• 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.
    • 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.
    • A Revised Key to the Zooplankton of Lake Champlain

      LaMay, Mark; Hayes-Pontius, Erin; Ater, Ian; Mihuc, Timothy (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2013)
      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 and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC). The key contains couplet keys for the major taxa in Cladocera and Copepoda and Rotifer plankton in Lake Champlain. Illustrations are by Erin Hayes-Pontius and Ian Ater. Many thanks to the employees of the Lake Champlain Research Institute for hours of excellent work in the field and in the lab: especially Casey Bingelli, Heather Bradley, Amanda Groves and Carrianne Pershyn.
    • 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.
    • An examination of sensory input in anti-predator behavior of the American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

      Carroll, Rory; Garneau, Danielle (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2013)
      Sensing, processing, and responding to environmental cues is a fundamental process, particularly for avifauna. The degree to which signals are effectively responded to, determines an individual's and a species' ability to function and flourish in its habitat. The sensing of sight and sound are highly evolved environmental analysis tools of the American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos). This study examined how crows respond to visual and auditory cues in urban and rural environments. Taxidermic models of a great-horned owl (Bubo virginianus) and a red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus), a recorded call of the great-horned owl, and a recorded crow mobbing call were used to test the mobbing response of local crows in several different locations. No significant difference was found in mobbing response between urban and rural environments. There was a significant difference in number of crows mobbing the two predator species. Results suggest that crows use sensory information differently; visual cues for predation avoidance and auditory cues for intraspecific communication. The results also suggest crows exhibit discretionary sensory processing and responses. This study provides insight to how a highly successful synanthropic species utilizes sensory information to thrive in natural and anthropogenic habitats.
    • 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.
    • Building Student Capacity for Reflective Thinking

      Shaffer, Suzanne C. (The Common Good: A SUNY Plattsburgh Journal on Teaching and Learning, 2015)
      Well-written reflective prompts, combined with thoughtful faculty feedback, can help students to grow as reflective thinkers. The ability to think critically and reflectively can empower students to positively impact their own lives in college, in their communities, and later in their places of work. This article reviews several approaches to developing effective reflective prompts with practical examples from a higher education classroom.
    • Caring and Control: The Importance of Detachment

      MacLeod, Douglas C. Jr (The Common Good: A SUNY Plattsburgh Journal on Teaching and Learning, 2013)
      Should we be finding ways to detach ourselves from our students, when they so clearly need guidance and direction? Should we be placing ourselves at a distance when students are so desperately trying to find someone to lead them to the right path? “Caring and Control: The Importance of Detachment” uses psychological definitions of the term detachment to help prove that the action is absolutely necessary for a healthy professional relationship to take place, both inside and outside of the classroom; and, that we (as teachers/instructors/professors) should have complete control over our “internal working models,” which the students have hardly any control over.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Connecting Classrooms for Collaborative Learning

      Kasniunas, Nina T. (The Common Good: A SUNY Plattsburgh Journal on Teaching and Learning, 2014)
      Teachers are increasingly engaging students through experiential learning and incorporating new technology in the classroom. In this unique collaborative project we brought together two American politics courses (one taught at a college in one region of the United States and another taught in another) via web conferencing to work on a project in which our students designed and conducted an exit poll in each geographical location. Additionally each class worked together via video conferencing to design the survey instrument and to discuss election outcomes. The data allowed for analysis of vote choice and the ways in which geography and other variables affect it. In bringing the two classes together via web conferencing we successfully introduced diversity of viewpoint from an ideological perspective which otherwise would not have existed and cultivated civic engagement.
    • Creating Context for Civic Engagement through the Study of Social Issues

      Bower, Janine A.; Bower, Tim (The Common Good: A SUNY Plattsburgh Journal on Teaching and Learning, 2014)
      Preparing college students as personally and socially responsible members of society is commonly reflected in institutional learning goals which incorporate outcomes for advancing the development of knowledge, values, motivation and skills related to civic engagement and the formation of civic identity. We suggest a method for providing a context for civic engagement in social sciences courses where students are introduced to skills useful for studying, understanding, and addressing issues of public concern. Students engage in a series of activities focusing on interrelated social issues, in this case food insecurity and food waste, and complete a capstone assignment in which they reflect upon their learning over the semester. A capstone writing assignment provides student the opportunity to reflect upon their experience, the qualitative results from which are used to assess attainment of learning objectives associated with civic engagement.
    • 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 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.
    • 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.
    • Establishing records for Drosera (sundews) in Clinton County, NY

