Recent Submissions

  • Assessing Plethodon cinereus (Red-backed Salamander) Skin Microbiome Differences Across Northern NY

    Wojotowecz, Chase; Bricetti, Luke; Ankrah, Nana Y. D.; Garneau, Danielle (2022-08-24)
    The role of global climate change in increasing the prevalence of amphibian disease, including chytridiomycosis, is well known. The skin microbiome is considered an important component of the amphibian immune system. Specific bacterial taxa and high skin microbial diversity are factors that are known to boost amphibian disease resistance. In this study, we explored the impact of environmental conditions on Plethodon cinereus (Red-backed Salamander) skin microbial abundance and diversity at a variety of different sites in New York’s North Country. We surveyed P. cinereus specimens from 5 sites varying in elevation and dominant vegetation type. Salamander skin microbiomes were subsequently sampled via sterile swab, plated and characterized by visual inspection of colony morphology. We performed DNA extractions and PCR to prepare samples for genetic sequencing to determine bacterial species identity. In total, 31 unique bacterial taxa were collected from the 5 sites. The highest and lowest bacterial diversity were observed at the Paul Smiths’ Visitor Interpretive Center’s Forest Ecosystem Research and Demonstration Area (FERDA) sites single tree and control silviculture stands, respectively. Beta diversity tests also indicated that the skin microbial communities at these 2 sites were most similar to each other and noticeably different from that of the Altona Flat Rock and Rugar Woods sites. These results indicate that site conditions are important determinants of P. cinereus skin microbial community diversity patterns. Although the identity of bacterial species (pathogenic, non-pathogenic) are yet to be confirmed, this study has added support to the concept that environmental conditions alter salamander skin microbiomes, which in turn can influence salamander disease resistance.
  • Oh deer, what do we have here? Monitoring stand and landscape-level changes in wildlife habitat use in northern New York

    Cave, Hannah; Rascoe, Liam; Garneau, Danielle; Lesser, Mark (2022-08-24)
    Forest composition and structure is a primary determinant of wildlife community patterns. However, disturbances such as selective harvesting, wildfires, and maple-sugaring operations, along with seasonal changes in habitat, may also influence wildlife species richness and abundance at the landscape-level. The Altona Flat Rock, a sandstone pavement barrens, contains Pinus rigida (Pitch Pine)- and Pinus banksiana (Jack Pine)-dominated forest types nested within the largely northern hardwood dominated landscape of upstate New York. Sections of these forest types have undergone recent disturbance (i.e., wildfire in the Jack Pine, maple sugaring and harvest in the northern hardwoods), changing structure and/or composition in those areas. The objective of this study was to evaluate wildlife habitat use over time and space across these adjacent, but very different, forests. Since spring 2018, we have used game cameras to continuously monitor wildlife in the hardwood-dominated forests surrounding the Flat Rock (n = 12). Concurrently, we have also been monitoring wildlife use in the Pitch Pine (n = 4) and Jack Pine barrens (n = 8). The most ubiquitous herbivore across all 3 sites was Odocoileus virginianus (White-tailed Deer), while Canis latrans (Eastern Coyote) and Lepus americanus (Snowshoe Hare) were most abundant in the Jack Pine forest type. Interestingly, Sciurus carolinensis (Gray Squirrel) and Sciurus vulgaris (Red Squirrel) were found almost exclusively in either the hardwood or Jack Pine forests, respectively, suggesting differences in dietary needs/preferences. Species richness varied dramatically across forest types, with northern hardwood, Jack Pine, and Pitch Pine richness values of 20, 31, and 2, respectively. Disturbance in the Jack Pine stand initially decreased richness, however, over the duration of the study there was little difference between the disturbed (26 species) and undisturbed (22 species) Jack Pine stands. We have observed slightly lower species richness in the mature hardwood forest (13 species) versus the young hardwood forest (19 species). Further analysis will determine temporal (seasonal and diel) wildlife diversity patterns. This study will provide wildlife and forest managers insights into the influence of forest type, and impacts of disturbance and management practices, on wildlife habitat.
  • Effect of COVID-19 on stock prices

