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Capstone Projects

Product Feasibility Plan:Little ADK

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 10:35
Abstract: Little ADK’s is a take-home wilderness experience for children between the ages of 4-11. This is an oyster mushroom growing kit that will help a child bring the magic and wonders of the Adirondacks back home, outside the Blue Line (the term used to define the Adirondack Park Preserve.). This pod-based garden system allows children, as well as adults, the opportunity to grow their very own Adirondack native plants. Little ADK’s also comes with an informational booklet and an educational coloring book describing the importance and beauty of the Adirondack Park. Little ADK will be marketed to tourist within the Park as well as to native wilderness lovers. Those purchasing the product can feel environmentally conscientious as Little ADK’s donates 10% of profits toward the preservation of the Adirondack Mountains.
Access: Yes
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Major: Entrepreneurial Business Studies
Year: 2017
Authors: Joshua R. Clemens

Comparison of Fine and Coarse Organic Matter Among Levels of Shoreline Impact: Implications for Ecological Restoration

Mon, 05/01/2017 - 15:24
Abstract: Human lake shoreline development has been shown to have impacts on the dynamics of the lakeshore. Such dynamics include the riparian and littoral zones interactions; the complexity, abundance, and residence time of large woody debris; organic matter/detritus, and food webs for fish, birds, and macroinvertebrates. Understanding such dynamics, and the impacts of human development, are important when attempting to restore the shoreline through the process of ecological restoration. The objectives of the study were, (1) to compare the amount of organic matter (smaller than sticks, branches, logs, and trees) among three levels of impact (impacted, minimally impacted, and benchmark), (2) to compare the amounts of CPOM and FPOM among the three levels of impact. The field data was collected using a modified design of sediment corer. A total of 63 samples were taken and the results clearly showed that the reference (benchmark) site had a much higher accumulation of organic sediment along the shoreline. Also, the data analysis also showed that there was virtually no measurable FPOM among the impacted and minimally impacted sites, but among the references sites it was more abundant than CPOM, which was opposite from the impacted and minimally impacted sites.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Environmental Sciences
Year: 2017
File Attachments: Final_Morrill.docx
Authors: John Morrill

A Comparison of Leaf Litter in the Aquatic, Terrestrial, and Transitional Zones among Impacted, Minimally Impacted, and Benchmark Conditions of the Shorelines of the Lower St. Regis Lake and Black Pond

Mon, 05/01/2017 - 17:55
Abstract: Human development of shorelines impacts structure and functionality of the shoreline’s ecosystems. Ecological restoration projects can be used to rectify this impact, but first data must be collected to determine the extent of impact human development has had on the shoreline. The objective of this study was to compare the biomass (wet and dry weights) of deciduous and coniferous leaf litter among impacted, minimally impacted, and benchmark shorelines and between terrestrial and aquatic zones. Data was collected among the three impact levels on the Paul Smith’s College property along the shores of Lower St. Regis Lake (impacted and minimally impacted) and Black Pond (benchmark). Deciduous and coniferous leaf litter was collected in the aquatic and terrestrial zones of the shoreline and among the three impact levels using 0.7 m2 terrestrial and 0.25 m2 aquatic quadrats, and then compared using nonparametric statistical tests to determine differences among impact levels and between zones. The results of this study revealed that the relationship between deciduous and coniferous leaf litter was more nuanced than expected. The study supported the current body of scientific knowledge in that shoreline development decreases the overall amount of leaf litter accumulated in the shoreline of lakes. However, should future studies on variation between deciduous and coniferous leaf litter be conducted, the criteria for impact levels should be expanded to ensure the sites used are more comparable in forest type.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Environmental Sciences
Year: 2017
Authors: Hannah Ashdown

Does the presence of Malus spp. increase the fertility of the soil surface in pastures?

Mon, 05/01/2017 - 18:24
Abstract: Techniques to increase soil fertility in a pasture can benefit the system by combating soil degradation and increasing the health of vegetation. The use of apple trees (Malus spp.) may be particularly beneficial in achieving this due to reliable fruit yields, ease of management, and variety of suitable habitat. We hypothesized that soil directly under the canopy of apple trees would be higher in nutrients (C, Ca, K, Mg, N, & P) than soil in areas with no tree cover. Soil samples were taken from the top 15 cm of the soil surface under apple trees and in areas without trees at 14 sites in Massachusetts and New York. Samples were analyzed using spectrometry and color imagery to determine nutrient content. Potassium and magnesium concentrations were found to be significantly higher in under-canopy samples. Further research may expand these results and determine if the application of apple trees can be used to increase the health of pasture systems.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Environmental Sciences, Forestry
Year: 2017
File Attachments: capstone_gumbartpayson.pdf
Authors: Julia Payson, Ryan Gumbart

