale dace can be observed only at sites where both parent species exist. This 2018 study was the first one to document hybrid species though they have been observed in past years. The status of the fathead minnow is not significantly different from findings from 2017 however, their populations are noticeably smaller than previous years. Predator composition was primarily brown bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus) and creek chub (Semtilus atromaculatus).
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
Authors: Sarah LaLumiere and Patrick Nicholson

A USE VERSUS AVAILABILITY DIET STUDY OF AGE-0 FISHES IN NEAR SHORE WOODY STRUCTURE

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 14:09
Abstract: In 2014, the need for an ecological restoration program began at Paul Smiths College in attempt to restore or improve the shoreline along Lower St. Regis Lake. When restoring a shoreline, one must look at what organisms are using the area and how they are doing it. Invertebrates and fishes play a large role in distinguishing problems or changes in an environment, so we sampled both to add useful knowledge to the restoration program. Specifically, we looked to see if fishes were selecting for specific invertebrates (food), or if they did not have a preference. We used a backpack electrofishing unit to sample young of the year fishes near shore along three 60-meter segments, and a 100-foot bag seine to collect fishes offshore along the same segments. Invertebrates were sampled along the same segments and was done so by picking up all coarse woody debris and brushing the pieces off with our hands into a sieve bucket. Woody debris too large to pick up were scraped underwater using a standard kick net. Invertebrates were identified to order level, and fish stomach contents were also identified to the order so that we could conduct a comparison. After using a Chi Square test, we found that according to our p-value (0.2796) fishes were not selecting against any individual taxonomic group. Smallmouth bass were also the dominant present species along nearshore woody debris which could either suggest a higher recruitment than other species, a preference of use by the smallmouth bass, or human introduced capturing bias. Although we can’t indefinitely say fishes were selecting for Dipterans, data shows that dipterans made up just 4.5% of the total invertebrate composition on CWD but made up 9% of the fishes’ stomach contents suggesting fishes may be selecting for them.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
File Attachments: CompletedCapstone.docx
Authors: Adrian Forbes, Alexander Frank, Matthew D Simpson

Management Plan to Increase King Rail (Rallus elegans) Populations in the Northeastern United States (2019-2034)

Fri, 05/04/2018 - 19:00
Abstract: King rails (Rallus elegans) live in freshwater marshlands and rice field habitats. These habitats are often associated with food sources and nesting cover. Diet consists of 58% animal matter ranging from small crustaceans to fish and frogs. Nests are placed in large clumps of grass throughout dense vegetation, or in a tussock. Outside the nesting and breeding season, rails found in the northeastern United States migrate south in search of food opportunities. With only 10% of natural wetlands remaining from destruction and alterations in farming techniques, major threats associated with king rail populations have rose. King rails are listed as near threatened throughout the United States and under no protection aside from the Migratory Bird Act. The IUCN Red List reported that the current population trend is decreasing at rate of 30% over 14 years. Based on population models, survival within the fledgling stage is the key factor to focus on during conservation practices. The goal of this plan is to increase the population from its current state to a sustainable level for maximum viewing and ecological stability throughout the northeastern states of Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey within the next 15 years. The objectives to reach this goal include: find population estimates to better assess the species abundance of king rails, obtain lands for king rails species to inhabit, decrease the amount of selected marshland being restructured, and increase the fledgling stage survival rate of king rails. King rails are an understudied species that deserve conservation help to ensure survival.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
File Attachments: King_2018_05_03.docx
Authors: Kyle King

Rock Pigeons of Portland, Oregon: 10 Year Management Plan (2018-2028)

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 12:56
Abstract: Rock pigeons (Columba livia) of the family Columbidae are urban exploiters with a worldwide distribution. Pigeons commonly present a management issue in urban areas due to their high density and opportunistic feeding habits. Rock pigeons are not protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act as they are non-migratory however, their versatile nature as wild, feral, and domestic stock tends to lead to their exclusion from hunting seasons and similar legislation. Property damage caused by pigeons in Portland is intensified in areas where the birds roost such as the site of a deconstruction grant program where roosting pigeons caused irreparable damage to over 66% of previously recoverable siding material. The view of pigeons as a nuisance by residents and the potential for disease transmission to people add to human-pigeon conflict within Portland. At its current trajectory, the rock pigeon population of Portland, Oregon will continue to rise above the social carrying capacity until it reaches the biological caring capacity. The goal of this management plan is to reduce human-pigeon conflict in Portland, Oregon. This goal requires a reduction in the population size of pigeons in the city, a reduction in pigeon related damages to public and private property, a decrease in disease transmission potential of the pigeon population, and offering a controlled opportunity for human pigeon interaction.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
File Attachments: Hill_2018.05.03
Authors: Kaiden Jenna Hill

Recovery plan for Stenoderma rufum in the El Yunque National Forest of Puerto Rico

