Student Showcase

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Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 43
  • Publication
    Longitudinal Differences in Brook Trout Density and Mean Length in Headwater Streams of Western Massachusetts
    (2014-01-01) Cooney, Kathryn
    Abstract: Brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) face many threats throughout their native range in the eastern United States including climate change, invasive species, and recreational angling. Understanding the habitat requirements and distribution of young of the year and adult brook trout in small headwater streams is essential for the conservation of the species. With this research, we sought to better understand the distribution pattern of young of the year, detect seasonal movement of adults before and during the spawning season, and determine if young of the year and adults preferentially inhabit stream reaches of different sizes. To explore these fish-habitat relationships, we electrofished 30 meter reaches with catchment areas ranging from 0.09 km2 to 4.90 km2 in the headwater systems of two western Massachusetts watersheds. Sampling was conducted during the spring and fall of 2014. We used generalized linear mixed models to evaluate young of the year density and linear density, adult density and linear density, and mean length of all fish sampled. The results for young of the year indicate that their distribution is quadratic or increases with stream size. We found no seasonal differences in adult densities. We also did not find a longitudinal difference in mean length. These results lead us to believe that the catchment sizes included in this study are equally important for brook trout persistence and should all be considered conservation priorities. This study demonstrated a need for additional research in the upper reaches of headwater streams since our models did not explain a significant proportion of the variability in the data. Additional landscape variables should be measured to better understand how brook trout population dynamics vary longitudinally in headwater streams and how the streams should be managed in the future.
  • Publication
    Why Waste The Wind? A Look into Small Scale Wind Energy
    (2014-01-01) Negus, Mitchell; Swanton, Jon; Chilcoat, Ben; Settembrino, Mark
    The human race’s dependence on fossil fuels for energy generation has started to cause major changes in the environment. Climate change is a universal issue and it is evident that our current energy schematic is not sustainable. At the University of Massachusetts, small-scale wind power has the potential to be a key component in UMass’ energy portfolio as the university shifts from reliance on fossil fuels to renewable energy. Strategically placed turbines would produce clean, renewable energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help to decentralize energy dependence on the Central Heating Plant. Small-scale turbines, like the eddyGT, are tested technologies that show promise for on-campus applications. In addition to starting UMass’ transition to renewable energy, monetary savings from wind-energy investment could even be put towards future renewable energy endeavors. And, though current turbine technology suffers from limited energy production capabilities, this issue is addressed by high altitude turbines which access stronger and more consistent winds. While still in the process of development, high altitude wind turbines have the potential to be an important renewable energy source in the future. Implementation of small scale wind energy at UMass will require research on wind speeds throughout campus. This data will facilitate determination of ideal locations and types of small-scale wind turbines for the campus, the first step in achieving UMass’ independence from fossil fuels.
  • Publication
    Hope in School Gardens: The Amherst School Gardens Project
    (2015-01-01) Salazar, Xochiquetzal F
    The Amherst School Gardens Project connects UMass Amherst Stockbridge undergraduate students to Amherst Public Elementary Schools in order to facilitate shared learning in the outdoor classroom. Our mission is to provide elementary school level children with hands on gardening experience, empowering knowledge of their foods’ origins, lessons that correspond with the U.S. Department of Education’s “Common Core State Standards,” and a community that encompasses the varying citizens of Amherst. The environmental, social, and economic implications of this program are boundless. In essence, the project transforms inert grass lawns on Amherst elementary school sites into productive gardens contributing to the biodiversity of the ecosystems they exist within, simultaneously educating children about the food systems that they are a part of. This invites them to explore sustainable practices, creating a greater demand for these within many of the systems we exist in. The result is an increase in interest regarding environmental impact and science in general, as well as a greater consumption of vegetables/fruits in-school/at home demonstrated through personal observations and affirmed by a number of scientific studies.
  • Publication
    Evaluating the Benefits of and Barriers to Building with Structural Insulated Panels
    (2014-01-01) Moynihan, Alison E
    Changing climate and increasing costs of energy are putting pressure on the building industry to adapt to higher performance building systems. One technology that can improve building performance is structural insulated panel (SIP) construction. The purpose of my practicum is to evaluate the possible benefits of SIPs and to identify obstacles to SIPs gaining a larger portion of the building industry. Using the information from practicum I intend to evaluate current design tools and suggest my own tools. The benefits of SIPs are lower thermal bridging and air infiltration leading to lower operating costs and minimal material usage. Findings include the identification of obstacles to increased adoption of SIP technology. Recommendations are made to overcome these obstacles.
  • Publication
    Coastal Erosion in Cape Cod, Massachusetts: Finding Sustainable Solutions
    (2015-01-01) Roberts, Michael D; Bullard, Lauren; Aflague, Shaunna; Sleet, Kelsi
    The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) and the Cape Cod Planning Commission have identified coastal erosion, flooding, and shoreline change as the number one risk affecting the heavily populated 1,068 square kilometers that constitute Cape Cod (CZM, 2013 and Cape Cod Commission 2010). This paper investigates natural and anthropogenic causes for coastal erosion and their relationship with established social and economic systems. Sea level rise, climate change, and other anthropogenic changes increase the rate of coastal erosion. The impacts associated with coastal erosion include habitat loss, property loss, infrastructure damage, and beach loss. These impacts will affect economic, ecological, and social systems in Cape Cod. We explore the relationships between socio-ecological systems in Cape Cod. There are structural and non-structural solutions that will help communities in Cape Cod adapt to challenges posed by coastal erosion. Structural solutions include coastal landscaping, beach nourishment, and soft infrastructure. Non-structural solutions include policy, economic compensation, education, and community involvement. In the future, Cape Cod should search for sustainable solutions to the problems associated with coastal erosion.