Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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This collection contains digitized SFU theses except for those theses submitted within the last 12 months. If you cannot find the thesis you are looking for please search Recently Submitted Theses as it may be a recently submitted thesis and thus not yet available in Summit.

Application of the Blue Mussel (Mytilus edulis) as an indicator of microplastic pollution within the Salish Sea

Date created: 
2018-11-27
Abstract: 

Plastic polymers less than 5 mm in diameter, called microplastics (MPs), are an emerging contaminant of concern impacting marine organisms globally. The blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) is a prominent bioindicator used to quantify the accumulation of lipophilic contaminants to assess the health of marine environments. For this reason, blue mussels were utilized to establish baseline MP abundances in British Columbia (BC) and assess the practicality of using mussels as indicators of MP pollution. Mussels (n = ~15, 000) were placed in cages at 11 locations within the Strait of Georgia and southern BC waters in the winter of 2017. Mussels were sampled on Day 0, Day 30 and Day 60 post deployment and MP abundances quantified. For all sites combined, a total of 336 suspected microplastics (SMPs) were identified in 171 mussels, resulting in an average of 1.96 (0.13 SE) SMPs per mussel. After correcting for contamination and standardizing for weight, mean SMP abundances averaged 0.43 (0.06 SE) CSMP/GWW (gram wet weight). 91% of the SMPs enumerated were microfibers. A two-factor complete randomized design analysis of variance revealed that mean CSMP/GWW differed significantly over the 60-day period between the 11 sites (p = 0.0003), however, only mussels at the T60 – Powell River site had significantly more CSMPs/GWW. Furthering this, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy identified a total of 11 of 66 SMP particles (17%) as plastic. A complimentary exposure experiment was conducted in the spring of 2018 to assess particle fate post mussel filtration. Using a combination of polymer types and sizes, mussels were exposed to three environmentally relevant concentrations of MPs. Pseudofaeces, faeces and whole mussels were examined for MPs 24-hours post exposure. While whole mussels had significantly more MPs than pseudofaeces and faeces (p<0.01; mean proportions ranged from 46-68%, 2-4%, 3-8%, respectively) our results confirmed that MPs were both rejected prior to, and eliminated post digestion, suggesting that blue mussels might be a poor indicator of MP pollution. If plastic loads continue to increase as theorized, however, it is probable that the ability of blue mussels to reject and eliminate MPs efficiently will be impacted.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Leah Bendell
Department: 
Science: Biological Sciences Department
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Improving reliability of large-scale multimedia services

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-11-20
Abstract: 

Online multimedia communication services such as Skype and Google Hangouts, are used by millions of users every day. They have Service Level Agreements (SLAs) covering various aspects like reliability, response times, and up-times. They provide acceptable quality on average, but users occasionally suffer from reduced audio quality, dropped video streams, and failed sessions. The cost of SLA violation is low customer satisfaction, fines, and even loss of business. Service providers monitor the performance of their services, and take corrective measures when failures are encountered. Current techniques for managing failures and anomalies are reactive, do not adapt to dynamic changes, and require massive amounts of data to create, train, and test the predictors. In addition, the accuracy of these methods is highly compromised by changes in the service environment and working conditions. Furthermore, multimedia services are composed of complex software components typically implemented as web services. Efficient coordination of web services is challenging and expensive, due to their stateless nature and their constant change. We propose a new approach to creating dynamic failure predictors for multimedia services in real-time and keeping their accuracy high during run-time changes. We use synthetic transactions to generate current data about the service. The data is used in its ephemeral state to create, train, test, and maintain accurate failure predictors. Next, we propose a proactive light-weight approach for estimating the capacity of different components of the multimedia system, and using the estimates in allocating resources to multimedia sessions in {\em real time}. Last, we propose a simple and effective optimization to current web service transaction management protocols.We have implemented all the proposed methods for failure prediction, capacity estimation, and web services coordination in a large-scale, commercial, multimedia system that processes millions of sessions every day. Our empirical results show significant performance gains across several metrics, including quality of the multimedia sessions, number of failed sessions, accuracy of failure prediction, and false positive rates of the anomaly detectors.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Mohamed Hefeeda
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Computing Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Now(here): Exploring the experiences of displacement and relocation of the 1.5 Generation Colombian refugees living in the Lower Mainland through narrative inquiry

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-11-22
Abstract: 

The experiences of displacement not only entail fleeing a threat against one's life; it means re-writing one’s story in a new location and often in a new language and a new culture. The journey of the refugees also includes coming to terms with one’s own refugeeness as an identity and making meaning of experiences of displacement and relocation. The purpose of this study is to answer the question: “How do Colombian refugees who belong to the 1.5 generation living in the Lower Mainland make meaning of their experiences of displacement and relocation?” Narrative inquiry in combination with art-based elicitation was the primary method used. Findings from this study will be relevant for counsellors and social service providers who work with this population. The opportunity to have a better understanding of the challenges that 1.5 generation refugees will offer information to design meaningful support strategies for both clients and mental health service providers.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Sharalyn Jordan
Masahiro Minami
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Does social media make our understanding of community more individualistic?

