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Capstone Projects

The Effects on Soil Caused by Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) in a Northern Hardwood Forest in the Northern Adirondack Mountains

Mon, 12/02/2013 - 10:54
Abstract: Plant invasions are thought to be among the worst causes of biological extinction and biodiversity loss in the modern world. With the United States spending upward of thirty four million dollars a year in attempts to control and repair the damages caused by invasive plants, not only are we feeling the biological effects, but we financially cannot afford to keep combating these invasive species (Barto and Cipollini, 2009). Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) can invade multiple types of sites whether the soil is sandy or if a site has been disturbed. This invasive species will take over the understory and alter soil chemistry (Morris, McClain, Anderson and McConnaughay, 2012). This study aimed to look at how garlic mustard is affecting soils in the northern Adirondack Mountains in New York State. Although currently scattered and not very prevalent, there have already been changes to the soil chemistry. This study was conducted by setting up multiple plots within areas where garlic mustard was present and gathering soil to be used to test for nutrient values. It was found in this study that calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, sodium, aluminum and soil pH values changed due to the presence of garlic mustard.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Biology, Forestry
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Capstone Final.docx
Authors: Kyle Dash

The Conservation and Management of Wolverine (Gulo gulo) Populations in Northern Idaho to Help Prevent Human Caused Extirpation from the Contiguous United States

Thu, 05/02/2013 - 11:21
Abstract: Wolverines (Gulo gulo) were once a thriving species in the North Western United States, but large scale trapping and poison programs in the early 1900s lead to the species near extinction. Since then, populations in the United States have been struggling to maintain a strong presence in Idaho. Its current listing as threatened on the Endangered Species Act prohibits hunting and trapping, but more management is needed to sustain populations. Human development and recreation activities have caused wolverines to disperse from its nature range. Using habitat preservation techniques on current and historical wolverine habitat, increase availability and connectivity will improve dispersal. Close relationship with state officials will provide protection regarding land use, recreation, hunting, trapping and harassment. Public education will teach residents ways they can help prevent wolverine populations from further decline. Extensive research and population monitoring are needed due to the currently declining populations and the low fecundity of the species.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Biology, Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Danielle E. Ball

Poaching: Does The Local Economy Influence Poaching in New Hampshire

Wed, 04/24/2013 - 17:35
Abstract: Because one of the most commonly cited reasons for poaching is to feed one’s family, I investigated whether economic indicators (unemployment, poverty, median household income) affected poaching in New Hampshire on the county level for years 2005-2011. Economic indicator data was collected through the US Census while poaching data was collected from NH Fish and Game. Violations per capita was calculated by dividing the number of violations in each county by the population of the respective county. As the amount of rural area may influence poaching rate, huntable/fishable area in each county (total county area minus residential and transportation area) was calculated as a metric of ruralness. First, in an effort, to determine which economic indicators to use, I sought to determine if the three economic indicators correlated with each other. Because poverty level correlated with household median income, poverty was excluded from the regression analysis. A multiple regression was conducted with unemployment, household median income, and available huntable fishable area as predictors of violations per capita. Due to Coos being an outlier in each of the categories of interest, Coos was excluded from the statistical analysis. Unemployment (coeff = -0.0048752, p = 0.016), household median income (coeff = -0.0000002, p = 0.008), and huntable and fishable area (coeff = 0.0009837, p = 0.029) were significant factors in predicting violations per capita in NH. Although unemployment, household median income, and huntable fishable area can be possible predictors of poaching, other variables may also influence poaching.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Capstone Paper Final.docx
Authors: Joshua Curtis

Current summarization and future recommendations: A universal management plan for American beaver (Castor canadensis) across the northeastern U.S.

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 15:18
Abstract: The northeastern United States has the most diverse trapping regulations of the entire country. Driven by political and socio-cultural views on trapping, laws have been passed in recent years that are not based on the best available science. A summary has been completed of the current regulations throughout the northeast with management implications for the future. The intent of this management plan is to create steps to improve laws so they are based solely on the current ecological problems of the species.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Tyson Morrill

Determining Habitat Suitability for Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) in Five Forest Harvest Method Plots on the Paul Smith’s Visitors Interpretation Center Land to Promote Long Term Suitable Habitat.

Sun, 04/28/2013 - 11:42
Abstract: Ruffed grouse (Bonansa umbellus) populations are in a steady decline due to the loss of early successional forests. Our study focused on the suitability of ruffed grouse habitat which is considered an area with adequate food and cover in. We used a habitat suitability index designed for ruffed grouse in Colorado that included average height of woody stems, percent conifers, density of mature yellow birch, and total equivalent stem density as the variables that indicate whether an area has suitable cover and food for ruffed grouse. Using the habitat suitability index we measured the vegetation in five forest harvest methods including: single tree selection, two-age cut, shelter-wood cut, clear-cut, and a control plot to determine if a habitat suitability index developed in Colorado can be used to assess habitat suitability for ruffed grouse in New York. These plots are located in the Adirondacks in Northern New York State at the Paul Smith’s College Visitors Interpretation Center (VIC). Our results suggested that 14 years after harvest a single tree selection harvest method has the highest overall habitat suitability (0.95) for ruffed grouse. This is different from other studies we found that indicated clear-cut was the most suitable forest harvest method for ruffed grouse. We also projected the change in habitat suitability for height of woody stems over time for the clear-cut based on the yearly growth rate of 0.656 feet. Based on our findings from the study we made recommendations to land owners and land managers to develop and promote short term and long term suitable habitat for ruffed grouse. These recommendations included using a variety of forestry practices that included: single tree selection, shelterwood, and clear-cut because ruffed grouse require a variety of different cover types and habitat over their lifetime.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science, Forestry
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Final_Draft.doc
Authors: Jeremy Anna, Jake Baulch

