View abstracts
View presenter bios

Lisa Cleckner, MBA, PhD
Director, Finger Lakes Institute, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Phone: (315) 781-4381, E-mail:

Dr. Lisa B. Cleckner earned her PhD in environmental health sciences from the University of Michigan and worked as a post-doc and staff scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In these roles, Cleckner led a research group investigating mercury cycling in the Great Lakes and Everglades, and supervised a water chemistry laboratory. Subsequently, she earned an MBA from the Simon Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester. Lisa was most recently assistant director of operations with the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems, in Syracuse, N.Y. There, she worked with academic institutions and industry partners on applied research and demonstration projects in water resources, clean and renewable energy, and indoor environmental quality. She was also a faculty member for a certificate of advanced study in Sustainable Enterprise at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management, and a member of the leadership team of the Sustainable Enterprise Partnership.

Throughout her career, Cleckner has been involved in education and outreach activities targeted to a wide range of audiences including the public, students, businesses, and professional scientists. She has also successfully pursued grant funding totaling more than $3.5 million from federal, state, and non-profit organizations. Most of these proposals have been collaborative efforts engaging different constituencies such as faculty, research scientists, federal agencies, community organizations, and outreach groups.

Since joining the FLI, Dr. Cleckner has secured new funding for the development of initiatives in aquatic invasive species including the FLI’s recently launched Watercraft Steward Program, sustainable community development, a video baseline of the Finger Lakes ecosystems, water quality of green infrastructure installations, and trace metals and mercury in the Seneca Lake watershed. Lisa also has a faculty appointment in the Environmental Studies Department at HWS.

John Halfman, PhD
Professor, Dept. of Geoscience & Environmental Studies, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Phone: (315) 781-3918, E-mail:

‘Nutrient Loading Issues in the Finger Lakes Region’

PhD in Geology from Duke University, MS in Geology and Geophysics from U Minnesota, BS in Geology from U Miami, FL.

John Halfman teaches in the HWS Department of Geoscience and Environmental Studies Program. He is also intimately linked with creation and development of the Finger Lakes Institute at the Colleges, accumulating over $4.2 million in funding over the past four years from state, federal and private foundation sources. Building on Lake Superior and the East African Rift Lake research before coming to HWS, his current research interests focus on the Finger Lakes and include the collection of limnological and hydrogeochemical data to investigate records of environmental change. Current projects include the hydrogeochemical impact of zebra mussels on these lakes; the source and fate of non-point source pollutants within these watersheds; and water quality variability between watersheds. He also investigates the high-resolution records of climate change that is preserved in the Holocene sediments of the Finger Lakes.

Dave Finkelstein, PhD,
Assistant Professor, Geoscience, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Lansing Hall, 315-781-4443

‘Isotopes as Assessments for Climate Change’

Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
M.S., University of Massachusetts, Amherst
B.S., University of Massachusetts, Amherst


  • Deciphering the filter of time: a comparison of modern versus ancient lacustrine systems.
  • Exploring microbial life on the edge of hydration in lakes, seeps and hot springs, using aqueous (major anions and cations), stable isotope (O, D, and S), organic (molecular and compound specific) geochemistry combined with microbiological methodologies.
  • Examining transitions within Holocene/Pleistocene, Cretaceous and Triassic lacustrine environments using biogeochemistry (biomarkers), stable isotope geochemistry (bulk and compound-specific) and mineralogy to characterize productivity, biodiversity, vegetation, and climate information.
  • Investigating the use of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and fusinite reflectance to ascertain signatures of biomass burning events, diagenetic processes, and records of combustion and burial, with implications for paleoclimate.
  • Documenting organic geochemical and isotopic changes of petroleum over time following the April 20, 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Ted Endreny, PhD
Professor and Chair, Department of Environmental Resource Engineering, Associate Editor, Hydrological Processes & Water Resources Research, SUNY ESF, Emily Stephan, Thomas Taggart, Ethan, Bodnaruk, and Charles Knoll, Co-presenters
402 Baker Labs, 1 Forestry Drive, Syracuse, NY 13210, 1+(315) 470-6565,

‘i-Tree Tools for Visualizing the Impact of Trees on Nutrient Loading’

