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Capstone Projects

Management of Eastern Hellbenders in the Allegheny Watershed of New York State

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 17:28
Abstract: The eastern hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis) is a large aquatic salamander unique to North America. Research on C. alleganiensis shows a decline in population size throughout much of its range. Hellbender populations in the Allegheny Watershed of New York State have been estimated to include only 400 individuals. The Allegheny River has been altered over the past century by dam construction, stream relocation, and agricultural and urban developments, negatively impacting both the water quality and benthic environment of the watershed. These changes have two major impacts on the species: siltation and pesticide and nutrient runoff, which harm hellbenders directly and reduce cover, food availability, and nest sites. This plan seeks to address these problems through the development of riparian buffer zones. Buffer zones filter nutrients and chemicals from runoff and ground water, and act as a physical barrier against silt. This action is considered the most desirable as it will not only benefit hellbenders, but the ecosystem and community at large by improving water quality, wildlife habitat, and the aesthetic value of the watershed.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: Hellbender management plan
Authors: Daniel Alempijevic

Florida’s Burmese Python (Python molurus bivittatus) Management Plan

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 15:19
Abstract: A population of Burmese pythons (Python molurus bivittatus) has been established within Florida, and is currently thriving unlike the declining populations within its native range. These pythons are a large species of snake (up to 5.5m and greater in length) native to Southeast Asia. Within their current range in Florida, declines of up to 99.3% have been seen in native species, such as raccoons (Procyon lotor), since their introduction. Current action being taken to control these pythons is ineffective, and the population continues to grow and expand. Therefore, action must be taken in order to reduce, and/or contain, the distribution, and/or number of, Burmese pythons in Florida to within the borders of the Everglades National Park (ENP) and Big Cypress Swamp (BCS). In order to accomplish this goal, research to determine effective extermination that causes little or no adverse effects (≤ 5% decrease in population) on native species will be completed. Following the research, the effective strategy(ies) will be implemented along with continued current means of control until such time that the goal is met. Failure to act will result in the continued growth and expansion of Burmese pythons, and lack of recovery for declining native species.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
Authors: Casey Gagne

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) Management Plan for the State of Utah

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 12:10
Abstract: In the state of Utah the burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) is listed as a species of special concern. Populations have been declining at a steady rate due to lack of habitat and other influences such as urban development and chemical use. Burrowing owls nest in ground dwelling mammal’s burrows. With mammal populations declining it has shown effects on the burrowing owl populations. The goal of this management plan is to enhance and maintain the burrowing owl population by enhancing breeding habitat where the habitat has been degraded. The use of artificial burrows and preservation of natural burrows will be strategies to increase survivability during breeding seasons. Burrowing owls are used as an indicator species of degrading ecosystems and are of value to farmers as they feed on small rodents and other organisms that are considered pests. Management action should be taken to recover their steadily declining population.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: PlanRoughDraft.docx
Authors: Brandee Keuer

A Management Plan for the Przewalski’s Horse (Equus ferus przewalskii)

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 12:10
Abstract: The Przewalski’s horse is endemic to the grassland regions of Mongolia. These horses were once extinct in the wild, and have since been brought back to their native lands through extensive reintroduction efforts. However, there are very few individuals in the wild today, and the individuals that do occur have very low genetic diversity. This management plan will be in place to continue these reintroduction efforts and to ensure that the Przewalski’s horse population will become self-sustaining. The goals of this management plan are to increase the overall genetic diversity of the wild Mongolian Przewalski’s horse population and to increase population numbers until it is self-sustaining. These goals will be achieved through captive breeding programs of non-related individuals, and then slowly releasing these new individuals into already established wild populations. The native peoples of Mongolia will be surveyed and informed using pamphlets and verbal communication, of these conservation efforts to avoid and conflict and confrontations. Further education outreach will also take place in zoological societies, to inform the public of this species. This management project will continue until a self-sustaining population is maintained, and until genetic diversity, and levels of non-relatedness between individuals are frequent.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
Authors: Jenna Correia

Management of residential and migratory Canada goose (Branta canadensis) populations on airports in the Northeastern United States