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 10:26
Abstract: Puerto Rico is the largest island in the Caribbean, an area with regular hurricanes that cause large scale disturbances on a regular interval of about 60 years. Recently the frequency of these events has increased with Hurricane Hugo in 1991, Hurricane Georges in 1994, and Hurricane Maria in 2017, the most damaging. Stenoderma rufum, the red fig-eating bat, has become increasingly rare as these large-scale disturbances have increased.. Hurricane Hugo was the first documented hurricane for its effects on the red fig-eating bat. Initial population damage was low in comparison to related species such as Artibeus jamaicensis, the Jamaican fruit bat, however the long term damage was greater: A. jamaicensis recovered to pre-hurricane levels within 3 years whereas S. rufum declined in population for nearly 3 years afterward and did not show significant signs of recovery until 5 years after the storm. In part this delayed recovery could be attributed to Hurricane Georges shortly thereafter. S. rufum is a phyllostomid bat that is foliar nesting and frugivorous which makes it more vulnerable to disturbance than other species on the island when defoliation from hurricanes can be as high as 100% in some areas of the LEF with tree mortality as high as 50%. Frugivorous bats are major agents of seed dispersal which is critical to the health of forest communities in a disturbance habitat. The red fig-eating bat was the dominant frugivorous bat in Puerto Rico prior to Hurricane Hugo and the only known seed dispersal agent for at least one species of tree. This bat acts as a keystone species in its environment but as of now its status is unknown. The most recent hurricane, Maria, was the third most expensive hurricane in terms of damages in the United States and has unofficially been described as the worst defoliation event in the history of Puerto Rico. Aside from hurricane disturbance human expansion over the last few decades has fragmented habitat on the island causing a number of isolated populations. S. rufum has been shown to be a weak flier with individuals maintaining small home ranges making immigration an unlikely vector for recovery. This plan looks to recover the population of the red fig-eating bat in the LEF which at the time of last study was declining or potentially absent altogether and with the addition of the damage from Hurricane Maria the population is likely in critical condition. To accomplish this monitoring needs to be established long-term to understand the state of the population as well as the effects of management undertaken. Population size and demographics as well as forest recovery are the primary factors addressed as they are both the most significant effects caused by hurricanes and the slowest to recover. Due to the possibility that this species is already at a critical point it is also suggested that captive breeding be implemented. Captive bred populations could be used to supplement the declining numbers as well as protect the species should wild populations disappear. Two breeding sites are recommended in this plan: One on site to allow the species a more familiar climate to grow in as well as being accessible for active and consistent release of individuals to bolster wild populations, and a second on the mainland of the US to protect the captive breeding program from being exposed to the same danger of severe weather disturbance that endangers the wild population. If no action is taken to recover red fig-eating bat populations could be extinct within the next 20 years.
Access: Yes
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
Authors: Scott Curley

Recovery Plan for Talaud Flying Fox (Acerodon humilis) On Talaud Islands, Indonesia

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 10:26
Abstract: Talaud flying foxes (Acerodon humilis; hereafter A. humilis) are a fruit bat similar in appearance to the other members of its genus, and is endemic to the Talaud Islands of Indonesia. As frugivores, their diet consists of soft fruits and possibly pollen or nectar, but the specific species it consumes are unknown. Bats of family Pteropodidae are known to have large foraging home ranges that may cover 100 km or more in a single night, often resulting in contact with humans at orchards and temporary roost sites. These interactions are often viewed negatively as a nuisance in orchards, and the trees they roost in are frequently cut down for timber. Having only been briefly described twice based on seven specimens, few details of this species' life history or biological needs are known. Based on being an island-endemic species and the few individuals seen, it is listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as ‘Endangered’, though current population statistics are unknown. The bat is protected legally by the Indonesian government, but active efforts are limited with uncertain results. While some potential habitat of A. humilis is protected in Karakelang Utara dan Suletan Wildlife Preserve on Karakelang Island, much of its possible habitat on the rest of the Talaud Islands is unprotected. The decline of this species is believed to be directly linked to destruction of its habitat due to timber harvesting, and direct harvesting of the species for the bushmeat trade. The goals of this management plan are (1) to gain understanding and acquire the necessary knowledge of Talaud flying foxes to effectively manage them, and (2) increase populations of Talaud flying foxes to down-list them from endangered on the IUCN Red List over 20 years. The objectives of this management plan are: (1.1) conduct population surveys to determine population sizes and distribution of Talaud flying foxes on the largest Talaud Islands of Karakelang, Salibabu, Kabaruan, Karatung, Nanusa, and Miangas over first two years, (1.2) construct a HSI (Habitat Suitability Index) model for A. humilis over years 3-5, (2.1) reduce occurrence of illegal logging on the Talaud Islands by 50% over initial 10 years, (2.2) increase total area of protected habitat sites by 20% over 20 years, (2.3) increase assistance to Indonesian government and communities in habitat protection efforts through contributions of US $10M from government and non-government organizations (NGOs) over 20 years, and (2.4) increase local education and awareness of threats to species, and educate on solutions and alternative agricultural practices through outreach programs to 60,000 residents and 50,000 tourists over first 5 years. As an island endemic species, there should be a focus on its protection. A thorough study of the species will provide knowledge and inform recovery actions. Financial and logistical support will reduce illegal harvesting and destructive agricultural practices. Public education builds appreciation for and dispels myths about the species. If a commitment to scientific investigation and funding of management efforts are prioritized, then there is still a chance for this rare species to persist. Protecting biodiversity is of particular importance in island ecosystems, where endemic species are susceptible to extinction. Fruit bats are known to be keystone species in their role as pollinators and seed-dispersers. The negative impacts of the reduction or loss of A. humilis cannot be fully understood as long as so little is known about the species itself. Recovery and understanding must be a priority for the sake of protecting ecosystem function and to prevent the loss of unique species.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
Authors: Weston J. Schloss