Recent Submissions

  • The Effect of Highly Unsaturated Fatty Acids (HUFA) on Lake Trout (Salve linus namaycush) Alevins Using Artemia nauplii Enriched with Commercial Emulsions and Dry Diets

    Snyder, Blake J.; The College at Brockport (2011-10-12)
    Highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA) are important nutrients for fish survival, development, and reproduction. Fish oil (PO), rich in HUFA, is the dominant lipid source for first feeds in salmonid aquaculture. To determine if other lipid sources would influence survival, growth, and fatty acid profiles in lake trout (Salvelinus narnaycush) alevins, two 8-week feeding experiments were performed. Diets used in the Artemia Experiment included: diet 1, non-enriched Artemia; diet 2,SELCO-enriched Artemia; diet 3, Super SELCO-enriched Artemia; and diet 4, Bio Vita #0, all of which had significantly different fatty acid compositions. The Fish Oil Replacement Experiment used diets that differed solely in lipid source and fatty acid composition: diet 1, oleic acid (OA); diet 2, linseed oil (LO); diet 3, cod liver oil (CLO); and diet 4, lecithin (LE). Results from both experiments show that dietary lipid source and fatty acid composition can significantly influence survival, growth, and fatty acid composition of lake trout alevins. In the Artemia Experilnent, lake trout fed a non-enriched Artemia diet lacking in HUFA displayed lower growth than fish fed enriched Artemia diets that included HUFA although survival was not significantly different among treatments. Lake trout fed Super SELCO-enriched Artemia, which had the highest concentration of HUFA, did not differ statistically to lake trout fed SELCO-enriched Artemia for any growth parameter. In the Fish Oil Replacement Experiment, lake trout fed the OA diet, which was lacking in essential fatty acids (linolenic acid (18:3n-3) and linoleic acid (18:2n-6)) and HUFA, had significantly lower survival and growth. Fish fed CLO had significantly higher final length and mass but were statistically similar to fish fed the LE diet in regards to mass gain, SGR, FCR, and K. In both experiments, neutral and phospho-lipid fatty acid profiles of whole body lake trout were reflective of dietary fatty acids. These experiments suggest lipid source and dietary fatty acids can greatly affect the survival, growth, and fatty acid composition of lake trout alevins but alternatives to fish oil, such as vegetable oils, may be a suitable substitute in the first feed of lake trout.
  • Benthic Macroinvertebrate Community Changes Following Zebra Mussel Colonization of Southwestern Lake Ontario

    Stewart, Timothy W.; The College at Brockport (1993-08-01)
    Changes in abundance and diversity of benthic macroinvertebrates inhabiting a natural cobble and artificial reef substrate in southwestern Lake Ontario were quantified following invasion of the zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha. Post-zebra mussel invasion data (1991-92) were statistically compared with pre-invasion data (1983) from the same sites. By 1991-92 zebra mussels comprised 73% and 90% of cobble and artificial reef macroinvertebrates, respectively, replacing the amphipod Gammarus fasciatus as the numerically dominant taxon at both sites. Overall abundance of non-zebra mussel taxa was significantly greater (p < 0.05) at cobble and artificial reef sites in 1991-92, than in 1983 before zebra mussels were present. Taxa exhibiting significant population increases at the cobble site during the time period separating the two studies were the annelids Manayunkia speciosa, Spirosperma ferox and unidentified tubificids; the gastropods Helisoma anceps,Physa heterostropha, Stagnicola catascopium, Valvata tricarinata, Goniobasis livescens and Amnicola limosa; and the arthropods Gammarus fasciatus and Orconectes propinquis. Significant population increases of Physa heterostropha, Goniobasis livescens, Amnicola limosa, Gammarus fasciatus and the trichopteran Polycentropus were observed at the artificial reef site. Although a few taxa sampled infrequently in 1983 were not collected in 1991-92, no taxa have decreased significantly since 1983. Comparisons of community composition in 1983 and 1991-92 suggest the cobble community has changed more than the artificial reef community. These changes are likely positive, as species richness was greater at cobble and artificial reef sites in 1991-92 relative to 1983, and Simpson's Diversity showed no decline. Though other factors may have contributed to observed native macroinvertebrate community changes, my results support theories that zebra mussels are facilitating energy transfer to the benthos by filter-feeding, and that mussel shoals are providing additional habitat for native invertebrate taxa.
  • Influence of Two Common Bryophytes on Acidity and Divalent Cation Concentrations in Standing Spring Water