The Age and Origin of Lake Ejagham, Cameroon: 9,000-Year-Old Sediment Evidence Suggests Possible Bolide Impactor

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 15:18
Abstract: Lake Ejagham is a relatively small lake (54 hectares) located in the south-western region of Cameroon, Africa. Two sediment cores, EJ1 and EJ2, were extruded in 1987 by Dr. Dan Livingstone, preserved, and analyzed in 2016. Sediment and diatom analyses were performed in conjunction with radiocarbon dating, which suggests the maximum age of the lake itself is about 9,000 years old. The age of the lake was confirmed by both the radiocarbon dating of the sediment as well as the dating of wood fragments found at the base of the EJ2 core. The diatom analyses indicate that in recent times high percentages of planktonic diatoms were present, which suggests a relatively wetter hydroclimate than in the past. In the mid-section of EJ1 those planktonic diatom percentages were lower, which indicates drier climates or changes to the lacustrine environment. The consistency in the sediment and climate record suggest that Lake Ejagham has been uninterrupted by environmental catastrophes, which provided suitable conditions for endemic cichlids to evolve via sympatry, particularly Coptodon ejagham. Lake Ejagham has been thought to have formed as a solution basin, when water dissolves and carries away underground minerals forming a depression. Instead, the bedrock beneath the lake contains both soluble and insoluble layers, which prevent this from happening. Here we assert that the EJ1 and EJ2 cores support an alternative origin, possibly from a bolide impactor, however this is not conclusive.
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Literary Rights: Off
Major: Environmental Sciences
Year: 2017
Authors: Kenneth B. Alton

Comparison of Cyprinid Composition and Abundance in Relation to Microhabitat Characteristics within Heron Marsh, in the Adirondack Park, NY

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 15:47
Abstract: Cyprinids are susceptible to local, watershed, and regional extirpation within the United States. Habitat alterations, non-indigenous species introductions, changes in water quality, and anthropogenic barriers have resulted in a decrease in overall cyprinid biodiversity. The objectives of this study are (1) to establish baseline water quality characteristics among sites in summer and fall, 2016, (2) to compare minnow densities to percent macrophyte cover among trap sites for common species, and (3) to compare 2016 minnow densities by species and combined with 2014 and 2012 density estimates. Heron Marsh is a shallow marsh located with the Adirondack Park, NY, that supports a wide variety of fishes in the Cyprinidae family. Baseline water quality was collected using an YSI meter, cyprinid densities were estimated using galvanized steel minnow traps, and macrophyte cover data was estimated using a 21-point grid system for trap sites within the marsh. Water quality monitoring will help assess changes in the marsh over time due to global warming. More minnow trap sites must be established to determine if there is a relationship between macrophyte cover and cyprinid abundance. This will allow the statistical power of our tests to become robust to assumptions that were otherwise violated. Cyprinid biodiversity and abundance were highest amongst the upper region of the marsh for most years. This suggests that the upper region of the marsh may be a sanctuary or refuge for certain cyprinid species.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: Kuryla_Capstone paper.docx
Authors: Jake E Kuryla

Wildlife Habitat Conservation and Management of Invasive North American Beavers (Castor canadensis) in Southern Patagonia from 2017-2037

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 13:40
Abstract: Importing the incisor-toothed ecosystem engineers from Canada to the southernmost tip of South America seemed like an innovative idea in 1946. Since this early introduction by the Argentine Navy, this species has grown exponentially (5,000 times their initial population) to 35,000 and 50,000 in Tierra del Fuego. Their density (0.2–5.8 colonies/km2) in this geographic region is even higher than North America (0.08-1-4 colonies/km2). North American beaver (Castor canadensis) are notorious hydrologists and modify their habitat to construct dams, canals, and dens. This species presents ecological, economical, and socio-cultural detriments. These factors have the potential to migrate to northern territories with the beaver due to climatic conditions favoring the species propagation. This population’s exponential growth is deemed larger than predicted due to the lag in local inhabitants noticing the rodents’ presence. To address beaver management, Chile and Argentina are working together under a bi-national agreement. Their goal is to restore Southern Patagonian ecosystems with total eradication of invasive beavers. The 2017-2037 Southern Patagonian Beaver Management Plan identifies the following goals: 1) Decrease the population of North American beavers (Castor canadensis) in S. Patagonia. 2) Define beaver-absent areas near invaded territories that have the potential to become occupied by this plastic species in the near future due to similar habitat criteria. 3) Education, information, and outreach on S. Patagonia beaver management is improved. 4) Zoonotic implications of beaver are monitored, investigated and managed. Objectives for each of these goals are included within the management plan. Wildlife biologists, trappers, and public input are essential to this management plan. Surveys issued to trappers and citizens aid in monitoring of zoonotic diseases related to beavers as well as determine public opinion of this species. Trapping will continue to be integral in beaver management.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
Authors: Emily Hill