Ted's early experiences with water include creek walks with his family, fly fishing with his grandfather, and riparian wetland journeys with his dog. Ted received a B.S. in 1990 at Cornell University in Natural Resources, a M.S. in 1996 at North Carolina State University in Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and a Ph.D. in 1999 at Princeton University in Civil and Environmental Engineering. From 1990 to 1992 Ted served as a Peace Corps volunteer with the Honduran Forest Service working in the Capiro-Calentura National Park and Guaimoreto Lagoon Wildlife Reserve, and from 1992 to 1994 Ted worked as a research associate at the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, DC. Ted became a member of the SUNY ESF faculty in 1999, and was licensed as a Professional Engineer and Professional Hydrologist in 2002. Ted was trained by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in flood mitigation design in 2002 and by the Fish and Wildlife Service in fluvial geomorphological assessment and restoration in 2003. Ted teaches courses in Engineering Hydrology & Hydraulics, Ecological Engineering in the Tropics, River Form and Process, Open Channel Hydraulics, Hydro-Meteorology, and Graduate Research Methods, as well as provides regular graduate seminar series and guest lectures. Ted's research uses monitoring, experimentation, modeling, and design to manage restoration of watershed systems for the delivery of environmental services to communities. Support for this research has been awarded by agencies such as NSF, USDA, EPA, HUD, DoEd, NPS, and UNESCO. Awards and honors include: Cornell-Ford Foundation Undergraduate Research Scholarship (1989), Peace Corps Tropical Forestry Scholarship (1991), Sigma Xi Scientific Research Honor Society (1996), Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society (1996), Xi Sigma Pi Forestry Honor Society (1996), EPA Graduate Fellowship (1995-1996), GTE Teaching Incentive Grant (1996-1999), NASA Graduate Student Research Scholarship (1997-1999), NSF/Carnegie Mellon Engineering Education Scholar (2000), SUNY Chancellor's Internationalization Award (2004), Fulbright Commission Sabbatical Award (2005-2006), and ESF USA Distinguished Teaching Award (2009). Ted serves as Chair for his Department, manager of the Hassett Hydraulics and Hydrology Lab, representative to the ESF Council on Hydrologic Systems Science and Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Sciences Inc, and as an academic advisor to ESF's student chapters of Engineers without Borders and ERE Club. Ted is an associate editor for Water Resources Research, the International Journal of River Basin Management, and editorial board member for Hydrological Processes. Ted manages reporting of daily weather observations for SUNY ESF to the NOAA National Weather Service, and maintains a UCAR-sponsored NOAA River Forecast Center fluvial geomorphology training module.

Janet Thigpen, CFM,
Flood Mitigation Specialist, Southern Tier Central Regional Planning & Development Board
P.O. Box 588, Elmira, NY 14902-0588, ,(607) 737-5271

 ‘No Adverse Impact Floodplain Management’

Janet Thigpen holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Geology from Carleton College and a Master of Science Degree in Geology (Geophysics) from Cornell University. She has been a Certified Floodplain Manager since 2007.

Ms. Thigpen is the Flood Mitigation Specialist for the three-county Southern Tier Central Regional Planning and Development Board in New York. She has implemented a regional Flood Assistance Program since 1996, providing technical, planning, and grant writing assistance for diverse flood damage prevention activities.

Ms. Thigpen currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of State Floodplain Managers, a national professional organization. She is the Public Policy Committee Chair and an Ex Officio Director for the New York State Floodplain and Stormwater Managers Association and served as Chair of the Association from 2007 to 2009. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Environmental Emergency Services, a non-profit corporation that provides flood warning support for a three-county region.

Jacques Rinchard, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Biology, The College at Brockport, State University of New York,

‘Application of Fatty Acid Analysis in Aquatic Ecology, Trophic Tracers, and Essential Nutrients’

Dr. Rinchard is an Associate Professor at The College at Brockport – State University of New York. His research interests are in fish physiology and ecology. He is currently studying (1) how thiamine deficiency is affecting salmonid species in the Great Lakes, Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain, (2) how fatty acids can be used as biomarkers to assess food web dynamics, (3) how essential nutrients affect fish recruitment. He has published more than 65 peer-reviewed publications and since 2007 serves as associate editor for the North American Journal of Fisheries Management. Dr. Rinchard will present the ‘Application of Fatty Acid Analysis in Aquatic Ecology, Trophic Tracers, and Essential Nutrients’ based on his extensive research he conducted within the Great Lakes and Finger Lakes.

Valerie Knoblauch - Keynote speaker
President, Finger Lakes Visitors Connection

‘Ecosystem Services, Finger Lakes Tourism and Economy’

President of the Finger Lakes Visitor’s Connection, who will make the connection between ecosystem services and Finger Lakes tourism. With degrees in English Education from SUNY Oswego and an MBA from RIT, Valerie has over 30 years of experiences ranging from adjunct professor at both RIT and FLCC to writer of travel and tourism issues, to presenter at the national level on strategic planning, destination management, and marketing.

