• Plant Community Succession Following Disturbances in a Pine Barren and Adjacent Hardwood Forest

      Krill, Allison; Newell, Collette; O'Neil, Maggie; Phommala, Orathai; Adams, Kenneth (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2004)
      The sandstone pavement barren and adjacent cobblestone formations in Clinton County, New York were created by the sudden release of water from glacial Lake Iroquois approximately 12000 ybp. Today, the barren is a rare ecological community type in New York State, dominated by jack pine, a species that can tolerate a water- and moisture-deficient soil. The soil in the cobblestone deposits supports hardwood trees such as northern red oak, sugar maple, red maple, and American beech. In January 1998, several days of freezing rain in the Northeast blanketed 10 million ha with 2 to 10 cm of ice. Two million ha of forests were severely affected, including the pine barren and adjacent forests in Clinton County, New York. This study investigated the effects of the ice storm and subsequent "restoration cuttings" on plant community succession in the pine barren and adjacent hardwoods. The William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute, Chazy, New York owns the eight stands sampled in this study. Both disturbance types had dramatic effects on plant community structure. Nearly half of the hardwood trees were severely affected by the ice storm, but most survived through epicormic branching. Understory trees and regeneration proliferated beneath the temporary canopy gaps in the main canopy. Overstory species are represented in the regeneration size classes, with shade-tolerant species being most important. In the hardwoods, neither the ice storm or restoration cuttings caused plant community succession in the strict definition; the disturbances caused shifts in importance of species present at the time the disturbances occurred rather than a replacement of one plant community by another. In the pine barren, ice storm damage was especially intense, causing severe crown breakage in more than half of the pine trees. The majority of pine trees were killed by the ice storm and no pine seedlings were observed in the ice storm-damaged stands. Moderate amounts of jack pine regeneration (between 18000 and 24000 stems per hectare) were found in the areas treated with a restoration cutting. This amount of jack pine regeneration was considered sufficient to replace the original stand. The future of ice storm-damaged, uncut stands in the barren is not promising. Here, the majority of pine trees are standing dead stems and the regeneration, while sparse, is primarily red maple. Without silvicultural intervention, ice storm damaged areas of the barren will have a shift from dominance by jack pine to heath shrubs, especially black huckleberry. The restoration cutting showed that mechanical treatment, while not as effective as fire in regenerating jack pine, can bring about adequate amounts of jack pine regeneration, along with red maple, white birch and gray birch.
    • A Guide to the Zooplankton of Lake Champlain

      Carling, Karen; Ater, Ian; Bouchard, Adam; Mihuc, Timothy (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2004)
      This key was developed by undergraduate research students working on a project with NYDEC and the Lake Champlain Monitoring program to develop long-term data sets for Lake Champlain plankton. Funding for development of this key was provided by, the Lake Champlain Basin Program through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC). The key contains couplet keys for the major taxa in Cladocera and Copepoda and a picture key to the major Rotifer plankton in Lake Champlain. All drawings are original by Ian M. Ater. Many thanks to the employees of the Lake Champlain Research Institute and the NYDEC for hours of excellent work in the field and in the lab: Robert Bonham, Adam Bouchard, Trevor Carpenter, Virginia Damuth, Jeff Jones, Marti Kroll, Dustin Lewis, Shannon Margrey, Tracy McGregor, Stephanie Stone and David Welch. We greatly appreciate the time and effort of Paula Woodward and Francis Dumenci in helping to put this guide together.
    • Effects of an Ice Storm on Fuel Loadings and Potential Fire Behavior in a Pine Barren of Northeastern New York

