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Capstone Projects

A Paleolimnological study of precipitation variability in the Adirondacks over the last thousand years

Mon, 12/02/2013 - 20:40
Abstract: At present, most regional climate models anticipate wetter conditions by the end of this century, but a few models anticipate drier conditions. This study uses foresight to test these models, as well as describe the relationship between the dominant climate system in the region and past precipitation in the Adirondacks. Precipitation was inferred from diatom assemblages observed along a lake sediment core extending into the 1000 years. This study shows that abrupt, extreme wet events were common during the last 1000 years, and a relationship between the dominant climate system (North Atlantic Oscillation) and precipitation was irregular during the cool Little Ice Age but negatively associated during the warm Medieval Climate Anomaly. With temperatures in the Northeast projected to increase by 2-5 degrees C by 2100 AD, our study suggests the region may become more arid rather than wetter, opposite of what models currently suggest.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Biology, Environmental Sciences
Year: 2013
File Attachments: regalado.serwatka.docx
Authors: Sean A. Regalado, W. Martin Serwatka

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.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Biology, Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Danielle E. Ball

Alternative Management Methods for Acid Deposition in Lakes

Fri, 04/26/2013 - 18:09
Abstract: Acid deposition has been causing the acidification of lakes in the Northeast United States for decades. The result is lake ecosystems with abnormally low pH that stresses the organisms that live there. Management plans in place in the Adirondack Park have been working to remediate acidified lakes for the past few decades. Limestone (CaCO3) has been the generally accepted method for managing these lakes, in an attempt restore the lakes pre-impacted conditions. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of liming in reversing the effects of acidification, and to identify effective alternatives. Five alternatives were tested against limestone: Sodium carbonate (Na2CO3), Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), Sodium acetate (CH3COONa), Magnesium carbonate (MgCO3), and Potassium carbonate (K2CO3). Double End-Point Titration tests were performed on all of the compounds, using both distilled water and lake water, to determine the relative alkalinity of each compound. Alkalinity is the measure of the ability of a solution to neutralize acid, also known as its "buffering capacity." Lake water was used in the titration tests in an attempt to mimic in-situ testing. The results of the titrations showed limestone proving to be the most effective in the lake water tests, with Magnesium carbonate and Potassium carbonate ranked closely behind. While limestone has proven to be an effective management method, its reliability is dependent upon the characteristics of the lake catchment, making it important to continue to look for alternative solutions.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Environmental Sciences
Year: 2013
Authors: Derek Scott

Perception of the Color Blue in North American River Otters, Lontra canadensis

Fri, 12/06/2013 - 11:41
Abstract: Color vision is essential to many animal species, playing major roles in activities such as foraging and mate selection. Most animal phyla have 4 cones that aid in color vision, while mammals typically only have 2. This study aimed to provide evidence of the blue-range color vision in North American river otters, Lontra canadensis, by behavioral testing 4 captive otters. The subjects (2 male and 2 female adults) were tested individually over a period of 42 weeks. Each otter was presented with 3 cards, with choices between 2 white control cards and a blue test card (n = 1213). In later tests, all subjects were presented with 1 white control card, 1 blue test card, and 1 gray card (n = 417). All subjects distinguished the blue test card from the white control cards but only 1 subject differentiated the color blue from a grayscale correspondent (One-proportion z-test, p = 0.011). A bias based on card location was present only in 1 subject in the blue-white phase of testing (One-proportion z-test, p = 0.201) and in 3 subjects in the blue-grey phase of testing. The cause of this bias was unknown. The ability of 1 subject to reliably select the test card (One-proportion z-test, p = 0.011), provided some evidence that L. canadensis perceive the color blue.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Chelsie LaFountain

The Response of Captive Gray Wolves (Canis lupus) to Agonistic Howl Recordings

Thu, 12/05/2013 - 18:58
Abstract: Gray wolves (Canis lupus) are a highly social carnivore that communicates through olfactory and acoustic signals, maintaining their social bonds and hierarchy with body language and touch. Long distance (i.e. howling) and olfactory communication are important in maintaining territory boundaries and mitigating interpack conflict or strife. The study area is a private, not-for-profit wolf conservation and education center in southern New York in the northeast United States. The goal of this study was to determine the overall change in behavior of wolves when faced with a long distance form of communication conveying an aggressive message. I hypothesized that wolves will respond with more activity during and after the howl recordings. An ethogram was adapted from Quandt, but upon personal observation, was altered as additional behaviors were observed. Instantaneous focal sampling was used during data collection at an interval of 15 seconds to sample two gray wolf siblings. The behaviors between wolves were not significantly different from each other (chi square = 0.86, critical value = 14.07, df = 6). This information has many management implications such as determining home range of packs, pack size, and could serve as a possible tool for deterring predation on livestock.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Write-Up.docx
Authors: Erin Brinton

