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Ecological Impact Monitoring

Photo monitoring of trail in a sensitive wetland area. The impacts of all research is carefully considered and monitored.

Gray Jay Shingle Shanty Preserve

Gray Jay (Perisoreus canadensis), early May. Gray Jays are abundant in the boreal wetlands of the Preserve. In the Adirondacks, Gray Jays are strongly associated with Black Spruce (Picea mariana), the bark of which they use for storing food items.

Malaise Trap Shingle Shanty Preserve

Malaise trap used in study of Mayflies, Stoneflies and Caddisflies.


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Research

The Shingle Shanty Preserve and Research Station is an ideal location for the study of the effect of climate change on the populations of flora and fauna that are at their southern extent at the Preserve’s location in Northern New York State.

Bull Moose Mud Pond Shingle Shanty Preserve

Bull Moose (Alces alces) in the Preserve, September 7, 2011. Moose first appeared in the area in the early 1980s, and by 1987, according to SUNY-ESF, a population of 15-20 moose had become established in the Adirondacks. After years of slow population growth, the population rapidly increased in the early 2000s, a trend that continues. Four different bull moose were photographed in the northeastern corner of the Preserve in 2010 and 2011.

2013 Research Projects

Quantifying trends in mitogenomic diversity, population structure and demography among small mammals of the Adirondack region over the last century.

Lead Researcher: Nicholas Mason, PhD Candidate, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University. Personnel: Nicholas Fletcher , PhD Candiate Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University; Kimberly Bostwick, PhD. Curator of Birds and Mammals, Cornell University Museum of Vertibrates. Mary-Margaret Ferraro; Jennifer Campbell-Smith, Field Staff.

Small mammals form an important component of boreal forest ecological communities, such as those found in the Adirondack Mountains. In addition to imposing top down effects on invertebrate populations, small mammals are an important prey item for many carnivores and also promote the dispersal of seeds and vegetative propagules. Thus, the long-term stability of small mammals may be tightly tied to the stability of the Adirondack ecosystem as a whole. Here, I propose a study to assess long-term trends in the genetic diversity, population size and phylogenetic structure of small mammals in the Adirondacks. Through the use of hybridization capture protocol for DNA, a cost efficient and effective pipeline will be employed to gather entire mitochondrial genomes from both historic and extant populations of small mammals.

Northern New York Audubon Boreal Bird Surveys

Personnel: Stephen Langdon, Project Manager, SSPRS; Tom Leckey, NYSDEC Region 6 Division of Wildlife Field Staff

We repeated all of the survey points established in 2011 and those that were established by the Wildlife Conservation Society in previous years. This work contributes to a broader database of boreal bird surveys across the Adirondack Park that has been on-going since early 2000s. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Wildlife has taken over the responsibility of overseeing the region-wide project. This year we worked with NYSDEC field staff to re-survey additional points that were not surveyed since Shingle Shanty Preserve and Research Station’s stewardship tenure, adding an additional 16 points to our data.

We observed a total of 64 species of birds in 54 plots during the observation period and an additional 9 species were observed outside of the observation period. Notable observations include auditory observations of Rusty Blackbirds in 4 separate plots and visual observations of 5 individuals at those sites during the survey period. Additionally NYSDEC field staff observed a Rusty Blackbird out of the survey period at a site north of the Hawk’s Nest road. We also observed a Blackpoll Warbler displaying territorial nesting behavior at a site in the peatland near the intersection of the Hawk’s Nest road and the Railroad grade. This observation was made outside of the observation period but is noteworthy because this species normally nests above 3000 feet elevation in the Adirondacks.

NYSDEC Spruce Grouse playback survey and habitat assessment

Angelena Ross, Endangered Species Biologist, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Potsdam NY

This was the 5th Spruce Grouse specific survey to take place in the larger boreal bog at Shingle Shanty. No sign of Spruce grouse was found.