    Bland, Stephen N.; The College at Brockport (2002-04-15)
    This laboratory experiment examines the influence of two common mosses on the pH and solute dynamics of water from a spring brook. Bivariate analysis of variance tests (MANOVA) revealed significant changes in concentrations of H+ and the combined variable, divalent cations (Ca++ & Mg++) over a three week incubation period in microcosms containing Thuidium delicatulum and Brachythecium rivulare, mosses commonly found in low order woodland streams. Divalent cation concentrations in the presence of moss were 36% higher, on average, than in similar microcosms with moss absent. In microcosms containing decomposing wood, W concentrations were 15% lower in the presence of moss. There were approximately 7 mg of divalent cations in every gram of moss tissue (AFDM), while a gram of wood contained 1-2 mg of divalent cations, values similar to those reported elsewhere in the literature. I suggest reversed cation exchange is the mechanism responsible for elevated divalent cation concentrations and changes in solute dynamics. A hypothesis concerning expected responses of fungal enzymes to the observed changes in solute dynamics is discussed.
  • Sedge/Grass Meadow Restoration on Former Agricultural Land: Analysis of Establishment Success

    Healy, Alexander Joseph; The College at Brockport (2013-05-01)
    Sedge/grass meadow wetland restoration was conducted at three study sites located in about 4 ha of agricultural land recently acquired by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) adjacent to West Creek at its confluence with Braddock Bay in Hilton, Monroe County, New York. The restoration was conducted within a 75.35 to 75.60 m (IGLD1985) elevation range previously identified as capable of supporting sedge/grass meadow in Lake Ontario wetlands. This project consisted of an initial baseline survey during spring 2009, a seed-bank emergence study that began in September 2009 and terminated in early July 2010, restoration implementation during summer 2010, and follow-up after implementation during August 2010, 2011, and 2012. Data from other Lake Ontario drowned river- mouth wetlands and a study site at Kents Creek served as references. Implementation at the three study sites began with disking in May 2010 to expose fresh soil and remove much of the old plant growth. Locally-sourced wetland seed mixes, plus seeds from Canada bluejoint grass (Calamagrostis canadensis) and tussock sedge (Carex stricta), were purchased, cold-stratified, and sown with shoulder-broadcast seed spreaders in June 2010 in the study site planted areas. Plugs of Canada bluejoint grass and tussock sedge were also hand-planted in the same areas. Sections of each disked site area were left unplanted and unseeded to serve as controls. At two of the sites, natural wetland remnants, near areas dominated primarily by river bulrush (Schoenoplectus fluviatilis) in 2009, were not disked, planted, or seeded. Plant surveys were conducted in the study site planted, control, and natural wetland areas, as well as in the 2009 baseline survey, by sampling in randomly- placed 1m2 quadrats. Plant data (frequency and percent cover of species in 1m2 quadrats) were used to calculate Importance Values; species were classified according to the National List of Vascular Plant Species that Occur in Wetlands; statistical tests were performed to determine important species and total percent cover and species count differences among study site areas; and data from all three sites across all four years were analyzed by ordination using non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) in sample x Importance Value matrices. Fifteen of the 42 seeded/planted species, 38 remnant sedge/grass meadow associates, and 36 potentially problematic (agricultural weed) species were identified in study site community samples across years, and additional species continue to be found. Following restoration, seeded species diversity increased in each subsequent year, and potentially problematic species generally decreased each subsequent year. Drought conditions during 2012 likely affected survival of some wetland species with greater water demand. Control treatments on high-canopy, annual agricultural weeds by mowing at a height of about 30 cm also affected plant community changes. The seed-bank emergence study did not successfully predict ultimate community composition following implementation, likely because survival of plants from seed is often dictated by post-recruitment processes. Instead, seeded species, remnant vegetation, and nearby refuge populations seemed to contribute more to establishment in the planted areas than the original seed bank. The NMDS ordination showed that the 2009 baseline plant communities had been displaced by 2010, likely as a result of implementation actions. The ordination also showed that overall communities in the planted areas at the three sites changed from year to year and largely converged with the unplanted controls by 2012, which suggests that remnant vegetation was highly influential and nearby refuge populations made contributions as seeded species spread throughout control and planted site areas. Post-restoration sampling at the restoration sites identified 21 species that were found in the Lake Ontario drowned river-mouth wetland reference data base and six species sampled at the Kents Creek reference site. Reference data suggest that the restoration sites reflect sedge/grass meadow conditions but also contain many other species associated more commonly with disturbed sites. The future plant community at these restoration sites will likely be dependent on survival and expansion of sedge/grass meadow species, as influenced by soil moisture and competition from remnant agricultural weed species. Prolonged drought could potentially extirpate many of the seeded/planted species, especially if those conditions occurred in successive years. Monitoring results showed that competition can be mitigated by repeated, well-timed mowing that cuts taller annual plants before seed set and opens the canopy for underlying sedges and sedge/grass meadow associates currently found beneath them.
  • Grassland bird abundance and habitat quality, and Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis) ecology on Fort Drum, New York

