Graduate Theses & Dissertations


Proximal Soil Nutrient Sensing in Croplands through Multispectral Imaging from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) for Precision Agriculture Applications
Currently, UAVs are deployed to measure crop health in a timely manner by mapping vegetation indices. A study using two different fields was conducted in order to search for a relationship that may exist between crop health and soil fertility. A UAV equipped with sensor technology was used for mapping of vegetation indices which were then statistically compared to soil nutrient data collected via soil sampling. Elevation data was also collected which was then statistically compared to soil nutrients as well as crop health. Results of this study were unfortunately impacted by variables outside of the researcher’s control. Moisture became the greatest limiting factor in 2016 followed by an excess of rain in 2017. Results did not show any promising correlations as moisture uncontrollably became the defining variable. Further research in a more controlled setting will need to be conducted in order to explore this potential relationship. Author Keywords: Agriculture, Multispectral Imagery, Precision Agriculture, Proximal Soil Sensing, Remote Sensing, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Interpretation of forest harvest recovery using field-based and spectral metrics in a Landsat time series in Northwestern Ontario
The forestry sector has a well-developed history of using remote sensing to identify structural characteristics of forests and to detect and attribute changes that occur in forested landscapes. Monitoring the recovery of disturbed forests is an important factor in long term forest management. However, forest that is recovered spectrally may not be recovered when considered in terms of a Free to Grow assessment. A Free to Grow assessment is used in Ontario to determine whether a disturbed site will likely achieve a desired future state, i.e., is recovered according to a forestry perspective. The objective of this research was to determine the relationship between a pixel-based Landsat Time Series of spectral recovery and the results of Free to Grow assessments. Spectral trajectories were generated from representative pixels within known harvested forest areas. Results indicate that while Free to Grow sites often achieve spectral recovery (>90%), many non-Free to Grow sites were classified as spectrally recovered, suggesting that improved methods of spectral recovery monitoring are needed. Author Keywords: forest recovery, Free to Grow, Landsat Time Series, LandTrendr, Pixel-based, spectral recovery
Influence of Nitrogen Deposition on Community Composition in Pinus banksiana Forests Across Northwestern Canada
Anthropogenic atmospheric emissions and subsequent deposition of nitrogen (N) can affect N-sensitive habitats and lead to shifts in plant species community composition. This study assessed the effects of N deposition on plant community composition for Jack pine forests across northwestern Canada and across a smaller subset of sites surrounding the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) using ‘gradient forest’ analysis. Predictor influence on community composition varied depending on the scale of the study and relatively distinct thresholds were identified for different plant groups. In the larger scale study, a total deposited nitrogen (TDN) threshold of 1.5 – 3 kg N ha-1yr-1 was well suited to protect predominantly lichen species, consistent with lichen-based critical loads from other studies. Across the smaller scale study, a TDN threshold of 5.6 kg N ha-1yr-1 was primarily associated with vascular species changepoints but did include some important N-indicator lichen and bryophyte species. Author Keywords: critical loads, gradientForest, Jack pine, Nitrogen deposition, species composition
Merit-Making and Monuments
Bagan, Myanmar’s capital during the country’s Classical period (c. 800-1400 CE), and its surrounding landscape was once home to at least four thousand monuments. These monuments were the result of the Buddhist pursuit of merit-making, the idea that individuals could increase their socio-spiritual status by performing pious acts for the Sangha (Buddhist Order). Amongst the most meritous act was the construction of a religious monument. Using the iconographic record and historical literature, alongside entanglement theory, this thesis explores how the movement of labour, capital, and resources for the construction of these monuments influenced the settlement patterns of Bagan’s broader cityscape. The findings suggest that these monuments bound settlements, their inhabitants, and the Crown, in a variety of enabling and constraining relationships. This thesis has created the foundations for understanding the settlements of Bagan and serves as a useful platform to perform comparative studies once archaeological data for settlement patterning becomes available. Author Keywords: Bagan, Entanglement, Religious Monuments Buddhism, Settlement Patterns, Southeast Asia
Daphnia pulicaria responses to temperature and nutrients stress
