• 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.
    • 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.
    • Microplastic Bioaccumulation in invertebrates, fish, and cormorants in Lake Champlain

      Garneau, Danielle; Hammer, Chad; VanBrocklin, Hope (2016)
      It is estimated in the United States that 8 trillion microbeads enter our waterways daily. Microplastics are typically discharged into local watersheds through wastewater treatment plant effluent and marine debris, with as much as 1600 synthetic fibers emanating from washing a single piece of clothing. In this project, we assessed microplastic load within Dreissena polymorpha (zebra mussels), Gammarus fasciatus (amphipods), fish, and Phalacrocorax auritus (double-crested cormorants) digestive tracts. Specimens were processed using KOH bath, followed by wet peroxide oxidation digests. Bioaccumulated microplastics were characterized based on type (e.g., fragment, pellet/bead, fiber, film, foam) and size. Results suggest that the majority of microplastics combined for all organisms investigated were fibers (67%), fragments (19%), films (10%), and pellets/beads (4%). No microplastics were observed in zebra mussels. Amphipods contained fibers (50%), fragments (25%), and films (25%). Species-specific trends were observed among fish, specifically Osmerus mordax (rainbow smelt), Cottus cognatus (slimy sculpin), and Micropterus salmoides (large-mouth bass) are primarily consuming fibers. Bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus) and rainbow smelt were the only species to consume pellets/beads (40%) and films (16%), respectively. Double-crested cormorants contained primarily fibers (78%), as well as films (19%), with minor contributions of pellets/beads and foam. Spatial distribution of microplastic load was greater in rainbow smelt at the most northern and southern sampling sites on Lake Champlain. In freshwater systems, microplastics absorb chemical pollutants and release plasticizers (e.g., carcinogens, neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors) into tissues, with the potential for fitness consequences in wildlife and humans.
    • Microplastic Biomagnification in Invertebrates, Fish, and Cormorants in Lake Champlain

      Garneau, Danielle; Stewart, James; Walrath, Joshua; Putnam, Alex; Hammer, Chad; VanBrocklin, Hope; Buksa, Brandon; Clune, Alexis (2018)
      The goal of this research was to determine whether microplastics (MP) are uptaken by invertebrates, fish, and Phalacrocorax auritus (double-crested cormorants) resident to Lake Champlain. We did so by quantifying and characterizing (e.g., fragment, fiber, film, foam, pellet) plastic particulate.Wet peroxide oxidation digests were performed on digestive tracts of 506 lake organisms, specifically invertebrates (n = 301), 15 species of fish (n = 190), and Phalacrocorax auritus (double-crested cormorants) (n = 15). Our research indicated that fibers were the were the most common (80.1%) type of particulate found in all organisms, followed by fragments (9.64%), films (6.36%), foam (3.01%), and pellets (Amia calva) contained the greatest average number of plastic particulate (n = 29.67), followed by lake trout (Salvelinus hamaycush) (n = 21.42), and northern pike (Esox lucius) (n = 20.1). Among digested fish, stomachs contained the greatest mean number of MPs (n=5.62), followed by the esophagus (n=5.36) and intestines (n=4.8). These findings suggest biomagnification and/or direct ingestion is occurring in Lake Champlain organisms, as invertebrates, fish, and double-crested cormorants contained on average 0.36, 6.08, and 22.93 microplastic particles.
    • Microplastic Biomagnification in Invertebrates, Fish, and Cormorants in Lake Champlain

