View poster abstracts
View presenter bios
2015 Conference Program

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.

Kimberly Schulz
Associate Professor, Dept. of Environmental and Forest Biology, SUNY ESF

"Establishment and effects of predatory invasive zooplankton in the food webs of the Finger Lakes and Great Lakes" (K.L. Schulz and S. Figary)

Kimberly L. Schulz earned both her B.A. (Cornell University 1990) and Ph.D. (University of Michigan 1996) in Biology. She was a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Scholar in Bioscience Related to the Environment at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and University of Oslo, Norway, where she worked on ecological stoichiometry, the balance of energy and elements in organisms, food webs and entire ecosystems.

In 2000 Schulz joined the faculty of the Department of Environmental and Forest Biology at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (Syracuse, NY), where she teaches Limnology, Limnology Practicum, Marine Ecology, and various summer or winter break field courses. Her research group combines laboratory experiments, field studies, and simple modeling to investigate aquatic food quality and nutrient cycling (stoichiometry of elements and essential compounds), invasive species, and zooplankton dispersal, and is particularly interested in anthropogenic effects on aquatic food webs.

Schulz and her students have worked in a diverse array of systems including the Laurentian Great Lakes, New York’s Finger Lakes, the Norwegian arctic, Adirondack Lakes, salt marshes, estuaries, wetlands of the St. Lawrence River, vernal pools and numerous other temperate zone lakes, and many of the lab’s graduate students and undergraduate students are also active in outreach with local lake associations. In 2007-2008 she served as a Sabbatical Fellow at NCEAS in Santa Barbara. Schulz has been PI or co-PI on over $4.5 million in grants from agencies such as NSF, NOAA and EPA, and was part of a team that secured a $1.47 million National Science Foundation grant and additional funds from SUNY to renovate shared use aquatic science laboratories on campus and at the college’s Thousand Islands Biological Station, establishing the Center for Research and Teaching in Aquatic Science (CIRTAS) at SUNY ESF, which is nearing completion and already hosting sponsored research. She will serve as the first Director of CIRTAS. In 2012 Schulz received the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s Exemplary Researcher Award and she is also a Roosevelt Wild Life Station Scientist-in-Residence (Aquatic Ecologist).

Brian Weidel, PhD
Research Fishery Biologist, USGS Great Lakes Science Center, profile,

"Turning Dreissena into sport fish: Round Goby’s role in the Lake Ontario food web"

Ph.D. - Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin – Madison
M.S. - Dept. Of Natural Resources, Cornell University
B.S. - Dept. Of Natural Resources, Cornell University


  • Lead multi-agency, long-term research on Lake Ontario prey fish ecology and populations
  • Quantifying the role of nonnative species in Lake Ontario food web dynamics
  • Current and future role of terrestrial carbon inputs influencing lake ecosystem productivity
  • Developing metrics to compare Great Lakes prey fish communities: tools to quantify status, restoration, and historical change
  • Social-ecological implications of lakeshore development on lake food webs
  • Scenarios to identify planning and research needs in Lake Ontario climate change adaptation

Doug Wilcox, Ph.D., PWS
Empire Innovation Professor of Wetland Science, Dept. of Environmental Science and Biology, SUNY College at Brockport
(585) 395-5963,

"Wetland restoration projects in the Braddock Bay Fish and Wildlife Management Area"

Abstract: Wetlands of Lake Ontario have lost much of their diversity as a result of lake-level regulation that began when the St. Lawrence Seaway commenced operation in about 1960. Lack of periodic low water levels, which give sedges and grasses a competitive advantage over cattails at higher elevations, has resulted in cattail invasion and loss of sedge/grass meadow. Under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, several projects have been initiated to restore sedge/grass wetlands in the Rochester, NY area. This work began in 2010 with restoration of sedge/grass meadow on former agricultural lands adjacent to West Creek, a tributary to Braddock Bay of Lake Ontario. In 2015, restoration projects began in Buttonwood Creek (also a Braddock Bay tributary) and nearby Buck Pond. These restorations involve excavation of channels and potholes to create openings in the extensive cattail stands and access to remnant sedge/grass meadow along the shore. Channel excavation spoils were placed at elevations suitable for sedges and grasses but too high and dry for cattails, then seeded with a sedge/grass meadow mix. Cattail-control methods were also implemented near the spoil mounds to increase the areal extent of sedge/grass meadow. Similar excavation of channels and potholes, with cattail control and sedge/grass meadow development, will be part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers restoration project in Braddock Bay, which will begin in early 2016. That project also includes restoration of the former barrier beach that once protected the wetland from erosive wave attack.