Warming climates have had various consequences on terrestrial and aquatic food webs that are expected to persist. There is evidence suggesting that certain organisms are better equipped to handle changing climates compared to others. Therefore, the purpose of my thesis was to study the adaptability of Daphnia under temperature stress and nutrient limitation. First, to examine the effects of dietary phosphorus limitation and temperature on daphniid life-history and population growth, a series of experiments were conducted in the laboratory. In general, I found that Daphnia body growth rates and life-history traits to food carbon to phosphorus (C:P) ratios change with temperature. Next, I identified a protocol to limit the genomic DNA (gDNA) from ribonucleic acid (RNA) extractions. I found that using a modified phenol-chloroform extraction protocol was the most effective way to remove gDNA from extracted Daphnia RNA samples. Overall, results from this study show that temperature and food quality interactions are more complicated than previously thought. Furthermore, the RNA extraction protocol developed will be useful in future studies examining gene expression responses in Daphnia. Author Keywords: ecological stoichiometry, gene expression, life-history, nutrient limitation, RNA puritiy, temperature
Digital Elevation Models and Viewshed Analysis
This thesis approaches the issue of Viewshed Analysis and how it can impact the understanding of a medieval environment. Centered on the High Medieval period of Cilicia, in what is today Southwestern Turkey, the precision of Viewsheds in a complex terrain is evaluated, and the role of the fortifications in the environment is expanded upon. The maps that were generated for this thesis demonstrate that the use of free datasets must be done with caution, and that the use of more than one dataset is crucial in trying to create a clearer picture of the environment. The examination of four separate sets of fortifications within the region leads to new questions about the role of fortifications in the region, as well as a better understanding of what groups such as the Armenian Cilicians and the Knights Templar were doing in the High Medieval period. Finally, conclusions are made regarding the future impact of GIS based studies, and how they can help scholars understand Ancient and Medieval landscapes. Author Keywords: Armenian Cilicia, Fortifications, GIS, Viewshed
Temporal variation of dissolved organic matter and diffusive gradient in thin films-labile mercury in the Quesnel river, BC, and the Goose Creek tributary of Churchill river, MB
This study examined dissolved organic matter (DOM) and labile Mercury (from diffusive gradient in thin films (DGT)) in the Quesnel river, British and the Goose creek tributary of the Churchill river, Manitoba. DOM properties were measured with optical measurements of absorption coefficient (a254), spectral slopes (S275-295, SR) and fluorescence indices (HIX, BIX, FI). The DOC proxy measurements (a254) were almost 10 times higher at the Churchill site (Mean a254 116.77 cm-1) compared with the Quesnel river site (Mean a254 12.06 cm-1) during the study periods. While DGT labile Hg concentrations at the Quesnel site (2.17 to 98.97ppt) were almost 10 times more than the levels reported at the Churchill site (0.03 to 9.06 ppt). Fluorescence indices and the rise of labile Hg concentrations in spring indicated mostly terrestrial sources of DOM at both the sites. Spectral slopes and fluorescence indices substantiated that Churchill site had high molecular weight, complex and more humic DOM compared with Quesnel. DOM at both the sites was prone to temporal variation and affected by environmental conditions. Correlation between DGT labile-Hg and DOM parameters suggested that DGT collected Hg-organic complexes along with inorganic labile-Hg complexes. Author Keywords: Churchill, Diffusive gradient in thin films, Dissolved organic matter, Labile Hg, Mercury, Quesnel
Solving Differential and Integro-Differential Boundary Value Problems using a Numerical Sinc-Collocation Method Based on Derivative Interpolation
In this thesis, a new sinc-collocation method based upon derivative interpolation is developed for solving linear and nonlinear boundary value problems involving differential as well as integro-differential equations. The sinc-collocation method is chosen for its ease of implementation, exponential convergence of error, and ability to handle to singularities in the BVP. We present a unique method of treating boundary conditions and introduce the concept of the stretch factor into the conformal mappings of domains. The result is a method that achieves great accuracy while reducing computational cost. In most cases, the results from the method greatly exceed the published results of comparable methods in both accuracy and efficiency. The method is tested on the Blasius problem, the Lane-Emden problem and generalised to cover Fredholm-Volterra integro-differential problems. The results show that the sinc-collocation method with derivative interpolation is a viable and preferable method for solving nonlinear BVPs. Author Keywords: Blasius, Boundary Value Problem, Exponential convergence, Integro-differential, Nonlinear, Sinc
Assessing limnological characteristics of subarctic Québec thaw ponds and mercury methylation and methylmercury demethylation within their sediments