Scott Stoner, MS,
Chief, Standards and Analytical Support Section, Bureau of Water Assessment and Management, Division of Water, NYS DEC

‘Reducing Pharmaceuticals in Water: NYS DEC’s Proactive Approach’

Scott Stoner is Chief of the Standards and Analytical Support Section in the Division of Water at the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation.   He earned his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Bates College and Master’s degree in Toxicology from the University of Arizona.  He has dedicated more than 26 years to public service with the DEC’s water quality standards program, and was named its Chief in 2006.  This program he manages derives and promulgates standards to protect New York State’s surface waters and groundwaters statewide. Mr. Stoner is very active nationally on water quality standards issues including as an invited member of the EPA – state Water Quality Standards Managers Association. Since 2008, Scott has also chaired the DEC’s Pharmaceuticals Work Group, a large interdisciplinary group that works to reduce the input of unused drugs into New York’s waters.  

Carrie Brown-Lima, MS,
Coordinator & Senior Extension Associate, NY Invasive Species Research Institute
Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University Ithaca, NY 14853,

‘The Role of the NY Invasive Species Research Institute in the Finger Lakes and Beyond’

Carrie Brown-Lima is a Senior Extension Associate and the Coordinator of the NY Invasive Species Research Institute, managing the NYISRI's programs and activities and working closely with the NY Invasive Species Council, research scientists, state and federal agencies, and regional stakeholders.

Carrie has 17 years of experience working with natural resource conservation and management.  For the past 11 years, Carrie has been promoting conservation strategies in Brazil and throughout Latin America.  During this time she worked in various roles for different conservation organizations and governmental agencies (such as the State of Rio de Janeiro Regional Development Department, The Nature Conservancy, Pro-Natura International, and the Inter-American Development Bank). Before coming to Cornell, Brown-Lima was the Coordinator of the Sustainable Seafood Certification Program of the Rio de Janeiro State Fisheries Institute, where she created and implemented a state-wide program to certify sustainable fisheries.  She earned a B.S. in biology from Keene State College and a M.S. in Natural Resources from Cornell University.

Chris Pennuto,  PhD,
Director, WNY PRISM, Professor, Biology Department & Grt Lakes Research Center, Buffalo State College
PENNUTCM@BUFFALOSTATE.EDU, (716) 878-4105, Campus Address: Science And Math Complex 326

‘Round Gobies in Tributary Streams: Seasonal Abundance, Community Effects, and Energy Consumption’

Research Interests:
Freshwater macroinvertebrate ecology, stream ecology, invasive species in the Great Lakes, ecological stoichiometry, mercury in the environment, insect behavioral ecology.

Christopher Pennuto, Ph.D.: Dr. Pennuto is Professor and Research Scientists in the Biology Departments and Great Lakes Center at Buffalo State College with 20 years of experience in aquatic ecology research, leading to 30 peer-reviewed publications. He has generated nearly $3 million to support research and training efforts in aquatic ecology. He has research expertise on the effects of aquatic invasive species in lake and stream ecosystems and biomonitoring to assess aquatic system recovery. He is a recognized expert in the identification of aquatic macroinvertebrates and has trained 24 Master’s degree candidates in areas of invasive species and aquatic invertebrate ecology.

Hilary Mosher, MS, MPA
Coordinator, FL-Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management, Finger Lakes Institute, Hobart and William Smith Colleges,, 315-781-4385

Hilary R. Mosher is the Coordinator for the Finger Lakes-Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management at the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges where she is committed to working with local, state, regional, and federal agencies, NGOs, private enterprise, academic institutions, citizens, and others to manage invasive species efforts on behalf of seventeen NY counties of the Finger Lakes. Prior to this role, Mosher was the Instructional Support Technician and Adjunct Instructor in the Department of Environmental Science and Biology at the College at Brockport teaching or assisting with field instruction in courses such as Environmental Science, Limnology, Fish Biology, Marine Biology, and Plant Ecology. Mosher has taught courses in Biological and Environmental Sciences including Sustainability in the Cloud Forest Region of Ecuador, Environmental Science, and Limnology & Ecology labs.

Service to the broader community includes environmental education to non-profit, corporations, citizen groups, and school groups covering a variety of topics from aquatic ecology to education for sustainability. Mosher has held various leadership roles within the community and managed projects on both a large and small scale.

Mosher holds a BS in Environmental Science from SUNY Plattsburgh; MS in Biological Sciences and MPA, both from the College at Brockport.

Steve Young, Chief Botanist for the New York Heritage and the Coordinator for the Long Island Invasive Species Management program; and

Steven Daniel, Naturalist and Botanist, Nature Discoveries, and adjunct Associate Professor, Monroe Community College,

‘Brachypodium sylvaticum (slender falsebrome) - a Highly Invasive Grass and Candidate for Early Detection/Rapid Response’


M.S. Taxonomic Botany; University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.
B.S. Environmental and Resource Management; SUNY College of                           Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, New York.

