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Capstone Projects

Managing the Declining Population of Northern long-eared bats in New York State

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 08:02
Abstract: White-nose syndrome (Geomyces destructans) is a fungal disease that has caused over 5.5 million bat deaths in eastern North America. The fungus affects any open skin including the bat’s patagium and causes lesions. The fungus consists of microscopic spores which can attach to anything it comes into contact with to spread the disease. The fungus is spread from bat to bat and cave systems as well as facilitated by human tourism. Northern long-eared bats (Myotis septentrionalis) are currently threatened in New York State. The northern long-eared bat is an insectivore and must hibernate when its food source is unavailable. During hibernation the bat’s immune system is suppressed, making it more vulnerable to the effects of white-nose syndrome. The bat will deplete its fat reserve to fight off the disease, which will lead to death if the bat cannot find a food source. White-nose syndrome has decreased the northern long-eared bat population by 90% in New York State. There is no cure for white-nose syndrome, and the northern long-eared bat population continues to decrease in New York State. The northern long-eared bat population is relatively unknown, but estimated to be 20,000 individuals in New York State. Population projections predict that the bat may become extirpated from New York State in the next 5 years. Increasing the survivability of the juvenile bat population to 70% and the adult bat population to 80% would prevent the extirpation of the species. The goal of this management plan is to increase the population of northern long-eared bats in New York to prevent the extirpation of the species from the state and create a sustainable population. This should be done by preventing further human facilitation of the disease, increasing educational resources for the public and gathering more information about the fungus and the northern long-eared bat population in New York.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2018
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Bailey Muntz

Management Plan for Pacific Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) in Alaska, 2017-2027

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 18:06
Abstract: Pacific Walruses are social mammals and travel in herds. Most of the population spends the summer months in the ice pack of the Chukchi Sea; however, mostly adult males use coastal haulouts in the Bering Sea. Walruses use ice to rest between foraging trips, mate, care for their young, and defend themselves against predators. Climate reduced their ability to engage in these behaviors by eliminating the ice pack in their summer season. Walruses feed on bivalves on the sea bottom; however, because of climate change they no longer can reach the bottom. In response to the loss of ice, walruses are resting on land haulouts with as many as 20,000-40,000 individuals. This puts pressure on the benthic material supply. The swim from drifting ice to coastal haulouts can be hundreds of kilometers, which leads to the death of young walruses. Walruses are sensitive to sounds from ships, aircrafts, and tourist underwater and out of water. When walruses are disturbed by these events, they create stampedes by trying to dive into the water. The stampeding event ends in high mortality for calves. In 2007, more than 1,000 walruses were trampled to death in Chukotka, Russia. To prevent human disturbances, management at haulouts needs to occur for 10 years (2017-2027). The goals are to improve demographic knowledge of pacific walruses, minimize stampeding events, and grow and replace native bivalves near land haulouts. This could be accomplished by laws that require aircraft and vessels to maintain the appropriate distance. Creating artificial habitat would result in less use of coastal haulouts which would decrease mortality during stampeding events. It would also provide easier access to bivalves for foraging trips. Bivalves are depleting near land haulouts due to large demand from the high density of walruses, therefore aquaculture is needed to replace their food source. Harvesting more of the adult population would be essential to maintain the population from going over carrying capacity. If the adult population decreases then fewer calves will die in stampedes. These objectives are necessary to ensure the future of walruses and their new habitat.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Desiree Stumpf

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.
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Major: Forestry
Year: 2016
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Ryan Krzys, Louis Ferrone III

A Management Plan for the Black-Tailed Prairie Dog (Cynomys ludovicianus)

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 22:07
Abstract: Since the turn of the century black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) populations have declined as much as 98% throughout North America (Miller et al. 1994). It was once thought that prairie dogs occupied between 80-104 million acres historically, but with the expansion of ranching and agriculture into the prairie dogs native habitat, that number has been reduced to 2.4 million acres in recent years. Black-tailed prairie dogs play a vital role in the prairie and grasslands ecosystems. There are a number of different species of animals that depend on prairie dogs and their activities. It has been thought that over 170 species rely on the prairie dogs for their burrows, for food, and the habitat they create. Most states currently within the range of the black-tailed prairie dog classify the species as a pest or varmint, and no state has adequate regulatory mechanisms in place to assure conservation of this species within its borders. This management plan will propose strategies to adequately regulate the conservation of the black-tailed prairie dog, eventually leading to the partial restoration of the prairie ecosystem.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2015
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Ryan McAuliffe