Developing a monitoring protocol for detecting wetland response to climate change in the Adirondack Park

Stephen Langdon, Project Manager, SSPRS

The large and small bogs in Glacial Lake St. Agnes at Shingle Shanty Preserve and Research Station are demonstration sites for a project to develop a monitoring protocol to detect wetland response to climate change in the Adirondack Park. This work consists of and mapping, intensive vegetation assessment, phenological assessment, and monitoring weather data at sites across the Adirondacks. Shingle Shanty’s contribution to this work includes deployment of our data logging temperature sensors at demonstration sites across the Adirondacks as a trial for the implementation phase of the project that begins in 2014. Researchers from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and the New York Natural Heritage Program spent 2 days in June intensively sampling vegetation at these sites.

Northern Forest Atlas Project

Lead Researcher: Jerry Jenkins

The Northern Forest Atlas Project is an effort to document flora, fauna and ecology of the northern forest region. Jerry Jenkins camped at Thayer Lake and set up macro-photography and computer equipment to photograph and develop images of mosses and plants in the area. This is a long term project that will receive continuing logistical support from SSPRS.

Intervale Lowlands Micro-site Temperature Heterogeneity Monitoring

Lead Researchers: Ezra Schwartzberg and Stephen Langdon.

SSPRS lent data logging temperature sensors to Intervale Lowlands, a 150 acre preserve in Lake Placid NY, in order to gauge micro-site temperature heterogeneity at this site. Four data loggers were deployed across the property for 2 months from December 2012- January 2013. Partnering with other conservation/research organizations across the region furthers the mission of SSPRS.

2012 Research Projects

Evolving ecological niches and genetic structure of boreal forest passerines in the face of climate change.

Researchers: Jeremy J. Kirchman, Curator of Ornithology, New York State Museum: Joel Ralston, Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology, Utica College; Alyssa FitzGerald, PhD Student at Univ. of Albany; Kyle Ford, Senior Biology Major at Utica College, Undergraduate field assistant.

Geographic distributions of species are shaped in part by species’ ecological niches, and reflect evolved habitat preferences and tolerance of climate conditions. In the face of ongoing global climate warming, species are predicted to shift their ranges poleward or up in elevation as they track suitable conditions, and diverse data sets indicate that several high-latitude and high-elevation species have already shifted their ranges. Populations of boreal forest birds in northern NY may disappear from the state in the current century due to these climate driven changes in distribution. Growing evidence suggests individual species may respond differently to changing conditions in accordance with specific niche requirements and environmental tolerances. However, it is not known whether high-elevation spruce-fir forest specialists will respond differently than low-elevation spruce-tamarack bog specialists. It is also unclear whether migratory bird species, which are expected to be more genetically uniform across their range due to higher gene flow, will cope with climate change better than sedentary species. Local-scale niche and gene-pool differences such as these may be important factors in species-level responses to climate change.

This research examines the ways that niche breadth and genetic diversity are expected to affect the response to climate change in isolated bird populations at the southern periphery of the North American boreal forest biome.

NYSDEC Spruce Grouse playback survey and habitat assessment.

Angelena Ross, Endangered Species Biologist, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Potsdam NY; John Ozard, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Albany NY.

This was the 4th Spruce Grouse specific survey to take place in the larger boreal bog at Shingle Shanty. No sign of Spruce grouse was found.

Distribution of vegetation along gradients of light and microtopography in a wind disturbed forested peatland complex in the Adirondacks of New York State, Year 2.

Lead Investigator: Stephen Langdon. Field staff: Jillian Post, field botanist, Ausable Forks, NY; Raymond Curran, Consultant; Stephanie Sears, Field Assistant

Lowland boreal ecological communities in peatlands are nearing their southern extent in the Adirondacks and are thought to vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The purpose of this work is to assess the distribution of plants along gradients of microtopography, light intensity and forest structure in order to better understand successional pathways in this community following disturbances. Field work was completed for this project in September 2012.