In his 24th year as chief botanist for the New York Natural Heritage Program, Steve is in charge of the collection, organization, and dissemination of New York's rare plant information.  He is also coordinator of the Long Island Invasive Species Management Area, founder of the Adirondack Botanical Society, and president of the New York Flora Association. He resides in Niskayuna, NY outside of Schenectady. The NY Natural Heritage Program is a program of SUNY ESF in partnership with the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of Parks Recreation and Historical Preservation.

STEVEN DANIEL, Naturalist and Botanist, Nature Discoveries, Adjunct Associate Professor, Monroe Community College
M.S. Science and Environmental Education; Cornell University.

Steven has spent the better part of a lifetime studying natural history and teaching others, formally and informally. He took an early retirement from school teaching to develop Nature Discoveries - an ecotour company that he co-founded and for which he has led over 130 trips worldwide. He teaches Field Natural History and leads professional development outings for the Biology Department at Monroe Community College. Steven developed master plans for The Nature Conservancy at Mashomack Preserve on Long Island and for Great Gully in Cayuga County, as well as the biological inventory and development for the Genesee Country Museum Nature Center in Mumford. While plants are a long-consuming interest, he also enjoys studying Lepidoptera, birds, and most every aspect of the natural world. He is active in several local conservation organizations.

James A. Balyszak,
Program Manager for the Hydrilla Task Force of the Cayuga Lake Watershed,,

B.S. Biology; Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY.

As Program Manager for the Hydrilla Task Force, James coordinates all aspects of the ongoing Cayuga Lake Watershed Hydrilla Project in Ithaca, NY. Collaborating with numerous local, regional, and statewide agencies and organizations, Project activities include in-field Hydrilla management activities, extensive plant community and water quality monitoring, and public education and outreach. James also serves on the Tompkins County Water Resource Council and Finger Lakes-PRISM Aquatics Committee.

Before serving as Program Manager, James worked for the Monroe County Soil & Water Conservation District, implementing environmental conservation and management projects. Prior to working for Monroe County, James actively managed and controlled aquatic and terrestrial invasive plant species in ponds, lakes, and wetlands in South Florida. Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) was a primary management target.

Jessi Lyons, Natural Resources Team Coordinator, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Onondaga Co,, The Atrium, 2 Clinton Square   |   Syracuse, NY 13202
Telephone: 315-424-9485

Kristina Ferrare, Forestry Resource Educator, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Onondaga Co,, The Atrium, 2 Clinton Square   |   Syracuse, NY 13202
Telephone: 315-424-9485

'Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in The Skaneateles Watershed and Its Impact'

Jessi is the Team Coordinator for the Natural Resources programs including forestry, water quality, horticulture/urban agriculture, and invasive species.  Jessi has been with CCE Onondaga since 2010.

Jessi has a Master’s of Landscape Architecture from SUNY-ESF and a B.S. in Environmental Science from Southern Oregon University.  Prior to moving to Syracuse to pursue her Master’s, Jessi worked in the fields of forest ecology and restoration with an emphasis on invasive species and prescribed fire for the University of Kentucky, the National Park Service in Virginia, the US Forest Service in Oregon and Washington, and the Regional Ecosystem Applied Learning Corps (an AmeriCorps program focused on ecological restoration) in Southern Oregon. She also has spent time teaching Wildlife Biology for the Portland Public School Outdoor School program, and working on a small vegetable farm and nut orchard.  While at SUNY ESF Jessi worked as assistant editor of the Landscape Journal.  Her studies focused on sustainable community development and community gardens, and she co-founded Syracuse Grows where she continues to serve as an advisory board member.

Kristina Ferrare holds an MS in Forest Resources Management from the University of Massachusetts and a BS in History from Hamilton College. Her graduate work focused on developing a data management and reporting system to evaluate best management practices on timber sales for the U.S.D.A. Forest Service.  Before coming to CCE, Kristina worked on private forest landowner outreach and education as well as land conservation programming for the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. She is a native of CNY.

Marion Zuefle,
NYS IPM Program at Cornell University,, 630 W. North St.
Geneva, NY 14456 Phone:(315) 787-2379

‘NYS Integrated Pest Management Program Research on Agricultural Invasive Species’

Education, Training, and related Professional Experience

  • M.S. Entomology and Applied Ecology, University of Delaware, 2006
  • B.S. Entomology/Animal Science, University of Delaware, 1998


  • 2010-2012 Research Aide II, NYS IPM Program, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Geneva, NY
  • 2008-2010 Research Scientist, Lehigh Agricultural and Biological Services, Hamburg, PA
  • 2006-2007 Environmental Scientist, Mosquito Control and Wetland Rehabilitation, New Castle, DE
  • 2003-2006 Research Assistant, University of Delaware Entomology and Applied Ecology, Newark, DE
  • 2001-2001 Garlic Mustard Research Technician, CABI Bioscience, Delemont, Switzerland
  • 1999-2001 Purple Loosestrife Biological Technician, Dept. Of Natural Resources, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
  • 1996-1998 Termite Research Assistant, University of Delaware, Newark, DE

Current/Ongoing Projects


View presenter bios


Robert Pattridge1, Jacques Rinchard1, and Maureen Walsh2

1Department of Environmental Science and Biology, The College at Brockport - State University of New York, 350 New Campus Drive, Brockport, NY 14420.
2USGS Lake Ontario Biological Station, 17 Lake Street, Oswego, NY 13126.