    Greer, David Thomas; The College at Brockport (2013-05-15)
    This research examines the breeding habitat preferences of grassland birds at Fort Drum, Jefferson County, New York during the 2011 and 2012 breeding seasons. In the past, Fort Drum and surrounding areas in Jefferson County have supported large numbers of obligate grassland breeding birds (OGBB). However, results from this study, when combined with data from past studies of grassland birds at Fort Drum, suggest that habitat specialists such as the sedge wren (Cistothorus platensis) and Henslow’s sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii) have been continually declining. Reasons for the decline are most likely related to a decrease in agriculture resulting in habitat loss due to succession and a shift in agricultural practices, both in Jefferson County, New York and throughout the Northeast. Habitat models suggest that most OGBBs at Fort Drum, including savannah sparrows and bobolinks, prefer increased graminoid cover and shorter, less dense vegetation. Differences in the models between years suggest that the predictive power of modeling is limited and that models should be used only as management guidelines, with a concentrated effort made to manage for large, contiguous mosaic grassland habitat.
  • Soil and Vegetation Changes across a Restoration Chronosequence: An Evaluation of Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) sites in West-central New York, USA

    Brown, Jordan; The College at Brockport (2013-04-01)
    Wetland restorations in the United States, including those sponsored by the federal Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), are driven by the prospect of regaining critical ecosystem services lost during centuries of wetland destruction. Yet, service provision is contingent on the recovery of basic wetland functions, such as carbon (C) storage, which is especially tentative (and unverified) in WRP projects in west-central New York (WCNY), USA because those involve installing isolated wetlands on sites directly degraded by agricultural conversion. To assess recovery, I collected soil and vegetation data from 17 of WCNY’s WRP sites restored from tillage or non- tillage agriculture, aged 0-15 years since restoration at the time of sampling (August-October 2010). These were subjected to chronosequence-based analyses designed to detect divergence from a pre-restoration baseline (calculated using data from active agricultural fields paired to each WRP site) and/or convergence towards a “natural” condition (determined using data from four naturally-occurring, depressional, Palustrine Emergent wetlands within the same region). Restored WRP soils remained similar to agricultural soils in terms of organic matter, density, moisture, and belowground plant biomass across the chronosequences, indicating negligible C storage and soil development during the first 15 years. Additionally, soil development is limited in both post-tillage and post-non-tillage restorations and limited throughout the disparate habitat zone types that occur on these sites (upland meadows, emergent-dominated shorelines, and permanent open-water areas). Plant metrics like vascular species richness, cover of certain qualitative groups, and biomass matched natural wetlands within 15 years. Yet, recovery of some metrics was only detected in previously tilled sites, while other metrics only displayed recovery in untilled sites. Additionally, recovery was often detected in only one of the three habitat zones, collectively suggesting that different plant metrics are differentially influenced by the conditions imposed by historical tillage and/or the zone in which they are measured. Vegetation analyses also showed that plant community recovery can be complicated when plant parameters in restoration sites “overshoot” beyond natural conditions. In conclusion, ecological recovery in WRP restorations in WCNY is variable, depending on metric, land-use history, and habitat zone. Although generally, many plant community features recover rapidly and despite limited recovery in soil physicochemical properties.
  • The Breeding Ecology of, and Effects of Military Activity on, the Henslow's Sparrow at Fort Drum

    Krebs, Robin E.; The College at Brockport (2002-11-11)
    The Henslow's Sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii) lives in one of the fastest declining habitats in North America, the tall grass prairie. Concurrently, the Henslow's Sparrow population nationwide declined over 91% between 1966-1993. Conservation of Henslow's Sparrows requires in-depth research into the species' breeding ecology, habitat selection, and how humans impact the species. Between 1998 and 2000, I studied Henslow's Sparrow breeding ecology at Fort Drum, New York, an active army base supporting 10,000 troops and part of the largest Henslow's Sparrow breeding population in the Northeast. I studied the abundance and distribution of the Henslow's Sparrow, along with the Grasshopper Sparrow and Savannah Sparrow, using 48, 100-m radius point count plots. All three species' populations fluctuated annually between 1995-2000, based on data collected during my study coupled with data from the Environmental Division of Fort Drum Grassland Bird Study (1995-1998). The Savannah Sparrow population within 2,340 ha western grassland at Fort Drum was estimated at over 250 pairs while Grasshopper Sparrow numbers were minimal at less than 10 pairs. The point count data, however, underestimated Henslow's Sparrows' numbers when compared to banding data; based on banding data and field observations, I estimated the Henslow's Sparrow population in my study area to be 30-40 pairs.
  • Invasion Ecology of Acer platanoides in an Old-Growth Urban Forest