Dr. Wilcox is a wetland ecologist who retired from the U.S. Geological Survey in 2008 to accept a position at Brockport in his native western New York State. He had also recently retired from his role as Editor-in-Chief of the scientific journal Wetlands after a 20-year tenure. His research on wetlands has spanned the Great Lakes basin and focused primarily on interactions of wetland plant communities and hydrology, including the role of climate change and the effects of lake-level regulation. He was a major contributor in the International Joint Commission study on regulation of Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River levels and flows. He is also the Lake Ontario/eastern Lake Erie lead on a large study funded by the USEPA that initiated a wetland monitoring program for all Great Lakes wetlands.

Cathy McGlynn
Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Lands and Forests
(518) 408-0436,

"A pound of prevention: New York’s new aquatic invasive species management plan"

Abstract: In July 2015 New York State released its updated Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Management Plan. The plan focuses on priority actions to reduce the introduction and spread of nonindigenous aquatic species into New York waters, to minimize impacts from existing AIS, and to engage the public in prevention and early detection efforts. The AIS Coordinator will provide information about the priorities and goals of the plan, what the plan means for recreational water users, and updates on some of the work done to date: an aquatic plant survey on the Hudson and Croton Rivers, research to test inexpensive boat decontamination alternatives, plans to increase early detection capacity, and development of a strategic plan for expanding watercraft inspection and boat stewardship programs statewide while increasing overall education and outreach capacity.

Cathy McGlynn has been the AIS Coordinator for the NYSDEC since July 1st. She is responsible for implementing the Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan for New York State which includes assisting with the Adirondack Park Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Spread Prevention Program, statewide coverage of boat stewardship programs, and Hydrilla control and management projects in Cayuga Lake, Tonawanda Creek/Erie Canal, and the Croton River. From 2010 to 2015 Cathy worked as the coordinator for the Northeast Illinois Invasive Plant Partnership ( where she co-coordinated the Illinois Hydrilla Task Force, co-coordinated the New Invaders Watch Program (regional early detection-rapid response), co-coordinated the Illinois-Indiana Clean Boats Crew aquatic invasive species education and outreach program, provided outreach and education about invasive ornamental plants to green industry and its consumers, served on the Illinois Invasive Plant Species Council and Illinois State Pest Analysis of Risk Committee, and led several invasive plant control and management projects. Prior to working in Illinois, Cathy coordinated volunteer monitors for the Hudson River Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Project and was program manager for the NYS DOS Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat Program. Cathy received her Ph.D. from the Department of Ecology and Evolution at SUNY Stony Brook, her M.E.M. from Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment, and her B.A from Rutgers College.

Todd Walter - Keynote Speaker
Director, Water Resources Institute, Associate Professor, Dept. of Biological and Environmental Engineering

"Agricultural non-point source pollution in the Finger Lakes"

Abstract: Agricultural nonpoint source pollution is an important issue in the Finger Lakes. Excessive phosphorus loads in storm runoff from agricultural fields is a specific concern because it is strongly linked to algal blooms, cyanobacteria, and excessive plant growth, which can ultimately degraded aquatic ecosystems and cause problems for drinking water quality. This presentation will provide a summary of some of Todd’s recent, on-going, and proposed research in the Cayuga and Owasco Lake watersheds.

Todd is a hydrologist from Cornell University and the newly appointed director of the New York State Water Resources Institute. He joined the faculty of the Biological and Environmental Engineering department in 2005 after serving on the faculty at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau, AK. One of the primary topics of his research is nonpoint source pollution in upstate NY. For more information about Todd and his research, visit his website:; for more information about the NYS WRI:

Robert Johnson
Aquatic Biologist, Racine-Johnson Aquatic Ecologists

"Eradication of Monoecious Hydrilla from Southern Cayuga Lake and its Southern Tributaries, Ithaca, NY"

Abstract: The discovery in the late summer of 2011 of the monoecious biotype of Hydrilla verticillata growing in the Cayuga Inlet, a major tributary to Cayuga Lake in upstate New York lead to a rapid response in delineation and monitoring followed by initiation of treatments now in the fourth year. Regular meeting of local and State Hydrilla Task Force members, as well as national advisors plan the path forward to eradication which is required to halt the spread to other Finger Lakes and to the wider Great Lakes region. The primary treatments are diverse formulations and varying delivery methods of the herbicides Endothall and Fluridone. We have used to a lesser extent, hand removal and benthic barriers, but the affected system under heavy use by the public is very complex with large tributaries flowing into a large lake. Key to our current success has been acceptance by a wary public and a robust treatment that responds to the findings from a large scientific monitoring effort. An encouraging rapid depletion (close to 100%) of the hydrilla tuber density in the sediment (key to eradication) has been frustrated by movement of hydrilla to new areas by swift flowing streams. The rapid reduction of monoecious hydrilla tubers from the sediment and the slow seasonal initiation and growth of the plant are encouraging. Flowing water, biology and waterfowl are important factors influencing herbicide efficacy and project status while providing a challenge going forward.