    Case, Connor (2022-05-14)
    The purpose of this study was to dissect the impact of COVID-19 cases on stock price of the largest public companies by market capitalization in each of the 11 Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) sectors, from March 9th, 2020, until December 27th, 2021. This topic is so interesting considering the behavior of the S&P 500 index for example, which rose 58.50% while COVID-19 cases soared well over one hundred thousand new cases per week throughout the same period. Research done on a pandemic’s effect on stock markets have had the opposite response, at least for a year or so until the markets stabilize, including the Spanish Flu (1918-1920), Asian Flu (1957-1958), and more recently the SARS virus (2003). This study was conducted using panel regression analysis, and using observations gathered on a weekly occurrence. This study concluded that there is a highly significant positive relationship between the closing price of the 11 companies with new weekly COVID-19 cases, meaning that every time there was an increase in COVID-19 cases by 1%, the closing price of the 11 companies would increase by 1.9%. The outcome can be explained by an increased number of people having time to day trade due to layoffs or working from home, COVID-19-related stimulus packages offering the average American more funds to invest, or the most likely – investors looking past the catastrophic event to eventually return to normality as the reason to invest.
  • Educational factors and their effect on college tuition in private institutions across the United States

    Decker, Matthew J. (2022-05-16)
    To date, educational and economic factors have caused significant variation of tuition prices of private universities for the 2019 and 2020 fiscal educational year. This paper offers a cross-sectional model observing the causation of increasing college costs across the United States with underlying support from the human capital theory of education. The analysis at hand focuses on educational and institutional variables and their effects on the associated tuition costs for only private institutions. A series of STATA econometric tests were completed in order to determine a model, which further tests were then run for deeper analysis.
  • Pontifications on power

    Blaise, Butterfly; Balzac, Fred (2022-05-10)
    Written as a "reflection" on a weekend course at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Plattsburgh, "Sexuality, Power & Relationships," taken in the spring of 2018 and led by Prof. Butterfly Blaise and students in the Department of Gender and Women's Studies, this essay contrasts attitudes toward and behaviors involving such topics as sex, sexuality, gender identity, and relationships in the 1960s and 70s, when the author, Fred Balzac, was coming of age, and the late 2010s. The essay links these changed interpersonal attitudes and behaviors to such global and national challenges as climate change, rising economic inequality and the impoverishment of half the population, despair and alienation as evidenced by the opioid crisis and neglect of veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the decaying of American democracy, arguing that ruthless corporatism and unrestrained capitalism are at the root of many of the social problems discussed in the course at SUNY Plattsburgh. Contending that while the contemporary focus on issues such as gender identity and intersectionality encompass important and necessary struggles for the freedom and empowerment of all peoples, the essay concludes that, to address the global/national as well as the interpersonal problems they face, the younger generations—including Balzac's then-23-year-old son and his peers in the weekend course—will have to take on the corporate-capitalist power structure.
  • Does income inequality negatively affect GDP growth? A panel study

    Nguyen, Ha (2021)
    Ricardo’s Distribution theory (1817) proposes that, as the economy faces diminishing profits/returns on capital, there would be an increasing shortage of investments. Income inequality exacerbates this problem, by causing income not to be reinvested back in production timely. Therefore, the result is a stagnant economy, where economic growth is significantly slowed down. Literatures on the relationship between income inequality or overall inequality, and economic growth, which is usually measured by GDP growth, have revealed different and robust results. Forbes, 2000 and Partridge, 1997 found a significantly positive correlation between income inequality and GDP growth. However, Tabellini et al, 1994 produced a significant and negative correlation. Interestingly, Squire et al, 1998 found no significant relationship between aggregate inequality and GDP growth, but a significantly negative relationship between poverty and GDP growth. More recently, Brueckner and Lederman, 2017 found a significantly negative impact of income inequality on GDP transitional growth in countries with high initial incomes. Nonetheless, overall, recent literature has been leaning towards the hypothesis that the relationship between income inequality and GDP growth is non-linear. This paper is going to empirically study 146 countries in the world over 27 years from 1992 to 2018, to confirm that the relationship between income inequality and GDP growth is non-linear as suggested in recent literature. Moreover, this research will show that the effects of income inequality on GDP growth is heterogeneous; the impact of income inequality on economic growth is more positive on high income countries than on lower income countries. The method used is regression that aims to explain the GDP movements of countries, in terms of consumption, export, capital formation, poverty, and GINI coefficient. This research is at preliminary level; there can be further improvements to the model.
  • The effects of short selling on market efficiency

    Dang, Haily (2021)
    Using monthly data instead of daily data, I investigate the dynamic relationship between the short selling activity, market return, illiquidity and volatility of the NASDAQ 100 from February 2000 to December 2020. The findings suggest that high level of short selling can lower illiquidity and volatility. This relationship weakens during the financial crisis of 2008. The finding also suggests that the idea that short selling destabilizes the market is unfounded.
  • Effect of electric vehicle sales on the price of oil