Fatty acid signatures (FAS) are currently used in food web studies to provide insights into long term feeding habits of predators based on the degree of similarity between their FAS and that of their prey. To date, FAS data of fish from Lake Ontario are limited and are required to better understand how FAS variation in prey fish affects top predators. In this study, three major prey fish (alewife - Alosa pseudoharengus, rainbow smelt - Osmerus mordax, and round goby - Neogobius melanostomus) were collected at three sites along the south shore of Lake Ontario (Olcott, Rochester, and Oswego) during the spring and fall of 2013. Using multivariate statistics, we will compare FAS among species as well as their spatiotemporal variation. These data will further our understanding of predator-prey interactions in Lake Ontario’s food web.


Joseph M. Beck, John VanNiel
Department of Environmental Conservation and Horticulture, Finger Lakes Community College, 3325 Marvin Sands Drive, Canandaigua, New York 14424.

Ten weeks of camera trap data from a single location was analyzed for mammal species richness, latency to detection and capture frequency for each species. The camera trap was placed in a wetland area at the FLCC Muller Field Station. Analyses were completed for the entire ten week period as well as sub-sampling for two- and one-week periods in order to compare results and recommend duration of placement for future studies. A total of ten species were captured with raccoon (Procyon lotor), Eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus), and North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) being observed most frequently, in that order. The species with the shortest latency to detection was the deer mouse (Peromyscus sp.) which was viewed on the first day. The species with the longest latency to detection was American black bear (Ursus americanus), having been first viewed on the last day of the study.


Bruce Gilman, John Foust, Tyler Barber, Jason Hanselman and Ryan Niemiec,
Department of Environmental Conservation and Horticulture, Finger Lakes Community College, 3325 Marvin Sands Drive, Canandaigua, New York 14424-8395.

Managing invasive species first requires knowledge of their local presence, frequency of occurrence and population abundance.  With limited existing information available for Loon Lake and its watershed, this project was undertaken to fill gaps in knowledge by surveying the fish and littoral communities in the lake, and terrestrial plants in the surrounding upland landscape.  Fieldwork was conducted during fall 2014 and invasive species with an earlier phenology may not have been detected, so these survey results should be considered a working inventory.

Lake fisheries were assessed through afternoon and evening electro-shocking and detected 13 species with yellow perch (Perca flavescens) being most common.  A regionally uncommon species, the creek chubsucker (Erimyzon oblongus) was present.  The only invasive fish species was the common or European carp (Cyprinus carpio).

Lake macrophytes and other littoral organisms were documented by raking in deeper waters and wading in shallower areas.  Twenty seven macrophytes were present, including submerged (n=13), floating leaved (n=9) and emergent (n=5) species. Invasive macrophytes included Eurasian water milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum), curly leaf pondweed (Potamogeton crispus) and yellow iris (Iris pseudoacorus).  Invasive dreissenid mussels, including regionally abundant zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha), were not detected in Loon Lake but the introduced banded mystery snail (Viviparous georgianus) was common.

Visual survey of the watershed from municipal roads, farm lanes and otherwise accessible areas helped determine the extent of terrestrial invasive plants.  Notable invasive species observed included Norway maple (Acer platanoides), goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria), garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), common mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii), spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa), Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense), crown vetch (Coronilla varia), autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata), Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica), dame’s rocket (Hesperis matronalis), everlasting pea (Lathyrus latifolius), Tartarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica), moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia), wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa), reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea), European buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica), black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), sweetbrier rose (Rosa eglanteria), multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora), and garden valerian (Valeriana officinalis).

This research study was supported by the Finger Lakes Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (FL-PRISM).


Bruce Gilman, Jason Hanselman and Nadia Harvieux
Department of Environmental Conservation and Horticulture, Finger Lakes Community College, 3325 Marvin Sands Drive, Canandaigua, New York 14424.