Robert L. Johnson is an aquatic biologist with 40+ years’ of experience working on aquatic macrophyte ecology and control of excessive growth while at Cornell University. Bob’s interests focus on the importance of aquatic plant communities to lake ecosystems and on the control of growth of the non-native Eurasian watermilfoil by insect herbivory. Recently retired from Cornell, Bob continues to advise private lake associations as well as governmental agencies on aquatic plant issues in New York State. He has worked with the Cayuga Inlet Hydrilla Task Force since August 2011 first as an advisor, now as a consultant, who monitors the hydrilla presence, growth and control in southern Cayuga Lake and its tributaries.

Cliff Kraft
Associate Professor of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University

"Pathogenicity and ecosystem disruption from ecological competition for B vitamins"

Abstract: A large-scale and ongoing mortality of salmonine fishes from thiamine deficiency has been regularly observed in the Finger Lakes, Laurentian Great Lakes and Baltic Sea for the past 40 years, thereby presenting a substantial unsolved mystery. A series of studies have demonstrated that the thiamine deficiency observed in these predatory fishes is caused by the presence of thiaminases — enzymes that degrade available thiamine — in their clupeid prey. Yet the source of and conditions responsible for the presence of consistently high thiaminase levels in clupeids and other fishes remain poorly characterized. Mounting evidence suggests that microbially-mediated thiamine deficiency syndromes are leading to the decline of diverse vertebrate populations, including mammals. My collaborators and I are pursuing studies of bacteria that produce thiamine-degrading enzymes. Our hypothesis is that competition for thiamine by microorganisms within an animal host produces thiamine deficiency and subsequent host mortality.

Cliff Kraft has been a Professor of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University for the past 17 years. An Indiana native raised along the shoreline of Lake Michigan, Cliff was an undergraduate at Cornell University, then completed M.S. and Ph.D degrees in Oceanography and Limnology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to his arrival at Cornell Cliff was an outreach program manager with the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute in Green Bay, Wisconsin before joining the faculty at Cornell in 1998. Kraft studies the management of freshwater fish populations in lakes and rivers, with an emphasis on Adirondack waters.

Roxanne Razavi
Post-Doctoral Research Scientist, Finger Lakes Institute

"Mercury concentrations in Finger Lakes food webs"

Abstract: Mercury (Hg) is one of the most harmful pollutants present in freshwater habitats due to its neurotoxic effects. Historical reliance on coal for energy generation has resulted in widespread Hg deposition onto landscapes and waterbodies. Bacteria convert inorganic Hg to methylmercury, the form of Hg that can bioaccumulate in an organism and biomagnify in food webs. The Finger Lakes are important habitat for wildlife, and contain fisheries important as a food source and economy to the region. However, little is known about Hg biomagnification in food webs of the Finger Lakes. In 2015, the Finger Lakes Institute began a NYSERDA funded project to investigate this question. This talk will cover the sampling methods employed from May – October 2015, and present Hg concentrations at the base of the food web in suspended particulate matter and zooplankton, as well as some preliminary Hg concentrations in fish.

Roxanne Razavi joined the FLI in May 2015 as a postdoctoral researcher to take on a leadership role in FLI’s NYSERDA-funded mercury study of the Finger Lakes. Roxanne completed her PhD at Queen’s University (Canada) and is an expert in limnology and aquatic ecotoxicology. Roxanne’s research experience began in wetland ecology of the Laurentian Great Lakes at McMaster University (Canada). She has published on mercury dynamics in systems ranging from a Great Lakes Area of Concern on the St. Lawrence River (Canada) to reservoir fishes of eastern China. Roxanne has worked as a staff scientist at the St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences (Canada), where she played an active role in environmental research, education, and outreach.

Karen Riva-Murray
USGS, New York Water Sciences Center

"Mercury bioaccumulation in New York’s streams" (Karen Riva Murray and Douglas A. Burns)

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), with support from the by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), is conducting a study to improve the understanding of mercury bioaccumulation in New York’s flowing waters and to inform cost-effective monitoring. Objectives are (1) to describe statewide spatial patterns and temporal trends in fish and macroinvertebrate mercury concentrations of streams and rivers, and (2) to develop a mercury-sensitivity model for Adirondack streams. Existing data from various sources are being used to characterize statewide patterns and trends. Fish and macroinvertebrate mercury data were compiled from 15 state and federal programs involving long-term and (or) spatially extensive sampling during 1970-2014. The resulting compilation represents more than 6000 biological samples collected from more than 600 locations, and contains data for 67 fish species and 39 macroinvertebrate taxa. The Adirondack mercury-sensitivity model is being developed through analysis of existing data and the collection of new data. USGS stream chemistry data (pH, dissolved organic carbon, and sulfate) from previous NYSERDA-supported surveys of more than 300 Adirondack streams were used to group sites into preliminary mercury-sensitivity classes, and the model was refined with fish and chemistry data collected from more than 30 sites in 2014.

