• Plattsburgh Air Force Base

      Garneau, Danielle; McAdams, Colleen; Guerrier, Danielle (206)
    • Chrysemys picta (Painted turtle) Demographic Patterns in Rural vs. Urban Ponds

      Garneau, Danielle; Gardner, Brittany; Galante, Desiree (2014)
      Research suggests that turtle populations are declining and gender ratios are skewed as a result of urbanization. In particular, most turtle populations appear male skewed where anthropogenic disturbance has occurred. In fall 2012, we compared demographic trends in the painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) in both a rural and urban pond setting near Plattsburgh, NY. An urban golf course pond complex (Plattsburgh, NY) was compared to a rural quarry pond and wildlife management area (Chazy, NY). We performed capture-mark-recapture on turtles using hoop traps. Turtles were marked by notching the carapace with a file using a typical 3 letter system. Gender was determined from length of foreclaw and age by size of the turtle. We found that the rural site contained more adults and more males. We found that there were more painted turtles in the rural as compared to urban areas, which may be due to lesser predation and road mortality risks. The results from this local turtle project will become part of a continental-scale survey of turtle population health. This information will help to inform developers, landowners, and biologists alike of the impact of urbanization (e.g., habitat loss, habitat split, habitat fragmentation) on persistence of turtle species.
    • SUNY Plattsburgh Taxidermy Collection 2010 Inventory

      Garneau, Danielle; Klein, Jason (2014)
      During Hudson renovations 10 cabinets were found which contained a valuable collection of specimens ranging from invertebrate shells to endangered bird eggs, and local mammals. The focus of our research has been to preserve, organize, and prepare an inventory of mammal specimens to be catalogued in the Biocollections program in Specify6 (University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS) in the future. Specify6 is a data processing program used in museum and herbarium research. The majority of mammal museum preparation specimens were collected by prior SUNY Plattsburgh faculty, specifically Dr. Phil Walker, Dr. Harold Klein, as well as Biology students (dating back to 1960s). Additionally, several animal preparations were completed by students in wildlife-related courses as a taxidermy exercise, similar to the museum preparation lab in Wildlife Ecology and Management (ENV 430)
    • Patterns of Nest Box Use Among Squirrels (Sciuridae) in Managed Forest Stands in Clinton County, New York

      Garneau, Danielle; Sotola, Alex; Leewe, Jason (2014)
      Both natural and artificial habitat enhancements can be the structural component that increases the fitness of squirrels (Sciuridae) and thus warrant study. These structures can provide useful demographic and community information about wildlife populations, such as occupancy rates, litter size, habitat preference, as well as species richness and abundance estimates. This artificial nest box study aims to investigate the nesting patterns of squirrels from late winter through early fall 2011 in managed mixed forest stands within Clinton County, New York. It is known that squirrels are very sensitive to forest disturbance, hence we compared sites of varying silvicutural impacts (e.g., managed for logging and maple sugaring versus a control). A total of 48 nest boxes (16 per site) were constructed, across 4 stands. Weekly measurements of abiotic variables were recorded and biotic variables were examined which included wildlife point counts and nest box occupancy. Occupancy may be a function of nest box height (~3.5m and ~5m), site-specific tree cavity/ snags/drey abundance, thus they were surveyed. Of nest boxes, approximately 81%, 44%, and 13% in the control, logged and maple sugar site, respectively, had visual confirmations of Glaucomys sabrinus (Northern flying squirrel), with one observation of Sciurus carolinensis (Red squirrels). The first noted incidence of nest box occupancy was observed on 20 March, 2011 approximately two weeks after erection at the control site. Additionally, approximately 79% of nest boxes show evidence of wildlife visitation (e.g., scat, crushed seeds, or nesting material), 87% of the high boxes versus 71% of the low boxes were utilized, and 17% of all occupancies contained multiple individuals. This survey provides additional multi-season occupancy data for an elusive mammal species under managed habitat regimes. We suggest forest managers, and conservation biologists alike, attempt to reduce the removal rate of snags and trees with cavities in their daily practices, as these features can enhance the nesting success of squirrels. Additionally, if faced with logging, managers should implement habitat enhancements (e.g., nest box addition) to offer long-term housing and protective refugia for squirrels.
    • Investigation of the Northern Range Expansion of the Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginians)