      Schelling, Lilly; May, Shane; Martine, Christopher (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2011)
      The focus of this study was to establish locality records and collect a herbarium specimen for the genus Drosera (sundew) in Clinton County, NY. Although there are suitable sites for Drosera in Clinton County there were no known herbarium records for the presence of the genus, according to the New York Flora Atlas. Two species, Drosera rotundifolia and Drosera intermedia, were hypothesized to be found in bog sites in Clinton County based on their range in the Northeast. Localities surveyed for Drosera presence included sites specified by the New York Natural Heritage Program (NYNHP) as previously having Drosera and sites of bog designation. Sites that have been recorded by the NYNHP as having Sarracenia purpurea presence were also searched, as this species is usually found growing alongside Drosera. Of the locations visited in this study, Drosera presence was only observed in two of the sites. Both locations were previously identified by the NYNHP as sites where Drosera was present. The first site, Stafford Rock, is a black spruce/ tamarack bog located on a sandstone pavement barren. This site was last visited by the NYNHP in 1991 and was classified as a healthy bog site in excellent condition. After observing this site, it seems the health of the bog is in question and will be compromised by overcrowding by woody vegetation. The second Drosera site, Mud Pond, is a tamarack/ dwarf shrub bog declared in 2005 by the NYNHP to be in excellent condition. Drosera individuals at this site are growing in a creeping sphagnum bed across the pond; which may prevent other species from moving into the Drosera habitat. Drosera rotundifolia was the only sundew species recorded.
    • Fifteen-year Forest Structure Changes in a Sandstone Pavement Barren

      DellaRocco, Thomas; Straub, Jacob (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2016)
      The Altona Flatrock sandstone pavement barren is a rare fire-dependent ecological community geographically located at the narrow overlap of jack pine and pitch pine species ranges. We studied fifteen year post-ice storm plant community change at the Altona Flatrock pine barren in Clinton County, New York. Prior research predicted plant community changes in the barren due to fire exclusion. Our study is the first to examine long-term changes in plant species composition of this pine barren community. In the overstory, pitch pine basal area and density remained similar (i.e., < 20% ) between 1999 and 2014, while density and basal area of red maple increased 67% and 109%, respectively. Jack pine overstory mortality was 100% between 1999 and 2014 in our plots. Few jack pine saplings (12.5 stems/ha) and no pitch pine saplings were present in our plots. However, a great density of red maple saplings (1,950 stems/ha) existed. Ground cover was dominated by huckleberry, Sphagnum spp., and Schreber's big red stem moss. With an absence of fire and the subsequent decreases in jack and pitch pine, this post-ice storm pine barren is developing into a boreal heath barren dominated by huckleberry in the understory with an overstory comprised mostly of red maple. In the absence of fire, or a suitable management alternative, this rare ecological community type may become extirpated from this Region. Further research could focus on successfully regenerating fire dependent pines to provide a more complete understanding of the ecological requirements and traits in this sandstone pavement barrens ecosystem in Clinton County.
    • Frequency of missing legs in the cave cricket, Hadenoecus subterraneus

      Chandoo, Mohammed; Lavoie, Elizabeth; Pandey, Utsav; Thirunavukarasu, Suganthi; Lavoie, Kathleen; Wolosz, Thomas (Scientia Discipulorum: SUNY Plattsburgh, 2013)
      The cave cricket (Hadenoecus subterraneus) is a keystone species in maintaining biological diversity in cave communities in Mammoth Cave National Park. Crickets must leave the cave to forage on nights when conditions are favorable, which puts them at considerable risk of predation. Invertebrates have developed defenses for predation, including autotomy (voluntary loss of a limb). We hypothesize that missing legs are a sign of predation pressure on the crickets, and may be vary in different environments. We used a visual census to record the sex-specific frequency of missing legs among adult cave crickets at eight different cave entrances. We expected males to be missing legs more than females because they must leave the cave refuge to forage more frequently than females; however, we found that males and females were missing legs in equal numbers. The hind leg was missing with greater frequency than other limbs, likely the result of cricket predator avoidance behavior (jumping), which puts the larger hind limb closest to the predator. The frequency of crickets with missing limbs varied among cave entrances from a low of 6.6% to a high of nearly 40%, with abundance varying yearly. In Frozen Niagara, which consistently had a high proportion of crickets missing legs, the percentage missing legs was highest in crickets roosting closer to the entrance (30.8%) than deeper (18.7%) into the cave. The goal of this survey was to study the pattern and implications of limb loss on foraging and predator avoidance.
    • 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.