Karen Riva Murray is a research ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Troy, NY, where conducts research on mercury bioaccumulation in stream and river food webs, and effects of human and natural factors on stream ecology. Karen earned her Ph.D. in environmental biology from SUNY-ESF in Syracuse, and did her undergraduate work at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin. She is currently coordinating the North East Stream Quality Assessment to be conducted next summer,(and you can get more information on that in today's poster session.

Jeff Ridal
Executive Director and Chief Research Scientist, St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences

"St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences – Protecting Ecosystems and Engaging Diverse Stakeholders through Scientific Research and Community Outreach"

Abstract: The St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences (River Institute) was founded in 1994 as a community-based initiative in response to the designation by the International Joint Commission (IJC) of the St. Lawrence River at Cornwall, Ontario and Massena, NY as a Great Lakes Area of Concern. Since that time, the River Institute has been instrumental in the implementation of the St. Lawrence River Remedial Action Plan, with a focus on providing scientific research and information on ecological conditions and processes in the River so that appropriate remedial actions could be identified and ecological improvement documented. Throughout their work, the River Institute has engaged diverse stakeholders as partners in the research and the broader community as active recipients of the information generated. The River Institute also serves a wider mission for research, education and outreach on large river ecosystems and seeks to apply lessons learned from local investigations to other freshwater systems. Key projects involving blending science research and community outreach will be highlighted and related to the importance of science organizations like the River Institute and FLI in regional environmental initiatives.

Jeff Ridal is the Executive Director and Research Program Leader at the St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences based in Cornwall, Ontario. He holds a PhD in Oceanography (Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia) but was lured into freshwater research through post-doctoral projects with the Canada Centre for Inland Waters and Université de Montréal. His research focuses on characterizing sources and fate of environmental contaminants in the aquatic environment. He holds adjunct professorships at Queen’s University and the University of Ottawa and is a part-time teaching professor at St. Lawrence College at the Cornwall campus. Jeff has served on the Science Advisory Board for the International Joint Commission (IJC) for the past 8 years and is currently the Canadian co-Chair of the IJC’s Science Priority Committee. In his role as Executive Director, Jeff particularly enjoys identifying and developing opportunities that forge new partnerships and provide new pathways to accomplish the research, outreach and conservation goals of the River Institute.


View presenter bios

Effects of host species and twig diameter on oak twig pruner (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) emergence rates

William Brown, Marion Zuefle, Jason Dombroskie

Oak twig pruner (Anelaphus parallelus (Newman)) larvae develop inside twigs they prune free from host plants.  Evolutionary reasons for this behavior are not known and differential emergence due to host species or twig morphology have not been explored.  Twigs pruned from walnuts (n = 179; Juglans nigra Linnaeus) and oaks (n = 84; Quercus spp.) by the oak twig pruner were collected in southeastern Pennsylvania in 2010.  Another 118 pruned oak twigs were collected in the Finger Lakes region of New York State in 2012.  Emergence rates varied from 14% (oak twigs) to 48% (walnut twigs).  As twig diameter increased, the rate of larval mortality increased and the rate of adult emergence decreased.  There was no effect of date of collection on twig diameter or rate of emergence.  Three new parasitoids were associated with the oak twig pruner, including: Atanycolus sp. (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), Eubazus denticulatus (Martin) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), and a potentially new genus of parasitic wasp (Hymenoptera: Braconidae, Hormiinae nr. Pambolus).  Parasitism rates were an order of magnitude greater among twigs that contained more than one larva or pupa (23.1%) compared to those that contained only one larva or pupa (2.3%).  Twig pruning may reduce competition and incidence of parasitism.

Assessing the risk of spotted wing drosophila (SWD), Drosophila suzukii, infestation to tomatoes

Marion E. Zuefle (1), Gregory Loeb (2), and William Brown (3)
(1) NYS IPM, Cornell University, Geneva, NY; (2) Department of Entomology, Cornell University, Geneva, NY; (3) Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Keuka College, Keuka Park, NY

Spotted wing drosophila (SWD), Drosophila suzukii, an invasive fruit fly originally from Asia, appeared in NY in 2011 and has become of major concern to small fruit growers. Unlike other fruit flies, it has a serrated ovipositor that allows it to penetrate intact fruit and lay eggs just prior to harvest. The larvae will hatch and develop within the fruit with no initial external damage to the fruit. Current pesticide control measures target the adult but there is great risk of developing resistance. Known hosts of SWD include soft skinned fruit like raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries. Even though the wild host range of SWD includes nightshades (Solanum spp.) the expansion of spotted wing drosophila onto other soft skinned fruit or vegetables is still unknown and no research has been conducted to evaluate the threat of SWD to tomatoes, Solanum lycopersicum, a major crop in NY.