      Garneau, Danielle; Gervich, Curt; Romanowicz, Ed; Appling, Leslie (2014)
      The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) has a very wide geographic range and is found throughout the south and northeastern United States, as far south as Central America and recently a few sightings have been noted in southern Canada. Low temperatures play a significant role in defining the opossum distribution, as they do not forage when temperatures are below 24.8°F. In parts of the opossum range, where they are forced to endure this temperature minimum, many experience increased mortality rates as a result of frostbite due to their small body size and hairless ears and tail. It may also be possible for them to persist in the northern extreme of their range by metabolizing body fat stores during cold winter months. Opossums found further north typically have a thick layer of underfur, which serves a thermoregulatory function. Because the opossum does not hibernate, it must forage year-round; however, this is difficult during the cold winters of upstate, New York. Typically the opossums stop foraging in temperatures less than 24.8°F, and avoid foraging in temperatures below 32°F . The goal of this study was to assess the progression of the northern migration of the opossum using a combination of qualitative roadkill and live sighting survey responses (i.e., bus drivers, mail collectors, Fed Ex drivers, hunters and trappers) and climate trends derived from long-term regional weather station records. We do not predict that sustainable Virginia opossum populations currently reside in high density within our region. Largely, this is because Clinton County is at the northern extent of their range in United States and their thermoregulatory needs cannot be met in these rural habitats. However, warming climate and increases in anthropogenic food sources may be making their northern migration possible in the near future.
    • Survey of Migratory Waterfowl on Krystal Lake Quarry Pond, Chazy, NY

      Garneau, Danielle; Franzi, Dave; Straub, Jacob; Berrus, Michelle (2014)
      Nitrogen and phosphorus addition from fecal matter of Branta canadensis (Canada geese), Chen caerulescens (Snow geese), and other migratory waterfowl can impact water quality in a lake ecosystem. Krystal Lake is an 18m deep groundwater fed abandoned limestone quarry located 2.14km from Lake Champlain, in Chazy, NY. This small aquatic system allowed us to examine the effects of nutrient loading from waterfowl without major nutrient losses due to its limited inflow and outflow. Throughout fall 2012, we measured nutrient levels (nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), sulfate, and chloride), biogenic oxygen demand, water temperature, and turbidity weekly from fixed buoy locations. We also estimated daily goose abundance using two methods; 1) once weekly visual point counts and 2) twice daily trail camera photos. Geese first arrived on the lake 11 Sept. (Branta spp.) and 17 Sept. (Chen spp.). Nutrient input calculations were based on known concentrations in excreta, from literature. We estimated that goose nutrient loading into the lake reached a maximum of 6,283g N and 1,961g P in one day. Nutrient loading for the study period totaled 40,401g N and 12,609g P from 25,733 cumulative goose days. Upon comparison of seasonal inputs with other similar sized lakes, we found that Krystal Lake experienced a disproportionately high nutrient influx. This quantity of nutrient input from migratory waterfowl will likely lead to eutrophication.
    • Timing of Peak Acorn Yield in Northern Red Oaks at Flatrock Forest in Relation to Small Mammals

