This SOAR collection features our graduate students' scholarly work from Master's programs in Lake Management and Biology.

Recent Submissions

  • Genetic Diversity of Rhyacophila fuscula in the upper Susquehanna River drainage basin

    Kletzel, Mackenzie (2023)
    Macroinvertebrates play an important role in freshwater streams (Luell 2020). Different macroinvertebrates have different tolerances to pollution. There are three main groups that these macroinvertebrates can be categorized into whether they have no tolerance for pollution, moderate pollution tolerance and tolerance to pollution (Luell 2020). These different tolerances allow us to use macroinvertebrates as bioindicators to infer the quality of the stream (Luell 2020; Ab Hamid and Md Rawi 2017). Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera (EPT) are three orders of macroinvertebrates that are commonly used to assess stream quality (Moskova 2008). This work will focus on members of the order Trichoptera, or caddisflies. Rhyacophila is a genus in the family Rhyacophilidae. The genus can be found in North America, Asia, and Europe (Prather et al. 2001). Across North America there are 126 known species (Prather et al. 2001), 34 of which are present in eastern North America and approximately 19 can be found in New York (Prather et al. 2001). In the larval stage, they are aquatic and become terrestrial as adults. Larvae are found in cold freshwater streams with high levels of dissolved oxygen (Prather et al. 2001). Prather et al. (2001) stated that Rhyacophila are univoltine, meaning that they have one generation per year, although some species are known to have multiple cohorts in the stream at any one time (Manuel and Folsom 1982). In the Susquehanna River basin, Rhyacophila have been found, and are commonly encountered, by SUNY Oneonta classes. Manolo Benitez sampled Cripple Creek for a stream ecology course and morphologically identified the Rhyacophila collected as R. fuscula. The overall goal of this thesis research was to identify the most commonly encountered Rhyacophila species found in the upper Susquehanna River drainage basin and examine the population structure amongst 12 different populations.
  • The Red-Backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus) is an Effective Model Organism for a Variety of Biological Concepts

    Shaw, Bethany K. (2023-05)
    The red-backed salamander (RBS, Plethodon cinereus) is increasingly recognized as a model organism for a variety of biological subdisciplines, in part due to its ubiquity and abundance throughout northeastern North America (Fisher-Reid et al. 2021). These salamanders can be used for both field- and lab-based work as they are human-tolerant (Arenas et al. 2015). Some of the biological fields using RBS as a model organism include terrestrial ecology, amphibian ecology, evolutionary biology, regeneration, ecotoxicology, and animal behavior (Fisher-Reid et al. 2021). These salamanders are ecologically influential in forest ecosystems, where their biomass in some locations exceeds that of birds during peak breeding season and may be equal to that of all small mammals combined (Burton & Likens 1975). Of the eight most studied salamanders RBS is the only Plethodontid salamander; RBS is an important inclusion considering that more than half of all salamander species are part of the family Plethodontidae and many of the species are declining (Fisher-Reid et al. 2021). Because RBS are highly philopatric and abundant, studies of its population genetics have been used to ask biogeographic questions at a variety of spatial and temporal scale (Fisher-Reid et al. 2013, Cameron et al. 2017). In ecotoxicology, RBS have been used to study how military waste products and pesticides enter and affect terrestrial food webs (Johnson et al. 2004, 2007, 2010; Bazar et al. 2008, 2009, 2010). In animal behavior, RBS has been used to describe changes in territorial behavior based on food availability (Jaeger et al. 2016). Considering that amphibians are the most threatened vertebrate class due anthropogenic changes to their habitat, it is important that more amphibian model organisms are included in research so that we may understand them better with the aim to conserve them. This master’s research and thesis focuses on two ways in which we can use RBS as a model organism. Chapter 1 assesses the efficacy of marking RBS with Visual Implant Elastomer (VIE) for mark-recapture surveys. Understanding and implementing best practices for marking RBS or other small, terrestrial animals, can allow researchers to ask and more effectively test ecological questions which require accurate tracking of individuals over time. Chapter 2 describes how RBS tail regeneration can be impacted by different proportions of their tail being autotomized and the implications for a lengthy wound healing process.
  • The Evil Corporation Trope: An Analysis of Popular Science-Fiction Films

    Poerio, Michael A. (2022)
    Popular culture in general, and movies in particular, are one of the major influences on the public’s perception of science, and therefore on the level of trust audiences feel inclined to put in science. The science communication community has made great progress in achieving that the portrayal of scientists in movies does better justice to the diverse reality of scientific research, moving away from the stereotype of the old white male scientist. This has been achieved through constructive collaborations like the National Academy of Science’s Science and Entertainment Exchange. However, a prevalent trope, which we call “The Evil Corporation Trope”, has been repeatedly used in science-fiction films. Following David Kirby’s framework of cinema as a “virtual witnessing technology” that allows publics to immerse themselves in possible futures or inaccessible realities and experience what their perceptions and reactions would be, we present an analysis of this trope in several major science-fiction films, spanning nearly forty-years of cinema. If the reality that audiences virtually witness in these blockbuster movies systematically portrays science or tech companies as the antagonist and the source of all evil – is it surprising that trust in science is heavily undermined when it is such big corporations who, for example, develop and distribute the covid vaccines, or vaccines in general? My analysis includes the identification of patterns found within films using this trope, including corporations in these movies with ties to the military, and abuses of artificial intelligence.
  • War and Cheese: A Play

    Stengler, A. Erik; Zajan, Alyssa G. (SUNY Oneonta, 2021)
    Setting: A park alongside bustling street. A small platform is set up with a podium and small table. A step or small set of steps allows access up onto the platform. The table contains a pile of pamphlets, flyers, various bottles filled with liquids and tablets, a Marshall Rennet Testing Kit and large tin container. Underneath the table is a metal chest. Posters saying, “Meatless Mondays,” “Wheatless Wednesdays,” “Buy Local,” “When in doubt, eat Potatoes” and “Observe the Gospel of the clean plate” line the back of the small platform. At the front of the platform a sign reads “Live Demonstration at 10:00”.
  • Keeping it Safe with the Little Falls Stone Bank

    Stengler, A. Erik; Lien, Alex (SUNY Oneonta, 2021)
    The Little Falls stone bank building, located at 319 S Ann St., has witnessed the Little Falls community grow for the last two centuries while serving it in multiple ways, building on its story and importance. We tend to learn about the importance of banks at a young age but do not truly understand it until we are older. Banks provide financial stability for the residents of the area by housing our savings, providing checks and debit cards for instant access to our money, and even loan out money for our ambitious projects such as obtaining a house, going to school or starting a business. Now imagine if there was not a bank in your town. In the 19th century, settlements throughout the newly formed United States often did not have established financial institutions like banks. Eventually the American Industrial Revolution sparked an economic boom throughout the country, leading to a need for banks to support our finances and projects. This is why the Little Falls Stone Bank was built in 1833 and begins its service to the Little Falls community over the next two centuries. The building had its ups and downs throughout its history, growing in character as it was used in a variety of ways, from its original use as a bank, to being a simple storage building, to eventually becoming the home and keeper of Little Falls’ history.