Increasing American Marten (Martes americana) Populations in New York State for Increased Fur Harvest Opportunity

Thu, 05/02/2013 - 11:29
Abstract: American Marten (Martes americana) can be found throughout the Northern portion of North America including Alaska and almost all of Canada (Figure 1) (Buskirk and Ruggerio 1994). They are only found within the Adirondack Mountains in New York with the densest populations being in the High Peaks Wilderness area, Five Ponds Wilderness area, and the Pigeon Lake Wilderness area (NYSDEC 2013). Figure 3 shows the areas where marten can be harvested during the specified trapping season (October 25- Decemeber 10 yearly). Marten are a furbearing species in New York meaning they are eligible for harvest during regulatory trapping seasons mandated by the states department of environmental conservation. Marten are protected by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meaning they are viewed on an international scale to protect them on a federal level and to manage the trade of there valuable pelt/furs. The goal of the marten management plan in New York is to increase population numbers so that eligible trappers may be able to harvest such an elusive species on a more frequent basis, while still limiting the number they are able to harvest yearly to prevent possible extirpation. Increasing marten populations is largely based on enough suitable habitats to sustain viable populations. Actions to achieve the goal are to restore habitats to the needs of martens along with creating corridors to areas with suitable habitats to increase the overall range they are found throughout. Live trapping and relocation may be necessary to create viable populations in areas with existing suitable habitat. These techniques will be used starting in 2013 and continue for 10 years reassess after those ten years more analysis will be done to see if the plan was a success.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Ryan Kelley

Current Status and Management Plan for the Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) to Manage White-nose Syndrome in Northeast North America

Thu, 05/02/2013 - 11:29
Abstract: Bats are an important part of many ecosystems, and provide numerous benefits to humans, including saving the agricultural industry billions of dollars a year. The little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) is the most numerous and widespread species of bat in North America, and in northeast North America, their populations have been decimated by a disease known as white-nose syndrome. White-nose syndrome is caused by a cold loving fungus and causes infected bats to arouse early from hibernation and use up critical fat reserves. The goal of this management plan is to increase and maintain the population of little brown bats to a sustainable level to prevent regional extirpation and range-wide extinction of the species through; increasing protection and regulation, researching white-nose syndrome more, and educating people about bats and white-nose syndrome. If nothing is done, little brown bats face regional extirpation, if not range-wide extinction.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Jeremy Chamberlain

Providing youth sportsmen and disabled veterans with designated hunting areas through the enactment of the New York State eastern cottontail management plan

Thu, 05/02/2013 - 14:26
Abstract: The eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) is considered to be one of the most widely distributed cottontail in North America and one of the most popular game animals within the United States. Millions of hours each year are spent hunting cottontails as a recreational sport. While there are designated hunting areas for youth sportsmen and disabled veterans for other game species of New York State such as the ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), there are no such designated hunting areas designed specifically for eastern cottontails. Through cooperation of stakeholders such as private land owners and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), we aim to establish designated hunting areas specifically for youth sportsmen and disabled veterans to provide them with the opportunity of enjoying recreational hunting and the enjoyment of the great outdoors for present and future generations of New York State.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Cory Douglass

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.
Access: No
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Scott M. Collins

Current State of the Black Ash Stand on Heaven Hill

Fri, 12/06/2013 - 01:06
Abstract: This study was conducted to assess the health and current state of the rare black ash (Fraxinus nigra) tree species on Heaven Hill property located in Lake Placid, New York. Little is known about black ash trees ecologically, it is mainly known solely for its cultural significance in basket making by the indigenous. Therefore, to learn more about the intricacies of black ash twenty fixed area plots were used to characterize the overstory in the 4 acre black ash stand. Diameter at Breast Height (DBH), crown class, crown condition, bark depth, and basket quality were measured. One black ash tree and one tree of another species were cored in each plot to analyze annual growth rings. Age of black ash trees was derived from the rings along with average ring growth per decade. Using the computer program, NED-2, basal area per acre (sq. ft) and stems per acre were calculated for the black stand. There was found to be a drop in stems per acre and basal area per acre after the seven inch diameter is met. Poor crown condition was found to be very low in black ash trees and even lower with an increase in DBH; 0% of the black ash trees between 11.5” and 17.5” DBH had Poor crown condition. Basket quality was assessed for each black ash tree and was based solely on physical features observed in the field. Basket quality for the stand was nine percent which represents the range in DBH classes from 5” to 15”. Only sixteen black ash trees were found to be potential basket quality trees.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Forestry
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Black_Ash.docx
Authors: Alexis Bancroft