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Capstone Projects

Cultural eutrophication of Lower Saint Regis Lake using diatoms and organic content as indicators of eutrophication.

Tue, 04/28/2020 - 12:06
Abstract: Cultural eutrophication can greatly affect water quality, leading to algae blooms and can affect fish communities. Throughout the history of Paul Smith’s Hotel and College, development along Lower St. Regis lake has led to increases in eutrophic conditions, which has detrimental effects on water quality. In this study, a sediment core from Lower St. Regis Lake was analyzed to determine when past eutrophication events occurred. This was accomplished using species counts of diatoms from every 1.0 cm of sediment. The relative abundance of diatom species such as Tabellaria flocculosa, Asterionella formosa, and Fragilaria crotonensis were used as indicators of more eutrophic conditions. Loss on ignition (LOI) was also used to measure the organic content in the sediment at increments of 0.5 cm. The higher percent lost on ignition indicates higher productivity in the lake and more eutrophic conditions. Some samples from the sediment core were also dated using lead-210 to create a timeline that could be compared to known dates of events occurring along the lake that could have affected the trophic status of Lower St. Regis Lake. There was a sudden spike in the relative abundance of F. crotonensis and an increase in organic content at a depth of 20 cm in the core, indicating that conditions became more eutrophic. Based on the lead-210 dates, this spike in F. crotonensis and organic content occurred between 1898 and 1908, when development around the lake was increasing and Paul Smith’s Hotel added indoor plumbing with poor wastewater treatment practices.
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Major: Biology
Year: 2020
File Attachments: Capstone_0.docx
Authors: Lydia Harvey

Hermit Hill Vintage Business Strategy

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 13:55
Abstract: Our capstone project was to help a local business in Hermit Hill Vintage Antiques with a business strategy and marketing plan. Through this we created ways for them to increase the number of customers as well as create a social media presence. We looked at their current business strategy, then created a new revamped one for Hermit Hill Vintage with a higher focus on marketing with many suggestions.
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Major: Business Management and Entrepreneurial Studies
Year: 2020
Authors: Nicholas McCabe
Melanie Montealegre

Generating Visitor and Nordic Ski Revenue at The VIC

Wed, 05/27/2020 - 16:16
Abstract: This project encompasses a comprehensive media and advertising plan to generate revenue for the Nordic ski season at the Paul Smith’s College Visitors Interpretive Center (VIC). The VIC is an environmental education and winter sports center owned and operated by Paul Smith’s College. This plan is designed to be useful in generating Nordic Season revenue for the VIC for years to come.
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Major: Communication
Year: 2020
Authors: Jill Marie Henderson

Vegetarian and Plant-Based Food

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 10:01
Abstract: Serving Vegetarian and Plant-Based food in a Restaurant
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Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2020
File Attachments: Finished Capstone .docx
Authors: Abigayle Brietzke

The Influence of Microtopography on the Spatial Distribution of Peatland Plants

Mon, 04/27/2020 - 13:01
Abstract: Microtopography in peatlands creates structural patterns within the environment that, if understood, could allow for more comprehensive wetland management and restoration plans to be constructed. The objectives of this study are to determine: 1) the spatial scale at which microtopography occurs on in Adirondack peatlands; 2) if hummock size changes in relation to the distance from the forested wetland edge; and 3) if individual plant species respond to, or vary, in relation to microtopography and abiotic factors. To determine the influence of microtopography on peatland plants, data were collected on the surface area and height distributions of hummocks, the distance between hummocks and the abiotic soil characteristics. Plant species richness, and percent cover data were collected on hummocks only. The spatial scale of microtopography was determined to be regularly distributed across the sampling area. There was no significant correlation between the distance from the coniferous-edge and the relative size of hummocks. Plant species richness was found to be higher on hummocks as opposed to hollows. Using a combination of correlation and multiple regression analysis we determined that leather leaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata), lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium), and common cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpa) were correlated to individual abiotic variables. The variability of the percent cover of leather leaf was explained by increasing surface area, lower soil temperatures, and lower pH; the variability of the percent cover of lowbush blueberry was explained by increasing oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) and lower pH; and the variability of the percent cover of common cranberry was explained by lower hummock height alone. Only three of the common plants identified were correlated with the abiotic variables measured. Further research should be done to continue to determine the primary influence of the elevational gradients on the plant species composition and to determine the resilience of these systems to changing climate.
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Literary Rights: Off
Major: Ecological Restoration
Year: 2020
Authors: Joshua T. Young