      Garneau, Danielle; Straub, Jacob; Peterson, Marc; Ellsworth, Janet (2014)
      The pulsed, synchronous mass-production of seeds in tree species is a phenomenon called masting , which is an important event that occurs in forested ecosystems (Koenig and Knops 2005). Northern red oak (Quercus rubra) masting events, in northern hardwood forests, can provide abundant critical food sources for animals preparing to overwinter. Wildlife such as mice (Peromyscus spp.), squirrels (Sciurus spp.), black bear (Ursus americanus), ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus), and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) can increase their survivability and fecundity during mast years (Koenig and Knops 2005, Lashley et al. 2009, Gillen and Hellgren 2013). The ecology of masting trees within an ecosystem is important to study as they have cascading effects (Otsfeld et al. 1996, Gillen and Hellgren 2013, Lobo and Millar 2013). During years when seed yield is below normal, the decline in food production can result in reduced granivore populations, but also increases the chances of germination during the next masting event (Schnurr et al. 2002). Increased germination results from a lag in functional response time among granivores, an effective predator satiation technique (Schnurr et al. 2002). Oaks are greatly valued by many species, including humans. They are selectively harvested for high quality timber. The dependence of wildlife for food and habitat, and the human desire for quality timber attests to the need to study oaks, acorn production, and the effects on wildlife.
    • Vernal Pool Status Following Two Major Disturbances (100 year flood and Hurricane Irene)

      Garneau, Danielle; Schultz, Rachel; Keefe, Ian; Carpenter, Cody (2014)
      Vernal pools are crucial for the survival of herpetofaunal species. These temporary ponds are necessary breeding sites for many amphibious species and act as safe refugia, as many lack permanent predators that would be encountered in other more constant water bodies. The goal of this survey was to relocate and map the area and contagion (i.e., patch isolation, arrangement) of 16 vernal pools located in Rugar Woods, which were previously inventoried by Cody Carpenter 2011. Additionally, we sought to assess these vernal pools, following two severe disturbances, specifically the 100 year flood and Hurricane Irene. A global positioning system (GPS) device was used to mark the size of each vernal pool and georeference them in GIS. Results suggest that large disturbances have affected the distribution and abundance of these pools at Rugar Woods. Specifically, several vernal pools (#7, 8, 9) have now merged into one large pool. Additionally, the abundance of vernal pools has gone from 16 to 7 since 2011. The merging of 3 smaller pools serves to increase area and may support greater species richness including predators, as it may be more permanent. In addition, loss of pools increases pool isolation, perhaps leading to genetic drift effects. Findings from this study offer insights into how large-scale disturbance events can influence herpetofaunal communities.
    • Chrysemys picta (Painted turtle) Demographic and Home Range Patterns in Rural vs. Urban Ponds

      Garneau, Danielle; Drollette, Kelley; Whyte, Cassondra (2014)
      Research suggests that turtle populations are declining and gender ratios are skewed as a result of urbanization. In particular, most turtle populations appear male skewed where anthropogenic disturbance has occurred. In summer/fall 2013, we compared demographic trends in the painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) in both a rural and urban pond setting near Plattsburgh, NY. An urban golf course pond complex (Plattsburgh, NY) was compared to a rural quarry pond (Chazy, NY). We performed capture-mark- recapture on turtles using hoop traps. Turtles were marked by notching the carapace with a file using a typical 3 letter system. Gender was determined from length of foreclaw and age by size of the turtle. We found that the rural site contained more adults and both sites were female skewed. Program Mark was used to estimate rates of survival, immigration, recapture, and population size (N). The rural had approximately 1.4 times more painted turtles than the urban site. Survival rates were higher at the rural pond. Monthly, home range size fluctuated among female turtles and was largest earlier in the season. The smallest home range occurred the month prior to overwintering, as temperatures declined. Smartphone location-enabled Google forms grossly overestimated home range size, this error reduced when time was taken to sync data when accuracy values were low. This information will help to inform developers, landowners, and biologists alike of the impact of urbanization (e.g., habitat loss, habitat split/fragmentation) on persistence of turtle species.
    • Bird Window Strike Monitoring at SUNY Plattsburgh