    Rogers, Justin Paul; The College at Brockport (2013-04-23)
    Acer platanoides (Norway maple) is an exotic tree species with invasive potential that has been described as a prolific seed producer, shade tolerant, and a strong competitor for limiting resources. It has invaded many forests in the northeastern United States and Canada, including the Washington Grove, a 10 ha forest in Cobbs Hill Park in Rochester, NY. To quantify the extent of the invasion at the Grove, I surveyed the forest canopy, subcanopy, seedlings, saplings, shrub cover, herbaceous cover, seed rain, and seed bank. In a primarily Quercus (oak) canopy, A. platanoides was relatively sparse at 31 individuals/ha, but was the most abundant tree species in the forest subcanopy with 215 individuals/ha. Two other key findings include the prevalence of other invasive species in the understory (e.g. Alianthus altissima [tree of heaven]), and a lack Quercus regeneration. I suspected that superior competitive ability of A. platanoides was key to its invasiveness and wanted to test this at the seedling stage. Two native species (Acer saccharum [sugar maple], and Quercus rubra [red oak]) and the invasive were used in nine different competition arrangements grown under low shade, medium shade, and high shade (85%, 91%, and 97% shading, respectively). I measured photosynthesis rate, stem height, and stem diameter in control, intraspecific, and interspecific competition arrangements. Height growth and photosynthetic rate both decreased significantly with increased shade. Q. rubra had the highest overall photosynthesis rate (mean = 1.98 ± 0.10 ?mol CO2 m-2 s-1) and A. saccharum had the greatest change in height (mean change = 23.7 ± 2.67%). In contrast to my expectations, I did not find any conclusive evidence 2 suggesting that the invasive A. platanoides was the superior competitor at the seedling stage. In conclusion, the Washington Grove is heavily populated by the invasive A. platanoides and if left unmanaged, the area will further progress to resemble a nonnative stand. However, this pattern does not appear to be due to competition at the seedling level. To limit the further spread of the established trees I recommend felling all of the established invasive trees and removing any emerging seedlings. A long term management plan of invasive removal and creating conditions to promote Quercus recruitment will help promote a native forest.
  • Spring Stopover Ecology and Physiology of the White-Throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) in Western New York

    Hoh, Christina Marie; The College at Brockport (2016-06-07)
    Stopover sites are an essential part of a North American migratory songbird’s journey between wintering and breeding grounds, but annual variation in use and habitat conditions make it difficult to determine which sites are most critical for conservation. By learning which factors influence a bird’s behavior when choosing and using a stopover site, we can target certain species or locations and more efficiently invest conservation efforts. In April-May 2013 and 2014, I studied stopover refueling rate in the White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis), a common northeastern spring migrant, at two locations near the south shore of Lake Ontario, a natural migratory barrier. To do this, I used morphological measurements and physiological techniques that measured the concentration of two important blood metabolites, triglycerides and ß-hydroxybutyrate. Blood triglyceride concentration is a measure of fat deposition and feeding efficiency, and ß-hydroxybutyrate concentration is associated with fat catabolism and energy loss. I found that birds captured at a location ~15 km from the shore had significantly higher blood triglyceride concentrations, as well as significantly higher body condition score, than birds captured at a stopover location within 0.5 km of the shore (1.737 mM > 1.361 mM). However, after using ANCOVA to control for the effects of body condition and time after sunrise, blood triglyceride levels did not vary significantly with location. ß-hydroxybutyrate levels were not significantly higher in lakeshore-captured birds either before or after ANCOVA. Lack of statistical significance in both cases may be due to effects of small sample sizes. My results imply that birds obtain food more efficiently at the inland location, and that birds that arrive in the area in better condition may begin their cross-lake journey directly from the inland site. Birds in poorer condition may “pile up” at the lakeshore and then must compete heavily with other migrants for available resources, slowing their fat deposition rate. These results reinforce the importance of protecting high-quality stopover habitat where birds congregate near geographic barriers, but also suggest that inland habitat patches are important stopover sites that may allow some migrants to bypass nearshore areas of intense competition.
  • Colonization and Persistence of the Freshwater Amphipod, Crangonyx pseudogracilis, in Temporary Ponds: Aspects of its Ecology, Resistance to Desiccation, and Dispersal Abilities

