Recent Submissions

  • Non-invasive Monitoring of Nest Boxes

    Johnson, Kaylee; Garneau, Danielle (2020-05-05)
    Nest boxes are an important wildlife management tool which have proven successful in long-term recoveries of waterfowl and other species. Previous studies have shown that flying sqquirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus and G. volans) communally nest in these boxes in northern New York. We sought to monitor wildlife occupancy in nest boxes using non-invasive technologies including cameras and acoustic devices. Between 2019-2020, nest boxes were monitored at the recently burned Altona Flat Rock Forest in northern New York. GoPro cameras were mounted to telescoping poles to check nest boxes for occupancy and other wildlife sign. Later in the survey, goPros were mounted to the boxes for overnight visual and acoustic sampling. Concurrent acoustic sampling was performed using a smartphone enabled bat detector (Echo Meter Touch 2), as studies have shown flying squirrel vocalizations fall in the detectable range of many bat species. Monitoring revealed sign of wildlife (e.g., nests, debris, scat) in nest boxes erected in the burn site. In addition, acoustic data confirmed the presence of a species of concern in our region, the eastern whip-poor-will (Caprimulgus vociferus) who are known to have strict habitat needs involving open forests and a dense understory to protect nests from predators. This research has offered a window into the potential success wildlife professionals might have using alternative survey methods (e.g., technology) when monitoring sensitive species.
  • Examining the Presence of Microplastic in Wastewater-Derived Soil Amendment

    Koritkowski, Carlee; Garneau, Danielle (2020-05-05)
    There is growing research on the impact of microplastics in terms of uptake in consumer products (e.g., sea salt, bottled/tap water, beer, mussels, fish, and soil amendments). Studies have shown that wastewater effluent and biosolids are potential pathways for microplastics to enter marine, freshwater, and terrestrial environments. Some soil amendments derive from the bacterial mats associated with wastewater processing and are potential pathways of microplastics via soil runoff into surrounding waterbodies. The presence of microplastics in these ecosystems impacts food webs at varying trophic levels and contributes to the persistence of microplastics in the environment. We examined a wastewater-derived soil amendment for microplastics using standard characterization methods. Quantification of microplastics following distilled water hydration of 82g of soil amendment yielded 69 particles. These particulate were primarily fibers (69%) and foams (19%), with lesser films (4%), beads (4%), and fragments (3%). The majority were smaller (125-355um) fiber particles. A standard bag of this soil amendment is 14515g with coverage of 232m2. The average-sized lawn in the United States is approximately 911m2, resulting in the potential to contribute 330,240 particles into soil and ultimately adjacent waterways. Next steps have begun to streamline this process by adopting the wet peroxide oxidation digestion method in an attempt to reduce organic matter. Nile red staining is a recently introduced method that effectively binds to plastic and is visualized using ultraviolet light. Microplastic researchers have developed automated (MP-VAT) software to streamline microplastic quantification and characterization in conjunction with Nile red staining procedures. We aim to incorporate this new approach and evaluate best practices in microplastic quantification and characterization of wastewater-derived soil amendments, as their potential ecosystem consequences are broad. It is important to continue elucidating pathways of these emerging persistent pollutants.
  • Camera trap monitoring of wildlife following a wildfire at the Altona Flat Rock forest