      Garneau, Danielle; Hansen, Bendik (2014)
      Bird window collisions are a major anthropogenically-derived threat, resulting in 100-1000 million bird deaths annually in the U.S., making it the second largest mortality factor for birds. The relationship between bird window collisions (BWC) and building factors, such as size, window area, proximity to nearest road (as well as traffic intensity on that road), and vegetation density surrounding buildings was studied. Six buildings, with different size and vegetation densities, were selected for this study. Daily carcass searches around each building were performed for 21 days, traffic intensity was determined via observation, and window area and vegetation density were calculated using ImageJ and ArcGIS respectively. Only one indicator of a BWC was found (a feather pile), thus there were not enough data to perform any correlation analyses between the factors mentioned above and BWCs based on the survey of SUNY Plattsburgh campus buildings alone. However, other BWC studies indicate that higher window area increases BWCs most strongly in areas of lesser development. This might be useful in focusing conservation efforts when planning major construction projects.
    • Micro-plastic Pollution: A Comparative Survey of Wastewater Effluent in New York

      Garneau, Danielle; Mason, Sherri; Chaskey, Elizabeth; Hirsch, Taylor; Drake, Todd; Ehmann, Karyn; Chu, Yvonne (2014)
      Micro-plastics are hypothesized to be discharged into the waterways through wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluent. Students from SUNY Fredonia, jointly with students from SUNY Plattsburgh, have conducted a survey of regional plastic pollution at WWTPs in Chautauqua County, NY (Dunkirk and Fredonia) and Clinton County, NY (Peru and Plattsburgh) to explore this hypothesis. Samples of wastewater treatment effluent were collected using sieve arrays and materials were analyzed in the lab for any suspect micro-plastics. The suspect micro-plastics were placed into sample containers for future analysis. Preliminary results of this survey suggest suspect particles were present and discharged at rates of 109,556, 81,911, and 1,061,953 particles per day from Plattsburgh, Fredonia, and Dunkirk, respectively. Continued monitoring and dissemination of micro-plastic results to sewer facilities, may result in mitigation to reduce the amount of plastic discharge. These micro-plastics have become ubiquitous freshwater and marine pollutants, that are negatively impacting survival and fitness of aquatic species. Technological improvements to older facilities are likely to reduce micro-plastic waste and harm to the ecosystem.
    • Field and Molecular Survey of Northern and Southern Flying Squirrels in Northern New York

      Waldron, Alexis; Bliss, Amanda; Thone, Gretchen (2014)
      In northern New York, there are 2 sympatric species of flying squirrel, the northern (Glaucomys sabrinus) and southern (Glaucomys volans). Recent research suggests that the boundaries between the northern and the southern flying squirrels have been shifting northward, in part due to climate change affecting resource availability. As a result, northern New York would now be the southern terminus for northern, and the northern terminus for the southern flying squirrels. The goal of our research is to develop a molecular survey of the two species that can be compared to morphological measurements made in the field to better confirm species in our area. As weather permits, we are establishing an arboreally mounted trapline and recovering scat, hair, and other tissue samples for DNA extraction, polymerization chain reaction (PCR), and restriction digests to determine species. The molecular assay has been optimized; however the harsh winter has limited our trapping success for tissue collection in the field. Determining frequency of capture will assist in predicting where the boundary of these species lies in Clinton County.
    • Survey of Small Mammals on the Altona Flat Rock and the Gadway Sandstone Pavement Barren