In 2001, unusually large foam streaks appeared on the surface of Canandaigua Lake while at the same time zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) shells were washing up in great numbers along the shoreline.  It was hypothesized that a mussel die-off had occurred and that their dead remains were contributing to the foam.  The following year, a PONAR dredge was used to sample the lake bottom at several locations.  Using shell length as a proxy for mussel age, dredge data indicated that nearly all of the living mussels were less than a year old, verifying that a die-off had indeed taken place the prior year.  To compare the Canandaigua Lake “recolonizing” population age-class structure to a normal one composed of multiple year cohorts, the Honeoye Lake zebra mussel population was also sampled in the summer of 2002.

During fall 2013, Honeoye Lake residents reported that they were finding very few zebra mussels on their docks when they were removed in preparation for the winter.  Had a die-off of mussels also occurred in Honeoye Lake?  There were no tell-tale foam streaks or large wrack lines of empty shells, but perhaps those conditions should not have been expected.  With most of the Honeoye lake bottom composed of soft substrates, the zebra mussel populations were never as large as in neighboring Canandaigua Lake.  Perhaps they had declined due to lack of palatable algae brought on by their own selective filter feeding on the phytoplankton community.  The best way to verify a zebra mussel population decline would be to resample the same locations studied in 2002, and compare results.  This would also provide an opportunity to discover if other benthic invasive species had entered the lake, especially Asian clams (Corbicula fluminea) and quagga mussels (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis).

In summer 2014, the zebra mussel population in Honeoye Lake was again sampled at the same locations.  Samples were processed by tallying and weighing the mussels.  Overall, the zebra mussel density declined by about 30% (from 1647/m2 in 2002 to 1199/m2 in 2014).  Total mussel biomass declined by about 35% (from 292 g/m2 in 2002 to 188 g/m2 in 2014).  Indeed the perception of the public was correct.  And about the other benthic invasive species, both good news and bad news – no quagga mussels or Asian clams were found in the dredge samples but four European fingernail clams (Sphaerium corneum) were collected on gravelly substrates along the northeastern shore of the Honeoye Lake.


Bruce Gilman1 and Kevin Olvany2
1Muller Field Station, Department of Environmental Conservation and Horticulture, Finger Lakes Community College, 3325 Marvin Sands Drive, Canandaigua, New York 14424, and 2Canandaigua Lake Watershed Council, 205 Saltonstall Street, Canandaigua, New York 14424.

Perhaps no other factor has as strong an influence on the limnology of Canandaigua Lake as water temperature. Nutrient solubility, water density, water circulation patterns, photosynthesis and biological respiration are all directly regulated by water temperature regime. Monthly temperature profiles through the water column have been collected April to November at two mid-lake monitoring stations since 1996.  These depth profiles track the change from nearly isothermal conditions in late April, to periods of strong stratification in summer, then finally a return to nearly isothermal conditions in late November that drive the fall turnover typical of this warm, monomictic lake.

Summer surface water temperatures from the top of these depth profiles may be a good indicator of long-term atmospheric temperature tendencies due to the high specific heat of water.  Simply put, lakes are less susceptible to the daily fluctuations reported from terrestrial weather monitoring stations because they buffer atmospheric temperature extremes.  Average summer surface water temperatures, calculated as the mean of surface water temperatures during the end of June, July and August at the Deep Run and Seneca Point mid-lake stations, document a variable but gradual increase over the 18 years of record.  A trend line fit to the mean temperature data indicates a 2.2°C increase since 1996 thus providing information on the extent of recent climate change in western New York.  Warmer summer surface water likely alters biological relationships among lake organisms and may, in part, contribute to the recent dominance of blue-green algae within the phytoplankton community.

Creating an ArcGIS Mapbook for Aquatic Invasive Species in NY Lakes

Brandon Kenny and Eric Scaraglino
Rochester Institute of Technology, One Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623-5603

This capstone project is developing an ArcGIS Mapbook showing invasive aquatic vegetation in NY lakes monitored by the NY iMap Invasives Program, in partnership with the NY State Federation of Lake Associations (NYSFOLA).  The project goal is to provide an easy to use tool to help the lake associations monitor the spread of aquatic invasive species.  The Mapbook displays each lake separately, using ArcGIS’s Data Driven Page (DDP) tool to automate the layouts within a map book. Linked to the map pages are data pages containing information about the lake properties and the invasive species found within the lakes.  Data pages provide a description and photo of the species, steps on how to identify the species, how to report findings to iMapInvasive, and when possible, treatments recommended for eradication or control.  By providing a less technical digital tool for mapping lake information, the mapbook is geared to promote public outreach and help lake association members become more involved in maintaining the health of their lake’s ecosystem.  This project will be formally presented at the NYSFOLA Annual Conference in May, 2015.


Bruce Gilman, John Foust, and Jason Hanselman,
Department of Environmental Conservation and Horticulture, Finger Lakes Community College, 3325 Marvin Sands Drive, Canandaigua, New York 14424-8395.