      Garneau, Danielle; Putnam, Alexandra; Clune, Alexis; Buksa, Brandon; Hammer, Chad; VanBrockin, Hope (2017)
      Microplastics are plastic particles that are microplastics, which are pellets commonly found in personal care products, and secondary microplastics, which are degraded plastics. Microplastics have made their way into waterbodies by passing through wastewater treatment plants, as marine debris, via mechanical- and photo-degradation of plastic, and release of pre-production raw materials. Microplastics are known to absorb other pollutants and are hydrophobic particles that can biomagnify up the food web. When ingested by fish, particulates embed within the digestive tract and leach into tissues, posing a potential concern for human consumption. The goal of this research was to determine whether microplastics biomagnify within invertebrates, fish, andPhalacrocorax auritus (Double-crested Cormorant) resident to Lake Champlain. We did so by quantifying and characterizing (e.g., fragment, fiber, film, foam, pellet) particulates. We performed wet peroxide oxidation digests on digestive tracts of (n = 438) lake organisms, specifically invertebrates (n = 258), 14 species of fish (n = 165), and Double-crested Cormorants (n = 15). Our research indicated that fibers were the most-abundant particulates in all organisms (n = 764), followed by fragments (n = 123), films (n = 40), pellets (n = 13), foam (n = 9). Microplastics were separated using stacked mesh sieves, with preliminary results showing a particulate size-distribution of: 1 mm, n = 86; less than 1 mm but 355 µm, n = 144; and less than 355 µm but 125 µm, n = 232. These findings illustrate biomagnification in Lake Champlain organisms, as invertebrates, fish, and Double-crested Cormorants contained on average 0.05, 3.6, and 22.93 microplastic particles. Results from this research serve to inform residents of the Lake Champlain watershed, anglers, non-profit lake organizations, as well as public health and government officials of the risks microplastics pose to aquatic biota and ultimately humans.
    • Microplastic Pollution: A Survey of Wastewater Effluent in Plattsburgh, NY

      Garneau, Danielle; Buksa, Brandon; Niekrewicz, Thomas (2016)
      Microplastic pollution in freshwater ecosystems is an emerging topic in aquatic pollution science. Primary microplastics were designed to be small (e.g., microbeads, pre-production plastic nurdles) and secondary microplastics result from photo and mechanical degradation. Origin of microplastics are often associated with consumer use of personal care items (e.g., facial cleansers and toothpastes) which are too small to be captured with current wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) technologies. Ongoing research cites dangers resulting in their propensity to absorb harmful chemicals and bioaccumulate up the food chain. We surveyed WWTP post-treatment effluent (N = 11) from the city of Plattsburgh, NY wastewater treatment plant in fall 2015. Effluent samples were collected and digested using wet peroxide oxidation methods, followed by characterization based on type and size. The majority of microplastics in wastewater effluent were identified as fibers (51%), as compared to similar proportions of pellets/beads (12%), films (15%), fragment (18%), and lesser films (4%). The largest (>=1mm) and smallest (<=125µm) were predominantly fibers (87%) and (44%), respectively. Diversity of microplastic type (e.g., film, fragment, foam) increased with decreasing particle size. On high and low flow rate days, more bead/pellet and films were collected respectively. Microplastics have been an emerging concern in aquatic life as they can absorb harmful chemicals and bioaccumulate up the food chain. This research from Lake Champlain can serve as a basis for further microplastic studies in the Lake Champlain watershed.
    • Microplastic Pollution: A Survey of Wastewater Effluent in the Lake Champlain Basin