      Garneau, Danielle; Frenyea, Kayla; Wilson, Whitney (2014)
      Sympatric species that compete over similar resources should not be able to coexist without niche partitioning. White-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) and deer mice (P. maniculatus) both share similar habitat and resources. Researchers have suggested that this coexistence is permitted as a result of physiological and/or behavioral differences among these two species. This study was conducted at two sandstone pavement barrens, selected for their global rarity as natural heritage sites, specifically the Altona Flat Rock in Chazy, and the Gadway sandstone pavement barren in Mooers, New York. Sixty Sherman live traps were monitored monthly, for four consecutive nights, over the course of the summer. P. leucopus and P. maniculatus are similar in pelage color and become difficult to distinguish morphologically, such that several metrics were collected. Additionally, saliva samples were drawn from each Peromyscus spp. in order to determine species using molecular verification via salivary amylase electrophoresus. There was a greater relative abundance of white-footed mice (P. leucopus) as compared to deer mice (P. maniculatus) on both the Altona Flat Rock and Gadway sandstone pavement barren. Red-backed voles, chipmunks, flying squirrel, red squirrel, meadow-jumping mice, and northern short-tailed shrews were also found at the Altona Flat Rock. Red-backed voles were not present on the Gadway sandstone pavement barren; however, northern short-tailed shrews, chipmunks, and red squirrels were common. The overall goal of our experiment was to determine the species composition of small mammals located on these unique sandstone pavement barrens. Additionally, our research served to determine whether sympatric populations of Peromyscus spp. were both present or if the sites were solely dominated by P. leucopus as was previously presumed.
    • Georeference Inventory of SUNY Plattsburgh's Taxidermy Collection

      Garneau, Danielle; Van Splinter, Jessica (2014)
      In the midst of global climate change, invasive species, habitat loss/fragmentation, and pollution, which leads to local extirpation and extinction, taxidermy collections are essential in educating the public on the importance of natural history. Documentation of where specimens are collected is critical to understanding mammal range shifts in this time of global change. The goal of this inventory was to georeference SUNY Plattsburgh's taxidermy collection to assess whether there were some regional hotspots of collection that might be sources of sampling in the future. Georeferencing included noting species name, collection site, morphological measurements, as well as other information on the voucher specimen tag and importing that into GIS. Approximately, half of all the voucher specimens in the collection were unmarked, 35% were collected from Clinton County (19% Plattsburgh), and 10% from Essex County (3% Lewis). All specimens documented were collected from New York State. Several unique specimens were documented including a bobcat (Lynx rufus), black bear (Ursus americanus), fisher (Martes pennan), red (Vulpes vulpes) and gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteous). Small mammals, including deer mice and white-footed mice (Peromyscus spp., 15%), red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonious, 10%), and snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus, 8%) were among the most abundant voucher species. The importance of continued sampling in these same voucher collection sites, might prove helpful when tracking range expansions as climate changes over the next century. SUNY Plattsburgh's snowshoe hare voucher specimens correspond to the southern edge of the historic range of the species and span the border of that range across four counties (e.g., Clinton, Essex, Warren, Ulster). Future implications for this information may include documentation of shifts in their southern range boarder as local conditions change in response to anthropogenic effects.
    • Baseline Study of Herbivore Preferences to Plant-vigor: A Distance-Mentored Undergraduate Research Experience

      Garneau, Danielle; Titus, John; Peterson, Marc (2014)
      Plants conspicuously display their energy production by a number of phenotypic characteristics; such as the number of leaves, flowers, pods, and their growth rate. When under predation by an herbivore, these factors can change significantly. Using such indicators to classify plant-vigor or health, leaf-area measurements of Brassica rapa were used to determine if the herbivores themselves select for healthier plants. The herbivore used in this study is the common field cricket (Acheta domesticus). Wisconsin Fast Plant cultivars of Brassica were grown in eight separate terraria. Two varietals of Brassica (green and yellow) were planted, resulting in four terraria for each type. Control groups (two green and two yellow) have no herbivores added to the tanks. Conversely, the experimental groups have Acheta applied to them. Variables such as the number of leaves, flowers, seed pods, height, and cricket mortality, were measured once a week for seven weeks. Photographs of leaf-area consumed will be analyzed using ImageJ, a computer program used in scientific research. Dry biomass will also be measured as a secondary means of measuring herbivory. Preliminary data shows a significant influence of seed pod production in the experimental groups and also a lack of development in yellow varietals compared to green Brassica. Once the leaf-area of predated leaves and the biomass of the terraria are analyzed, then correlations between herbivore selection and plant-vigor can be assessed. Congestion within the green tanks and general collateral damage during data collection has no doubt influenced the numbers received. This can be amended, as every stem that snapped was recorded in a journal, and such data can be omitted to eliminate unwanted variables.
    • Survey of Muskrat Population on Ausable and Wickham Marshes in Clinton County, New York