    Jaeger, Tristan; Adams, Matthew; Staats, Lloyd; Garneau, Danielle; Lesser, Mark (2020-05-05)
    Forest disturbance can drastically alter wildlife habitat (i.e., cover, forage and prey abundance). Response of wildlife to disturbance events, particularly the timing involved in returning to pre-disturbance conditions, are important aspects of overall ecosystem recovery and resilience. Here, we study wildlife occurrence and usage patterns following a disturbance at a sandstone pavement pine barren in northern NY. This site is dominated by Pinus banksiana (Jack Pine) with an understory largely comprised of Vaccinium angustifolium (Low-bush Blueberry) and Gaylussacia baccata (Huckleberry) serving as a major wildlife resource and fuel for this fire-dependent system. In July 2018, ~220ha of this forest was burned in a wildfire. In fall 2018, eight game cameras were installed along transects traversing a gradient of burn severity as well as an adjacent unburned reference area. Annual and seasonal abundances, and diel wildlife activity were characterized using the camTrap package in R Studio. Over the course of the study, overall species richness in the unburned and burned areas were differed (n= 15 and n= 13 respectively), though total occurrences were higher in the unburned (n = 361) than in the burned area (n = 480). Common species captured on the barren include Odocoileus virginianus (White-tailed Deer), Lepus americanus (Snowshoe Hare), and Tamiasciurus hudsonicus (Red Squirrel) which more prevalent in the unburned, while Canis latrans (Coyote) were more common in the burned area. Seasonal trends in wildlife abundance show a clear benefit to being in the unburned area in fall through winter 2018 as it provides resources and hiding cover. In spring, wildlife increased activity within the regenerating burn which remained in high use until summer-fall 2019. Interestingly, Coyote’s use of burned and unburned areas tracks that of their Snowshoe Hare prey and is most pronounced in the burn during spring. At the barren, Snowshoe Hare and Coyote behave nocturnally as compared the diurnal activity of White-tailed Deer. In the unburned area, Coyote appear to shift activity to capture the morning peak of Deer. Further long-term monitoring will elucidate how wildfire affects wildlife community composition, abundance, and distribution on the Altona Flat Rock sandstone pavement barren.
  • Impacts on the growth of Sweet Corn (Zea Mays) exposed to plastic weed fabric and soil amendment with and without earthworms

    Lee, Linh; Gomez, Isabel; Garneau, Danielle (2020-05-05)
    Agricultural practices, such as farm field application of sewer sludge or use of plastic weed fabrics may impact yield of crop plants. Numerous studies have documented the presence of microplastics in wastewater treatment plant effluent and sludge and have noted negative impacts on terrestrial and aquatic organisms. Plastic mulch and weed fabrics are increasingly more common in small-scale farming and over time will degrade into finer microplastic particulate. Both plastic sources have the potential to leach residues into soils and adjacent waterbodies, with potential impacts on both plants and wildlife. Earthworm bioturbation has the potential to redistribute microplastics even deeper into the soils as they consume and lay castings. We established a greenhouse experiment to examine the effects of farming-associated plastics on Sweet Corn (Zea mays) in the presence of Red Worms (Eisenia foetida). We sowed 4 corn seeds per pot across 5 treatments (control, macroplastic, microplastic, amendment 1mm, amendment 355um) with 6 replicates per treatment and lined and covered the pots with screening. Once plants were established (13 days), two Red Worms were introduced to three pots across all treatments. Plant height was measured weekly and upon harvest, stem diameter, leaf abundance, and weights were obtained. Preliminary results suggest that the amendment hastened the date of first germination (6 days post-planting). All plants germinated in 1mm amendment and macroplastic, whereas minimum (88%) germination was observed in 355um amendment and microplastic treatments. There was a statistical difference in the height of Sweet Corn after a week with the tallest plants deriving from the 1mm amendment treatment (p = 0.037, F = 2.643, df = 119). This study serves to help elucidate the complex interactions of microplastic and soil-dwelling organisms on yield of crop plants. Our results will inform farmers and land managers about avoiding techniques that will potentially increase plastics inputs into ecosystems.
  • Natural History Interpretation of Rugar Woods

    Gray, Stephanie; Krech, Jennifer; Domenico, Joshua (2019-05)
    Rugar Woods Interpretive Nature Trail is a <1mile loop in the woods behind the SUNY Plattsburgh fieldhouse. The trail meanders along a stream and provides natural history learning opportunities in the form of 23 interpretive signs, each with interactive QR codes to learn more with online supplemental materials. This nature trail is a collaboration of SUNY Plattsburgh students and faculty and was made possible by funding from a student-subsidized Green Fee granted through the Campus Committee For Environmental Responsibility and the Lake Champlain Basin Program's Champlain Valley Natural Heritage Program.
  • The Human Heart

    Maher, Kailey (2019-04-30)
    Albert Einstein once wrote, “The world is too dangerous to live in – not because of the people who do evil, but because of the people who sit and let it happen.” We are all merely human, but where the fight lies is trying to stay human. One of the things that binds us, above all else, is our humanity. As such, no human life is more important than another. As human beings alike, we have a personal responsibility to one another to protect and preserve the life and rights of those who have lost their voice or no longer have a voice. We – as individuals, as students, and at our very essence, as human beings – have the power to promote change because, unlike so many unfortunate others, our voices can still be heard.
  • Tainted Lives

