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.

Coherent SAR methods for monitoring dry-snow covered terrain

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-02-16
Abstract: 

Coherent synthetic aperture radar (SAR) based terrain monitoring relies on effective image focusing, compensation of interferometric phase biases and mitigation of decorrelation effects. The observation of dry-snow-covered terrain is affected by microwave interaction with the snow and this poses a challenge for terrain mapping applications in terms of the effect of the snow on target focusing, signal phase bias and decorrelation. However, these effects also provide an opportunity to map snow properties. As such, dry-snow presents a dual problem for coherent SAR applications: the joint mitigation of the effects of snow to allow unbiased observation of the terrain under the snow and measurement of the snow layer itself. This thesis introduces novel methods to address three aspects of this dual problem: (i) image formation – the defocusing and phase biasing effects of dry-snow are considered including how these can be corrected and exploited to estimate snow water equivalent (SWE) from a single SAR channel; (ii) interferometric phase bias – the limitations of SAR interferometry (InSAR) based SWE change mapping are addressed by exploiting the effect that terrain slope has on the dry-snow InSAR phase contribution; and (iii) temporal decorrelation – an adaptation of phase-linking methods is introduced to better enable multi-temporal InSAR for the case of seasonal snow covered terrain which suffers sever cross-season decorrelation effects. In each case, an analytical model for the respective method is presented, the use of the method is demonstrated with simulated data while method performance is validated with real SAR datasets, either from the SFU Airborne SAR System or the RADARSAT-2 satellite. Together, these contributions represent a significant advancement in enabling wide-scale and persistent coherent SAR monitoring of snow-covered terrains.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Bernhard Rabus
Rodney Vaughan
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Engineering Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Collective and individual selves in the making: Identity inquiries through self-directed and in-class art explorations

Date created: 
2022-04-19
Abstract: 

This thesis presents the epistemological context, plan and implementation of a study employing a variety of art projects aimed at facilitating arts-oriented inquiries into identity for classes of multicultural and multilingual pre-teenagers. Furthermore, this thesis presents a parallel process of identity exploration on the part of the author of this work, a teacher-researcher engaging in similar forms of arts-oriented inquiry through the fashioning of "creative interludes." Grounding the work in theories of identity development, and theories of the stages of development of visual arts skills and capacities in elementary school age students, the author aimed to explore the possibilities of discovery and affirmation of identity in these students through the lenses of a/r/tography, creative dynamic, and self-portraiture. After first framing the work in terms of important ethical considerations related to the setting of the research, the author presents the creative projects that were made by these pre-teenagers. The artworks become mirrors of their makers and provide numerous opportunities for educators to see traces of the childrens' identity explorations in their art. Finally, the author explores her own identity development as an artist, a teacher, a researcher, and a woman, along with how these different identities symbiotically influence each other.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Lynn Fels
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Grazing by kelp crabs amplifies impacts of climate-induced bryozoan outbreaks on kelp

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-01-24
Abstract: 

Our ability to predict impacts of climate change on ecosystems is limited by complex species interactions. This is particularly the case among the world’s temperate oceans where kelp forest ecosystems have experienced dramatic perturbations due to interacting direct and indirect effects of climate change, including climate-induced outbreaks of Membranipora spp., an epiphytic bryozoan. To test the interacting effects of ocean temperature, herbivory, and bryozoan cover on rates of kelp loss, we performed grazing experiments in the field where we manipulated bryozoan cover on kelp and the number and size of two dominant canopy grazers, kelp crabs (Pugettia producta) and turban snails (Tegula pulligo), across a naturally occurring temperature gradient. We found that the rate of kelp loss due to grazing by kelp crabs accelerated with increasing bryozoan cover, and that bryozoan percent (%) cover decreased significantly in presence of kelp crabs. Moreover, we detected a statistically significant, but weak negative effect of temperature on rates of kelp loss in the presence of crabs, functioning in the opposite direction than expected. Comparatively, the effects of turban snails on kelp loss were minimal regardless of bryozoan cover or temperature, nor was there any detectable effect of snails on bryozoan surface area. These findings reveal that grazers can exacerbate the impacts of climate-induced bryozoan cover on kelp loss at the scale of a kelp blade, but that their effects are species-specific. Our study emphasizes how trophic interactions can amplify the magnitude of climate change impacts in some cases and are thus key considerations for marine ecosystem-based management in the face of ongoing warming of temperate oceans.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Anne Salomon
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.R.M.

