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.

The effect of vegetation structure and abiotic variables on oviposition-site selection by amphibians

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-04-20
Abstract: 

Assessing restoration success for pond-breeding amphibians frequently focuses on hydrology, water quality and vegetation, while neglecting the requirements of amphibians that use the restored areas for breeding. Both biotic and abiotic conditions can influence oviposition-site selection of amphibians that do not provide parental care. This study examines how vegetation structure and abiotic variables affect oviposition-site selection by amphibians. The goal of my study was to better understand the requirements of pond-breeding amphibians. In 2017, I surveyed egg masses in four ponds at the Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden in Sechelt, B.C. I identified 667 egg masses of four native amphibian species that varied in abundance and species richness among ponds. I recorded five biotic variables (i.e., vegetation cover, vegetation type, stem density, stem diameter, and canopy closure) and two abiotic variables (i.e., water depth and solar radiation) at egg-mass sites and random sites where no egg masses were detected. Logistic regression analysis with backward elimination revealed that stem count (p = 0.008) and water depth (p = 0.0001) significantly influenced oviposition-site selection. The results also showed that higher stem density and shallower water depth increased the likelihood of egg masses being present. My study indicated that quantifying stems in the water column characterized vegetation density better than estimating percent cover of vegetation. Shallow areas that have structurally complex vegetation might provide an advantage for the offspring by increasing refuge, food resources, and favourable thermal conditions for egg development. Hence, restoration projects could incorporate vegetation structure and shallow areas in their pond designs to potentially increase the abundance and diversity of amphibian communities, thereby contributing to successful restoration projects.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Scott Harrison
Department: 
Environment: Ecological Restoration
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Sc.

Turning barriers into bridges: Improving accessibility to small businesses in Vancouver

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

This study examines public policy approaches to improving accessibility to small businesses in Vancouver for people with mobility disabilities. It reviews the literature on aspects of accessibility to help determine what barriers there are. It also includes a jurisdictional scan of federal, provincial, and municipal initiatives to try to improve access to businesses. The study primarily relies on interview data since this is an emerging research topic. Based on these items, the study determines three policy options: a grant and certification program, a small business tax credit, and an education campaign. The policies are analyzed using key criteria based on the literature review and findings. I recommend starting with an education campaign in the short term to help change business attitudes about accessibility. However, all three policies can eventually be implemented.

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

Millennials and the military: The emerging civil-military gap

Date created: 
2018-04-23
Abstract: 

The focus of this project is to understand the impact of the Millennial generational persona on the future of defence policy in Canada. Using focus groups and survey data, this project examines the perspectives that Millennial students have about defence issues and military organizations such as the CAF and NATO. Through this examination, it appears that Millennials are distinct from older generations on many defence issues including their evaluation and awareness of the CAF and NATO and how they understand and prioritize threats. Due to this, it is likely that the civil-military gap between civil and military society will grow as Millennials become more influential in society. Additionally, this project examines the relationship between interaction and awareness with the CAF and NATO and Millennial evaluation of these organizations. The findings suggest that interaction with the CAF and NATO has a strong impact on evaluation and awareness of military organizations.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Alex Moens
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

What’s the catch? Changing perceptions with content marketing

Date created: 
2018-04-19
Abstract: 

This report examines The Healthy Fish, a branded online publication produced by Quietly Media, a content marketing company located in Vancouver, BC, and Regal Springs, a Tilapia producer headquartered in Singapore with offices in Florida, Mexico, Guatemala, Hamburg, and Indonesia. This report discusses what brought the two companies together and why they decided to create The Healthy Fish; how content strategies are created and how editorial themes and topics are chosen for the website; the process for writing stories and posting them to the website; ethical problems that can arise from having a branded publication; and what the future could look like for The Healthy Fish. It offers a full examination of what Quietly does for The Healthy Fish since becoming Regal Springs’ content marketing partner in 2015. All figures and stats are accurate as of December 2017.

