News and Current Projects
- Mitigating the effects of roads on amphibians and reptiles in New York State
This project involves collaboration between the Center for Adirondack Biodiversity, Dr James Gibbs at the State University of New York College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry, Hara Woltz at Columbia University, and the New York State Department of Transportation. Using a combination of experimental research, field studies, and applied spatial modeling, we have developed a comprehensive approach to understanding the effects of roads on amphibians and reptiles in the state, and determining what actions can be taken to mitigate these issues. Specific aspects of this research include assessing the effects of proximity to roads on populations of snakes and turtles, designing effective crossing structures, and predicting the occurrence of a suite of amphibian and reptile species across roadways in the State.
- Developing adaptive forest monitoring protocols
In this research, the Center for Adirondack Biodiversity is collaborating with Stacy McNulty at SUNY-ESF's Adirondack Ecological Center, with support from Steve Langdon at the Shingle Shanty Preserve Research Station, Dr Geri Tierney from SUNY-ESF, and Michelle Brown with the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. The goal of the research is to adapt existing forest monitoring protocols to allow managers in the future to assess a wide variety of different aspects of forest health. Protocols have been trialed on the Shingle Shanty Preserve, with the establishment of 60 long-term monitoring plots. Students from Paul Smith's College were instrumental in establishing these plots including surveying the floral and faunal biodiversity they contained.
- Understanding the ecology and effects of harvesting of chameleons in the East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania
The Center for Adirondack Biodiversity in collaboration with Dr James Vonesh and Philip Shirk from Virginia Commonwealth University is conducting research in the East Usambara Mountains of Tanzania to assess the ecology of rainforest chameleons and the potential effects of harvesting for the exotic pet trade. The goal of this project, supported by a grant from National Geographic, is to provide information to management agencies in Tanzania allowing them to ensure the long-term survival of these charismatic species. In addition to surveying chameleons at night, radio-tracking is being used to better understand the ways in which chameleons use the rainforest habitat.
- Assessing the combined effects of climate change and invasive aquatic plants on aquatic communities in the Adirondacks
In the fall of 2010, a group of Paul Smith's College students worked with the Center for Adirondack Biodiversity to assess the combined effects of climate change and aquatic invasive plants on aquatic communities. This study was conducted as the focus for FOR 499, a group research capstone project. Students used experimental mesocosms (large plastic pools), heated to simulate climate effects, to compare growth patterns of two species of water milfoil, northern water milfoil, Myriophyllum sibericum, a native species, and Eurasian water milfoil, Myriophyllum spicatum, an invasive species found in the Adirondacks. Students also looked at the nature of the zooplankton community in these mesocosms, and rates of algal growth. This project received valuable support from faculty in the Adirondack Watershed Institute.
- Monitoring populations of wood frog, Lithobates sylvaticus and spotted salamander, Ambystoma maculatum in the Adirondack Park, New York
In the spring of 2010, a group of Paul Smith's College students volunteered with the Center for Adirondack Biodiversity to monitor egg-masses of "vernal pool" amphibians including wood frogs and spotted salamanders in the vicinity of Paul Smith's. These surveys will be replicated annually as the beginning of a long-term monitoring study assessing the effects of climate change and habitat alteration on forest-dependent amphibians.
- Assessing the effects of climate change on a cold-adapted amphibian, the mink frog, Lithobates septentrionalis
The Center for Adirondack Biodiversity in collaboration with Viorel Popescu at University of California Berkeley will conduct a study in 2011 to assess the combined effects of climate change and habitat alteration on a cold-adapted amphibian, the mink frog. This species is likely to be threatened in New York State, with the Adirondacks and St Laurence Valley being the only places where populations are known to exist. A combination of experimental studies in heated mesocosms, predictive spatial modeling, and field validation will be used to assess where populations of this species are most likely to be imperiled and to predict how future climate change scenarios will affect the mink frog in New York.
- Understanding patterns of occurrence of Japanese Knotweed, Fallopia japonica, in the Adirondack Park
A group of Paul Smith's College students supported by the Center for Adirondack Biodiversity and the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) conducted a study in the fall of 2010 to investigate spread of Japanese Knotweed, a noxious invasive plant, in the vicinity of Saranac Lake, NY. This study incorporated road-surveying for the species with statistical modeling to identify factors explaining patterns of occurrence of this species. This information will be used to aid managers in combating further spread of Knotweed.
- Assessing avifauna at Lake George
PSC student Nathaniel Child in collaboration with the Lake George Land Conservancy
Field guide to the amphibians of the Eastern Arc and Coastal Forests of Tanzania and Kenya