Fifteen tomato varieties were used to determine the likelihood of SWD to lay eggs in tomatoes in the field as well as in the lab. The penetration force or skin firmness for all varieties was determined and compared to known hosts of SWD. No SWD emerged from any intact tomatoes collected from the field. Four percent of cracked tomatoes collected from the field had SWD emerge. When adults SWD were placed on intact tomatoes in the lab under a no choice situation 12% of the tomatoes had some SWD emerge. There was a slight correlation between skin firmness and SWD emergence (both intact and cracked).

Invasive Benthic Macroinvertebrate Survey of the Western Finger Lakes

Mitchell Owens, The College at Brockport, SUNY

Eight invasive macroinvertebrates are established somewhere in the eastern Finger Lakes (zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha: quagga mussel, D. bugensis; faucet snail, Bithynia tentaculata; Chinese mystery snail, Cipangopaludina chinensis malleata; mystery snail; Viviparus georgianus; Asian clam, Corbicula fluminea; euryhaline amphipod, Echinogammarus ischnus; and bloody red shrimp, Hemimysis anomala). The four western Finger Lakes, Conesus, Hemlock, Canadice and Honeoye, have not been surveyed, so I used an air lift sampler during the summer of 2015 to determine which invasive species are present and how widespread they are. Samples (N=64) were collected from two sites (littoral, sub-littoral) near the termini of the eight largest subwatersheds for each lake. C. fluminea, E. ischnus and H. anomala were not found. V. georgianus, C. chinensis malleata and B. tentaculata were found infrequently in Conesus and Honeoye Lakes. D. polymorpha and D. bugensis were found in all lakes, with D. polymorpha found at approximately half of sampled sites. Conesus and Honeoye were impacted less than expected, though the presence of C. chinensis malleata is potentially troubling. The lack of non-dreissenid invasive species in Hemlock and Canadice may indicate that these lakes’ strict use regulations have helped to prevent their spread.

Honeoye Lake State of the Art Lake Mapping

Terry Gronwall, Chairman, Honeoye Lake Watershed Task Force

This research project used the new ciBioBase lake mapping service to create new bathymetric, bottom hardness, and macrophyte maps of Honeoye Lake.

The bathymetric and bottom hardness maps were created by spending over 30 hours on the lake collecting GPS coordinates and depth readings using a Lowrance GPS/Depth Finder every 5 seconds while traveling at 5 MPH along East West transects spaced approximately 200’ apart. These maps will be invaluable for future Honeoye lake research projects.

The macrophyte maps have been used to make Honeoye Lake’s aquatic vegetation harvesting operation more efficient by concentrating efforts on areas in the lake that have aquatic vegetation growing through most of the water column. This is shown as the red zone on the aquatic vegetation maps.

The effort to create new Honeoye Lake macrophyte, bathymetric, and bottom hardness maps was sponsored by the Honeoye Lake Watershed Task Force and supported by grant funding from the Ontario County Water Resources Council.

Water Quality through Bio-monitoring: Community Science Influences Sustainable Management of Local Resources

Adrianna Hirtler, Bio-monitoring Coordinator, Community Science Institute, Ithaca, NY

Community Science Institute (CSI) volunteers have been engaging in bio-monitoring activities in the Finger Lakes Region for over a decade. Their work is establishing a useful baseline picture of what life under the rocks in streams looks like and what that says about overall water quality where sampling occurs. CSI volunteers follow Hudson Basin River Watch (HBRW) sampling protocols to collect benthic macroinvertebrate (BMI) samples. These are the same techniques used by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) in their own state-wide BMI surveys. Samples are then sub-sampled, sorted and identified to family level and four water quality metrics are calculated on the resulting data. These four values are converted to a scale of 10 and averaged to create a Biological Assessment Profile (BAP). The BAP gives an overall picture of water quality in a stream and corresponds with NYSDEC-created categories for water quality assessment by degree of impact (non-, slight, moderate, and severe). This work creates water quality report cards of sorts for area streams and combined with chemical monitoring done by other CSI volunteers is used to influence the sustainable management of local resources.

Exotic plant species Dominate suburban gardens

Scott Ward and Kathryn Amatangelo
The College at Brockport, State University of New York

Invasive species are one of the most significant threats to plant communities and ecosystem functions worldwide.  Landscaping is an important source of exotic plant species, some of which may become invasive. It is unknown to what extent exotic species are preferred over native species in modern landscaping practices in the Finger Lakes region. We sought to answer this question by taking an inventory of all planted species within 104 randomly chosen gardens in suburbs in the greater Rochester area. On average, 75% of the species per property were exotic or not native to the eastern United States. We determined that many plants shown to be invasive in the northeast are present in gardens, such as Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii), which was found at 48% of the properties.  We also sought to ascertain if preference for exotic species could be correlated with the age, size, or cost of the property.  Results showed that although these three predictor variables helped to determine the total number of species per property, they were poor indicators of whether those species were native or exotic. Overall, landscape trends across property types favor exotic garden plants, many with unknown potential for future spread into natural areas.