Preliminary characterization of old growth forests of Township 40, Long Lake, NY

Lead Investigator: Stephen Langdon. Field staff: Jillian Post, field botanist, Ausable Forks, NY; Raymond Curran, Consultant; Stephanie Sears, Field Assistant

Township 40, Pigeon Lake Wilderness Area, Long Lake, NY, is widely known as one of the last and largest extents of old growth spruce-northern hardwood forests in New York State. An comprehensive survey of this property was conducted in 1899, lead by Gifford Pinchot with the purpose of convincing the New York State Legislature that scientific forestry could be sustainably implemented on Forest Preserve Land. Pinchot’s efforts to open this area to logging failed but the work resulted in a quantitative snapshot of forest composition a century ago. We conducted a preliminary timber inventory of this property in order to compare state of the 19th century forest with today. This work combined with the work of Jenkins’ (2009) offers a significant data for this comparison. We hope use this preliminary work as leverage for funding future comparisons of managed and unmanaged Adirondack forested ecosystems. Variable radius point counts and measurements of tree diameters were done at 39 systematically sampled points. There was no marking of sites or trees and nothing was left at the survey points.

2011 Research Projects

Do Unharvested Adirondack Forests Contain Forest Interior Plants?

Lead Researcher: Jerry Jenkins

Summary: This was a follow up to Jerry Jenkins’ Fall 2009 survey of understory vegetation of upland northern hardwood forests at the Preserve. We revisited a number of plots to see if there were a significant number of spring ephemerals that were not accounted for in the earlier survey which took place in September. No report is expected from this work.

Distribution of vegetation along gradients of light and microtopography in a wind disturbed forested peatland complex in the Adirondacks of New York State.

Lead Researcher: Stephen Langdon

Summary: Lowland boreal ecological communities in peatlands are nearing their southern extent in the Adirondacks and are thought to vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The purpose of this work is to assess the distribution of plants along gradients of microtopography, light intensity and forest structure in order to better understand successional pathways in this community following wind disturbance.

Bird Surveys in Lowland Boreal Habitat at Shingle Shanty Preserve and Research Station, Long Lake, New York.

Lead Researchers: Stephen Langdon, Brian MacAllister, Center for Adirondack Birding, Paul Smiths College Visitors Interpretive Center.

Shingle Shanty Preserve conducted a week long presence/absence survey of bird species in the extensive lowland boreal habitat along Shingle Shanty Brook. Funding from the Northern New York Audubon Society allowed us to hire an experience field ornithologist. We used methods established by the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Adirondack Communities and Conservation Program.

Breeding demographics and habitat selection of Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus)

Lead Researcher: Shannon Buckley M.S. Student, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Additional Personnel: Stacy McNulty, Research Associate; Caitlin Snyder, MS Student

The Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) has experienced the most dramatic decline of any North American bird species in the last century. “Rusties” breed in boreal wetlands across North America, extending from the Northeastern US, across Canada and into Alaska. Researchers from New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine are collaborating in an effort to understand habitat requirements and the role of timber harvesting in habitat selection and nest success across the Northeast. Study areas include the Adirondack Park, the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and the Moosehead Lake region of Maine. Data on breeding demographics and habitat selection are being obtained through a variety of on-the-ground and remote methods including monitoring nests with motion-triggered cameras, radio telemetry, vegetation measurements and GIS analysis.

Comparison of Carbon and Nitrogen isotopes in extant and fossil plant and animal tissue.

Lead Researcher: Dr. Robert Feranec, Curator of pleistocene vertebrate paleontology, New York State Museum.

I am a paleontologist that examines chemicals, called stable isotopes, in fossil bones and teeth to determine where ancient animals lived and what they ate. By examining these chemicals in the same species over time, I can tell when and if diet or habitat use has changed, and if, for example, the change is related to something like climate change. To understand the results I get from fossils, I use modern ecosystems as a model. At Shingle Shanty, I will make a comparison of the stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes in a selection of plants, as well as in the stomach contents, hair, bone collagen, and tooth enamel of a number of different mammal species including white-tailed deer, porcupine and hare. These results from Shingle Shanty will show me how these chemicals (i.e., stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes) move from the plants into the animal's tissues. I will then use this information to better understand the results I get from the bones and teeth of ancient animals.