    Arnob, Archi (2021)
    The primary goal of this study is to observe the relationship between the fluctuation of the oil price and the increasing number of sales of electric vehicles based on data from 20 developed and developing countries. As the number of electric vehicles on the market is growing, the demand in the world oil market is declining slightly and, as a result, oil prices are also declining due to several factors. Consumer theory tells us that oil prices could decline due to a rise in the number of electric vehicles sold. Electric vehicles can minimize carbon dioxide emissions and pollutants even when considering indirect emissions from power production and battery generation. Soon, the world may start banning regular gasoline vehicles as a part of the solution to climate change which has already started in Norway. The result shows us there is a slight negative relationship between the oil price and sales of electric vehicles. I can expect that the sales of electric vehicles will keep increasing and after a certain time, it will become a perfect substitute for regular gasoline vehicles.
  • Post Outbreak Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar) Egg Mass Survey in Northern New York

    Imm, Kaila; Garneau, Danielle (2021-05)
    Gypsy moths (Lymantria dispar) are an invasive species whose initial spread centered in Massachusetts and quickly advanced throughout the Northeast before reaching the mid-Atlantic, Michigan, and Wisconsin. These large-scale defoliators serve as a cyclical wave of disturbance with varying annual intensity and periodic peak years. Gypsy moth management is stage-specific, so understanding the life cycle is essential in order to facilitate the best management practices. In spring 2021, I surveyed gypsy moth egg mass densities in forested areas within Clinton and Essex County New York to determine if pest outbreak thresholds were met in the region. Across nine sites, which included local landowner properties, state parks, and wildlife management areas, I followed the NYS DEC egg mass sampling protocol. At each site, four plots were established and metrics collected included tree species, tree diameter, bark texture, and egg mass abundance and vertical distribution. Threshold infestation levels were met in five of the nine sites and Wickham Marsh forest was the most heavily infested. The most impacted trees were eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) and northern red oak (Quercus rubrum), specifically those individuals with an average diameter of 44.7 cm and vertically cracked bark. The data collected in this survey will inform regional biologists of more heavily damaged forests and land owners in order for them to develop a management plan for gypsy moths in the North Country.
  • Small Mammal Community Response to Wildfire at the Altona Flat Rock Sandstone Pavement Barren

    Garneau, Danielle; Hendrick, Michala; Darienzo, Lauren; Farr, Emily; Epifaino, Alex; Garneau, Danielle (2021-03-17)
    The Altona Flat Rock is a sandstone pavement barren, dominated by the fire-dependent species known as Pinus banksiana (Jack Pine). Changes in seed availability, understory structure, and predator presence influence wildlife migration within the barren. Additionally, small mammal abundance often fluctuates cyclical in response to tree masting. In July 2018, a wildfire occurred at the Flat Rock pine barren. We aimed to monitor small mammal response to wildfire over the course of a year. Small mammal traps were set along established transects capturing the fire severity gradient and adjacent reference unburned area. Along those same transects, giving up density surveys (GUDS) were performed to foraging patterns in these varied microhabitats. We predicted greater capture rates and community diversity in the burn immediately post-fire due to access to the abundant serotinous Jack Pine seeds. In fall 2018 immediately following the wildfire, a total of 67 small mammals were captured with 1.5 times more in the unburned than burned area. The small mammal community consisted of Peromyscus spp. comprising 87% of captures and insectivores Sorex cinereus (Masked Shrew) and Blarina brevicauda (Northern Short-tailed Shrew) were absent from the burn. In fall of 2019, a total of 21 small mammals were captured with 3 times more in the burn than in unburned area. Community composition was exclusively Peromyscus spp. Over the course of a year, we noted a significant reduction in captures and a shift in microhabitat usage from unburned (2018) to burn (2019) likely in response to regenerating vegetation ameliorating predation risk. Interestingly, average body mass and total body length were higher in Peromyscus spp. in 2019, perhaps in response to increased seed predation. GUD survey results show seed foraging was 67% greater in 2018. Collaborators monitoring game cameras at the barren noted increased predator use of the unburned and burned areas in winter 2018 and spring 2019, respectively and a significant decline of predators from the area in late summer-fall 2019. A predator decrease in fall 2019 is paralleled with a significant decline in Peromyscus spp. This preliminary research has revealed the complexity of small mammal response to wildfire. Long-term monitoring will likely uncover their connection to resources, microhabitat structure, and predator abundance as regeneration continues.
  • 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.

View more