    DiSalvo, Benjamin C.; The College at Brockport (2006-06-01)
    Crangonyctid amphipods occupy temporary habitats throughout northeastern North America but they are mostly known as permanent water species. Crangonyx pseudogracilis is found at high densities in temporary ponds in western New York but the means by which it colonizes and persists in temporary ponds were not well understood before my study. My objectives were to 1) learn more about and quantify the colonization abilities of C. pseudogracilis by performing experiments where holes were dug around temporary ponds; 2) explore the ability of the amphipods and other invertebrates to descend through inundated porous substrates in the laboratory; 3) compare the lifecycles of permanent and temporary populations and how the timing of mating and releasing of broods may be related to survival through the dry season; and 4) understand how and where the amphipods find refuge when a pond dries. During periods of inundation, C. pseudo gracilis was found in the top 15 cm of soil below and at the edges of the pond basin. After the pond basin became dry, they probably descended in the soil to depths greater than 45 cm. C. pseudogracilis and planarian flatworms readily colonized holes dug on the perimeter of the pond. In the lab, amphipods, flatworms, and ostracods readily descended through porous substrates. C. pseudogracilis has an annual lifecycle; the previous year's generation began dying in May and was gone by the end June. Ovigerous females were found from 23 March until 28 May. In the laboratory, amphipods survived in soil with an average moisture content of 51 % for 15 weeks. My results suggest further studies. 1) Populations of C. pseudo gracilis in permanent waters migrate to deep water during the same time of year as the temporary ponds I studied dried up. Whether amphipods in permanent waters burrow into bottom sediments during the dry season should be studied. 2) Determine how deep amphipods descend into pond sediments of temporary waters during the dry season. 3) Examine in detail the importance of the soil/water ecotone for organisms living in temporary waters.
  • The Potential of Pigeon Creek, San Salvador, Bahamas, as a Nursery Habitat for Juvenile Coral Reef Fish

    Conboy, Ian C.; The College at Brockport (2008-08-01)
    The government of the Bahamas is considering making parts of San Salvador a National Marine Park. This study was conducted to assess the significance of Pigeon Creek, a shallow tidal lagoon, as a nursery for coral reef fishes. The perimeter of Pigeon Creek is lined with mangrove and limestone bedrock. Depending on location in the Creek, the bottom is sand or seagrass and ranges in depth from shallow intertidal sand flats to deeper, tide-scoured channels with a maximum depth of 3 m. In June 2006 and January 2007, fish were counted and their reproductive status Juvenile or adult) was recorded by sampling a total of 112, 50-m transects along the perimeter of the lagoon. Excluding silversides (Atherinidae, 52% of the fish counted), of the remaining fish counted, six families each comprised >1% of the total abundance (parrotfishes, 35.3%; snappers, 23.9%; grunts, 21.0%; mojarras, 8.5%; damselfishes, 6.1%; wrasses, 2.4%). There were few differences in effort-adjusted counts among habitats (mangrove, bedrock, mixed), sections (North, Middle, and Southwest) and seasons (summer 2006 and winter 2007). Snappers, grunts and parrotfishes are important food fishes and significant families in terms of reef ecology around San Salvador. Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) which covered 68% of the perimeter of Pigeon Creek, and where 62% of the fish were counted, was an important habitat for snappers (Lutjanidae) and grunts (Haemulidae) but bedrock was the most important habitat for parrotfishes (Scaridae). The Southwest section of Pigeon Creek was important for snappers, grunts and parrotfishes, the North section for grunts and parrotfishes, and the Middle section for snappers. Only six juvenile Nassau grouper were counted in perimeter habitats, but 32 were counted during 33 minutes of drift sampling in the channel of the Southwest section of Pigeon Creek. Among the non­ silverside fish counted, 91.2% were juveniles. Although not part of this study, many juvenile Queen conch and juvenile Caribbean spiny lobster also were observed. These results suggest that Pigeon Creek is an important nursery for the coral reefs surrounding San Salvador, and should be protected from any disturbance caused by development or increased use of the area.
  • Population Characteristics, Habitats, and Movements of Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) in the Lower Niagara River

    Hughes, Thomas C.; The College at Brockport (2002-05-01)
    Before my study, anecdotal information, such as incidental catches and reported sightings, provided the only means of assessing lake sturgeon, a species listed as threatened in New York State, in the lower Niagara River. The objectives of my study were to ( 1) assess the population of lake sturgeon by collecting and analyzing age, growth, and CPUE data, (2) compare the habitats and movements of adults and juveniles, and (3) identify potential spawning, feeding, and nursery habitats and compare use of these habitats between adults and juveniles. From late July 1998 through August 2000, 67 lake sturgeon were captured using gill nets, baited setlines, and SCUBA divers. Overall, divers (2.5 fish/night) performed better than gill nets (0.25 fish/night) and setlines (0.23 fish/night). Age of lake sturgeon captured ranged from 1 to 23 years, with most fish (n = 47) less than 10 years old. Six percent (4 out of 63) of the lake sturgeon captured had deformities, such as spinal curvature. Ultrasonic transmitters were attached to 24 fish (12 adults and 12 juveniles) to determine their habitat use and movements. Depth, current velocity, and substrate uses were similar between juvenile and adult fish. Monitoring the movements of adult fish during likely spawning temperatures (11 to 18°C) revealed that fish congregated both 8 to 10 km up river and within 5 km of the river's confluence with Lake Ontario. Based on the results of my study, I recommend that the lake sturgeon in the lower Niagara River remain listed as "threatened" by the NYSDEC and that the commercial and recreational fisheries remain closed. In addition, I recommend further studies investigating year class abundance, the cause of growth deformities, and the abundance and availability of food resources.
  • Watershed Assessment of the Canaseraga Creek Watershed, Including Water Quality Analysis, SWAT Model, and Investigation of the Applicability of a Nutrient Biotic Index