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

A grammar of religion: Metaphorical understanding of religious discourse

Date created: 
2018-04-30
Abstract: 

This thesis addresses the need for a metaphoric understanding of religious language. However, the task to distinguish metaphoric meanings from literal ones is not always easy because all linguistic meaning, metaphoric or not, is expressed through the literal. While there has been some research that has shed light on the problem of metaphoric language and religion, no academic work has been done regarding this problem with respect to the religion of Islam. This thesis is an attempt to fill that gap. Since accounting for the comprehension of meaning is a complex endeavor, the study of metaphor lends itself naturally to philosophy. Therefore, I review two philosophical accounts, those of Paul Grice and Josef Stern before I discuss the two linguistic views of metaphor that I embrace, those being Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT) and Relevance Theory (RT).In adopting Conceptual Metaphor Theory, I build on George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’s cognitive linguistics work (1980), which changed what we know about language and cognition. In terms of Relevance Theory, I draw from Dan Sperber and Deirdre Wilson’s work (1986; 2008) and Carston’s (2002; 2010) to make my argument that relevance is a pre-requisite for metaphorical understanding of religious language. Both theories proved helpful in providing a harmonious analysis. Using both these theories, I analyze an underlying Quranic metaphor, life is a test. I clarify that it is not directly stated in the Qur’an, yet Muslims use it in everyday discourse, and take it as if were literal. I argue that the concept has to be essentially metaphoric for it to be consistent with the Islamic belief of God as All-Knowing and I discuss its inferences and entailments. Since this underlying metaphor reveals the Islamic view of life and its purpose, I further examine the metaphorical nature of religious discourse, by analyzing part of a relevant religious lecture given by the spiritual consultant of Az Zahraa Islamic Centre in Richmond, British Columbia. One of the examples I analyse in this lecture utilizes the Journey domain, while another reveals the Container schema. Although both theories seem to be able to account for this Quranic metaphor, yielding the same cognitive result (CMT through domain mapping and RT through lexical adjustment), Relevance Theory was especially useful in providing the terminology to describe how I arrive at the metaphoric realization, that being “the search for relevance”. This suggests that RT has more explanatory power for understanding problematic concepts which might not seem to make sense, while CMT is well-suited for analyzing non-problematic metaphors. In the life as test metaphor, a conceptual metaphoric analysis was not even possible without the cognitive maximisation of relevance. I agree, therefore, with the scholars who argue that the two theories are not contradictory and hence should be integrated. The thesis also includes a transcription of other excerpts that are rich in poetic metaphors, with a discussion of how religious discourse contains some metaphorical expressions that stem from our embodiment and others that are merely “loosely” used.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Nancy Hedberg
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Bacteria-delivered RNA interference strategies to silence genes related to vector competence of Aedes aegypti

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-05-29
Abstract: 

Dengue infection is a devastating mosquito-borne disease, and the principal vector is the mosquito, Aedes aegypti. Current vector control strategies are not working, hence the need for alternative strategies. Cathepsin B is a mosquito protein that dengue viruses require to establish and replicate within mosquitoes; knocking down cathepsin B using RNAi changes the phenotype from dengue susceptible to dengue refractory in Ae. aegypti. We engineered bacteria to express dsRNA against cathepsin B to develop an orally delivered RNAi system. Our data suggest inconsistencies in the alteration of gene expression that may be a result of the modified bacteria being digested, or a lower than required quantity of the RNAi constructs being expressed. Without a consistent knockdown, it is unlikely that we will be able to reduce vector competence predictably.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Carl Lowenberger
Department: 
Science: Biological Sciences Department
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.P.M.

The response of Agriotes obscurus click beetles to pheromone and its impact on the acquisition of a fungal pathogen

Date created: 
2018-04-19
Abstract: 

Wireworms, the larval stage of click beetles, are a pest of many root crops, and are a challenge to control due to their long, subterranean life style and tolerance to chemical insecticides. An alternative approach is to target the adults. Pheromones have primarily been used as aggregants in attract-and-kill pest management tactics. However, pheromones can also alter insect movement and social interactions in other ways. I investigated whether female sex pheromone can enhance the primary transmission of the fungal pathogen Metarhizium brunneum Petch in Agriotes obscurus L. click beetles. Using video tracking, I found sex pheromone increases beetle activity regardless of season, and different light and air movement conditions. Heightened activity resulted in 58% more male-to-male contacts in a small arena. Although beetles picked up significant numbers of spores from contact with conspecifics, and an environment contaminated by conspecifics, pheromone did not enhance the level of infection obtained through these pathways.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jenny Cory
Department: 
Science: Biological Sciences Department
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.P.M.