Aquatic macrophyte communities were sampled along 20 transects through use of SCUBA.  Each transect began at the shoreline and extended perpendicularly towards the lake center.  Plants were hand harvested within submerged quadrat frames from 5 sites of varying water depths along each transect, then sorted by species and air-dried in the college greenhouse.  Individual sites were summarized by species composition, sample richness, overall diversity and standing crop biomass.  Among the vegetated samples, richness ranged from 1 to 13 species while dry weight biomass ranged from 0.06 g/m2 to 516.56 g/m2.

Similar investigations in 1984, 1994 and 2004 allowed for long-term trend analyses in macrophyte community structure and function.  Trends are hypothesized to result, in part, from changes in water quality following the installation of a perimeter sewer system in 1980, the introduction and establishment of an invasive zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) population, resource competition between the macrophyte and phytoplankton communities, and changes in external nutrient loading associated with an increase in extreme storm events.  Macrophyte community response to changes in water clarity (Zsd) has altered the maximum depth of the littoral zone during the thirty years of record but the optimal depth range of individual species has remained fairly constant.  In 2014, macrophyte community composition was dominated by native species including eelgrass (Vallisneria americana), coontail (Ceratophyllum demersum), flat-stem pondweed (Potamogeton zosteriformis), water stargrass (Heteranthera dubia), small pondweed (Potamogeton pusillus), elodea (Elodea canadensis), star-leaved duckweed (Lemna trisulca), large-leaf pondweed (Potamogeton amplifolius) and Richardson’ pondweed (Potamogeton richardsonii).  Invasive species included Eurasian water milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) and curly-leaf pondweed (Potamogeton crispus).


Callie Babbitt (, Charles Border (, Gabrielle Gaustad (, Christy Tyler (, and Elizabeth Wronko (
Rochester Institute of Technology, One Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623-5603

Engineered nanomaterials are increasingly adopted in renewable energy systems, as in the case of nano-iron phosphate used to enhance performance of lithium-ion batteries. However, the potential ecosystem-level impacts of nanomaterial release to the environment when these batteries are disposed or recycled is poorly understood. To address this knowledge gap, this study has developed a microcosm-based approach to analyze the effect of nano-iron phosphate on the biogeochemistry and ecosystem health on a freshwater ecosystem. These impacts were assessed by measuring sediment-water column fluxes of oxygen, nitrogen and phosphorus, microalgal photosynthesis and benthic ecosystem metabolism. No acute (48-hour) or chronic (30 days) impacts were observed, at both environmentally relevant concentrations or extreme concentrations. This is likely due to poor solubility of nano-iron phosphate in water. Long-term dissociation in anoxic sediments did not appear to have an impact on the benthic communities. This poster will report the development of the novel microcosm approach, the variable aqueous solubility resulting from two material preparation methods, and the acute and chronic impacts to ecosystem health. These experiments will elucidate the environmental implications of nanomaterial production and use, and contribute to a greater understanding of their fate and impact on the natural environment.

Spatial and Temporal Variation in Benthic Macroinvertebrate Communities in an Urban Watershed.

Cushman, Susan,1 Shannon Beston2, Joan Hilton and Matt Paufve3
1Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY
2University of Texas, Arlington, TX
3USGS, Lake Ontario Biological Station, Oswego, NY

Like many watersheds, the headwaters of Castle Creek (Geneva, NY) are surrounded by a mixture of agricultural and forested land, flowing through suburbia and then intense urbanization.  As indicators of water quality, benthic macroinvertebrate (BMI) communities also vary depending on available habitat and season. This long-term study examines both spatial and temporal changes in BMI across rural-urban sites over two years. BMI were sampled in riffles (5m diagonal) using a D-net, then subsampled and identified in the lab. Water quality (dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH, conductivity and chloride) was also measured at each site.  A Percent Model Affinity (PMA) score was calculated for each site and date.  Preliminary data indicate that suburban sites generally have the highest PMA scores. Temporal variability occurs within each site, most likely due to changes in habitat and life history stages of benthos.  However, there was a decreasing trend in channel stability and percent predator metrics along the rural-urban gradient. Chloride and conductivity were significantly higher in suburban and urban sites than in rural sites. It was determined that urbanization impacts on Castle Creek are severe throughout the year, and restoration of downstream reaches would promote better stream health.

Century- and Decade-Scale Fluctuations in Seneca Lake Major Ion and Water Clarity

John Halfman
Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY

Seneca Lake has elevated chloride and sodium ion concentrations compared to the smaller Finger Lakes in central New York.  Previous research hypothesized that the deep lake bottom intersects Silurian halite (NaCl) deposits, which facilitated a groundwater connection and a constant flux of saline groundwater over time to the lake.  Municipal water supply data from the past century and our monitoring efforts reveal that Seneca Lake chloride concentrations increased from 50 to over 200 ppm from 1900 to 1970 and decreased since then to 120 ppm in 2014.  The change does not mimic century-scale changes from increased road salt applications observed in Skaneateles, Hemlock and Canadice Lakes but instead parallels local salt mining activities, which may have caused a fluctuation in the saline groundwater flux. 