    Kiroy, Nicholas (2018)
    The work describes in a 20-line standard stanza the lives of six individuals who were affected in some way by the holocaust. I tried not to just define each character by their status and circumstances, but also by a dominant emotion that would carry with them. The first character, Alfons, I share the closest connection with personally because he and I both are nineteen. I attempted to imagine how my life would be affected if I were forced to endure this event at a time of discovering I face now. Along with devaluation, expectations, and hopelessness as elements, what path was he set on by this exterior force on his life? The other characters are much similar in having faced normal human difficulties in their pre-holocaust lives, endured unimaginable hardship during the events that took place, and were forever disadvantaged and scarred by this portion of their lives in which they involuntarily relinquished control to a great evil. Each of the characters are distinct in their own unique experiences shaped by where they went, who they were before they became involved, and how they cope with these hardships. Each of the characters are also the same inasmuch as they are unsuspecting victims in a merciless campaign to de-humanize that which is different, an increasingly relevant concept as the post-modern age progresses in a globalized world of self-awareness shared in a space with that of many others different from ourselves.
  • Mannequin Renewal

    Suphan, Jessica (2018)
    In a small, sheltered home of modern day United States, an older man named Josef paints those slaughtered in the Holocaust on mannequins. But his solitary passion is interrupted by a high schooler named Lydia; she bursts into his home in a flurry of excitement and hope. Her aunt sent her to Josef, with the teenager hoping he’ll help her create a birthday present for her elderly grandmother. Her sweetheart, Lydia’s grandfather, was lost in a concentration camp. Josef takes on this custom order. At her grandmother’s birthday he experiences the bittersweet effect his art can have on the family of those long lost, and is inspired.
  • A Survey of Microplastic Pollution from Wastewater Treatment Plant Effluent Within the Lake Champlain Basin

    Le Tarte, Lucas; McCauley, Nathaniel; Moriarty, Melissa; Lee, Erin; Buksa, Brandon; Niekrewicz, Thomas; Garneau, Danielle (2019-05)
    Microplastics are an emerging and ubiquitous pollutant. Recent studies suggest that consumer care products and laundering of synthetic garments are major sources of microplastics. Most current wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) technologies are limited in their ability to remove particulate <5mm in size and pose a threat to aquatic organisms. Since 2013, we have been surveying WWTP post-treatment effluent samples with the city of Plattsburgh, NY (N = 61), in 2016 we brought online St Albans, VT (N = 64), Ticonderoga, NY (N = 42), and Burlington, VT (N = 21), and in 2017 Vergennes, VT (N = 20). Post-treatment effluent samples derive from 24 hour plant sampling events and were processed using wet peroxide oxidation methods. All samples were characterized based on the type of microplastic (e.g., fragment, fiber, pellet, film, foam), size, and color, as well as polymer type using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR). Plant-specific characterization revealed fibers were the most common microplastic in Vergennes (55%) and Ticonderoga (39%), as compared to foam (52%) in St. Albans, fragments (43%) in Plattsburgh, and similar proportions of fragment and films (31%) in Burlington. Estimated output of microplastic particles per day were: Plattsburgh (n = 14,972), St. Albans (n = 28,620), Burlington (n = 19,806), Ticonderoga (n = 10,544), and Vergennes (n = 576). Additionally, polymer type varied by plant and included HDPE, PVA, and styrene. Differences likely reflect plant characteristics, for example Plattsburgh and Burlington serve a similar sized population and have a similar capacity, the difference in particle abundances may be due to varied infrastructure updates. In addition, St. Albans and Vergennes have tertiary treatment; however dates of recent upgrades vary. Microplastic pollution is a concern when we account for plant 24 flow rate and lakewide distribution. Microplastics have the potential to adsorb harmful chemicals residing in the water and pose risk to aquatic organisms and human health. By documenting wastewater treatment plants as a source of microplastics, we can share these findings with plant operators, lake stewards, government officials, and work towards solutions both up and downstream.
  • Wildlife Response to Wildfire at the Altona Flat Rock Pine Barren in Northern NY