      Sargis, Gregg; Adams, Kenneth (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2004)
      Ecological effects of natural disturbances depend on the disturbance type, frequency, intensity and spatial scale. Of the major natural disturbances in the Northeast, ice storms are more frequent than fires or wind storms. Affecting nearly ten million hectares, the ice storm of January, 1998 was probably the most intense and widespread natural disturbance in the Northeast during the 20th Century. Some of the areas heavily impacted by this ice storm were sandstone pavement pine barrens of northeastern New York, among the rarest ecological communities in New York State. Jack pine (Pinus banksiana) is the dominant tree species in the barrens. Ice storm damage to pine trees resulted in estimates of woody debris averaging 18 tons/ac (40 tonnes/ha) at the eight sites sampled in this study. These unusually high fuel loadings increase the probability for catastrophic wildfire. Predictions of fire behavior and fire intensity in these ice storm-damaged stands were made using the TSTMDL subsystem of BEHAVE. Estimates of fire behavior in these ice storm-damaged stands include flame lengths between 10 and 17 ft (3 and 5 m) and fireline intensities between 900 and 2600 Btu/ft/sec (3175 and 9400 kW/m). Fires of these intensities would be very difficult to suppress and would cause adverse ecological effects, including destruction of seeds contained in the slash. Further research is necessary to customize fuel models used to predict fire behavior in northeastern forests affected by disturbances.
    • Decomposition Rates of Typha Spp. in Northern Freshwater Wetlands over a Stream-Marsh-Peatland Gradient

      Ruppel, Rachel; Setty, Karen; Wu, Meiyin (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2004)
      Decomposition rates in wetlands vary with the composition of the biotic community and the physical and chemical environment. Variations in the process of decomposition in turn affect the overall rate of nutrient cycling within the wetland, affecting both primary productivity and general wetland health. This short-term study took place in northern New York within the Little Chazy River watershed. The effects of wetland factors including nutrient status, dissolved oxygen, and pH value on decay rate were measured over a freshwater stream-marsh-peatland gradient. Litterbags were utilized and collected weekly from three separate sites within or near the Altona Flat Rock ecosystem. Soil and water parameters, as well as colonization by macroinvertebrates, were studied in order to link decay rates with specific wetland characteristics. Decomposition rates for Typha spp. were evaluated using the change in dry biomass, and percent nitrogen content of the plant litter. Dry biomass reduction took place most rapidly in the stream site and least rapidly in the peatland site, while fluctuations of percent nitrogen content did not show a distinct trend. A high level of dissolved oxygen corresponded to a higher decay rate, while a low pH value corresponded to a lower decay rate.
    • Effects of land use on periphyton chlorophyll a concentrations and biomass in Adirondack Upland Streams

      Bulova, Jessica; Woodcock, Thomas; Mihuc, Timothy (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2006)
      In this study we examined bottom-up (light, nutrient availability) and habitat (stream velocity, stream depth) factors affecting benthic chlorophyll a and periphyton biomass in logged and Forest Preserve watershed streams located in the Adirondack Uplands. Chlorophyll a concentrations and ash-free dry mass on ambient substrate were measured in six Preserve and six logged catchments, five samples were taken per site. In a nutrient amendment experiment, porous artificial substrates containing nutrient agar treatments (agar only, N, P, N+P) were secured to the bottom of two streams (one Preserve, one logged), and chlorophyll a concentrations measured after 19 days. Biomass was significantly higher (p=0.034) in streams located in the Preserve. Chlorophyll a was marginally higher (p=0.063) in the Preserve sites. Stream velocity and depth were significant covariables for both chlorophyll a concentrations and biomass. Light, while different between lands uses (p=0.045), was not a significant covariable of periphyton standing stock. In the nutrient amendment experiment, all treatments in the Preserve stream showed higher chlorophyll a concentrations than in the logged stream (p<0.001). Treatments within the logged stream showed higher chlorophyll a concentrations for the N+P treatment only, and treatments within the Preserve stream were not different (p=0.226). Higher ambient nutrient concentrations in the Preserve stream may explain these results.
    • Habitat Usage by Birds at the Lake Alice Wildlife Management Area Chazy, New York

