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Summer 2022 - Research Fellowships

Wood Turtles (Glyptemys insculpta) Surveys Using a Wildlife Detector Dog


Domestic dogs, with their complex olfactory system, are used for a variety of detection work. The application of detector dogs for wildlife data collection is extremely beneficial in areas where traditional methodologies, such as visual encounter surveys, may not be efficient. In many research projects involving these canines, the dog handlers belong to consulting agencies and are not tasked with publishing methodologies.

Testing the Neuroprotective Effects of Mannitol in a C. elegans model of Parkinson’s Disease


Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder resulting in symptoms such as resting tremors, muscle rigidity, and impaired balance. Familial PD has been found to result from mutations in the gene for the protein α-synuclein and accumulation of α-synuclein is found in familial and sporadic cases of PD. Prior research found that the chemical mannitol has a neuroprotective effect in a Drosophila model of PD. For my research project, I used a C.

Identifying the different kind of peroxidase with activity in bryozoan Membranipora membranacea


My research project this summer aimed at determining the sequence of different peroxides present in membranipora RNA samples. By the means of using a transcriptome, a hypothetical DNA sequence of the different peroxides was theorized. By using the theoretical sequence, primers were made and used to perform an RT-PCR. The obtained DNA was inserted into a plasmid vector and cloned. The cloning process allowed DNA sequencing to be carried out. After this process, the actual DNA sequence of peroxidase mRNA was determined.

Identifying the Top Predators in Adirondack Fishless Bogs


Bogs are often geographically isolated and environmentally stressful habitats that inhibit the colonization of fish. In most lakes, fish serve as the top predator and control the size and abundance of the crustacean zooplankton (CZ) they prey on. This research aimed to determine which species (if any), in the absence of fish would adopt the role of top predator. To test predator-prey relationships in bog lakes, samples were taken from two bog lakes in the Adirondack region of New York. Lab feeding experiments were then conducted with CZ and insect predators.

Summer 2021 Project Showcase

Ethology of Lasiopogon currani (Diptera: Asilidae) in St. Lawrence County, New York


Robber flies (Order: Diptera, Family: Asilidae) are a widely distributed family of predacious flies. They are considered to be top-level predators crucial to suppressing various insect populations, however the ecology and behavior of the species Lasiopogon currani has received minimal attention. We conducted a study of L. currani underneath a disturbed powerlines area in Pierrepont, St. Lawrence County to determine insect diversity, potential prey, and behavioral patterns. We found that the insect diversity of the powerlines study site included representatives of eight orders.

Daily and Seasonal Phenology of the Robber Fly Lasiopogon Currani (Diptera:Asilidae) in St. Lawrence County, New York


Robber flies (Order: Diptera, Family: Asilidae) are members of a widespread family of predacious flies. Lasiopogon currani are a small species within this family, active in late spring to early summer and commonly found perching on exposed sticks or rocks. We conducted daily surveys at Glen Meal State Forest, combined with a mark-resight technique to measure their phenology as well as collect observational data. The first L. currani were surveyed on May 2nd, with the population peaking in abundance on May 9th and plateauing for 9 days before decreasing, with no L.

Changes in the Immune System during Metamorphosis of the African Clawed Frog, Xenopus Laevis


Metamorphosis is a post-embryotic process of development for many amphibians, such as Xenopus laevis tadpoles, to mature into an adult form. This process is accompanied by the rise of thyroid hormones and studies indicate that the increase in exogenous thyroid levels can induce metamorphosis prematurely. Inhibition of this hormone will terminate metamorphosis or stop the initiation of it. During this process, many physiological changes occur on the cellular level. The tadpole experiences programmed cell death, cell proliferation, and organ remodeling.

The Influence of Thyroid and Glucocorticoid Hormones in Immune System Development during Metamorphosis of the African Clawed Frog (Xenopus Laevis)


The experimental goal is to study the roles of two hormones in frog immune system development. Frogs are unique among vertebrates since during metamorphosis the tadpole immune system is destroyed and replaced by a new adult immune system. This experiment had four groups of pre-metamorphic tadpoles. The first was an untreated/control group. The second was exposed to dexamethasone (Dex), a pharmacological glucocorticoid analog. The third was treated with thyroid hormone, T3. The fourth was exposed simultaneously to both hormones, which happens during natural metamorphosis.

Summer 2020 Project Showcase

Occupancy Modeling for Porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum) using Camera Traps


This study analyzed North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) camera trap data from northern New York using Program R. After classifying the camera trap photos with an online public platform, I created occupancy models that tested different covariates. These models revealed what environmental factors affected the detection and occupancy (usage) of porcupines. I found that the specific forest type and the mean tree density affected the detection of porcupines. None of the covariates tested affected porcupine occupancy.

Discovering R’s FOXP2


This is a less conventional alternative to a traditional research paper. It follows a family who has a son suffering from a rare, non-life-threatening genetic disorder during the time that widespread genetic testing was entering the mainstream. Along with explaining and attempting to teach the reader about this complex FOXP2-plus mutation, this paper tells the story of a young man, R, and his life from early childhood to young adulthood.

Herpetofauna Species Survey in the Forestport Quad in Accordance to the NYS Herp Atlas


Amphibians are in a state of global decline due to numerous factors, such as habitat loss, climate change, and emerging diseases. The New York State Herpetology Atlas has been conducting a project since the early 1990s in order to document the amphibians and non-avian reptiles from this region and comparing the results of past years to new studies conducted today.