      Garneau, Danielle; Premo, Josh; Podwirny, Kate; Smith, Caleb (2014)
      The muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) is a medium sized aquatic rodent that historically has been an important fur bearing mammal for the eastern United States. From late January through mid-March, 2010, both Wickham and Ausable marshes in Clinton County, New York were surveyed to assess muskrat distribution and abundance patterns. Using belt transects, Wickham marsh was surveyed entirely. As a result of unseasonably warm weather and ice instability, only a section of the Ausable marsh was surveyed and will be completed next winter. Vegetation at each GPS marked den site was noted, as well as den height and width. Following the ground survey, GPS locations of den sites were imported into an ArcMap project to facilitate occupancy comparisons between marshes. Results from this survey suggest that there is overlap in home range and territories of most muskrats on these marshes, and that the dens are often associated with emergent grasses and shrubs. The width of the muskrat dens was not significantly different (p = 0.21) between the marshes, in contrast to their height (p = 0.011). Results from this study suggest that differences in the management practices at the two marshes could influence the distribution of muskrats. This study provides information which can help assist wildlife managers and will add to the gap in literature for this ecosystem engineer.
    • Species Verification of Peromyscus spp. through Salivary Amylase Gel Electrophoresis

      Garneau, Danielle; Goldberg, Brett; Bishop, Charles (2014)
      Often field identification of sympatric organisms becomes difficult when species are morphologically and behaviorally similar. Additionally, regional traits unique to subspecies further confound typical field marking identification techniques (e.g., tail length: body length ratios, tail bi-coloration). The importance of this verification might bring to question historic range maps and biodiversity trends in earlier published research which relied heavily on field markings. This field and lab-based study was performed to help verify field identification of white-footed mice (<em>Peromyscus leucopus</em>) (Fig. 1a) and deer mouse (<em>Peromyscus maniculatus</em>)(Fig. 1b) using a salivary amylase gel electrophoresis assay. Saliva samples were extracted from captured <em>Peromyscus</em> spp. from four different locations in NY, PA, and MA. Mice captured in NY were identified in the field as both species. Interestingly, mice in New York surveys captured within mixed forest sites were found to be of both species, whereas those captured on the sandstone pavement barren site were all <em>P. leucopus</em>. Researchers in PA identified all mice in the field as <em>P. leucopus</em>; however, salivary amylase results suggest that these species are in fact sympatric. Contrastingly, at the MA site all mice were identified in the field as <em>P. leucopus</em>, and gel verification supported this finding. This research suggests the need for molecular verification in all biodiversity surveys where species identity is uncertain. Additionally, this technique has provided an interesting future research avenue which suggests that conditions on the Altona flat rock barren are more favorable for <em>P. leucopus</em>.
    • Remote Video Observation and Quantification of Domestic Animal Behavior in Relation to Backyard Wildlife

      Garneau, Danielle; Bliss, Amanda; Dreier-Lawrence, Gillian (2015)
      Animal-borne and remote video cameras can provide important information on animal behavior, response to other animals and stimuli, and environmental factors. These technologies facilitate the capture of such behavior without the direct influence of humans and behaviors that take place which prove difficult for humans to access. Domestic animals can have strong impacts on local wildlife. The impact of domestic cats has been studied, but there is a lack of information about domestic dogs. We sought to use an animal-borne camera (GoPro) and two trail cameras in order to both test the technology and to gain insight into domestic dog and wildlife interactions. Four separate sniffing behaviors of a domestic dog were quantified. Free roaming wildlife was identified and any interactions were recorded. We observed only indirect interactions between the domestic dog subject and wildlife. Subject was exposed to known and unknown olfactory stimuli (lure) during these experiments in order to elicit a behavioral response. A basic check sheet was used to tally sniffing behaviors of the subject. We found that the sniff air behaviors were more difficult to observe on the GoPro than on the trail camera. In conclusion, we found the use of the GoPro to be insufficient for collecting scientific data; however, the trail cameras were very effective at capturing wildlife behaviors. A variety of other projects utilizing this technology have been very successful, so we suggest several alterations for future projects.
    • Field and Molecular Survey of Lyme Disease in Northern New York