Tasmanian Platypus Management Plan

Fri, 12/06/2013 - 01:12
Abstract: Platypuses are an iconic mammal endemic to Australia (Furlan et al. 2010). They are an integral part of biodiversity of freshwater ecosystems. They are the only living representative of a significant lineage of platypus-like animals with a 60 million year fossil history (Grant and Temple-Smith 2003). Platypuses are regularly seen in Tasmania and promote curiosity and interest. They directly benefit ecotourism. A number of businesses including sanctuaries, wildlife tours, restaurants, cafes, caravan parks and motels benefit from their popularity (Gust and Griffiths 2010). Freshwater resources are essential to sustaining human existence and as a result, anthropogenic activities have severely diminished the quality of freshwater ecosystems worldwide. Physical alteration, habitat loss, water withdrawal, pollution, overexploitation, and the introduction of non-native species all have contributed to the decline in freshwater species (Revenga et al 2005).
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: final_Pritchard.pdf
Authors: Tori Pritchard

Protecting and Monitoring the Population of Florida Manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) in Lee County, Florida

Thu, 05/09/2013 - 10:57
Abstract: The Florida manatee is a subspecies of the species West Indian Manatee. It has been listed as Endangered on the basis of a population that has been in decline since the 1800s in Florida. Although, the exact population of Florida manatees is not currently known, biologists have seen a gradual decrease in contrast to the past. This is due to factors such as: watercraft collisions, cold stress, Red Tide, and other human related mortalities. Manatees are protected by several laws and regulations. These include: the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act, and the Endangered Species Act. The goal of this management plan is to increase the Florida manatee population to a stable population and to maintain the population into the future. The objectives are to: investigate the distribution and status of Florida manatees in Lee County by conducting synoptic surveys twice every year; within five years, increase public awareness and education by 25%; within five years, increase the amount of protected and managed manatee habitat by 15%, and within five years, protect and enhance existing populations by identifying and minimizing causes of manatee injury, mortality, and disturbance by decreasing it by 20%.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Jordan Shypinka

Increasing and Protecting the Population of Canada Lynx (Lynx canadensis) In the State of Maine

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 12:16
Abstract: Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) was listed as a “threatened” species on March 24, 2000 (USFWS 2013). Canada lynx (hereby referred to as lynx) are a species known to trappers for their thick, long pelts. These pelts can be sold in the fur trade for on average about $175. They are highly sought after in areas where trapping is legal, but in Maine it is not legal to trap lynx. This management plan is going to work to achieve an increase in the population size of lynx in the state of Maine and to protect areas in Maine where there are current populations of lynx that are reproducing. The lynx is currently a threatened species, the USFWS on the Endangered Species Act, throughout its range due to it being a widely roaming organism. It is listed as a species of least concern according to the IUCN Red List. The goal of this plan is to achieve and maintain a sustainable population of Canada lynx in the state of Maine. The goal is going to be accomplished by three objectives. The first objective is to protect all areas of habitat in western and northeastern Maine with current reproducing populations of lynx for the next 10 years. The second objective is to manage areas of timber to establish more suitable habitat in northern Maine for the next 10 years. The third objective is to reduce the amount of incidentally harvested lynx in western and northeastern Maine by 25% each year for four years.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Brown - Submission2.docx
Authors: Heath A. Brown

A Management Plan for Gray Wolves (Canis lupus) in the Northern Rocky Mountains

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 17:30
Abstract: Gray wolves (Canis lupus) in the Northern Rocky Mountains have increased rapidly from 29 individuals in 1995 to over 1600 in 2012. Conflicts between humans and wolves are likely to increase as wolves spread to new areas. The current management of gray wolves by state wildlife agencies is not adequate to reduce human-wolf conflicts. A different approach to wolf management must be taken; this management plan attempts to address several issues regarding gray wolf management. The majority of the public supports wolf conservation, and further actions must be taken to ensure the long term viability of gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains. This management plan recommends the increased funding and implementation of non-lethal control methods to reduce depredations, especially the use of guard dogs and fladry. The cost and efficacy of several non-lethal control methods is assessed. This management plan recommends that lethal control of wolves be discontinued as lethal control is expensive, not effective, and controversial. This management plan recommends education to increase the public support of gray wolves through educational programs at schools and distribution of educational brochures. This management plan recommends that gray wolf populations be higher than the minimum required by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Genetic variability may decrease rapidly if populations are held at the minimum level, especially if migration between sub-populations is reduced. This management plan recommends that a minimum of 3 genetically-effective migrants occurs per generation between sub-populations to ensure adequate genetic variability. If implemented, the recommendations made in this management plan will be a major step towards ensuring the long-term viability of gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Andrew Martyn Antaya

Management Plan to Increase and Stabilize the Population of Northern Bobwhites (Colinus virginanus) in the State of Illinois

Thu, 05/02/2013 - 22:40
Abstract: Northern Bobwhite habitat has continuously declined because a variety of factors, including growth in agricultural areas, increase in monocultures, expansion of urbanization, and natural succession. Due to these and other factors, the population of Northern Bobwhites across the United States is decreasing, although there are few with increasing populations. Northern Bobwhites have a strong economic benefit, since they are a game species and have been hunted for the past couple centuries. Northern Bobwhites were overexploited, and have not rebounded to its previous status. There have been many management practices and programs within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Agency Program to increase the amount of suitable habitat of Northern Bobwhites. The goal of this management plan is to increase and stabilize the population of Northern Bobwhites in Illinois. To achieve this goal, actions such as closing the natural history knowledge gap of Northern Bobwhites, increasing the habitat through various USDA Farm Agency Programs, and increasing the survival of Northern Bobwhites in different stages are needed.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Management Plan Revise.docx
Authors: Jenna Daub