Online density bursting subgraph detection from temporal graphs

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-05-07
Abstract: 

Given a temporal weighted graph that consists of a potentially endless stream of updates, we are interested in finding density bursting subgraphs (DBS), where a DBS is a subgraph that accumulates its density at the fastest speed. Online DBS detection enjoys many novel applications. At the same time, it is challenging since the time duration of a DBS can be arbitrarily long but a limited size storage can buffer only up to a certain number of updates. To tackle this problem, we observe the critical decomposability of DBSs and show that a DBS with a large time duration can be decomposed into a set of indecomposable DBSs with equal or larger burstiness. We further prove that the time duration of an indecomposable DBS is upper bounded and propose an efficient method TopkDBSOL to detect indecomposable DBSs in an online manner. Extensive experiments demonstrate the effectiveness, efficiency, and scalability of TopkDBSOL in detecting significant DBSs from temporal graphs.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jian Pei
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Computing Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Hepatic proteome and toxic response of early-life stage rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) to the aquatic herbicide, Reward®

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-05-07
Abstract: 

The objective of this study was to examine the acute toxicity and sub-lethal effects of the commercial formulation of diquat dibromide, Reward® Landscape and Aquatic Herbicide, on multiple early-life stages of rainbow trout exposed to environmentally relevant concentrations. The continuous exposure 96 h LC50 derived for juvenile feeding fry aged 85 d post-hatch was 9.8 mg/L. Rainbow trout eyed embryos and juvenile feeding fry were also exposed to concentrations of Reward® ranging from 0.12 to 10 mg/L during two 24 h pulse exposures separated by 14 d of rearing in fresh water to mimic the manufacturers instructions for direct applications to water bodies. Effects on growth and development were evident at 9.25 mg/L during the embryo/alevin exposures, but not in feeding juveniles, indicating a higher sensitivity of the early life stage fish. Quantitative proteomic assessment and subnetwork enrichment analyses were conducted on hepatic proteins for both life stages to evaluate protein expression changes after 0.37 mg/L diquat via Reward® exposure. Unique cellular process expression profiles for pre-feeding swim-up fry and for feeding juvenile fish were observed, reflecting differences between the two life stages in sub-cellular responses after diquat dibromide exposure. Hepatic proteome effects were more dramatic in the pre-feeding swim-up fry with 315 proteins significantly different between the control and fish exposed to Reward®, while in the later life stage feeding fry, only 84 proteins were significantly different after Reward® exposure. This study is the first to report the sub-cellular and whole organism level effects of diquat dibromide in a commercial formulation and demonstrates that numerous changes at the protein level occur at environmentally relevant concentrations based on aquatic application rates.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Vicki Marlatt
Department: 
Science: Biological Sciences Department
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.E.T.

Political-cultural formation and food sovereignty: Constituting the indigenous peasantry in Argentina

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-04-30
Abstract: 

Under what conditions does social mobilization for food sovereignty (FS) lead to agrarian class formation (CF)? This question concerns the constitution of the indigenous peasantry into a social agent that gets organized to struggle beyond bread-and-butter demands. I address CF based on the case of Argentina's National Peasant and Indigenous Movement (MNCI). My aim is both to develop a class-analytical approach to FS and contribute to the theory of CF while advancing empirical knowledge on Argentina’s FS movements. My integrative literature review identifies a total of five challenges on the conceptual ambiguities of FS, which mostly revolve around tensions between (a) state-movement relationships, (b) local-national interests, (c) rural-urban conflicts, (d) individual-collective choices, and (e) sporadic mobilization-organizational continuity. I conceptualize FS as a mobilization outcome that potentially leads to agrarian CF beyond class-reductionist, culturalist and state-centric approaches to collective action. Four determinants of CF are distilled from the literature on social movements and FS: economic-class structures, regional cultures, state intervention, and leadership. Drawing on fieldwork evidence and secondary sources, I argue that the class-structural context in which Argentina’s FS struggles emerge is marked by the decline of small farming, deterioration of public health, destruction of native forests and violent land evictions under the state-promoted soy monoculture. Most agrarian mobilization instances do not result in CF, as the groupings may become coopted or dispersed by failing to sustain their collective position and unity. How grievances generated by class-structural processes become elevated to CF depends on the mediation of the three other factors. First, regional cultures speak to the creation of a unifying movement language organized around indigenous communitarianism and a broader claim to re-peasantization. Second, class agents’ collective position and unity are mediated by MNCI’s ability to interact with the state extracting popular-democratic policies without giving up its independence. Third is MNCI’s close coordination of active, participatory leadership mechanisms from the ground-up. This unified and engaged leadership at the community, provincial and national level is further consolidated thanks to the presence of movement-institutionalized mechanisms of leader training and stronger alliances with the classes of labor extended towards urban slums and student mobilization.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Gerardo Otero
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.