      Juneau, Kevyn; Adams, Kenneth (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2006)
      The Lake Alice Wildlife Management Area (LAWMA) in northern Clinton County, New York is a popular location for birding enthusiasts. However, this study is the first comprehensive survey of bird species within major habitat types at LAWMA in more than 20 years. Birds were identified by sight and sound in four habitats at LAWMA between June 2 and July 22, 2003. Relative abundance and diversity were calculated for bird species in the forest habitat, and the forest-field, forestwetland and wetland-field ecotones. Thirty-one residential species were observed during the summer, with between 14 and 21 species per habitat type. The highest diversity indices were in the forest ecotones. Recommendations were made for habitat management projects to enhance bird species richness at LAWMA and increase the populations of bird species that are either threatened or of special concern status in New York.
    • Comparisons of Four Riparian Plant Communities on the Little Chazy River, Northern New York

      Becker, D.; Buboltz, A.; Kinicki, D.; Plantrich, R.; Tucker, R.; Adams, K. (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2006)
      Riparian zones are transitional plant communities that are important for the protection of stream water quality and biota and they often have high biological diversity within small geographical areas. This study characterized the vegetation and several physical site features within four riparian zones in the Little Chazy River watershed located in Clinton County, NY. A total of 110 plant species were sampled in the overstory, understory, and groundcover at these study sites. Average species richness in the 1m2 groundcover plots ranged between 7.0 at the agricultural riparian zone to 17.8 at one of the forested riparian zones. Species diversity values ranged between 1.23 at the agricultural riparian zone to 2.32 at one of the forested riparian zones. In this study, the riparian zone with active agricultural activity had no overstory or understory and the least diverse groundcover. Ordination of groundcover data showed both between-site and within-site separations, indicating large differences in species composition can occur on a small spatial scale. No relationship was found between nutrient availability and disturbance intensity of the riparian zones. The abundance of non-indigenous plant species was directly related to disturbance history of the riparian zones. Best management practices (BMP's) for agriculture and forestry in the Lake Champlain Valley should include guidelines for the preservation of natural riparian ecosystems without producing severe economic consequences for landowners. BMP's should be specific to each type of riparian ecosystem found in northeastern New York.
    • Variability in troglomorphic adaptations of a Mexican cavefish, Poecilia mexicana, from Tabasco, Mexico

      Dieterich, Michael; Lavoie, Kathleen (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2006)
      The cavefish Poecilia mexicana, earlier known as Poecilia sphenops, is a live-bearing toothcarp or molly found only in Cueva de las Sardinas (also known as Cueva de Villa Luz or El Azufre), in Tabasco, Mexico. The cave ecosystem is based on mixed energy inputs from sulfur springs and chemolithotrophic baceteria, bats, and skylights. The rich food base supports an amazing population density of the cavefish. Earlier studies reported that the fish showed increasing troglomorphic adaptations in physical characteristics and behaviors as you went deeper into the cave. Data presented on eye size reduction show considerable variation and overlap of data by location sampled, and no statistical analyses were done. We sampled from some of the same areas as earlier studies and from the most remote sites in the cave. Our results show considerable variation in troglomorphy of eye reduction from all locations, and no statistical difference with fish from any part of the cave. Evolutionary pressure to develop troglomorphy may be reduced in this cave because of the rich food base, or hybridization with surface forms may not be limited by physical location within the cave.
    • Nitrogen Cycling and Dynamics in Upland Managed and Preserved Watersheds of the Adirondack Mountains, New York

      Stall, Christopher; Fuller, Robert; Mihuc, Timothy; Jones, Jeffry; Woodcock, Thomas (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2008)
      This study investigated nitrogen cycling differences between management systems in the Adirondacks. The definition of managed site was that there had been active logging within the past twenty-five years and the sites fit into the preserve category because they had no active logging within the past eighty-five years. The soil nitrogen cycle is complex and can be disturbed in many ways, including timber harvesting management practices. These disturbances were investigated over the summer of 2005 when logged and preserve forested watershed soil nitrogen was examined. Five soil cores were taken from each of two managed and two preserved watersheds over a two-day period. These four adjacent watersheds have identical temperature, precipitation, and climate so this eliminates outside influence. Chemical and physical parameters including organic matter content, nitrate, ammonium and total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN) were compared between watershed management practices. No significant differences were found between organic matter, nitrates, or ammonium, but there was a significant difference in TKN. Managed sites contained higher concentrations of TKN. These differences are most likely not due to direct influences by the timber harvesting that has taken place in the last twenty-five years. The explanation possibly lies in the composition of the forest since the site with less deciduous trees had a higher nitrogen concentration in the soil. This could be due to a lower carbon to nitrogen (C:N) ratio in the forest litter resulting in litter that is broken down more easily.
    • Leaf Litter Quality in Adirondack Upland Streams: Managed vs. Preserve