Genetic Diversity and Distribution of Boreal Bird Species

Jeremy Kirchman, Curator of Ornithology, New York State Museum.

Ornithology research at New York State Museum examines the ways that geography, climate change, and genetic diversity affect the evolution and extinction of bird populations. We focus on cold-adapted species with “arctic-alpine” distributions in the boreal forest biome of North America. The boreal forest, covering 14.5% of Earth's land surface, reaches its southern periphery at 50° - 60°N latitude but occurs as far south as 40°N at high elevations. The ranges of arctic-alpine species undergo elevational and latitudinal shifts in response to fluctuating climates, resulting in cycles of isolation and remixing of peripheral populations that have important implications for the formation of new species and the loss of genetically unique populations. We use the tools of molecular genetics to address questions such as: Are disjunct populations at range peripheries evolving independently of one another? How do dispersal and migratory behaviors affect geographic patterns of genetic diversity? How much genetic diversity will be lost in the coming decades given alternative climate warming scenarios?

2009-2010 Research Projects

Baseline Data Development for Shingle Shanty Preserve and Research Station

Principal investigators: Stephen Langdon, Shingle Shanty Preserve and Research Station, NY, Raymond Curran, Adirondack Information Group, LLC, NY

Summary (excerpted from NSRC):

"NSRC researchers developed ecological, weather, and historic land-use baseline data to be shared by other researchers at Shingle Shanty Preserve and Research Station, a non-profit, 15,000 acre research station located in the central Adirondacks of New York State."

"This work has already provided important background information to many research projects conducted at the Preserve by Paul Smith's College, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Wildlife Conservation Society, National Wildlife Federation, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, and the NYS Museum. Studies include baselines for peatlands in relation to the Northern Forest; habitat distribution of boreal birds and mammals in New York State, and bio-diversity of old growth forests in a recovering landscape."

Read the full report: "Baseline data development for Shingle Shanty Preserve and Research Station" (PDF)

Developing a monitoring protocol for assessing biodiversity, forest condition and the effects of management in the Northern Forest: Trial and initial implementation in the Shingle Shanty Preserve

Principal investigators: Dr. David Patrick, Adirondack Biodiversity Institute, Paul Smith’s College. Stacy McNulty, Adirondack Ecological Center, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Newcomb, New York. Field Staff: Maegan Spindler, Kathleen Atwell

Summary:

The purpose of this research is to develop monitoring protocols for northern forests that take into account changing forest management needs. These needs include changes in land-ownership structures, concerns for biodiversity, effects of climate change and the need for bio-fuel production as well as the traditional needs of the forestry industry. These trial monitoring protocols are adapted from U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service methods.

Shingle Shanty Preserve and Research Station offers a diversity of Northern Hardwood Forests that fit well with the needs of this research.

Preliminary Results

In 2009 and 2010, over 60 forest inventory plots were established to examine woody and non-woody plants and herptiles.

Breeding Ecology and Population Dynamics of the Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) in the Adirondack Park.

Principal investigator: Dr. Michale Glennon. Wildlife Conservation Society’s Adirondack Communities and Conservation Program. Field Staff: Melanie McCormack.

Summary:

The Adirondacks is the southern-most extent of many habitats that support boreal bird species. As part of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Adirondack Living Landscapes Program this research tries to map the abundance and distribution of the Rusty Blackbirds (Euphagus carolinus) and other boreal birds in the Adirondacks. This information is to be used as baseline data for understanding the effects of global climate change and to help with long term conservation planning. The principal investigator is Dr. Michale Glennon (WCS) and the supporting investigator is Melanie McCormack (Master of Science candidate, Green Mountain College).

Shingle Shanty Preserve and Research Station’s offers extensive boreal wetland habitat that is known to support species included in WCS’s boreal bird research.