Thawing permafrost due to increasingly warm temperatures in northern subarctic regions is releasing mercury. The consequent formation of thaw ponds in the peatland palsa valley of the Sasapimakwananisikw (SAS) river in Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik, Québec may provide a pool for MMHg formation and a potential risk to aquatic and human life, if these ponds facilitate MMHg export through hydrological connections to nearby waterways. Hg methylation and MMHg demethylation activities were examined in thaw pond sediments using a Hg tracer isotope incubation experiment. Analysis by coupling gas chromatography cold-vapor atomic fluorescence spectrophotometry (GC-CVAFS) with inductively coupled mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) techniques showed that MMHg was produced at a higher rate and within the first 2 h of incubation for both summer and winter seasons. For thaw ponds SAS1A, SAS1B and SAS2A, MMHg was formed at 0.0048 % h-1, 0.0012 % h-1, and 0.0008 % h-1, respectively during winter and at 0.0001 % h-1, 0.0016 % h-1, and 0.0010 % h-1, respectively during summer. Detection of MMHg losses were not as expected likely due to limitations of the combined tracer spike and overestimation of the in situ ambient mercury levels. Physical and chemical properties vary within ponds, among ponds and between winter and summer. SAS1B’s location nearby an organic carbon rich palsa may be ideal to study DOC – Hg interactions. Variability in pond characteristics including depth, surface area, age, pH, temperature, colour, oxygen concentration, total dissolved and suspended solids, conductivity, carbon, mercury, ammonium, calcium, magnesium, sulfate, total phosphorous, potassium, and sodium between seasons indicate the challenge of predicting future environmental impacts of climate change related thaw pond creation in the north. Author Keywords: demethylation, mercury, methylation, methylmercury, SAS, thaw ponds
Achieving Equity in Mathematics Education
Little thought is given to how equitable mathematics would better the lives of those marginalized, or how the increased inclusion of marginalized voices improves the practice of mathematics. The purpose of this narrative research is to explore students’ voices and analyze aspects of math identity: the reported beliefs and practices of a group of elementary urban students who identify as Black/Brown. Understanding voice through counter-narrative is a methodology for the equitable practice of teaching/learning mathematics. CRRP describes participants engaged in the metacognitive task of writing untold stories as it relates to their beliefs, practices, and experiences in mathematics learning. The findings offer meaningful and appropriate insights to math educators about student competency, belongingness, and agency. Keywords: Black and Brown, marginalized students, student engagement, math identity, mathematical competence, sense of belonging to mathematics, mathematical agency, gateway, gatekeeper, fixed mindset, growth mindset, STEM pipeline, counter narrative. Author Keywords: Black and Brown, marginalized students, mathematical competence, math identity, sense of belonging to mathematics, student engagement
Predictive Digital Mapping of Soils in Kitimat, British Columbia
Soil is an essential natural resource that supports provisioning services such as agriculture, silviculture, and mining. However, there is limited knowledge on forest soil properties across Canada. Digital soil mapping may be used to fill these data gaps, as it can predict soil properties in areas with limited observations. The focus of this study was to develop predictive maps of select soil physicochemical properties for the Kitimat Valley, British Columbia, and apply these maps to assess the potential impacts of sulphur dioxide emissions from an aluminum smelter, on soil properties in the Valley. Exchangeable [Ex.] magnesium, organic matter, pH, coarse fragment, Ex. potassium, bulk density, Ex. calcium, Ex. acidity, and Ex. sodium were all mapped with acceptable confidence. Time to depletion of base cation pools showed that ~240 km2 of the study area had a depletion time of 50 years or less. However, sources of base cations such as atmospheric deposition and mineral weathering were not considered. Author Keywords: acidification, buffering capacity, Digital soil mapping, predictive mapping, regression kriging, soil properties
Fraud Detection in Financial Businesses Using Data Mining Approaches
The purpose of this research is to apply four methods on two data sets, a Synthetic dataset and a Real-World dataset, and compare the results to each other with the intention of arriving at methods to prevent fraud. Methods used include Logistic Regression, Isolation Forest, Ensemble Method and Generative Adversarial Networks. Results show that all four models achieve accuracies between 91% and 99% except Isolation Forest gave 69% accuracy for the Synthetic dataset. The four models detect fraud well when built on a training set and tested with a test set. Logistic Regression achieves good results with less computational eorts. Isolation Forest achieve lower results accuracies when the data is sparse and not preprocessed correctly. Ensemble Models achieve the highest accuracy for both datasets. GAN achieves good results but overts if a big number of epochs was used. Future work could incorporate other classiers. Author Keywords: Ensemble Method, GAN, Isolation forest, Logistic Regression, Outliers


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Format: 2020/10/31