The Northeast Stream Quality Assessment

Karen Riva Murray (1), James Coles (2), Peter vanMetre (3)
(1) U.S. Geological Survey, New York Water Science Center, Troy, NY
(2) U.S. Geological Survey, New England Water Science Center, Pembroke, NH
(3) U.S. Geological Survey, Texas Water Science Center, Austin, TX

The U.S. Geological Survey National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program has launched the NorthEast Stream Quality Assessment (NESQA). Goals are to characterize chemical and physical factors that are potential stressors to aquatic life, and to evaluate relations between these stressors and biological communities. NESQA is the fourth Regional Stream Quality Assessment to be conducted across the U.S. since 2013. Sampling is planned for June-August 2016.

Nearly 100 stream sites representing forested, agricultural, and low to high urban settings will be sampled. Water samples, collected weekly four to nine times, will be analyzed for pesticides, pharmaceuticals, organic waste indicators, nutrients, mercury, suspended sediment, and other constituents. Benthic algal and macroinvertebrate community sampling, fish community surveys, habitat assessment, fish specimen collection (for mercury analysis), and bed sediment collection (for contaminant analysis and toxicity testing) will be conducted in August. Passive samplers, stage transducers (at ungaged sites) and thermistors will be deployed at each site, and special studies will be conducted at selected sites.

Findings will provide the public and policymakers with information regarding which human and environmental factors are the most critical in affecting stream quality and, thus, provide insights about possible approaches to protect or improve stream health across the region.

Internet-Based Approaches to Building Stakeholder Networks for Conservation and Natural Resource Management

Hychka, K.C. (1), B.J. Kreakie (2), J.A. Belaire (3), E. Minor (4), and H.A. Walker (2)
(1) ORISE Fellow, U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, Atlantic Ecology Division
(2) U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, Atlantic Ecology Division
(3) St. Edward’s University, Austin, Texas
(4) University of Illinois Chicago, Department of Biological Sciences

Social network analysis (SNA) is based on a conceptual network representation of social interactions and is an invaluable tool for conservation professionals to increase collaboration, improve information flow, and increase efficiency.  We present two approaches to constructing internet-based social networks (derived from information on the internet), and use an existing traditional (survey-based) case study to illustrate in a familiar context the deviations in methods and results.  Internet-based approaches to SNA offer a means to overcome institutional hurdles to conducting survey-based SNA, provide unique insight into an institutions’ web presence, allow for easy snowballing (iterative process that incorporates new nodes in the network), and facilitate monitoring of social networks through time.  The two internet-based approaches differ in link definition: 1) hyperlink approach is based on links on a website that redirect to a different website and, 2) the relatedness approach is based on a Google’s “relatedness” operator that identifies pages “similar” to a URL.  All networks were initiated with the same start nodes (members of a conservation alliance for the Calumet region around Chicago (n=130)), but the resulting networks vary drastically from one another.  Interpretation of the resulting networks is highly contingent upon how the links were defined. 

Effects of location and deployment timing on efficiency of light-based trap for collecting Hemimysis anomala

Meghan E. Brown, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Biology, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, 300 Pulteney Street, Geneva, NY 14456

Hemimysis anomala, invaders from the Ponto-Caspian region, are often surveyed using plankton nets, which have limitations due to H. anomala’s habitat preference for rocky crevices.  We investigated light-based traps for H. anomala collection, focusing on the effects of trap deployment timing and location.  The traps were horizontally-secured buckets with a flashlight and plug in back and an opening in front.  We deployed traps at two locations with contrasting exposure to the open lake, and we deployed traps for consecutive three-hour periods at night.  Traps with lights were significantly more effective than control traps without lights, consistently collecting hundreds of primarily juvenile H. anomala, with little bycatch.  Light-based traps were similarly effective when deployed for any three hour period from 20:00 to 5:00, and traps were more effective when deployed at the protected location.  The organisms collected in the traps were similar in demographic composition to the H. anomala collected in concurrent net tows.  However, fewer large organisms were collected in the traps, suggesting that this portion of the population may be less attracted to the light-levels used in the traps and/or able to leave the traps.