      Bombard, Victoria; Mihuc, Timothy; Jones, Jeffry; Fuller, Robert; Woodcock, Thomas (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2008)
      Leaf litter quality has an important nutritional role in headwater streams. Since upland streams are relatively small (1st order and 2nd order streams) with a dense forest canopy, primary productivity from stream macrophytes and microphytes is hindered (Fisher and Likens 1973). This creates a dependence on the adjacent riparian zone as a primary productivity input, making upland stream ecosystems detrital based and dependent on allochthonous organic matter (Fisher and Likens 1973, Cummins and Klug 1979). Differing riparian vegetation allocate varying nutritional value which in turn reflects the stream macro and microscopic fauna. Riparian vegetation composition can be influenced by disturbances such as logging or natural disasters. This study focused on the effects of logging on leaf litter composition. To determine if logging had an effect on riparian leaf litter food quality indicators, four managed (logged) sites were compared to three Forest Preserve sites within the Adirondack Park. Food quality indicators, protein, ash free dry mass and hydrolysis resistant organic matter, were compared across sites. Managed sites had a slightly higher contribution by volume of all food quality indicators. Differences for individual indicators largely reflected changes in litter species composition.
    • Composition and Abundance of Stream Macroinvertebrates as a Determinant of Water Quality Up and Down Stream of the Imperial Dam, Saranac River, New York

      Hartmann, Erika; Mihuc, Timothy (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2008)
      The removal of the Imperial Dam in Plattsburgh, New York is a subject being currently discussed by parties including city officials, Trout Unlimited and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. One concern is the impact on water quality and stream benthos below the impoundment which may impact the fishery. This project investigated the hypothesis that the composition and abundance of aquatic stream invertebrates do not differ as a result of the change in water quality above and below the Imperial Dam on the Saranac River. Using a Hess sampler, stream invertebrates were collected, as well as associated physical characteristics (water depth, velocity, substrate size) from two different sites located up and down stream of the Imperial Dam. Aquatic stream invertebrates were identified to Genus or Family and the data were analyzed using various community diversity indices. Results show distinct community differences between the two sites with increased filter feeder abundance at the impounded reach and higher mayfly diversity and abundance at the open river reach. While impoundment has impacted aquatic biota in the Saranac River at Imperial Dam, recovery of the benthos to open river conditions is likely to occur rapidly from upstream colonization sources upon restoration of open river conditions at Imperial Dam.
    • Long-term Impact of an Ice Storm and Restoration Cutting in a Rare Pine Barren

      Ceradini, Joseph; Dame, Caitlin; Glidden, Brian; Hays, Daniel; Livensperger, Carolyn; Schiesser, Robert; Adams, Kenneth (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2009)
      One of the more significant natural disturbances in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada in recent memory was the ice storm of January, 1998. In northern New York, thick accumulations of ice on tree branches caused severe crown damage across 280,000 ha of forest, including a rare pine barren in Clinton County. More than half of the trees in the pine barren were severely damaged by the ice storm, especially small-sized jack pine (Pinus banksiana) and mid-sized pitch pine (P. rigida) and red pine (P. resinosa). Over 60 percent of the sampled trees were dead after 10 growing seasons. Survival of damaged pitch pine trees was enhanced by growth of new branches from epicormic buds on the main stem. Experimental restoration cuttings were used in portions of the ice-damaged barren to decrease hazardous fuel loadings, reduce the density of ericaceous shrubs, scarify the soil surface and stimulate the release of jack pine seeds from the serotinous cones attached to broken branches. After 10 growing seasons, jack pine seedling density in the restoration cuttings averaged 9,500 stems per ha. The experimental cuttings successfully regenerated new jack pine stands without fire. Meanwhile, tree regeneration in the ice-damaged, unmanaged stands was sparse and most of these seedlings were generally red maple (Acer rubrum) or red oak (Quercus rubra). This study demonstrated that ice-damaged, fire-structured pine stands can be successfully regenerated using mechanical site treatments in northern New York.
    • The Impact of Meditative Practices on Physiology and Neurology: A Review of the Literature

