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Capstone Projects

The influence of temperature, moon phase and cloud cover on the catchability of bats in the Upper Connecticut River Basin and the Merrimack River Basin

Sun, 12/09/2012 - 15:28
Abstract: Small mammals modify their behavior in response to environmental factors such as weather, temperature, moon phase, visibility and the time of night at which they forage. The goal of my study was to determine how environmental variables such as temperature, moon phase and visibility (cloud cover) affected the efficiency (bat captures/net meter/ hour) of bat mist netting. Mist nets were placed in the months of June, July, August, September and November from 2003 to 2012 using mist netting surveys at 23 Army Corps of Engineers dams and recreation projects in New Hampshire and Vermont. Catch rate of bats was not affected by moon phase (P= 0.317) or cloud cover (P=0.130), but were slightly affected by temperature (P=0.053). These results were consistent with other studies that looked at the effects of moon phase, cloud cover and temperature on bats. Knowing the effects of environmental conditions on catchability could be useful to biologists in determining if it is worthwhile to mist net bats on nights with certain conditions to maximize efficiency of catching bats
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
Authors: Jeremy Chamberlain

Can black-capped chickadees learn to associate ultraviolet markers with a food source?

Thu, 12/06/2012 - 07:22
Abstract: Food storing birds, like black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus), have a higher hippocampal volume than other birds, giving them the ability to hide food in small caches and retrieve them hours later with great precision using physical features of the surrounding area as guides. This capacity for learning spatial information may be able to translate to other forms of learning, such as association. Black-capped chickadees are also able to see in the near ultraviolet range (~370nm), theoretically to allow for more vibrant plumage during the breeding season. I hypothesized that black-capped chickadees have the ability to associate an ultraviolet marker with a food source. If they can, perhaps birds can be 'taught' to go towards or away from things like wind turbines, windows, and other hazardous objects. I tested my hypothesis by counting the number of chickadees that landed on two different feeders, one with an ultraviolet marker and food and one with neither. I found that there was no significant trend, either within or between days, that would indicate that the birds learned (χ2 test and Student’s t-test). As a management use, researchers propose that ultraviolet markers on wind turbines could decrease the collision rate of birds with turbine blades.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Eck_Capstone_Final.doc
Authors: Benjamin Eck

Eastern Mud Turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum) Recovery Plan for Long Island, New York

Tue, 05/01/2012 - 12:05
Abstract: The Eastern Mud Turtle is a rapidly decreasing reptile in the most northeastern part of its range, Long Island, New York. They get their name from the behavior of digging through mud to hibernate. The biggest threats to them are road mortality, nest predation, and loss of habitat. They are slow to mature and therefore depend on high levels of adult survivorship to maintain populations. It takes 5-8 years for a female to mature. Then there is a high risk of the eggs being eaten and the females being hit by cars because they make annual movements to nest. Not many eastern mud turtles have been documented in New York. The goal of this management plan for the eastern mud turtle is to decrease the mortality drastically. Key components include decreasing road mortality, increasing the survival of juveniles, and getting the public more aware and involved. If these are addressed properly, then the eastern mud turtle population is should increase.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Full management plan.docx
Authors: Elena Zito

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

Implementation of an Antler Restriction Program for White-tailed deer in New York State’s Wildlife Management Unit 4F

Mon, 04/30/2012 - 16:03
Abstract: White-tailed deer are one of North America’s most popular big game species. Big game hunting provides a great amount of revenue for the state of New York. This reason alone makes its important to keep hunters in New York State satisfied. The problem arises when half of the hunting population wants to implement antler restriction programs and the other half do not. This management plan is designed to keep both types of hunters satisfied. The goal is to implement an antler restriction program in wildlife management unit 4F, which is located in central New York. The antler restriction that would be implemented would be based off of responses to a survey from resident hunters. The three options include an antler restriction that requires there to be three points that measure at least one inch in length on one side, one plan that requires at least two points on one side, or a plan that would take no action at all. The management plan would be implemented the following season and would be monitored for the next 5 years.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
Authors: Joseph Nelson

Management plan for nuisance urban American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) population control