Watercraft Steward Program 2015 Canandaigua Marine State Park and Woodville DEC Launches, Canandaigua Lake

Garrett Crowe, Finger Lakes Institute, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

The Finger Lakes region’s economy relies heavily on its lakes, it is important to ensure that aquatic invasive species (AIS) do not adversely impact the ecosystem integrity of the lakes. Watercraft stewards were stationed at two boat launches on Canandaigua Lake –Woodville DEC Launch and Canandaigua MSP Launch (Figure 1). Stewards were responsible for educating the public about AIS and performing inspections of all boats entering and exiting the lake for the presence of aquatic organisms and collected a variety of other information about the boat. It was found that a much larger percentage of boats had aquatic organic material present at Woodville than Canandaigua. At Canandaigua launch boater traffic is much higher and more boaters are using motor boats as compared to Woodville where more oaters were using other forms of water crafts. More boaters at Woodville were visiting with the purpose of fishing than boaters at Canandaigua launch. All these differences highlight the dissimilar potential reasons for why both boat launches are at risk of AIS being introduced.

Effects of stream habitat restoration on rainbow and brown trout populations in Cold Brook, a Keuka Lake tributary

Nikki Andrzejczyk, Finger Lakes Institute, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Habitat restoration refers to reestablishing biological, chemical, and physical process within an environment to a point before disturbance. Habitat restoration is particularly important in Cold Brook, Keuka Lake’s southern inlet, in restoring rainbow and brown trout populations after the stream channel experienced erosion and rearrangement after high snowmelt. In an attempt to restore Cold Brook, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation initiated a project to rebuild stream habitat in 2006. In order to assess the effectiveness of this project, electrofishing was used to determine trout abundance and length in both restored and natural habitats from 2011 to 2015. Data showed that restored habitats did not affect rainbow trout and brown trout abundances; however, larger rainbow trout and brown trout were found in restored habitats compared to natural habitats. This suggests that the larger size of restored pools allows for greater growth of trout in Cold Brook. Overall, the stream restoration project was effective in creating more suitable habitat for trout, allowing for increased body sizes. In order to fully understand the effects of this restoration project and to maintain healthy trout populations, monitoring of Cold Brook trout should be continued into the future.

Using Goats to Control Invasive Plant Species - A Pilot Project

Kira Hansen (1), Dr. Kathryn L. Amatangelo (1), Dr. Marcie Desrochers (2), Dr. Lori-Ann Forzano (2)

(1) Department of Environmental Science & Biology, The College at Brockport, State University of New York
(2) Department of Psychology, The College at Brockport, State University of New York

Our pilot project used goats in an attempt to determine the feasibility of utilizing them to control the invasive species (IS) multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora), honeysuckle (Lonicera sp.), and common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) in a forest setting and determine the extent to which goat eating preferences correlate to IS management in the field. Five goats were contained in a 10x10 m2 plot in North Hampton Park in Brockport, NY for three days (two hours each day). Plant herbivory was noted pre and post treatment. A preference assessment took place in a barn where individual goats were presented with different combinations of IS leaves. In-field results suggested a preference for native dogwood and invasive buckthorn while in-barn results suggested a preference for invasive multiflora rose and honeysuckle. These opposing trends may be a result of differences in the accessibility and palatability of rose in the field and the overall efficiency of eating the larger leafed dogwoods and buckthorn. Broad leafed native understory herbs were browsed by goats as well, possibility creating a disturbed area for invasive herbs to proliferate. Additional treatments with goats, other IS removal methods, and native replanting may be necessary when IS species begin to regenerate.

Evaluation of Goat Preferences for Consuming Invasive Weed Species

Paul M. Drake (1), Brett M. Bock (1), Shannon C. Cole (1), Brianna R. Rice (1), Marcie N. Desrochers (1), Lori-Ann Forzano (1), Kira Hansen (1), Kathryn L. Amatangelo (1), Hilary Mosher (2)

(1) The College at Brockport - SUNY
(2) Finger Lakes Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (FL-PRISM), Finger Lakes Institute, Hobart and William Smith College

Ruminants may be effective as a low-cost and environmentally-friendly approach to invasive weed management. This study was conducted to: (1) evaluate whether goats could be used to curtail growth of invasive weeds (honeysuckle, buckthorn, and Rosa multiflora), and (2) determine the degree of agreement between structured and field assessment outcomes. Subjects were five Alpine goats. Structured assessments, held in a barn located in upstate New York, were performed to determine which plant species each goat preferred or consumed first consisting of a paired-stimulus preference assessment and a multiple-stimulus preference assessment. During the field assessment, held in a fenced area at a nearby forest, the goats’ eating behaviors were video-recorded for two hours on each of three days. Preliminary results for both types of preference assessments showed that, on average, the goats preferred Rosa multiflora. In comparison to Rosa multiflora, buckthorn and honeysuckle were less preferred by most goats and greater inconsistencies in choices for these two species across preference assessments were noted. A possible reason for the goats’ preference for Rosa multiflora could have been prior exposure to it. Future research could explore the effectiveness of goats to combat other invasive weed species.

