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.

Blue carbon storage and variability in Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia

Date created: 
2018-04-19
Abstract: 

Seagrass habitats store substantial amounts of organic carbon, known as 'blue carbon', We took sediment cores from the intertidal and subtidal zones of three eelgrass (Zostera marina) meadows on the Pacific Coast of British Columbia, to assess carbon storage and accumulation rates. Sediment carbon concentrations did not exceed 1.30 %Corg, and carbon accumulation rates averaged 10.8 ± 5.2 g Corg m-2 yr-1. While sediment carbon stocks were generally higher in the eelgrass meadows relative to non-vegetated reference sites, carbon stocks averaged 1343 ± 482 g Corg m-2, substantially less than global averages. Our carbon estimates are in line with results from other Z. marina meadows; Z. marina’s shallow root system may contribute to lower carbon storage. Sandy sediment, nutrient limitation, and low sediment input may also contribute to low carbon values. The larger, more marine influenced meadows with cooler temperatures resulted in larger total carbon stock. By improving the quantification of site-specific carbon dynamics, eelgrass' role in climate change mitigation and conservation can be assessed.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Karen Kohfeld
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

Parameter estimation and uncertainty quantification applied to advection-diffusion problems arising in atmospheric source inversion

Date created: 
2018-04-10
Abstract: 

In this thesis we present a method to obtain an efficient algorithm to perform parameter estimation with uncertainty quantification of mathematical models that are complex and computationally expensive. We achieve this with a combination of emulation of the mathematical model using Gaussian processes and Bayesian statistics and inversion for the parameter estimation and uncertainty quantification. In particular we apply these ideas to a source inversion problem in atmospheric dispersion. We explain the theory and ideas behind each relevant part of the process in the emulation and parameter estimation. The concepts and methodology presented in this work are general and can be applied to a wide range of problems where it is necessary to estimate parameters but the underlying mathematical model is expensive, rendering more classical approaches unfeasible. To validate the concepts used, we perform a parameter estimation study in a model that is relatively cheap to compute and whose parameter values are known in advance. Finally we perform a parameter estimation withuncertainty quantification of a much more expensive atmospheric dispersion model using real data from a lead-zinc smelter in Trail, British Columbia. The parameter estimation includes approximating high-dimensional integrals with Markov chain Monte Carlo methods and solving the source inversion problem in atmospheric dispersion using the Bayesian framework.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John Stockie
Department: 
Science: Department of Mathematics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Sharing the burden: Increasing the uptake of parental leave among fathers in Canada

Date created: 
2018-04-04
Abstract: 

This study evaluates policy options to increase the uptake of parental leave among fathers in Canada. Approximately 12% of fathers in Canada outside Quebec claim parental leave, while the majority of mothers claim leave. This imbalance in uptake leads to mothers taking on a larger share of work interruptions, which has negative impacts on their position in the workforce. A comprehensive case study analysis of Quebec, Norway, and Iceland is used to identify best practices and develop policy options. Three policy options are evaluated on five criteria. Results from the policy analysis indicate that a program similar to QPIP in Quebec should be implemented federally. This model includes a daddy-quota, higher compensation, lower eligibility criteria and increased flexibility. For the long-term I recommend dividing parental leave in three equal parts: one part for each parent, and one part that can be shared as they wish.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dominique Gross
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.

Yes oui can: Addressing British Columbia's shortage of French immersion teachers

Date created: 
2018-03-19
Abstract: 

French immersion offers students in British Columbia the opportunity to learn French as a second language, but since the program’s inception in the 1970s the province has faced a shortage of qualified teachers, with worrying consequences for both the quality of the program and the availability of spaces for students. This study explores this multi- faceted problem through a survey of school district and interviews with key stakeholders and experts. It describes several interrelated causes of the shortage and uses its findings to identify and analyze policy options to increase the supply of French immersion teachers in the province. The study recommends the implementation of professional development funding to help teachers transition to French, an informational campaign for French speaking students, and a student loan forgiveness program as solutions.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Marina Adshade
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.

Estimating detection probability and detection range of radiotelemetry tags for migrating sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) in the Harrison River, British Columbia

Date created: 
2018-03-01
Abstract: 

Radiotelemetry is a commonly used tool for tracking migration rates, estimating mortality, and revealing fish behaviour. However, researchers risk misinterpreting tag detection data by not appropriately accounting for signal detection probability or detection range of fixed antennas. In this study, I use generalized linear mixed effects models to estimate signal detection probability and detection range of six radiotelemetry tags at four fixed antenna sites. Detection probability differed among the four telemetry fixed sites despite identical techniques and similar receiver site equipment in a relatively small geographic area. The interaction of depth and distance demonstrated the greatest impact on detections at all sites. I conclude that rigorous testing of detection probabilities and detection range of test tags at individual receiver sites should be standard protocol for telemetry studies to optimize study designs and to ensure that appropriate inferences are drawn when telemetry data are used to support management decisions.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Sean Cox
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M.