    Adams, Matthew; Staats, Lloyd; Garneau, Danielle; Lesser, Mark (2019-05)
    In July of 2018, approximately 221 hectares of forest were burned in a wildfire at a sandstone pavement barren in Altona NY. Forest overstory is predominantly Pinus banksiana (Jack Pine) and Betula lenta (Black Birch), whereas understory is comprised of ericaceous shrubs and Pteridium aquilinum (Bracken Fern). Within weeks of the burn, Jack Pine’s sertoninous cone seeds had germinated and regeneration of fern stolons and birch stump sprouts appeared. We sought to monitor wildlife in response to forest regeneration at the sandstone pavement barren burn as compared to a reference (unburned) site. For this study, eight game cameras were installed along transects traversing the burn intensity gradient. Game cameras were equally distributed across the burn and reference sites and remained unbaited. Diel wildlife activity was made possible using camTrap package in R Studio, which organizes image files according to metadata (e.g., time, temperature, species) and facilitates interpretation. Species recorded in the burn sites were, Odocoileus virginianus (White-tailed Deer), Canis latrans (Eastern Coyote), Leporidae (Rabbit family), Lynx rufus (Bobcat), Procyon lotor (Raccoon), and Pekania pennanti (Fisher). In addition to these species, Tamiasciurus hudsonicus (Red Squirrel), Sciurus carolinensis (Gray Squirrel) and Bonasa umbellus (Ruffed Grouse) were observed in the reference but not the burn sites. In fall 2018, species richness was greater (n = 9) on the reference versus the burn sites (n = 6). In addition, there was greater wildlife abundance (n = 98) at the reference versus the burn sites (n = 44). Diel activity differed for some species between sites, in particular White-tailed Deer activity was crepuscular at the reference site, with activity peaks at both 8am and 6pm, as compared to a single longer duration morning activity bout on the burn. Biodiversity typically responds positively to wildfire in response to regeneration; however this was not observed in the first season following the disturbance. Continued monitoring of wildlife in response to wildfire may reveal differing patterns as the forest continues to succeed.
  • Predictors of second language acquisition in students with literacy difficulties

    Le, Tina (2019-05)
    Students with literacy difficulties, such as dyslexia, have impairments in both reading and writing: two essential academic tools to foster productive life-long education. Impairments in reading and writing can affect the way students learn a second language because of new vocabulary acquisition and print comprehension, which is dependent on how transparent the type of orthography is. The multiple-deficit model of dyslexia provides a better description of comorbidity that further deviates these difficulties. Four predictors that are examined when analyzing literacy difficulties are orthographic differences, cognitive abilities, affective factors and teacher will and capacity. The purpose of this literature review is to discuss the results of the four predictors and accommodations of these difficulties within the classroom setting.
  • Let's talk about it: challenges in narrative-discourse skills for children who use AAC

    Blais, Olivia (2019-05)
    Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices are used by individuals that are unable to successfully communicate with the use of speech or are used to supplement other forms of communication. Children who use AAC devices in their daily lives may be at a higher risk for impairments in their narrative language skills due to many factors. The intent of this scoping review was to examine which factors may influence a child’s narrative language skills when using an AAC device, which other elements of language may be impacted among this population, and which types of intervention have been used in response to these obstacles. This review also discusses further research recommendations.
  • Long-term and short-term effects of childhood hemispherectomies on language abilities

    Richardson, Brooke A. (2019-05)
    Introduction: A cerebral hemispherectomy is a surgical procedure in which either the left or right hemisphere of the brain is completely removed, and is undergone as a result of intractable seizures. Methods: This scoping review was conducted using eighteen relevant articles, and utilized the databases provided through the Feinberg Library. Results: Because language deficits are so significant in many patients prior to hemispherectomies, language abilities tend to either stay the same or improve once the hemispherectomy is complete. Discussion: Although the trends appear to be consistent across studies, it is important to acknowledge that individual factors may have impacted patients language success, maintenance, or regression following surgery. Conclusions: This literature review suggests that further research is needed regarding postoperative language therapy.
  • A Comparison of the Effect of Parkinson's Disease on Verbal and Signed Modalities

    Ball, Nora (2019-05)
    Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is the second most common progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by deficits in movement. The effects of PD on verbal communicators have long been known, but little is known of its impact on American Sign Language users (ASL). Due to impairments found in the communication of verbal PD communicators, recent studies have investigated impairments found in ASL PD communicators. Studies have shown deficits in prosody, intonation and articulatory approximations created by PD. Possible associations between an ease of articulation and increased difficulties in perception have been theorized. This literature stipulates possible similarities between the effect of PD on verbal and signed modalities. This literature review will analyze the results of previously conducted studies and speculate recommendations for future research.
  • Investigating the availability of services for individuals with communication disorders in Sub-Saharan Africa