Mon, 04/30/2012 - 12:54
Abstract: High population densities can be a problem for both humans and animals. American crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) occur in extremely high densities in urban settings across the United States. These populations increase the transmission rate of diseases such as West Nile Virus, damage businesses and structures near roost sites, and cause disturbances in the form of noise. For these reasons decreasing the size of urban roosts benefits both crows and humans. This management plan outlines an approach that can be taken to reduce nuisance American crow populations in urban settings. Using non-lethal methods such as pyrotechnic displays, exploders, handheld lasers, tape-recorded distress calls, and habitat modification this plan provides a course of action to disperse urban crow roosts. Extensive public relations are needed for this type of plan due to the disturbance the methods will cause in urban areas. A course of action is provided to inform the public of our actions and to enlist volunteers to help carry out the methods. For this plan to be considered successful a 75% reduction in urban crow population size must be seen along with consistent total population estimates that do not go above 110% or below 90% of the original population size.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Mgmt Plan 4-11.doc
Authors: Benjamin Eck

Monitoring and Managing the Africanized Honey Bee in Colorado

Fri, 04/27/2012 - 11:31
Abstract: When brought to Brazil in 1956 to create a more resilient strain of honey bee, the African honey bee (Apis mellifera scutellata) started hybridizing with the European honey bee (Apis mellifera mellifera) creating the Africanized honey bee. Since then, Africanized bees have spread north, entering the United States in 1990. Most of the southern states are now home to African bees. Colorado must do everything it can to prohibit and manage against these bees. This hybrid produces less honey than European bees and is dangerously more aggressive. Causing negative impacts on people, wildlife, tourism, agriculture and the economy, a management plan must be enacted to prohibit and regulate the establishment of permanent populations of the Africanized bee. This management plan proposes a regulatory and quarantine program to slow their entrance into Colorado. If and when they become established, this plan includes developing a research facility as the backbone of the project and creation of laws and regulations with apiaries to keep the European strain alive.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Complete plan.docx
Authors: Anthony Lisella

Managing for an Increasing Population of Bobcat (Lynx rufus) in New York State, through Harvest Expansion

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:11
Abstract: Bobcats (Lynx rufus) occur mostly in the United States, but also occur into northern Mexico and southern Canada (Nowell and Jackson, 1996). Bobcats are found throughout most of New York State, except for Long Island. They are protected under CITES causing federal protection and control over the exporting of their spotted pelts. The bobcat population is higher than any historic population in New York State and is estimated to be 5,078 and is increasing and expanding throughout their historic range. The rapid increase in the population as well as the potential to continue to increase has caused management efforts to begin. The goal of bobcat management in New York is to sustain a stable and healthy population of 5,000 bobcats, while minimizing the negative human-bobcat interactions. Increasing populations of bobcat are unsustainable, are unhealthy for the population, and cause increase negative human-bobcat interactions, which in the past has caused state-funded efforts to remove predators, which could be detrimental to the population. Actions to achieve this includes increasing the number of Wildlife Management Units (WMUs 4A, 4F, 5R, 6S, 6R, 7M, 7P, 4O, 7S, 7R, 8S, 8R, 8W, 8Y, 8T, 8X, 8P, 9P, 9Y, 9X, 9W, 9N, 9M, 9T, 9S, 9R, 9K, and 9J) in New York allowed to harvest bobcat, altering food sources, as well as doing nothing due to lack of funds, public cooperation, and time. These additional WMUs will be implemented for the 2012-2013 season and will be monitored after each hunting season for the first five years.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
Authors: William Carpenter

Management Plan for Pig-nosed Turtles of the Kikori Region, Papua New Guinea

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 12:01
Abstract: Pig-nosed turtles (Carettochelys insculpta) are the last remaining turtle of its family and it is estimated roughly 3,000 individuals remain in the wild. In the Kikori region of Papua New Guinea, the population of this turtle has been on a severe and rapid decline over the past 30 years as a result of population growth of the local villages, causing increased turtle harvest rates. The more blatant aspect causing affect is the harvesting for food by the locals, as they eat both the eggs and the adult turtles. Nests are raided and all the contents are removed and adults are harvested with close to a 90% successful catch rate. Habitat destruction caused by village development and fresh water collection, and collection pressures from the pet trade are also additively responsible for the population decline. In order to establish an effective manner to increase populations to a sustainable level, much more research needs to be conducted on these turtles, as little is known about them. It may also be imperative to their survival to establish other ways local villages can acquire protein sources.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Final Management Plan.docx
Authors: Chantel Perkins

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