Non-standard work and access to unemployment benefits in Canada: Assessing policy options

Date created: 
2018-03-16
Abstract: 

Fewer than half of unemployed workers in Canada receive unemployment benefits. One of the reasons for this is that many workers in non-standard employment relationships, who represent a growing segment of the labour market, are excluded based on Employment Insurance (EI) eligibility criteria. EI was designed at time when standard employment relationships were far more prevalent and the system has not adapted to reflect the growth of part-time, temporary and self-employed work. Lack of access to unemployment benefits contributes to economic insecurity among non-standard workers, most of whom are women, low income and non-unionized. This study fills a gap in the literature by providing a comparative analysis of policy options for unemployment benefit reform with a focus on increasing access among workers in non-standard employment.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Joshua Gordon
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.

Policy makers or policy takers: How can cities contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions?

Date created: 
2018-04-26
Abstract: 

This study explores the implementation of community energy policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. There are two components to this study. The first is a modeling exercise which uses an energy-economy model to evaluate policies in terms of their greenhouse gas emissions reductions for the city of Victoria, British Columbia. While there is significant potential for Victoria to reduce emissions and fossil fuel use in some sectors, additional policy from the federal and provincial government will be needed to drive deep emissions reductions and fuel switching. The second component is a survey directed at community energy practitioners in Canada. It explores the use of tools such as the model used in this study to help inform the implementation of community energy policy. The preliminary findings suggest that while policy makers are open to the use of analytical tools for policy evaluation, significant barriers to executing these analyses and implementing their recommendations exist at the local level.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Mark Jaccard
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

On the Nikolaevskiy equation and the fractal dimension of its attractor

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-04-23
Abstract: 

We investigate the attractor of the Nikolaevskiy equation, a sixth-order partial differential equation (PDE) containing a small parameter whose solutions exhibit spatiotemporal chaos with strong scale separation. We first prove well-posedness and regularity of the solutions, and derive asymptotic bounds on their derivatives, to put the subsequent results on a firm footing. The rest of the work focuses on showing that the dynamical system associated with the Nikolaevskiy equation possesses an attractor with a finite fractal dimension. Bounds on this dimension are both derived analytically and computed numerically, paying particular attention to their scaling with the parameters. We describe the numerical methods, and present computational results that include the scaling of various norms of the solutions, as well as of the power spectrum and the spectrum of Lyapunov exponents of the PDE.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ralf Wittenberg
Weiran Sun
Department: 
Science: Department of Mathematics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Gaze training to improve mobility problems caused by glaucoma-related visual deficits

Date created: 
2018-04-23
Abstract: 

People with glaucoma collide with objects and fall more frequently than normally sighted individuals. Glaucoma-related visual field loss disrupts appropriate gaze behaviour, which is necessary for foot placement and route selection through cluttered environments. Thus, we developed a gaze training intervention to modify gaze behaviour. We taught (2, 1-hr sessions) older adults with glaucoma (n = 10) appropriate scanning and task-specific gaze strategies. To assess its effectiveness, participants performed a precision walking and obstacle avoidance task before and one-week after training. After training, participants shifted their gaze away from targets later relative to stepping on them and decreased foot-placement error and error variability. In the obstacle avoidance task, participants made more fixations before walking, shifted their gaze away from obstacles earlier with respect to crossing them, and had fewer obstacle collisions. Our results suggest that gaze is modifiable in older adults with glaucoma, and that gaze training may improve mobility.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dan Marigold
Department: 
Science: Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Feeling you close to me: Mediating an infant's presence through an exploration of tactile interaction

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-04-19
Abstract: 

Touch is invaluable in parent-infant interactions, but there is a lack of research and design supporting tactile interaction in baby monitors. An exploratory study was conducted in the homes of 10 parents to understand the usage of baby monitors in everyday child-care routines. Parents’ responses revealed that the unfiltered videos in baby monitors require significant cognitive effort to interpret vital signals of their infants. In this thesis, I utilize a research-through-design approach that explores how tactile interaction can support a more direct communication channel to inform parents of their infants’ well-being and enhance presence in the computer-mediated connection. Four usability studies were conducted on four wearables prototypes that were iteratively designed. The final prototype, ombex, iterates from previous shortcomings and adopts pneumatic feedback to construct a more convincing association to breathing. Findings affirm that the tactile interaction using pneumatic feedback in ombex elicited an endearing connection as if a loved one is close by.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Thecla Schiphorst
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.