    Capurso, Cynthia-Ann (2019-05)
    In Sub-Saharan Africa, it is estimated that there are at most six Speech-Language Therapists per one million individuals with communication disorders. It is evident that this population is severely limited in appropriate healthcare services. This literature review identifies the underlying factors that contribute to the healthcare shortage for those with communication disorders in order to determine solutions. The most prominent aspects that impede healthcare development in Sub-Saharan Africa for these individuals are the severely limited availability of health workers, inadequacy of training among professionals, and culturally appropriate care. Global responsibility and sustainability within the health workforce is necessary to implement the most advantageous solutions in order to mitigate this issue holistically.
  • Craniofacial morphology as a clinical implication for intelligibility-based speech therapy in adults with Down Syndrome

    Reagan, Samantha Claire (2019-05)
    Down Syndrome (DS) is a genetic disorder associated with craniofacial features that may impact speech intelligibility and cause communication breakdown. Speech intervention has not been investigated in-depth in adults with DS due to the notion that motoric deficits are insensitive to therapy. This review seeks to identify literature pertaining to poor speech intelligibility as a component of communication deficits in this population for the purpose of informing clinical services. The results identified underlying articulatory characteristics that affect the quality and intelligibility of verbal output as well as the positive effect of speech therapy on intelligibility. The literature supports the significance of focusing on motoric-based intervention in adults with DS as well as the need for further research regarding clinical implications.
  • Best Practices in Cochlear Implantation in Prelingually Deaf Children Who Use Tonal Languages

    Campbell, Madeline (2019-05)
    Objective: This review seeks to determine what cochlear implant design, insertion technique, and aural rehabilitation method will improve tonal perception and speech perception for prelingually deaf pediatric cochlear implant and tonal language users. Methods: Seventeen relevant papers were identified in this review. Results: Fine Structure Processing coding strategy, a lateral electrode array inserted through the round window, and music training have all been found to help improve tonal perception. Conclusion: Using the Fine Structure Processing coding strategy in the low-frequency region channels, a lateral wall electrode array that is inserted through the round window, and music training postoperatively will help make individuals’ tonal perception more accurate and improve their speech perception of the tonal language they speak.
  • The Effect of Advanced Parental Age on Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder

    Hanlon, Abigail (2018-05)
    Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by varying deficits in social communication and social interactions, and/or restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities. The origin of ASD has long been studied and speculated. There is an increased interest in the risks associated with development of ASD. In recent years, parental age has been studied as a possible contributing factor to the development of autism. Studies are investigating the link between maternal and paternal age and autism. Possible associations have been speculated to be increase gene mutations, genetics, high risk pregnancy and lifestyle. This literature to date indicates possible associated factors, but is not yet definitive. This literature review will discuss the results of several studies and the recommendations for future research.
  • The Psychological and Emotional Impact of Hearing Loss on School-Aged Children

    Studt, Mallory E. (2018-05)
    School-aged children with hearing loss face significant psychological and emotional concerns that normal hearing children do not. Relevant studies identified children with hearing loss have an overall poorer global self esteem, poorer academic achievement, increased loneliness and behavioral issues. Research has speculated on the appropriate classroom environments best suited for these children, and comparisons have been made on mainstream and specialized classroom environments. The literature demonstrates mainstream classrooms correlating to a higher rate of speech intelligibility, and increased social competence amongst children with hearing loss than compared to the specialized classrooms.
  • A proposed ototoxicity monitoring protocol based on specificity, feasibility, and early identification

    Moser, Caitlin (2018-05)
    Ototoxicity is damage to inner ear structures resulting from exposure to an ototoxic medication. Ototoxic pharmacotherapy agents are commonly prescribed to treat infectious diseases and cancers. Establishment of an effective ototoxicity monitoring protocol can improve patient quality of life by focusing on feasibility, specificity, and early identification. Currently ototoxicity monitoring protocols exist, however these programs have inconsistency in success. In relation to developing countries, the need for an ototoxicity monitoring protocol is imperative as the use of ototoxic medications increase. However, U.S. guidelines are not feasible for application in these rural, developing countries due to resource restrictions. A literature review was conducted to evaluate the components of current programs. This study aims to propose a protocol that embellishes early identification and intervention through implementation of the most effective, precise, and feasible components.

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