• 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.
    • 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.
    • 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)
    • Survey of Artificial Nest Boxes and Tree Cavities for Secondary Cavity Nesting Avifauna in Northern New York

      Garneau, Danielle; Hammer, Chad (2017)
      Cavity nesting species use tree holes which result from either prior excavation activity or decay due to branch damage or disease. These tree cavities serve as an important refuge for safety, shelter, and nesting sites. Avian cavity nesters are classified as primary (i.e., excavate their own cavities) or secondary (i.e., occupy naturally occurring cavities or existing cavities created by primary excavators). During May-September 2016, cavity nesting of secondary cavity nesters Falco sparverius (American Kestrel) and three species of waterfowl, specifically Aix sponsa (Wood Duck), Lophodytes cucullatus (Hooded Merganser), and Bucephala clangula (Common Goldeneye) was monitored at Lake Alice Wildlife Management Area (LAWMA), Clinton County, NY. Goals of the monitoring were threefold, 1) monitor the 17 artificial waterfowl nest boxes and 3 American Kestrel boxes; 2) survey natural tree cavities in adjacent forest to gain baseline occupancy information; 3) compare results of artificial waterfowl nest box occupancy to those of prior years under monitoring by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Of the 17 waterfowl nest boxes, only 29% (n = 5) contained Wood Duck nests, of which two were unsuccessful. Of the 46 total eggs, 50% (n = 23) hatched successfully. The three American Kestrel boxes failed to attract the target species, but were occupied by Tachycineta bicolor (Tree Swallow). Tree cavities were surveyed using line transect sampling and occupants were observed using an extension pole and GoPro camera accessed using a smartphone mobile app. Twenty-nine natural tree cavities and 2 abandoned passerine nests (south-facing) were noted in 19 trees ranging in diameter at breast height from 22-79 cm and comprised of 42% (n = 8) Acer rubrum (Red Maple), 11% (n = 2) Acer saccharum (Sugar Maple), 5% (n = 1) Fraxinus americana (White Ash), and 42% (n = 8) snags. Woodpeckers excavated 62% (n = 18) and 38% (n = 11) were natural limb and canopy damage. With 29% occupancy rates and 50% unhatched eggs observed at LAWMA, we recommend relocating underused or ineffectively placed nest boxes, especially those adjacent pools which have since dried.
    • 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.
    • A Survey of Microplastics in Invertebrates in the Lake Champlain Basin

      Garneau, Danielle; Masterson, Riley (2018)
      The goal of this research was to determine whether microplastics (MP) were ingested by aquatic macroinvertebrates resident to Lake Champlain. We did so by quantifying and characterizing (e.g., fragment, fiber, film, foam, pellet) microplastic particulate. In more recent samples, we have dried and weighed invertebrates to better assess uptake. Preliminary wet peroxide oxidation digests were performed on aquatic invertebrates (n = 301). Invertebrate specimens were collected across two classes (Insecta, Malacostra) and 7 orders including Coleoptera, Ephemeroptera, Hemiptera, Odonata, Trichoptera, Mysida, and Amphipodae. These representative organisms are an important part of the lake food web, serving as preferred food for higher vertebrates including fish and waterfowl. Aquatic macroinvertebrates in our sample possess unique feeding methods, such as filter feeding, scraping, piercing, shredding, scavenging, collecting/gathering, and predation. Our research indicated that fibers were the most common microplastic type uptaken by invertebrates. Preliminary results suggest that, Hydropsyche, a filter-feeding insect digested, the greatest mean number of MP’s (n=3). Lake Champlain macroinvertebrates contained on average 0.36 microplastic particles. There are limited reports of microplastics uptaken in aquatic invertebrates and this research provides baseline information for a guild that will be involved in trophic transfer. 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.
    • A Survey of Microplastics in Wastewater Treatment Plant Effluent in the Lake Champlain Basin

      Garneau, Danielle; Brown, Sadie; Lee, Erin; Buksa, Brandon; Niekrewicz, Thomas (2017)
      Microplastic pollution researchers are beginning to quantify, characterize, and collaborate on finding solutions to this emerging pollution problem. Recent studies have documented consumer care products and laundering of synthetic garments as major sources of microplastics. Most current wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) technologies are unable to capture and remove particulate size; thus, bioaccumulation over time poses a threat to aquatic organisms. In 2015, we began surveying WWTP post-treatment effluent samples from the city of Plattsburgh, NY (n = 31) and in 2016, added 3 other plants in the Lake Champlain watershed, specifically St Albans, VT (n = 8), Ticonderoga, NY (n = 4), and Burlington, VT (n = 1). Twenty-fourâ hour post-treatment effluent samples were collected and digested using wet peroxide oxidation methods. All samples were characterized based on microplastic type (e.g., fragment, fiber, pellet, film, foam) and color. Across all sites, the majority of microplastics were characterized as fragments, followed by fibers, with the exception of St Albans, which was dominated by fibers. The fragment:fiber ratio was 51:23 at Plattsburgh, 61:18 at St Albans, 44:40 at Ticonderoga, and 69:18 at Burlington. Pellets and films were characterized at all sites as 1â 12% of total particulates; whereas foam comprised 3â 11% of total particulates and was absent in Ticonderoga. Over the course of this collection period, high flow rates yielded more pellets and low flow rates more films. When accounting for the number of samples processed, average particles per 24-hour sampling event are 21, 29, 49, and 117 for Plattsburgh, St. Albans, Ticonderoga, and Burlington, respectively. Plattsburgh and Burlington serve a similar-sized population and have a similar capacity, the difference in particle abundances may be due to differences in infrastructure updates (2013 at Plattsburgh and 1994 at Burlington). St. Albans and Ticonderoga serve similar population sizes; however, St. Albans has tertiary treatment, which may account for the lower average particulates per sample (29 at St. Albans and 49 at Ticonderoga). By documenting wastewater treatment plants as a source of microplastics, we can share these findings with wastewater treatment plant operators, lake stewards, government officials, and work towards solutions both up and downstream.
    • 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.
    • 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.