    Rea, Evan; The College at Brockport (2013-04-12)
    Nearshore areas of Lake Ontario are suffering from persistent water quality impairments that were generally not resolved through programs such as the phosphorus abatement program and the Great Lakes water quality agreement. A major nearshore area of concern is the Rochester Embayment, which receives the discharge of the Genesee River. Due to the predominance of agriculture in the Genesee River basin and its largest tributary, Canaseraga Creek, agricultural areas were investigated using the segment analysis sampling technique and Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) modeling. Individual nonpoint areas were identified as nutrient sources as well as seven wastewater treatment plants. In general, loadings increased moving downstream as more source areas such as concentrated animal feeding operations, wastewater treatment plants, and small agricultural operations contributed to the nutrient load. Two tributaries, Twomile and Buck Run creeks, generally had the highest average annual concentrations and areal loadings of nutrients due to concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and dominance of agriculture in those areas. Observed loading data was used to calibrate a SWAT model for Canaseraga Creek. The most effective agricultural management practice was grassed waterways, while upgrading wastewater treatment plants to better (tertiary) treatment was also effective. By targeting just the areas that contribute the most P (Buck Run Creek, Twomile Creek, Groveland Flats) with grassed waterways, upgrading WWTPs, and stabilizing erodible main-stem streambanks, total phosphorus (TP) concentration was reduced by 31.4% from 104.3 ?g P/L to 71.6 ?g P/L. Of the three considered potential TP water quality targets (20, 45, 65 ?g P/L), the 65 ?g P/L target was attainable, while the 45 ?g P/L standard was not achieved but is believed to be possible with more intensive management practices. A nutrient biotic index (NBI) using TP and nitrate concentrations with observed macroinvertebrate communities was also used to evaluate appropriate water quality criteria. When comparing trophic state from the NBI with an external classification scheme based on chemistry, the NBI-P trophic state designations were observed to agree more often than the NBI-N. Several reasons for the discrepancies were determined, namely the use of nitrate instead of TN for the NBI-N, number of chemistry samples used, period of time which chemistry averages were taken, tolerance values that may not completely represent nutrient 'optima', and lack of scores for many taxa.
  • The Impact of Nutrient Loading from Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) on Water Quality, a Mesocosm Approach

    Unckless, Robert; The College at Brockport (2006-04-01)
    We conducted a mesocosm experiment to determine the impact of Canada Goose (Branta cana.densis) feces on water quality parameters. After 30 days of fecal additions (treatments of 2.419 g, 1.209 g and 12.090 g every 3 d) we found no significant impact on soluble reactive phosphorus, total phosphorus, ammonia, nitrate, total Kjeldahl nitrogen, chlorophyll-a, phycocyanin or turbidity for any of the treatment groups versus the control (no fecal addition). Nitrogen to phosphorus ratios were not affected by the fecal additions. Although there was no significant increase in chlorophyll-a concentration or phytoplankton biovolume, there was an increase in phytoplankton counts in the high treatment group. Phytoplankton diversity (using the Shannon index of diversity) was significantly decreased by the addition of goose feces (H1'=0.575, H2'=0.433, t=l7.43, p< 0.001, where H1' is the control and H2' is the 12.090 g treatment). We performed a settling experiment which suggested that nutrients in goose feces settle to the sediment quickly, prohibiting uptake by phytoplankton which explains the apparent lack of impact of fecal additions on water quality. Since most of the nutrients in goose feces settle to the sediment, it is likely that the impact of the nutrients will not become evident until a mixing event occurs or a benthic food web passes them to the organisms of the water column.
  • Habitat Requirements of Stream Spawning Walleye: An Evaluation of Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) Information and Lake Erie/Niagara River Tributaries