Three essays in macroeconomics and finance

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-01-18
Abstract: 

Chapter 1 develops a continuous-time, heterogeneous agents version of the Barro-Rietz rare disasters model. Following Gabaix (2012), the disaster probability is assumed to be time-varying. The economy consists of two types of agents: (1) a “rational” agent, who updates his beliefs using Bayes Rule, and (2) a “robust” agent, who updates his beliefs using a pessimistically distorted prior. Following Hansen and Sargent (2008), pessimism is disciplined using detection error probabilities. Disaster risk is assumed to be nontradeable. The model is calibrated to US data, and focuses on three disaster episodes: (1) The Great Depression of 1929-33, (2) The Financial Crisis of 2008-09, and (3) The Covid Pandemic of 2020. The key contribution of the paper is to show that the model can replicate the observed spike in trading volume that occurs during disasters. Trading produces endogenous low frequency dynamics in the distribution of wealth. The relative wealth of robust agents gradually declines during normal times, but rises sharply during disasters. These results sound a note of caution when interpreting short-run movements in the distribution of wealth. Chapter 2 examines the market selection hypothesis in a continuous time asset pricing model with jumps. It is shown that the hypothesis is valid when agents have log preferences. The result is robust as it does not depend on whether markets are incomplete. Jumps affect long-run wealth dynamics through a redistribution channel: Disasters lead to large wealth redistribution as agents with heterogeneous beliefs about disasters have different exposures to risky assets. Using tools from ergodic theory, I prove a novel result that generalizes the rationality concept in the existing literature: an agent endowed with the optimal filter will outperform other agents in complete financial markets asymptotically. Chapter 3, a joint paper with Xiaowen Lei, develops a continuous-time overlapping generations model with rare disasters and agents who learn from their own experiences. Using microdata about household finance in China, we establish that economic disasters such as the Great Leap Forward make investors distrustful of the market. Generations that experience disasters invest a lower fraction of their wealth in risky assets, even if similar disasters are not likely to occur again during their lifetimes. “Fearing to attempt” therefore inhibits wealth accumulation by these “depression babies” relative to other generations.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Kenneth Kasa
John Knowles
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Economics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Cedar Place redevelopment: A case study of public-private partnership in affordable housing

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-01-18
Abstract: 

This thesis analyzes the context that resulted in the redevelopment of Burnaby's Cedar Place public housing and the strategies. It discusses the positive outcomes of this case, such as the non-displacement of previous tenants and the doubling of the number of public housing units near the original site, while also considering the implications of the privatization of public land that facilitated those benefits. In the findings, I highlight the role of private developers in affecting urban planning strategies and the relevance of densification and anti-displacement strategies in shaping the Cedar Place redevelopment.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Karen Ferguson
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Urban Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Urb.

Investigating existing and new models of distribution in Canadian art book publishing

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-12-07
Abstract: 

Art publishing is a collection of niche industries which face unique challenges compared to traditional trade publishing. Distribution for art publications is a persisting problem in the Canadian market; few art publishers are distributed within trade channels, leaving independent publishers, artist-run centres, small art presses and artist books to manage their own dissemination with limited resources. With Information Office, an independent design studio-turned-art book publisher as a primary case study, research into existing artist-led publisher funding, distribution, and marketing models are investigated and applied to the formation of this new enterprise. The results reveal ways in which similar models can engage with alternative modes of circulation such as alternative retailers and art book fairs, as well as creative marketing efforts, in order to build brand assets, network with the international community, and disseminate art publications to readers.