      Garneau, Danielle; Moriarty, Melissa; Lee, Erin; Brown, Sadie; Buksa, Brandon; Niekrewicz, Thomas; Barnes, Jason; Chaskey, Elizabeth (2018)
      Microplastic is defined as particulatefragments, fibers, films, foams, pellets, and beads. Microplastic pollution was first documented in the 1970s and interest has grown from initial characterization, to effects within marine and freshwater food chains, ultimately impacting human health. Due to their small size, porosity, and density variation, microplastics often escape wastewater treatment processing (WWTP). Commencing in 2015, we surveyed WWTP post-treatment effluent (N = 59) from the city of Plattsburgh, NY and beginning in fall 2016 from St Albans, VT (N = 29), Ticonderoga, NY (N = 23), and Burlington, VT (N = 9). Effluent samples were collected and digested using wet peroxide oxidation methods, followed by microscopic characterization based on type and size. Plant specifications yielded varied microplastic trends in quantity and type, specifically Plattsburgh largely emitted fibers and fragments, St. Albans emitted a majority of foam, Ticonderoga emitted mostly fibers, and Burlington emitted a majority of fragments. Estimated microplastics released per day ranged from St. Albans (30,268), Plattsburgh (14,105), Burlington (16,843), to Ticonderoga (7,841). Microplastics are an emerging concern for aquatic life as they can biomagnify and adsorb harmful chemicals which bioaccumulate up the food chain. They have been found to impair feeding and reduce survival in many aquatic species. This research further documents wastewater treatment plants as a significant source of microplastics entering Lake Champlain and serves as a basis for further microplastic studies in the Lake Champlain watershed. As plants are not designed to capture these small particulate, consumer behavior must evolve to reduce this pollution threat.
    • Monitoring the Efficacy of Biological Control Agent Ladybird Beetles to Manage Scale Insects

      Garneau, Danielle; Goldman, Jessica (2015)
      There are multiple methods in which pests, or nuisance species, can be removed from infected target plants. One approach is via biological control, which is when a living organism is used to control or manage a pest, parasite or other species. Biological control was applied during this experiment involving a fern, ladybird beetles and scale insect. Crown fern (Aglaomorpha coronans) located in the greenhouse on SUNY Plattsburgh campus is infected with scale insects. Fourteen of its fronds are contaminated with scale insects. This fern was exposed to the Harlequin ladybird beetle (Harmonia axyridis succinea) to test their merit as a biocontrol agent. The fern was place in a netted area with dimensions of 1.3m x 1.2m x 0.9m in the greenhouse at SUNY Plattsburgh. Population counts of scale insects were taken weekly and ladybird beetles were added as harvested from local homes. Results demonstrate that starting with week 1, the addition of predatory beetles resulted in a dramatic decline in pest scale insects. These predators are effective biological control agents for brown scale insects, but care must be taken as they are invasive species that have disrupted the native Coccinellid complex.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Observing white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) behavior in Northwestern Vermont Using Trail Cameras

      Garneau, Danielle; Cole, Brittany (2016)
      Trail cameras are an increasingly popular and reliable non-invasive technique in wildlife ecology surveys. They have proven to be reliable, cost-efficient, and critical tools for gaining understanding of common and elusive species in a cost-effective manner. The purpose of this study was to observe white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) behavior (e.g., foraging, yard preference, social group) in rural, urban, and agricultural edge sites in northwestern Vermont with the use of trail cameras. I predicted in colder temperatures and deeper snow, white-tailed deer (Ododoileus virginianus) would decrease daily activities and increase group size, as well as prefer densely forested areas for protection. I also predicted white-tailed deer to be most active in dawn/dusk hours. Species richness was greatest in camera observations at the rural (n = 6), agricultural edge (n = 5), and urban sites (n = 3). White-tailed deer were observed three times as often in spring 2016 as compared to fall 2015. Predators were observed at all sites and included eastern coyote (Canis latrans) and red (Vulpes vulpes) and gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus). Camera data suggest that deer were observed more often in urban and agricultural edge habitat in the fall, whereas more observations occurred in rural habitats in the spring. Patterns in diel activity show that white-tailed deer were most active at dusk, dawn, and during crepuscular hours equally at the agricultural edge, urban, and rural sites, respectively. Habitat-specific thermal properties were observed as white-tailed deer were observed most often at temperatures between (31 - 40°F) at agricultural edge and urban, and (11 - 20°F) at rural sites. Habitat-specific behavioral changes were noted such that at the agricultural edge and urban site, the white-tailed deer displayed vigilance, foraging, and walking proportionally throughout the study, whereas at the rural site walking and foraging were the most common behaviors. White-tailed deer are common to New England forests and serve as excellent species for study using non-invasive techniques, such as game cameras. Landscape- and stand-level habitat characteristics appear to influence white-tailed deer behavior as one considers moderation of temperature, diel movement, and grouping.
    • 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.
    • Plattsburgh Air Force Base