Management Plan to Increase Gould’s Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo mexicana) Population in New Mexico

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 20:57
Abstract: Gould’s wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo mexicana) are the largest subspecies of wild turkey in United States, but are also the most geographically restricted. In New Mexico, Gould’s populations occur in the Peloncillo, Animas and San Luis mountain ranges located in Hidalgo County, southwest New Mexico. This subspecies faces threats of habitat loss by several factors that including severe wildfires, competition with livestock grazing, lack of sustaining water sources. Gould’s wild turkeys are a popular United States subspecies for avid hunters seeking the completion of the Royal or Grand Slam wild turkey hunts. With the proper management, New Mexico could provide an increase of habitat for the Gould’s wild turkey. The overall goal of this management plan is to increase and maintain the Gould’s wild turkey population in southwest New Mexico to maximize hunting and recreational viewing opportunities. Objectives to be taken to achieve this goal includes: 1. Improvement and maintain the occupied and potential turkey habitat in their native range within 10 years. 2. Obtain suitable habitats through conservation easements within 5 years. 3. Increase and maintain a sustainable population within 10 years. 4. Gain landowner and volunteer participation through outreach and funding through partnerships with organizations within 10 years. The increase of Gould’s wild turkey populations will positively affect hunting and viewing opportunities and economics from higher populations of Gould’s wild turkey. This management plan will be implemented for the next 10 years, starting in 2018 and ending in 2028. Once this plan is complete, we will then assess the actions and implement further management needs for the future.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
File Attachments: Final.docx
Authors: Austin Cartwright

Preventing the Spread of Eurasian Boar (Sus scrofa) into New York State

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 09:28
Abstract: Eurasian boars (Sus scrofa) pose a large threat as they are destructive in their feeding habits. According to the USDA, roughly 5 million wild Eurasian boar live inside the United States, and are currently found in 31 states. This species is responsible for $1.5 billion dollars in crop destruction, property damage, and management efforts annually. Eurasian boars are an exotic invasive species originating from Eurasia, and were introduced to the United States during the 1500s for meat and hunting purposes. This species survives and successfully breeds in a large range of habitats, and outcompete native fauna. The goal of this management plan is to prevent Eurasian boar populations from becoming established in New York State. Preventing the spread of this species is important because they are not native to New York, and can become an economic burden to farmers and local residents. There is currently no known breeding populations inside of New York, but Eurasian boars have come into New York in the past and are likely to return. The following objectives will be enacted to achieve the overall goal for preventing the spread of this species: (1) Educate the public on the dangers and negative impacts from Eurasian boars (2) Update and maintain current legal policies that prevent the importation, sale, trade, or ownership of Eurasian boar (3) Establish response teams that would eradicate wild Eurasian boar populations. This management plan will be implemented for the next 10 years (2017-2027). Once completed, the successfulness of this management plan will be reviewed and reassessed.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
Authors: Nick Masucci

Recovery Plan for the Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) in Connecticut

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 10:16
Abstract: Since European colonization began in North America, turtle populations have declined across the entire continent, due to habitat conversion and overharvesting. Wood turtles (Glyptemys insculpta) are medium-sized freshwater turtles, and the most terrestrial of North American turtles, though they still require year-round flowing streams. They are found throughout southern Canada, the Great Lakes region, and the northeastern United States south to Virginia. Wild adults attain sexual maturity at 10-14 and have been known to reach 50 years of age. Their populations have survived the impacts of human development until recent history, when automobiles and the expansion of road systems caused far greater adult mortality. This species is considered rare, but widespread, and is threatened with extinction due to small local population size, and components of their life history strategy. Like many turtles, wood turtle populations exhibit a Type 3 survivorship curve, with high nest and hatchling mortality, and low adult mortality. Their small disjunct breeding populations experience unnaturally high adult mortality from road crossings, illegal collection, agricultural mortality, subsidized depredation, and possibly forestry and dam practices. These problems are compounded by a lack of information regarding the species’s ecology. Currently there is no accurate population estimate, though the Canadian government estimates near or above 10,000 individuals range-wide. The focus of current management is to promote the survivorship of adult wood turtles, since adult survivorship is more essential to healthy populations than that of nests or juveniles. Emphasis is placed on reducing mortality from road crossings through fencing and underpasses, and reducing illegal collection. In areas where human development is less, collection may be the only serious threat. This management plan presents a comprehensive research plan that focuses on understanding the ecology of wood turtles, and outlines adaptive management strategies to increase survivorship. The goal of this plan is to ensure that a comprehensive and adaptive strategy is in place to reestablish the long-term stability of wood turtle populations in Connecticut.
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Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2017
Authors: Andrew Thomas Bowe