      Dooley, Christopher (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2009)
      A general awareness of meditation has grown significantly in the western world within the last fifty years yet with little accurate understanding of the nature of the practice. In addition, the broad diversity of meditative practices and their variations of physiological results make a standardized study of effects difficult. Recent advances in technology have provided an opportunity for investigators to systematize their efforts so that the body of research may be more coherent. A more accurate understanding of the physiological and neurological effects of meditation will likely reveal means of therapeutic application for both individual and social benefit as well as further insight into attentional states. The preponderance of literature points to meditation as a practice facilitating a general return to neurological and physiological homeostasis.
    • Iraq, Times Two: A Comprehensive Counterinsurgency Strategy for Afghanistan

      DePetris, Daniel (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2009)
      While the United States continues to make military and diplomatic progress in Iraq, the situation in Afghanistan has gotten unquestionably worse over the last three years. Although the diversion of resources from the conflict in Afghanistan to the front lines in Iraq have undoubtedly contributed to America's current quagmire, it is now time to formulate an improved strategy to turn Afghanistan around from the abyss. Fortunately for the United States military and members of the U.S. diplomatic corps, such a counterinsurgency plan need not require generals to limit the manpower, and equipment from an Iraq operation that is continuing to strengthen the country's democratic hopes. Recent calls for a large troop deployment to Afghanistan in the hopes of diminishing the violent Taliban insurgency may be appropriate for a short-term American success story, but such a move would be drastically counterproductive to the immense progress already accomplished with respect to Iraqi sovereignty: progress that, to this date, has helped stem the violence associated with Islamic extremism and promoted accountability of Iraq's national parliament. What the United States should focus on in Afghanistan is building trust among the Afghan citizenry, raising the levels of economic opportunity, by establishing third-party structures to make a true democratic system work. Doing so would result in the Taliban-led insurgency falling short of its ambitions. Through a re-prioritization of objectives, the U.S.- Afghanistan mission will be restored, America's overall image will benefit, and its successful developmental and reconstruction effort will put a major blow in the sides of terrorist networks throughout the Middle Eastern region.
    • Assessment of a Forest Stand for Old-Growth Status at Point au Roche State Park, Clinton County, New York

      Soranno, Matthew; Adams, Kenneth (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2009)
      Potential old-growth stands continue to be located and quantified. Although there is no generally-accepted definition of oldgrowth, there is a set of attributes that describe old-growth forests. The Hemlock-northern hardwood stand at Point au Roche State Park in Clinton County, New York has been proposed for old-growth classification. The composition and structure of this stand were sampled between September and November, 2008. Attributes of this stand were compared with old-growth conifernorthern hardwoods. The list of attributes included species composition of overstory and understory, maximum tree ages, stand structure, standing dead trees (snags) and fallen trees (logs). The Hemlock-northern hardwood stand in this study compared favorably with old-growth conifer-northern hardwood stands for all measured attributes except the number and size of logs on the forest floor. Although abundance of large logs is an important component of old-growth stands, the Hemlock-northern hardwood stand at Point au Roche State Park could be described as old-growth.
    • A New Parameterization for Ford Circles