Preliminary results

The following species were observed at Shingle Shanty Preserve and Research Station: Wild Turkey, Ruffed Grouse, Belted Kingfisher, Broad-winged Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Flicker, Hairy Woodpecker, Least Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied flycatcher, Olive-sided flycatcher, Alder flycatcher, Chimney Swift, Boreal Chickadee, Black-capped chickadee, Golden-crowned kinglet, Brown Creeper, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Winter Wren, Black-throated Green Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Myrtle Warbler, Chestnut-sided warbler, Nashville Warbler. Northern Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, Palm Warbler, American Redstart, Northern Parula, Magnolia Warbler, Blue-headed Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Cedar Waxwing, American Robin, Hermit Thrush, Blue Jay, American Crow, Common Grackle, Red-winged Blackbird, Rusty Blackbird (3 nests), Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Scarlet Tanager

New York State Natural Heritage Program boreal bird /community field work

Principal investigator: New York Natural Heritage Program. Field Staff: Richard Ring, Botanist – New York Natural Heritage Program.

Summary:

New York Natural Heritage Program’s boreal bird/community field work collects data addressing a variety of needs. These include both inventories of rare species and investigations of associations between boreal birds and vegetation, communities, and landscape-level habitats.

Preliminary Results

30 point counts were done in various boreal wetland communities. The following boreal birds were included in the point counts:

Alder Flycatcher, Blackpoll Warbler, Blue Jay, Blue-headed Vireo, Boreal Chickadee, Brown Creeper, Cedar Waxwing, Common Loon, Common Yellowthroat, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Gray Jay, Hairy Woodpecker, Hermit Thrush, Lincoln's Sparrow, Magnolia Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Northern Flicker, Northern Parula Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, Palm Warbler (Yellow), Purple Finch, Red-Breasted Nuthatch, Red-eyed Vireo, Scarlet Tanager, Slate-colored Junco, White-throated sparrow, Winter Wren, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Yellow-breasted Flycatcher, Yellow-rumped Warbler

Mayflies (Ephemeroptera) Stoneflies (Plecoptera) and Caddisflies (Trichoptera) of the Upper Hudson, Lake Champlain, and Northeastern Lake Ontario Watersheds (New York State): A Baseline Inventory with Management Considerations of SGCN and other Rare and Possibly Imperiled Species.

Principal investigator: Dr. Timothy Mihuc, Lake Champlain Research Institute, State University of New York at Plattsburgh.
Summary:

This purpose of this project is to inventory the aquatic insect orders Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera in Northeastern New York State. The principal investigator is Dr. Timothy Mihuc of the Lake Champlain Research Institute at Plattsburgh State University. Supporting investigators are Luke Meyers (M.S., Colorado State University) Lake Champlain Research Institute and Dr. Boris Kondratieff (Colorado State University). It is funded by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation State Wildlife Grant program.

Preliminary Results

A list of species of Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera has been prepared for Shingle Shanty Preserve and Research Station. This included 126 species, 7 of which are new records for the state, an undescribed species of Plecoptera and a globally endangered species of Trichoptera.

Are Forest-interior Floras Poorer in Managed Forests?

Principal Investigators: Jerry Jenkins, Wildlife Conservation Society Adirondack Program, 7 Brandy Brook Ave., Suite 204. Saranac Lake, NY 12983. Charles Canham, Institute for Ecosystem Science, Box AB, Millbrook, NY 12545. Field Staff: Jerry Jenkins, Glen Motzkin.

Summary:

The purpose of this research is to better understand potential difference in floral diversity in old- growth, commercial and post-commercial northern hardwood forests. Vascular plants and bryophytes are studied. This work is important to developing forest management practices that maximize biodiversity.

Shingle Shanty Preserve and Research Station offers a diversity of managed forests that are well suited to the parameters of this research.

Results:

Jenkins, J. (2010). Do unharvested forests contain forest interior plants? A final technical report for the Northeast States Research Consortium. Unpublished. Wildlife Conservation Society Adirondack Program.