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The Effect of Temperature and Corticosterone on Blowfly Presence and Development in Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) Nests
Brouillard, Gracey (2024-07-24)
Climate change threatens bird populations around the globe, influencing aspects of life history, survival, and parasite-host interactions. Breeding-season cold snaps factor into such changes, having become more variable, frequent, and intense (Shipley et al., 2020). In this study, we aimed to uncover how climate change may affect host-parasite interactions through examining the effects of cold snaps and elevated corticosterone on blowfly (genus Protocalliphora) presence and development in Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) nests. We simulated cold snaps and non-invasively increased adult female corticosterone levels in two different experimental groups, and then measured the abundance and size of blowfly pupae in response to these treatments. We hypothesized that both temperature and adult hormonal profile influence the presence of blowfly pupae in Tree Swallow nests. We predicted that 1) cold-treated nests would be more likely to contain blowfly pupae and have pupae of smaller size than control nests, and 2) corticosterone-treated (cort-treated) nests would be more likely to contain blowflies and have pupae of larger size than control nests. Our results did not support the hypothesis that both temperature and corticosterone influence blowfly presence in Tree Swallow nests. Cold-treated nests were not more likely to contain more blowfly pupae, nor had pupae of smaller size than those in control nests, and cort-treated nests did not contain more blowfly pupae or pupae of larger size than those in control nests. This lack of effect of parental corticosterone or cold snaps on nest blowfly presence or size points to the need for future studies testing more direct pathways of this and similar systems. Much remains unknown about the impact of corticosterone and temperature on the presence and size of blowflies and other avian ectoparasite species that may be more affected by such variables. The mechanisms behind such interactions are likewise unknown, though this study indicates that the timing of cold snaps within host and parasite life cycles likely contributes to the severity of infestation. This and future research on the topic aim to understand how species interactions with resources and each other change within our rapidly changing environment.
Sustainability in Focus: 2022 and 2023 Cornell Sustainability Roundtables
Adalja, Aaron; Varney, Jeanne (2024-07-23)
The Center for Hospitality Research at The Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration in the SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University hosted annual Sustainability Roundtables in fall 2022 and 2023. In many ways, the two sessions were part of an essential conversation. For the 2022 roundtable, participants were back on campus and in person for the first time since 2019. With the most severe public health concerns of the Covid-19 pandemic in the rear view, participants were excited to return to Ithaca and embrace the core element of hospitality—gathering together. In contrast, the 2023 roundtable represented the other side of the communications coin—namely, to remove barriers to give people voice through virtual participation.
Hotel Brands’ Competitive Performance Mapping: A New Way to Identify Strong, Troubled and Weak Brands
Dev, Chekitan; Bird, Ashley Ellsworth (2024-07-23)
Developing tools with which to assess brand performance is key to gaining an understanding of how a hospitality brand is performing in comparison with its competitive set. This article introduces a new method of competitive performance mapping, which ranks hotel brands’ performance based on the following four measures: revenue per available room, cumulative average growth rate, guest satisfaction, and franchise-fee data. Based on these measures, brands are mapped as leaders or laggards in their brand tier and classified brands as Strong Brands, Troubled Brands, or Weak Brands. This analysis covers a complex period during which the U.S. hotel industry continued its recovery from the Covid-19 interruptions of 2019–2020. It also documents a steep decline in post-Covid guest-satisfaction scores for every brand analyzed in this report, without exception. We suggest that the first step in successfully managing an existing is mapping the brand against its competitive set, using key metrics in order to responsibly steward the brand’s future. Beyond the highly valuable results reported here, the study’s chief value lies in the methodology developed to facilitate comparative analysis of hotel brand performance that could benefit brand managers, owners, asset managers, lenders, and consultants.
Remote Sensing of Harmful Algal Blooms by Unmanned Aerial Systems (Drones) 
Dumitriu, Ileana (New York State Water Resources Institute, 2017)
With the recent rise in harmful algae blooms (HABs) events in the Finger Lakes region, it is imperative to develop efficient means to identify, track, and predict blooms. Aerial imaging has proven increasingly applicable as an environmental research tool as camera, spectrometers and drone technologies advance. Challenges for monitoring HABs: (1) Blooms are transient phenomena (2) Thousands of algal bloom species co-exist with other constituents in the water body (sediments, and dissolved organic matter) (3) Presence of other constituents obscures signature of algal blooms. (4) Calibration and quantifying output sensor data. This project focuses on investigation of HABs using spectrometers, optical and multispectral camera mounted on unmanned aerial systems (UAS). From these imagery and in-situ data we hope to generate a correlation between aerial images and HABs concentration. 
Bacterial and Viral Source Tracking in the Pocantico and Sparkill Creek Watersheds
Connors, Bernadette (New York State Water Resources Institute, 2017)
In New York State, 792 waterbodies are on the “Impaired/TMDL” list, which identifies bodies of water that might require remediation. The Sparkill Creek, placed on the list first in 2010, empties into the Hudson River. It faces issues with stormwater runoff, causing elevated levels of pathogens in the creek and decreased oxygen availability. According to published data, the levels of the indicator bacteria are 24 times higher than EPA standards. The Pocantico River, located in Westchester County, faces many of these same issues. Both were tested for microbial and coliphage loads and diversity as related to weather events. Coliform and E. coli levels were measured, with a significant increase found with a rainfall event for both sampling locations. The coliphage numbers and diversity were also significantly different with a rain event. Microbial community analyses were also completed. Of note was increased prevalence of Enterobacter and Escherichia three miles from the mouth of the creek. Future studies include a more thorough analysis of the microbial community data in both time and space, along with further testing of the fungal, bacterial, and algal populations.