    Lowie, Christopher Eric; The College at Brockport (1998-12-01)
    A Lake Erie Walleye Spawning Stream Rehabilitation Plan was initiated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to stabilize and enhance walleye recruitment in Lake Erie. One component of the plan includes stream habitat assessment to determine candidate streams for rehabilitation efforts. Information from research literature has been compiled to develop a Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) model and identify optimum habitat requirements for walleye. The model hypothesizes species-habitat relationships which can vary by geographical area. The objectives of my thesis project were to: (1) determine habitat conditions in a local stream where walleye spawn (control site); (2) compare these data with the HSI; and (3) use the data to evaluate four tributaries as candidates for walleye rehabilitation efforts. Spawning walleye were observed in the control stream on four days over the two-year period of study. Velocity, depth, and water temperature conditions where walleyes spawned were at the lower end of or below the optimum ranges specified in the HSI. However, optimum HSI conditions for velocity, depth, and water temperature generally do not exist in the control stream. Substrate, dissolved oxygen, and pH variables were optimum when compared to the HSI. Cluster analysis was used to group streams according to their similarities in velocity, depth, water temperature, and substrate. Significant differences (p ?0.05) in these parameters occurred among all grouped streams. No candidate stream evaluated in this study fully met the conditions found in the control stream. The candidate stream most similar to the control stream was Eighteenmile Creek. The candidate stream most similar to the national HSI model was Ellicott Creek.
  • Modification and Statistical Evaluation of a Standard Sampling Method for Stream Invertebrates

    Rhyne, Randall S.; The College at Brockport (2003-04-01)
    Stream health monitoring of Irondequoit Creek was begun as part of a Remedial Action Plan (RAP) for the Rochester Embayment. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) assesses wadeable riffles by kick sampling four, 5-m transects for five min each. A 100-organism subsample of each transect is analyzed to determine stream health. Within the biomonitoring community, there is debate regarding appropriate areal (spatial) and numerical subsampling methods as they relate to biomonitoring. A pilot study indicated that reduced areal sampling provided comparable assessments to a larger area assessed in an earlier study conducted at the same location in the same month. I found that 10-20% sampling effort did not provide equivalent assessments and that 80-90% sampling effort provided virtually identical assessments to 100% sampling effort. Depending on the biotic index (Taxonomic Richness; Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera; Hilsenhoff Biotic Index and Percent Model Affinity), 30-60% sampling effort gave assessment results equal to 100% sampling effort. Overall, 50% sampling effort gave stream health assessments equivalent to 100% sampling effort, and reduced sampling time.
  • Water Quality Assessment of Irondequoit Creek using Benthic Macroinvertebrates

    Bailey-Billhardt, Nichelle; The College at Brockport (2002-01-01)
    The Rochester Embayment of Lake Ontario is one the 43 Great Lakes' Areas of Concern designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (Monroe County 1993). As part of a Remedial Action Plan (RAP), degradation ofbenthos was one of the 14 use impairments identified for the Rochester Embayment (Monroe County 1993). Stage II of the RAP identified stream health monitoring as a method of identifying existing and future conditions of the Embayment and its tributaries, including Irondequoit Creek. There is much debate in the "world" of stream health biomonitoring using aquatic macro invertebrates regarding methods of collection, sample size and taxonomic resolution required to obtain accurate stream health assessments. My study compared stream health at three locations in Irondequoit Creek (upstream, midstream and downstream) and in three habitats (gravel, mud and vegetation) and evaluated methods of sampling macro invertebrates and analyzing stream health used by the Stream Biomonitoring Unit ofthe New York State Department ofEnvironmental Conservation (Bode et al. 1996). There were few differences between upstream (primarily agricultural or rural land use) and midstream (primarily agricultural and suburban l~d use) communities, but stream health decreased from upstream to downstream (primarily .urban/suburban land use). As expected, community differences were found across habitats (gravel, vegetation, mud) at the same sampling locations. Fixed 100 count · methods were compared with entire macro invertebrate samples in the gravel habitat at the midstream location (Powder Mill Park, Rochester, NY). Although metric values for random and haphazard samples of 100 organisms differed from values for whole samples, stream health assessments did not differ.
  • Identification of E. coli Sources in Conesus Lake Sub-watersheds Using BOX A1R- Derived Genetic Fingerprints