Weekly Secchi disk depth and chlorophyll-a concentration data over the past two decades reveal a rapid increase in water clarity after the invasion of Dreissena species in 1992 (zebra then quagga a decade later) and a subsequent decrease in water clarity since 1998 due to nutrient loading and declining Dreissena populations.  Increased water clarity during the early spring since 2007 and from shallow (25 m) to deep (100 m) water sites suggests continued seasonal and spatial influence by mussel filtration. 

Seneca & Owasco Lakes Water Quality & Meteorological Monitoring Buoys

John Halfman
Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY

No abstract

Comparative Limnology of Honeoye, Canandaigua, Keuka, Seneca, Cayuga, Owasco, Skaneateles & Otisco Lakes: 2005 – 2014

John Halfman
Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY

No abstract

Early Detection of Invasive Species Trhough Assessment of the Aquatic Plant Community in Northern Seneca and Cayuga Lakes, New York.

Samuel Burrell, Lisa Cleckner, and Hilary R. Mosher
Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY
Twenty sampling points randomly placed within each of the northern ends of Seneca and Cayuga Lakes were surveyed using a rake-toss method in order to obtain plant species distributions. In an effort to monitor for harmful invasive species such as Hydrilla verticillata, careful analysis of plant genus and species were recorded for each rake-toss. A total of twelve species of aquatic plants and algae were found at the Cayuga and Seneca Lakes sampling sites, with invasive Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) and curly-leaf pondweed (Potamogeton crispus) proving more dominant in Seneca Lake despite a larger total plant density in Cayuga Lake. Overall, native plants still collectively dominated invasive plants, making up over half the total plant frequency on both lakes. The absence of Hydrilla was reassuring, and these results provide a good basis for an otherwise lacking amount of information about macrophyte population composition and density.

Ground-truthing the Identification of the Invasive Species’ Cynanchum louieseae and Cynanchum rossicium  

Abigayle Dylag, Hilary Mosher, and Lisa Cleckner
Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY
No abstract

Ecological Community Map and Hydrologic Monitoring at Zurich Bog

Madelyn Bradt, Tom Carter, Greg Essman, Jeff Fridman, Colin Hosmer, Amber Kronenwetter, Ryan Lawrence, Nick Radford, Donna Richardson, Andre Smith, Alexis Van Winkle, Ben Williams,
Advisor: Maura Sullivan

Department of Environmental Conservation and Horticulture, Finger Lakes Community College, 3325 Marvin Sands Drive, Canandaigua, New York 14424-8395.

Zurich Bog is a National Natural Historic Landmark in Arcadia, New York owned by the Bergen Swamp Preservation Society.  This 650 acres site includes various types of wetland communities that are relatively rare in this region.  Students in Finger Lakes Community College’s Spring 2014 Wetland Science and Practice class completed a GIS-based ecological community map of Zurich Bog using the Draft Ecological Communities of New York State classification scheme by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Existing geospatial data layers were used to identify likely changes in ecological communities and qualitative vegetation sampling was conducted to classify and delineate community boundaries.  In addition, the students completed a preliminary hydrologic monitoring study comparing differences in water level fluctuations in two of the mapped ecological communities, an area dominated by Sphagnum spp. and ericaceous shrubs as well as an area with a greater presence of sedges and grasses.  Continuous water level measurements were recorded for a week-long period in early April using Hobo water level loggers.

The Cyanobacterium Gloetrichia echinulata and implications for the Finger Lakes of New York

Kristen Cronmiller WS’14, Advisor: Susan Cushman
Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY

Twenty sampling points randomly placed within each of the northern ends of Seneca and Cayuga Lakes were surveyed using a rake-toss method in order to obtain plant species distributions. In an effort to monitor for harmful invasive species such as Hydrilla verticillata, careful analysis of plant genus and species were recorded for each rake-toss. A total of twelve species of aquatic plants and algae were found at the Cayuga and Seneca Lakes sampling sites, with invasive Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) and curly-leaf pondweed (Potamogeton crispus) proving more dominant in Seneca Lake despite a larger total plant density in Cayuga Lake. Overall, native plants still collectively dominated invasive plants, making up over half the total plant frequency on both lakes. The absence of Hydrilla was reassuring, and these results provide a good basis for an otherwise lacking amount of information about macrophyte population composition and density.

More Info

View abstracts

View presenter bios


Phone: (315) 781-4390





Join Our Mailing List


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.