      Garneau, Danielle; McAdams, Colleen; Guerrier, Danielle (206)
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Rockin' Plantz: A physical and electronic inventory of flora and fauna on a rock band tour of the United States

      Garneau, Danielle; Ackerman, Ryan (2016)
      Within the last few decades, the emphasis on natural history has diminished in the Biological Science curriculum. Students enrolled in college are no longer required to take natural history courses in order to receive their degree and are often lacking in important taxonomic skills that are essential in botanical and wildlife ecology careers. Natural history helps us better understand the distribution and abundance of organisms as they relate to their biogeography, life history characteristics, and response to their surroundings. During the months of July-August 2015, I embarked on a cross country road trip of the United States, as part of a rock band tour. Along the way, I curated primarily plant specimens for SUNY Plattsburgh using plant pressing and smartphone technology (iNaturalist app) techniques. Out of a total 184 observations, the majority of observations were of <em>Plantae</em> (78%), followed by Insecta (8%), Reptilia (5%), Mammalia (3%), Fungi (3%), Amphibia (1%), Arachnida (1%), Aves (1%), and Mollusca (1%). Among plant families in which observations occurred >2 times, the most common were Cactaceae (22%), Asteraceae (12%), Pinaceae (12%), Asparagaceae (10%), Brassicaceae (8%), Cupressaceae (6%), Fabaceae (6%), Fagaceae (6%), Oleaceae (6%), Onagraceae (6%), and Sapindaceae (6%). Geospatial data were imported into ArcMap and deeper investigation across ecotypes were made. Overall, this cross country natural history immersion experience grew my appreciation for curation and technology. I gained valuable experience in plant and invertebrate identification, with the help of field guides, participating iNaturalist curators, and scientific professionals. My confidence in using technology as a tool to curate and share observations through a citizen science network, as well as further grow skills in GIS were achieved. There are many opportunities for students and interested stakeholders to become citizen sensors while pursuing adventures in their daily lives.
    • 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.
    • Spatial and Temporal Distribution and Abundance Microplastics in Lake Champlain Long-Term Monitoring Samples

      Garneau, Danielle; Allen, Eileen; Hagar, Susan-Marie; Austin, Lindsey (2017)
      Microplastics are particles less than 5mm in size, characterized as fibers, fragments, beads, foams, and pellets. Microplastics (MP) arise from four main processes: environmental degradation (UV exposure, mechanical and/or biological), direct release by means of wastewater treatment processing, unintentional loss of raw materials, and discharge of macerated wastes. Microplastics are potentially toxic to aquatic biota and the presence of microplastics in freshwater ecosystems is largely under-researched. The goal of our research was to examine the spatial and temporal distribution of microplastics and pre-production particulate (nurdles) from long-term monitoring (LTM) zooplankton samples within Lake Champlain collected between 1992-2016. Nurdles were counted in full from samples, whereas microplastics (e.g., fragments, fibers) were subsampled due to size. Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) characterized nurdles as polyisoprene rubber ribbon. Within the LTM samples (n = 2265), nurdles (n = 3455) and microplastics (n = 249), predominantly fibers, were identified. The greatest microplastic abundance was noted in 2015 (n = 73 microplastics, n = 494 samples). Nurdles were found only in samples that had been collected 2012-2016, with the greatest nurdle abundance noted in 2012 (n = 1,169 nurdles, n = 412 samples) and at varying depths. Nurdle abundance declined since the 2012 peak and in 2015 was greatly reduced (n = 531 nurdles, n = 494 samples). Spatial distribution maps suggest the complexity of the story with high abundances at deep central locations, as well as shallow isolated bays. The high influx of nurdles in 2012 may be related to the 2011 Lake Champlain flood; however more research will need to be conducted to tease apart timing and potential nurdle point-sources (e.g., train tracks, industrial/urban centers).
    • 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>.
    • 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)