      McGonagle, Annmarie (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2011)
      Lester Ford introduced Ford circles in 1938 in order to geometrically understand the approximation of an irrational number by rational numbers. We shall construct Ford circles by a recursive geometric procedure. The Ford circles also turn out to be parameterized by the rational numbers. We introduce a new parameterization of the set of Ford circles in terms of triples of relatively prime integers that satisfy a certain equation. This is interesting because we have developed a better approximation for irrational numbers between 0 and 1 and because our new parameterization generalizes to a higher dimension.
    • Group Environments and Visuospatial Attention in Patients with TBI

      Freedberg, Michael; Lynch, Joseph; Ryan, Jeanne (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2011)
      Maintaining the attention and focus of patients with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a concern of many rehabilitation clinics that work with this population. The novel use of interactive video games to combat the problem of requiring attention to improve attention was utilized in the present study. It has been noted in several studies that video games can have a positive effect on one's focus and attention. The use of games such as Rockband and Guitar Hero have been observed to maintain the focus and attention of patients with TBI for prolonged periods of time. Additionally group environments have been observed to enhance the performance and focus of patients with TBI. Positive group environments are used often in clinics as a means of improving cognitive functioning. Patients with TBI and a control group (undergraduates of SUNY Plattsburgh) engaged in two one-hour sessions one month apart. During these sessions participants performed the task of playing Guitar Hero and completing the Trail Making Test (TMT), Symbols Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), and Paced Auditory Serial Assessment Test (PASAT). Each participant completed one session in the presence of a positive social environment and one control session (only an experimenter was present). A positive social environment was induced by utilizing positive feedback from trained confederates. Results provide evidence disfavoring the use of interactive video as a means of attention therapy. In contrast there is evidence to suggest that a positive social environment is a significant form of attention therapy.
    • A survey of northern white-cedar (Thuja occidentalis) limestone woodlands at Point au Roche State Park, New York

      Shearman, Timothy; Adams, Kenneth (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2011)
      Limestone woodlands are an ecological community type identified by the New York Natural Heritage Program. These communities are characterized by shallow soil over limestone bedrock. Two northern white-cedar (Thuja occidentalis) limestone woodland stands were surveyed in Point au Roche State Park (Clinton County), one at Middle Point and the other at Ram's Head. Both stands were dominated by white-cedar and both stands were essentially even-aged. The Ram's Head stand was determined to be the older of the two stands. The structure of these stands indicates that they were probably regenerated by a clearcut. Northern white-cedar survivorship was determined for the Middle Point stand based on snag density per diameter at base height (dbh) class. The northern white-cedars showed a "type II" survivorship curve, with relatively constant mortality rates between 26 and 79 years of age. Although northern white-cedar is a commercially valuable species, the white-cedar limestone woodlands at Point au Roche State Park should be protected for their ecological value.
    • An ecological and cultural review of the emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae): Dreamtime - present

      Carroll, Rory; Martine, Christopher (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2011)
      Since the first humans arrived on the continent of Australia, they have been in a symbiotic dance with the emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae). This member of the flightless ratite family is a testament to evolutionary adaptation and survival in harsh habitats. It has also played a key role in Aboriginal survival, as it is deeply rooted in Aboriginal mythology, culture, and medicine. The use of emu oil began with the Aborigines and its use is widespread today. The influence of the emu now reaches around the world. By virtue of its unique characteristics, the emu has been the subject of studies in contemporary evolutionary theory, phylogenetics, agriculture, and medicine.
    • Perspectives of Psychosomatic Medicine: An Integration of Psychoneuroimmunology and Epigenetics

      Kryza, Maria (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2011)
      After being subject to Descartes' fallacy for the past few centuries, it has now again been recognized that the mental state has an impact on health and disease, and it is becoming increasingly more evident that DNA alone does not predict health trajectories. Psychoneuroimmunology and epigenetics are two fields of science whose research supports those ideas. Psychoneuroimmunology aims to discover the mechanisms that connect our mind to the rest of our nervous, endocrine, and immune systems while epigenetics demonstrates that different environmental circumstances can produce different phenotypic outcomes that are unrelated to the actual DNA blueprint. An integration of the findings of those two fields may allow for a more accurate and complete understanding of individual health trajectories and may generate pathways to a more individualized treatment approach.