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

Restoration planning for urban salmonid habitat: Effects of stormwater runoff on water quality and benthic invertebrates

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-09-10
Abstract: 

Restoration of salmonid habitat has been completed in many urban areas; however, the success of these projects may be limited without consideration of water quality. Urban watersheds are affected by stormwater runoff which transfers toxic substances such as heavy metals, hydrocarbons, and fine particles from impervious surfaces into streams. Previous research has documented impacts of stormwater causing premature death in spawning coho (Oncorhynchus kisutch), and related extent of impervious surfaces to impacts on benthic invertebrates. This research aims to expand our knowledge on the effects of stormwater runoff on water quality and benthic invertebrate communities, and make recommendations for restoration of Mosquito Creek, in North Vancouver, British Columbia. Stream water quality was monitored, site habitats were assessed, and impervious surfaces were mapped. Benthic invertebrate samples were collected and analyzed for abundance, diversity, and pollution tolerance, comparing upstream and downstream of a stormwater inflow and two sites on a reference stream. Average water quality measurements showed minor impacts related to elevated temperatures. However, benthic invertebrate metrics revealed chronic water quality issues, reflecting cumulative impacts. Pollution tolerance index and abundance were reduced at the downstream Mosquito Creek site suggesting impacts from the stormwater inflow, while the Ephemoptera, Plecoptera, Trichoptera (EPT) to total ratio and overall stream health (Streamkeepers Site Assessment Rating) were significantly lower at Mosquito Creek overall suggesting watershed impacts from impervious surfaces and point-source pollution events. Restoration recommendations including a rain garden are discussed to improve water quality for salmonids.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Ken Ashley
Department: 
Environment: Ecological Restoration
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Sc.

Pushing relationship beliefs off their pedestal: Priming relationship pedestal belief in single people

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-08-12
Abstract: 

Singles people’s well-being may depend partly on their relationship pedestal belief (RPB) – the belief that people must be in a relationship to be happy. Across three experimental studies (total N = 709 singles), I explored (1) whether it is possible to prime RPB, and (2) whether priming RPB impacts singles’ outcomes. In Studies 1 and 2, the high RPB condition was associated with greater endorsement of RPB compared to the moderate RPB condition, which provided some evidence for reduced well-being and increased relationship desirability. Exploring indirect effects revealed the high RPB condition as compared to the moderate condition was associated with greater RPB, which undermined well-being and exacerbated relationship desirability outcomes. In Study 3, I added a low RPB condition, but there were no significant differences across any condition. Nonetheless, this research provides promising evidence that it is possible to reduce single peoples’ RPB, which might maximize singles’ well-being.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Yuthika Girme
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Graph generation using tree decomposition

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-08-11
Abstract: 

We propose TD-GEN, a graph generation framework based on tree decomposition, and introduce a reduced upper bound on the maximum number of decisions needed for graph generation. The framework includes a permutation invariant tree generation model which forms the backbone of graph generation. Tree nodes are supernodes, each representing a cluster of nodes in the graph. Graph nodes and edges are incrementally generated inside the clusters by traversing the tree supernodes, respecting the structure of the tree decomposition, and following node sharing decisions between the clusters. Finally, we discuss the shortcomings of standard evaluation criteria based on statistical properties of the generated graphs as performance measures. We propose to compare the performance of models based on likelihood. Empirical results on a variety of standard graph generation datasets demonstrate the superior performance of our method.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Greg Mori
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Computing Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

“Our hearts are not at rest”: A critical look at the adequacy of Indigenous death investigations

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-08-03
Abstract: 

Across Canada, thousands of Indigenous testimonies have reported deficiencies in how police and medico-legal professionals investigate their deaths. The problem, however, is that these individuals are summarily and systematically denied the resources to challenge investigators and there are few cases that have done so successfully. This research establishes a comparative model to examine whether case investigation conduct aligns with standard investigative practice requirements. The qualitative sample includes three Indigenous case studies involving the suspicious deaths of young individuals in Prince Rupert, BC. The results present a central theme of inadequacy across all three cases, primarily in improper evidence collection, limited procedural follow-through, and withheld information. The outcomes of this study suggest a need for (1) future research and (2) professional action to create and uphold effective accountability measures for investigators and a critical look into how colonial powers limit investigative effectiveness for Indigenous deaths.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Gail Anderson
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.