    Somarelli, Jason; The College at Brockport (2004-08-01)
    In the Conesus Lake watershed , best management practices (BMP's) were implemented on farms in the upper watershed and the resultant change in bacterial water quality was assessed using both quantification techniques and Rep-PCR molecular tools during events and non-events. Genetic fingerprints of Escherichia coli isolates from a library of known source isolates (n=123) were compared to E. coli of unknown origin obtained from stream water samples. The genetic library consisted of E. coli sources from cattle, humans, geese and deer. Fecal samples were collected aseptically and E. coli was isolated from each of these sources. Genetic fingerprints were obtained from each of the known sources using Rep-PCR. Fingerprints from unknown sources were compared with those in the library using computer based image analysis. These techniques were used to identify sources of E. coli in the watershed and accurately demonstrate the effectiveness of the best management practices in the watershed. Results found E. coli levels that were significantly higher than that established by EPA for recreational waters (200CFU/1OOml) on several occasions throughout the year, especially during event periods. In addition, the sources of E. coli in the watershed were identified.
  • Relating soil fertility and plant competition to Rhamnus cathartica L. (common buckthorn) invasion success

    York, Julia Lynn; The College at Brockport (2016-07-18)
    Rhamnus cathartica (common buckthorn) is a shrub or small tree that is invasive in the northern and central United States and southern and eastern Canada. Buckthorn invades a wide variety of habitat types, including open areas and forests. Impacts of buckthorn invasion include the loss of native species, alterations to soil nutrient cycling and decay rates, and increases in non-native earthworm abundances. Although it is shade-tolerant, buckthorn grows rapidly in high light. However, the effects of competition on buckthorn growth are more pronounced in high light environments. Therefore, buckthorn may be particularly adapted to succeed in habitats with intermediate light regimes, which provide ample light for growth and decreased competition. Habitats with low soil fertility may also be especially vulnerable to buckthorn invasion due to buckthorn’s ability to increase soil nitrogen while limiting the growth of herbaceous competitors. An observational and experimental study was performed to determine how habitat, competition, and soil nutrient status affect buckthorn success. I hypothesized that seedlings would have greater success in 1) shrubland habitats than meadow or forest edge habitats and 2) plots with decreased soil fertility than plots with increased or unaltered soil fertility. For the observational study, I measured vegetation and soil characteristics and leaf litter decomposition rates in one meadow, shrubland, and forest edge habitat at six sites in western New York. Meadows were different from shrub and forest habitats in vegetation, but not soil characteristics. Meadows had more herbaceous vegetation and fewer seedlings and saplings than the shrub and forest habitats. There were no differences in herbaceous vegetation cover, woody vegetation abundances and diameters, or in soil characteristics 2 between the shrub and forest habitats. Buckthorn leaf litter decayed faster than a native species mix. For the experiment, I measured the effect of habitat, competition, and soil nutrients on the growth and photosynthetic rates of transplanted buckthorn seedlings at the six sites. Although photosynthetic rates and light levels were greater in the meadows than the shrub and forest habitats, buckthorn seedlings displayed increased height loss in the meadows that was likely due to seedling herbivory and desiccation. While herbivory and desiccation likely exerted the strongest effects on seedling growth in the meadows, light availability exerted the strongest effects in the shrub and forest habitats. In contrast with my hypotheses, competition had no effect on seedling growth, and soil fertility affected only a small subset of seedlings. As meadow habitats were less susceptible to invasion than shrub and forest habitats, management efforts should prioritize shrublands and forests for buckthorn removal. As the competition and soil nutrient treatments had no effect on buckthorn growth in the shrubs and forests, management practices based on manipulating soil fertility or planting native competitors to inhibit buckthorn are not indicated. Instead, buckthorn monitoring and removal practices in forest and shrub habitats should focus on areas with increased light availability, which may create an invasion window for buckthorn.
  • Assessing Industrial Contamination of Brockport Creek After Removal of Contaminated Sediment

    Chalupnicki, Marc A.; The College at Brockport (2006-12-01)
    This project assessed the condition of Brockport Creek and a tributary following removal of contaminated sediment from the tributary in 2002. Before the cleanup, PCB concentrations in sediments ranged from 1, 730 to 34,900 µg/kg; after the cleanup they ranged from 288 to 432 µg/kg, below water quality criteria for aquatic organisms and human health. The number of heavy metals detected in sediments after the cleanup decreased from 22 to eight, and their concentrations also decreased. After the cleanup, concentrations of metals ranged from 0.8 to 172 µg/kg; some values were above water quality criteria for aquatic organisms and human health, especially for Zinc. The benthic macroinvertebrate community at the cleanup site was severely degraded; all but one of the other six sampled sites exhibited characteristics of moderately polluted or disturbed invertebrate communities. Daphnia and larval Pimephales were more sensitive to sediment exposure than Hyallela and adult Pimephales. No patterns of toxicity were observed in relation to location of sediment samples in Brockport Creek for test organism weight, length or offspring production, but survival rates were generally higher in the area of the cleanup site than at sites farther up- and downstream in Brockport Creek. The cleanup of the contaminated tributary appears to have been successful, but sediment quality in other parts of Brockport Creek warrants further study.

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