      Garneau, Danielle; Provost, Alexandra; Bowman, David; VanBrocklin, Hope (2015)
      The black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis), which is the Lyme disease spirochete (Borrelia burgdorferi) vector, is prevalent in northern New York. By parasitizing small animal reservoirs, the black-legged tick infects the host species and creates the ecological cycle of the Lyme bacterium. Ixodes scapularis tick drags were performed weekly from May to July at three different regional sites. At each site, ticks were sampled from 5 different microhabitats (e.g., disturbed, forest edge, forest interior, grassland, and wetland). Tick abundance was greatest in Ausable/Chesterfield and the Plattsburgh area, and rare at the Watertown site. DNA extractions were performed, followed by nested PCR to detect the (Borrelia burgdorferi) Lyme spirochete bacterium. A total of (n = 170) ticks were collected at all sites, with 61% of those ticks testing positive for Lyme disease. A majority of the total ticks (n = 109) were collected during the month of June. The forest edge ticks, which were collected predominantly in the Ausable/Chesterfield, had the highest occurrence (79%) of Lyme disease. In contrast, the average Lyme prevalence for the other surveyed microhabitats was 53%. Of the microhabitats, the grassland had the lowest prevalence (44%) of Lyme disease. These differences could result from habitat suitability of important hosts (Peromyscus leucopus and Tamias striatus), which might occur in higher abundance in the Ausable/Chesterfield region, possibly reflecting the prevalence of oak (Quercus spp.) and their acorn mast. Several of these sites have undergone timber management, which can enhance acorn abundance in pitch pine/oak barren habitat (Ausable/Chesterfield). Temporally, only a third of the ticks from the month of May tested positive, which then increased to 58% in June, likely reflecting seasonal nymph activity. This preliminary study suggests that Lyme disease is common in the northern New York, with the occurrence of Lyme disease in black-legged ticks being the highest in those inhabiting forest edge microhabitat of the Champlain Valley during the month of June.
    • Micro-plastic Bioaccumulation in Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens) of Lake Champlain

      Mason, Sherri; Garneau, Danielle; Moseman, Erin (2015)
      Micro-plastics are discharged into watersheds through wastewater treatment plant effluent and onward into waterbodies. Studies have shown that micro-plastics are bioaccumulating within aquatic organisms found in both fresh and salt water. Students at SUNY Fredonia are jointly working with SUNY Plattsburgh to identify and quantify micro-plastics from within fish digestive tracks from the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain. Dr. Sherri Mason's team at Fredonia has identified dark fibers as the most abundant micro-plastic in fish digestive tracts (> 85%), with yellow perch (Perca flavescens), being the most frequent species containng plastics (94.4%). SUNY Plattsburgh sampled eight yellow perch caught ice fishing in Monty's Bay, Lake Champlain. Digestive tract samples were digested in a wet-peroxide solution then left to dry for further examination. All fish sampled contained microfibers within their digestive tracts, 75% of individuals contained fibers present while 25% had foam-like plastics. These samples will be further examined by Dr. Sherri Mason's lab for further confirmation on type, color, and polymer. In the future SUNY Plattsburgh plans to examine micro-plastics in zooplankton and cormorants to represent a trophic dynamic bioaccumulation of micro-plastics in Lake Champlain.