Optimal Clutch Size of American Kestrels (Falco sparverius) in Northern New York

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 12:08
Abstract: American kestrels readily use nest boxes, which makes them perfect candidates for studies on nesting activity and success. Nesting success is important to understand so that managers can effectively assess the productivity of a breeding population of kestrels. The goal of this study was to determine optimum clutch size for American Kestrels in Northern New York. The hypothesis was that optimum clutch size consisted of four eggs per clutch. The objective was to determine what clutch size is most effective at hatching young. The study was conducted during the months of June 2013 through August 2013 on 150 nest boxes that were established in 2002. The contents of each elevated nest box were observed using a video baby monitor attached to an extendible pole to minimize disturbance. Clutch size data and number of chicks hatched was compiled and analyzed using a Kruskal-Wallis test. This test was used because it allowed data to be separated into different clutch sizes, and determined the significance between the number of eggs in each clutch and the number of chicks hatched. Clutch sizes varied from 1-5 eggs, with occurrences of one and four eggs being most common. The majority of nesting attempts with one egg failed, resulting in a low probability of chicks hatching from one egg clutches. A clutch size of four eggs has the highest probability of successfully hatching chicks and the highest mean number of chicks hatched compared to the other clutch sizes.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Jennifer Miller

Managing Raccoon (Procyon lotor) Populations in Urban Environments of New York State

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 17:29
Abstract: With the human population growing over time, so has the amount of urban and suburban populations. Urban areas have fragmented the landscape that can attract wild populations into the urban areas. One of these species that has been attracted includes the raccoon (Procyon lotor). In urban areas where resources are abundant, raccoon densities can become very high and they can become very destructive to homes. They are destructive to homes because of their generalist foraging habits and creation of den sites in human’s homes. Raccoons can be particularly dangerous in the spread of epizootics such as rabies, canine distemper, and roundworm. With raccoons in high densities the spread of the epizootics becomes very easy between raccoons which can cause a higher transmission rate to domestic animals or humans. Since population reduction methods have proven to be ineffective in reducing raccoon populations, education to the public to reduce the densities of raccoons may be the most effective. Proper management in maintaining public facilities, feeding wild and domestic animals outdoors, along with precautionary measures to take with your home can help in reducing the amount of negative interactions with raccoons. Also using current or past DEC or animal control data can help determine areas of highest negative interactions with the public to prevent future incidences in occurring.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Scott M. Collins

Multigenerational Vacations and Family Resorts

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 19:23
Abstract: Currently there is a large number of Baby Boomers that are taking their children and grandchildren on vacations and they are the ones paying for it all. What is not known is how and to what extent this new type of travel will impact family resorts. The purpose of this study is to identify the impact of Baby Boomers taking more multigenerational vacations on family resorts. This is a descriptive, exploratory research method. The central question is how this new type of travel will impact family resorts. A survey will be used to collect information from different family resorts. The family resorts will be located all over the country. The information gathered from this survey will be compiled based on what this segment of travel wants and requires. This study will help family resorts plan for the future to ensure that this new segment of travel is happy and continues to stay there.
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Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Rielly Kavanaugh

Preservation & Expeirece

Fri, 12/06/2013 - 19:04
Abstract: This quantitative study is designed to determine how and to what extent cultural heritage travelers who have journey to the Mexico's Ancient Ruins experienced limitations set as a result of needed preservation to prevent future deterioration caused by natural and anthropocentric factors. Preservation methods set and monitored by the National Institute of Anthropology & History (INAH), the National Commission for Protected Natural Areas (CONANP), however do they take from the experience? The ruins chosen for this study are the Pre-Hispanic City of El Tajin, the Pre-Hispanic City & National Park of Palenque, and the Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen Itza .The methodology that will be used in this study is data collection and analysis. Data from research will be collected to gain a numeral estimate of tourist who experienced limitations as a result of prevention methods used to preserve the Ruins of Mexico. The ultimate significance of this study is to provide awareness of the possible limitations preservation methods can have on the tourist’s experience, this information is not provided in studies.
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Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Voniesha Brown

Destination Attachment: Connecting and Learning in New Orleans

Mon, 04/22/2013 - 11:47
Abstract: Educational experiences have the potential to connect the participant to a destination and its people. Food plays a large part in perception of the destination. Learning about food and actively engaging in its creation can be a unique experience. Destination attachment leads to loyalty and repeat visits. The purpose of this study was to investigate how and to what extent the leisure traveler can develop destination attachment in result of participating in educational cooking experiences at a specific destination. This qualitative, inductive relationship study explored how and to what extent offering cultural cooking classes to the leisure traveler at a destination relates to destination attachment. Data was collected through an online survey distributed to class participants. Opinions about the educational cooking experience were collected and analyzed to gauge if the cooking experience had any effect on destination attachment. Destination institutions will be interested in this data if they are looking into offering cultural educational cooking experiences.
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Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Elise Wallner

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.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Jordan Talmage