Financial and Marketing Research for Alumni Campground

Sat, 05/09/2020 - 11:52
Abstract: The purpose of this capstone was to look at the financial plan for the Alumni Campground and make suggestions for marketing. Through interviews, surveys, and other research on the campground, we were able to see who uses the campground and areas of improvement for the physical site and marketing. Our recommendations are to help the campground prosper in the future
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Literary Rights: Off
Major: Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2020
File Attachments: Capstone Essay.docx
Authors: Margret Montag, Dallas Olsen

Servals (Leptailurus serval) in South Africa’s Cape: A 20-Year Reintroduction and Management Plan

Fri, 05/01/2020 - 07:48
Abstract: Servals (Leptailurus serval) are medium-sized African felids with a range extending from the Mediterranean coast of Morocco to the Cape of South Africa: though, they have been extirpated from the latter. They are prey generalists, preferring a variety of small mammals. Their preferred prey items typically inhabit wetland areas, meaning that servals spend quite a bit of time there as well. Conservation issues for servals include aggressive agriculture and wetland habitat destruction, illegal harvest and poaching for use in traditional medicine and clothing, and the lack of species-specific legislation. This management plan aims to provide a comprehensive action plan to reintroduce a healthy population of 30 individual servals to their previously extirpated range on the Cape of South Africa, and to see a shift in public opinion regarding the importance of small mammals and wetland conservation. Objectives to reach the goal of reintroduction include: selecting and transporting individuals with tactics encouraged and approved by translocation literature; selecting 15 young adults and 15 adults with a 2:1 female to male ratio; increase young adult and adult survivorship by 10% through actively managing for the population’s success for a minimum of 3 generations, with a generation being defined as 18 months; see a 10% increase of species-specific legislation being passed and introduced within the next 5 years; observe a 5% increase in total wetland area by 2030; and to keep stress-induced and autoimmune diseases out of translocated individuals. Objectives to reach the goal of seeing a shift in public opinion include: observe a 10% increase in private lands utilized as wetland conservation or management areas; observe a statistically significant positive change in public opinion about the conservation of wetlands and small mammals; and observe eradication of serval pelts and parts in marketplaces by 2025. Mark recapture studies for the duration of 3 generations will keep tabs on the health and size of the population. Lobbying and advising South Africa’s government and lawmakers should see an introduction and prolonged enforcement of 2 new or altered laws or regulations within the next 5 years. Utilizing education, outreach, and lobbying in combination, a total wetland area in South Africa will increase by 5% by 2030, resulting in more appropriate habitat for both the serval and its prey items. Evidence of a large proportion of environmentally focused citizens should be profound. Ensuring the health of individuals prior to transporting them is vital. This will mitigate disease in the reintroduced population. A key component of the successful management of this species is the public’s opinion about it. Positive public opinion regarding servals, their habitat, and associated prey items should be prevalent. Private game reserves and land reserved for wildlife management are a common sight in South Africa. We must see an increase in private land being utilized for the conservation of servals. The differences in the data collected with each repetition of a survey sent out before and at regular intervals after the start of outreach will be analyzed for statistical significance. Evidence of a significant change in public opinion should be prevalent. Two studies or articles published regarding the presence of serval pelts will be seen in marketplaces within the next 5 years. These studies will show evidence of continued decline in serval pelt trade and usage, both in percent decline and numbers of pelts present. These management actions could allow for a successful, healthy reintroduced population of servals in the Cape of South Africa, as well as a growing public fondness of servals, their habitat preferences, and the species that they prey upon, such as the southern African Vlei Rat (Otomys irroratus).
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2020
Authors: Autumn Tallant

Thirty-year Roloway Monkey (Cercopithecus roloway) Management Plan for Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire

Thu, 04/30/2020 - 18:43
Abstract: Roloway monkeys (Cercopithecus roloway) is a critically endangered, long-limbed, long-tailed monkey that is endemic to Ghana and the Côte d'Ivoire countries in West Africa. Roloway monkeys are listed on the 25 most threatened primate taxa in the world. Roloway monkeys primarily eat ripe fruits and invertebrates but will also eat seeds, flowers, and young leaves. Roloway monkeys prefer mangrove trees to use as a shelter, a source of food, a source of water, and protection but can be found in other tropical forested areas. Roloway monkeys reproduce approximately twice a year. Roloway does not have a specific breeding season and is based on their environment. Roloway monkeys spend their entire life in the trees. Thus, deforestation is a primary concern for the survival of the species. In addition, the villagers hunt monkeys for bushmeat; villagers do not specifically target roloway monkeys but make no effort to avoid the species while hunting. The goals of this management plant are to increase the intrinsic value of roloway monkeys to the residents of Ghana and the Côte d'Ivoire and restore the population of roloway monkeys to sustainable population size. There are six main objectives to reach and fulfill the goals. First, increase the villagers’ knowledge of what roloway monkeys are and look like by 40% of individuals. Second, to decrease the amount of roloway monkey bushmeat in markets for sale by 30% within ten years. Third, reduce illegal tree harvesting in Ghana and the Côte d'Ivoire by 50% in the next 25 years. Fourth, increase roloway monkeys travel between the towns located on the border of Ghana and the Côte d'Ivoire by 40% within 30 years. Fifth, increase the information known about population size and natural history of roloway monkeys by producing five peer-reviewed papers over 20 years to improve the management of the species. And finally, increase the survival rate of subadults into adulthood by 20% within the next 30 years. These objectives will be achieved through different actions, including education, increased management and monitoring of known habitats, and implementation of new data collection methods. The completion of each objective and the effective implementation of each action should increase the intrinsic value of roloway monkeys in the villagers’ eyes and the restoration of roloway monkey’s population size.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2020
Authors: Jazzmin Wipf

Ten-year management plan for the Mexican axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) in Xochimilco, Mexico City

Thu, 04/30/2020 - 17:02
Abstract: The Mexican axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) is an aquatic salamander found in homes and labs across the world and yet, is only endemic to a polluted, urbanized canal system in Xochimilco, Mexico City. In Xochimilco, the habitat for axolotl was historically a lake that was converted into a series of canals by the Aztecs. The Xochimilco ecosystem began deteriorating after the fall of the Aztec empire. In the 1950’s, rapid urbanization of Mexico City led to pollution, reduction of habitat, and the introduction of exotic fish for food. These factors further contribute to the decline of the axolotl which once was at the highest trophic level in the Xochimilco ecosystem. In 1998 the density of axolotl in Xochimilco was approx. 6000 individuals/km2 and todays estimate is 35 individuals/km2. The goal of this management plan is to restore the axolotl population in the Xochimilco ecosystem to the 1998 estimate of 6000 individuals/km2. Objectives to reach this goal include an 80% increase in viable habitat for the survival and reproductive success of the axolotl, an 80% reduction in exotic fish in the Xochimilco ecosystem, an increase in the amount of sexually mature axolotl by 45%, and a 50% increase in public awareness of the declining axolotl population. To increase axolotl habitat in Xochimilco there must be refuges or cover that allows them to survive predation and have cover for their eggs. A decrease in exotic fish will decrease predation on axolotl at their most vulnerable stages of life. Releasing adult axolotl into Xochimilco will increase the population size of the next generation. Educating the public hopefully will inspire them to care and understand the factors leading to the decline of the axolotl population.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2020
Authors: Eddie Boyer

Forty-year Kinosternon angustipons (Central American mud turtle) Management Plan in Nicaragua

Thu, 04/30/2020 - 14:18
Abstract: Kinosternon angustipons (Central American/ narrow bridged mud turtle) is a mud turtle native to Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. There is limited primary scientific information available except for the initial species description. K. angustipons and other native turtles are threatened by illegal forestry activity, pollution, and invasive predators. Through the use of a population model, the projected population will decline until extinction within the next forty years. The model identified key areas of interest that, if properly managed, can result in healthy stable population. Three areas of management focus should be; improving the current scientific knowledge base for K. angustipons to focus and facilitate accurate management effort. Improving the habitat quality will increase availability and quality of cover and food resources. Finally, protecting the nest and hatchlings will increase survival and recruitment within the population. These actions should have the desired results of increasing the percentage of reproductively active females, average number of eggs, and the survivability of the nest and hatchlings. If these areas, determined by the model to be influential to the population's rate of change, receive targeted support then K. angustipons will not remain unknown or go extinct.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2020
File Attachments: KOCH.2020.05.01 Final.docx
Authors: Nicholas Koch