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 22:47
Abstract: Canada geese (Branta canadensis) are a familiar sight throughout North America, with over one million inhabiting the Northeastern United States alone. The habitat requirements for this species align with human fondness for landscaped lawns, leading to human-goose conflicts. Nowhere are these conflicts more life threatening than in airports, where bird strikes on airplanes are dangerous and costly. The most hazardous bird species to airports are Canada geese, due to their large body size, tendency to fly in tight flocks, and utilization of airports as habitat. Between 1990 and 2012, 1,400 collisions occurred between these geese and planes in North America, causing $116,295,969 worth of damage and multiple human deaths. This management plan describes the most effective methods of preventing Canada geese from utilizing airport property as habitat. Habitat modifications including elimination of water bodies and planting of unpalatable grass species discourage geese from landing to roost or feed. If they do land, a detailed hazing regime is recommended to remove them from the property quickly and safely. All recommended actions are evaluated for ethical and practical viability. With the increasing amount of shared airspace between Canada geese and humans, it is an unacceptable risk to allow geese on airports.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: Bjacques_MGMTplan.docx
Authors: Benjamin K. Jacques

Hector's Dolphins, Cephaloryhnchus hectori hectori: A Management Plan to Increase Populations via Increased Protective Legislature

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 22:31
Abstract: Hector's dolphins (Cephalorhynchus hectori) are the only cetacean endemic to New Zealand. The South Island subspecies (C. hectori hectori) has an estimated population size of 7,270 individuals and has been listed as Endangered on the IUCN red list since 2000. The largest threat to Hector's dolphins is gillnet mortalities – it's estimated that 63% of mortalities are caused by fisheries bycatch. The life history of the dolphins indicates that they cannot reproduce quickly enough to replace the individuals lost to bycatch. Current rates of gillnet mortality must be decreased by at least 75% for Hector's dolphins to recover. This plan is designed increase populations of Hector's dolphins by decreasing gillnet mortalities to a sustainable level through legislation. Paramount to this goal are increasing the size and number of protected areas and increasing gillnet restrictions across the range of Hector's dolphins. The offshore distribution of Hector's dolphins depends on the bathymetry of the area, and thus management areas should be evaluated individually to best protect local populations.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
Authors: Chelsie LaFountain

Management Plan to Prevent Regional Extinction of Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) in Northeastern United States

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 01:11
Abstract: Since the first record of white-nose syndrome in 2006 outside Schenectady, NY, populations of hibernating bats in the northeastern United States have continued to decline making more susceptible hibernating bat species, such as the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), at risk for regional extinction (Frick, et.al, 2010). There have been management plans to control the spread of white-nose syndrome and protect areas not yet inflicted with the disease, but nothing to stop the development of the disease or restore the survival rates on infected populations. The goal of this management plan is to increase the population size and prevent the regional extinction of little brown bats in the northeastern United States. In order to achieve this, summer roosts must be more available to increase fat build up before winter, and then have artificial hibernacula with regulated internal temperatures to deter the growth of the white-nose fungus on hibernating bats.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
Authors: Abigail Bradley

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.
Access: No
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Jennifer Miller

Using Pellet Counts and Vegetation Analysis to Determine Moose (Alces alces) Densities in Vermont and in the Adirondacks, to Better the Understanding of Moose Densities for New York State DEC

Thu, 12/15/2011 - 14:46
Abstract: Using Pellet Counts and Vegetation Analysis to Determine Moose (Alces alces) Densities in Vermont and in the Adirondacks, to Better the Understanding of Moose Densities for New York State DEC
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2011
Authors: Nicole Bellerose, William Carpenter

Hare Body Mass Index in relationship to habitat type andcover availability at the landscape scale in snowshoe hare in the Northern Adirondacks

Wed, 12/07/2011 - 12:38
Abstract: Snowshoe hares (Lepus americanas) are an important keystone species in environments in which they are present. An important indicator of fitness in many organisms is Body Mass Index (BMI). My question is whether the BMI and relative abundance (hares per unit effort) of snowshoe hares will change under different habitat scenarios as determined by National Land Cover Data. I hypothesized that snowshoe hares would have a higher BMI and greater abundance under areas of higher % conifer and mixed forest. I collected weight, foot length, hare harvest location, and hunt effort data from two hare derbies in the northern Adirondacks. I calculated BMI, relative abundance, and % area of each type of habitat cover and correlated habitat cover with my response variables. I then used principle component analysis to describe the four main configurations of habitat where hare were found and correlated those with BMI and relative abundance. Univariate analysis showed that BMI correlates negatively with % mixed forest and positively with % herbaceous wetland and % developed land. Relative abundance does not correlate with BMI, but relative abundance correlates with herbaceous wetland, grassland, and shrub. Principle component analyses showed that BMI was marginally significantly positively correlated with habitats that were developed, shrub, and mixed forest dominated. Relative abundance was negatively correlated with habitats that were developed, shrub, mixed, and woody wetland dominated. These outcomes are the opposite of my hypothesis. This suggests that hares are energy maximizers and choose habitats where they have the highest quality food over cover from aerial predation.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2011
File Attachments: DeGrave_2011_Capstone.docx
Authors: Caitlin DeGrave