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-06
Abstract: 

Given the ubiquity of social media today, it is important to consider how their use might affect our communication and relationships. This study explores the question of whether social media, given their self-focus, lead us to define community in more individualistic terms. A literature review provides a starting point for addressing this question, touching on themes such as the ubiquity of individuation within modernity, traditional and modern communities, changes in North American communities over the last several decades, characteristics of social media, and cases for and against technological determinism. Building on this review, interviews with 10 subjects help explore the question in a more focused way. Findings suggest a positive correlation between substantial social media use and a largely individualistic understanding of community. I then discuss the implications of this relationship, as well as the roles of education and public policy in facilitating understanding of the potential of social media.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Alison Beale
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Conversations of reconciliation: A participatory ethnographic case study in the United Church of Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-11-28
Abstract: 

This thesis explores how conversation and storytelling can contribute to the process of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in the Alberni Valley of British Columbia. Collaborating with Alberni Valley United Church, this participatory ethnography details the planning and hosting of a conversation on reconciliation between members of the congregation and others from the community, including members of the Huu-ay-aht First Nation. Through personal storytelling, participants described their experience of Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations in the valley and the impact of these experiences on their understanding of reconciliation. Using a Collective Story Harvest process, participants reflected together on what they learned from the stories. By weaving together insights from the storytelling with theoretical reflections on truth, relationships, decolonization, and the moral imagination, this thesis considers how hearing another’s story and allowing it to disrupt the dominant colonial narrative can lead to a transformed understanding and the possibility of transformed relations.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ann Travers
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Studenthood: An ethnography of post-secondary student life

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-05
Abstract: 

In this thesis, I argue that studenthood is a distinct phase of the life course for many Canadian youth. I argue that just as childhood and adolescence became new life course categories during the 19th and 20th centuries, respectively, Studenthood has recently emerged as a distinct life stage and subjectivity. Through ethnographic research at three Metro Vancouver post-secondary institutions, I explore how the shared activities of post-secondary students, the common environments in which they act, and the social discourses and relations they engage in contribute to this demarcated period in the life course. Life course theory and the related concepts of tacking and vital conjunctures allow me to explore student navigational strategies. A tacking model assists in rethinking what is often perceived as adolescent indecisiveness encapsulated as liminality. I further suggest that higher education marketing fosters an environment of student fragility that necessitates numerous institutionally sanctioned stress-relief practices.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Pamela Stern
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Building representation: The development of Barkerville Historic Town & Park’s Chinese narrative

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-11-13
Abstract: 

This thesis examines the long-term effects of multiculturalism on the representation of minority groups in museum interpretations in Canada. This is explored through a case study of Barkerville Historic Town & Park, focusing on the museum’s inclusion of the Chinese narrative through time. It traces the changing interpretations of the Chinese in Barkerville, and explores the social, academic, and political forces that act on museums and museum representation. Overall, the presentation of the Chinese experience at Barkerville developed substantially over the past 60 years. This development has relied on many factors, including, research available to advance the Chinese interpretation program; resources available to complete Chinese exhibits; interests in including minority narratives.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John Welch
Department: 
Environment: Department of Archaeology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The role of the editor: The case of Springer

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-06
Abstract: 

Springer, as one of the largest commercial academic publishers, merged with Nature in 2015, and now has a new name: Springer Nature. The merger combines strength of two publishers, with strong book publishing plus strong journal publishing in one publisher. However, the merger does not affect the working modes of the editors at Springer or Nature. Different from the in-house editors at Nature who are handing peer-reviewing process of every article, what are the responsibilities of the editors at Springer? What skills should the editors at Springer have? How can one be a qualified editor at Springer? Facing the new trends in publishing, including big data, open access policies, information exposure, competitive markets, among others, what challenges are awaiting these editors? In particular, in the fast-growing Chinese market, with its enormous output of scientific documents, how can editors based in China work to address this challenge? This report describes the role of editors at Springer regarding the Chinese market, from skills to experiences and from opportunities to challenges.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John Maxwell
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.

Print book formats: A closer look at how Simon & Schuster Canada uses formats to find their readers

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-11-27
Abstract: 

When we read a book, we rarely give much thought to the format in which that book is published. But had the book not presented itself to us in a format that suited our taste and our pockets, we would probably not have picked it up. That’s basically what publishers do: they strive to position their books in the right form and with the right price so that they will find their intended readers. In the summer of 2018, during my professional placement at Simon & Schuster Canada, I learnt how format decisions impact the fate of books, and how the company made successes of certain books by changing the format from hardcover to trade paperback. This report is a culmination of my observations and learnings and is based on interviews I conducted with key members of the staff and data and information provided by Simon & Schuster Canada. The subject of print book formats is complex. My hope is that this report throws light on the state of formats as it stands today in Canada.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John Maxwell
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.

The work of art making

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-10-31
Abstract: 

This research examines the relationship of art making to the universal energy and aliveness of the natural world and asserts that the West has overlooked this connection. The research depicts the art making process as a flow of resources between the physical and invisible dimensions of the universe as the artistic form takes shape, awakening the individual to an interconnected world and our reciprocal need to nurture nature’s well-being as our own. Indigenous and East Asian cultures understood these connections between art making and the larger universe and the limits within which the natural world and all its inhabitants could flourish. Understanding the art making process through this lens presents an alternate perspective for how we know the world in which we live, how we understand the art making process within our world and, subsequently, how we might think about environmental education within this integrated context. Long before the over reliance on Western science and the rational mind created the current imbalance in our relationship with the natural world, the human / more than human communities worked together to maintain the uninterrupted flow of this energetic dimension. The concept of systems thinking provides a Western understanding for the interconnectedness of the holistic perspective. As we explore the role of art making in both the Native American and traditional East Asian literature, we get a sense of where art making belongs within a holistic perspective and its ties to the health and well-being of the universe and its inhabitants. The takeaway is that the practice of art making can be a catalyst for understanding sustainable patterns of behavior that nurture the natural world.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Allan Mackinnon
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.