Emerging organic pollutants: from college campuses to Cayuga Lake

Susan Allen-Gil, Sharon Anderson, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Tompkins County

Like many communities across the United States and Europe, Ithaca has an emerging water pollution issue that includes personal care products, anti-depressants, pain medications and fragrances. The increased use and variety of prescription medications and personal care products has resulted in more chemicals being flushed down the drains and into the wastewater treatment plants, rivers and lakes.  These chemicals are called emerging pollutants because, for many of these chemicals, there is not enough research from the government or other sources to determine if these chemicals pose a threat to aquatic life.  Ithaca is engaged in a multi-faceted research program to better understand the issue.  Scientists from the City of Ithaca, Ithaca College, Cornell University, the New York State Department of Health, and the United States Geological Survey are working together to document what chemicals are in the water stream, how the presence of a large college-aged population affects this, and what the potential effects might be on the aquatic ecosystem.   Research questions have included what compounds are removed through wastewater effluent, what compounds are in the drinking water supply, and how do the compounds differ as the college populations shifts.

Mercury Concentrations in Top Predator Fish from Canandaigua and Honeoye Lake

Alex Gatch, The Finger Lakes Institute, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Harmful toxins such as mercury, bioaccumulate through the food chain increasing in concentration from the base of the food web to the peak.  Top predator sport fish are more prone to higher mercury concentrations due to this bioaccumulation of toxins. Our study focuses on mercury concentrations in Lake Trout, Largemouth Bass, and Walleye from Honeoye and Canandaigua Lakes. Mercury concentrations between species and among individuals of those species are compared between the two lakes. Lake Trout, Walleye, and Largemouth Bass were captured in early summer using gill nets and electrofishing methods. The Direct Mercury Analyzer – 80 was used to analyze fish for mercury concentrations. It was found that there is variation in mercury concentrations between species, given lake. It was also found that there was variation in mercury concentration in the same species (Largemouth Bass) between lakes. These results show us that difference in trophic status of lake and difference in food web dynamics could cause variation in mercury concentration between species and between individuals of the same species. Our study also shows how Lake Trout, Walleye, and Largemouth Bass compare to the EPA consumption guidelines. It is shown that individuals in all three species exceed the EPA guideline.

Hemlock woolly adelgid in the Finger Lakes region

Carrie Marschner, Cornell University

Hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) is a forest pest impacting eastern hemlocks, a foundation species in northeastern forests. Hemlocks cool stream temperatures, stabilize stream flows, and provide habitat for over two hundred species. In the Finger Lakes, HWA has been found in an alarming number of surveyed stands. To preserve our hemlock trees in the landscape and protect the water quality of our rivers and of Lake Ontario, coordinated response to this pest is essential. HWA predators are being researched for their biocontrol potential, and several have been released. Surveys, monitoring, biocontrol propagation and chemical control are all part of the HWA control picture; the Hemlock Initiative is working to coordinate response throughout the Finger Lakes.

Contaminants of Emerging Concern in Bats from the Northeastern United States

Anne L. Secord (1), Kathleen A. Patnode (2), Charles Carter (3), Eric Redman (4), Daniel J. Gefell (1), Andrew R. Major (5), Daniel W. Sparks (6)

(1) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Cortland, New, (2) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, State College, PA, (3) TestAmerica, Las Vegas, NV, (4) TestAmerica, West Sacramento, CA, (5) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Concord, NH, (6) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bloomington, IN

We analyzed bat carcasses (Myotis lucifugus, M. sodalis, M. septentrionalis, Eptesicus fuscus) from the northeastern United States for contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), pharmaceuticals and personal care products.  The CECs detected most frequently in samples were PBDEs (100%), salicylic acid (81%), thiabendazole (50%) and caffeine (23%). Other compounds detected in at least 15% of bat samples were digoxigenin, ibuprofen, warfarin, penicillin V, testosterone and N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET).  The CECs present at the highest geometric mean wet weight concentrations in bat carcasses were bisphenol A (397 ng/g), ΣPDBE congeners 28, 47, 99, 100, 153, 154 (83.5 ng/g), triclosan (71.3 n/g), caffeine (68.3 ng/g), salicylic acid (66.4 ng/g), warfarin (57.6 ng/g), sulfathiazole (55.8 ng/g), tris(1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate - TCPP (53.8 ng/g) and DEET (37.2 ng/g).  Bats frequently forage in aquatic and terrestrial habitats that may be subjected to discharges from wastewater treatment plants, agricultural operations and other point and non-point sources of contaminants.  This study shows that some CECs are accumulating in the tissue of bats.  We propose that CECs detected in bats have the potential to affect a number of physiological systems in bats, including hibernation, immune function and response to white-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease causing population-level impacts in bats.


More Info

View abstracts

View presenter bios


Phone: (315) 781-4390





Join Our Mailing List


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.