Graduate Theses & Dissertations

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Active layer thermal regime in subarctic wetlands at the southern edge of continuous permafrost in Canada
The fine-scale controls of active layer dynamics in the subarctic at the southern edge of continuous permafrost are currently poorly understood. The goal of this thesis was to understand how environmental conditions associated with upland tundra heath, open graminoid fen, and palsas/peat plateaus affected active layer thermal regime in a subarctic peatland in northern Canada. Indices of active layer thermal regime were derived from in-situ measurements of ground temperature and related to local measurements of air temperature, snow depth, and surface soil moisture. Active layer thaw patterns differed among landforms, with palsas and tundra heath having the least and greatest amount of thaw, respectively. Tundra heath thaw patterns were influenced by the presence of gravel and sandy soils, which had higher thermal conductivity than the mineral and organic soils of fens and palsas. Vegetation also influenced thaw patterns; the lichen cover of palsas better protected the landform from incoming solar radiation than the moss, lichen, and low-lying shrub cover of upland tundra heath, thus allowing for cooler ground temperatures. Air temperature was the most significant predictor of active layer thermal regime. Surface soil moisture varied among landforms and greater surface soil moisture reduced the amount of active layer thaw. These findings improved understanding of how landform and climate can interact to affect the active layer. Author Keywords: Active layer thermal regime, Active layer thickness, Climate change, Peatland, Permafrost, Subarctic
Digital Labour and Working From Home
This thesis examines the impact that digital labour and work from home have across different populations. This work is framed with regards to Marxist-feminism and particularly examines the impact of work from home across different genders. To demonstrate the depth and breadth of the impact that work from home has on worker agency, four unique industries are analyzed: office jobs, gig economy, affect labour, and sex work. Additionally, the lens of critical race theory is invoked to highlight the distinct challenges that BIPOC workers face in the transition to digital labour. This thesis would not be contemporary without addressing the COVID-19 pandemic which was occurring during the time of its writing. This thesis uses those established lenses of gender, industry, and race to examine the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the workplace and home (office). Work from home increases the amount of labour that needs to be performed by each worker in exchange for some flexibility and agency in some domains. Author Keywords: Covid-19, Digital Labour, Hybrid, Work from Home
Machine Learning for Aviation Data
This thesis is part of an industry project which collaborates with an aviation technology company on pilot performance assessment. In this project, we propose utilizing the pilots' training data to develop a model that can recognize the pilots' activity patterns for evaluation. The data will present as a time series, representing a pilot's actions during maneuvers. In this thesis, the main contribution is focusing on a multivariate time series dataset, including preprocessing and transformation. The main difficulties in time series classification is the data sequence of the time dimension. In this thesis, I developed an algorithm which formats time series data into equal length data. Three classification and two transformation methods were used. In total, there are six models for comparison. The initial accuracy was 40%. By optimization through resampling, we increased the accuracy to 60%. Author Keywords: Data Mining, K-NN, Machine Learning, Multivariate Time Series Classification, Time Series Forest
Linking large scale monitoring and spatially explicit capture–recapture models to identify factors shaping large carnivore densities
Understanding the spatial ecology of large carnivores in increasingly complex, multi-use landscapes is critical for effective conservation and management. Complementary to this need are robust monitoring and statistical techniques to understand the effect of bottom-up and top-down processes on wildlife population densities. However, for wide-ranging species, such knowledge is often hindered by difficulties in conducting studies over large spatial extents to fully capture the range of processes influencing populations. This thesis addresses research gaps in the above themes in the context of the American black bear (Ursus americanus) in the multi-use landscape of Ontario, Canada. First, I assess the performance of a widely adopted statistical modelling technique – spatially explicit capture-recapture (SECR) – for estimating densities of large carnivores (Chapter 2). Using simulations, I demonstrate that while SECR models are generally robust to unmodeled spatial and sex-based variation in populations, ignoring high levels of this variation can lead to bias with consequences for management and conservation. In Chapter 3, I investigate fine-scale drivers of black bear population density within study areas and forest regions by applying SECR models to a large-scale, multi-year black bear spatial capture-recapture dataset. To identify more generalizable patterns, in Chapter 4 I then assess patterns of black bear density across the province and within forest regions as a function of coarse landscape-level factors using the same datasets and assess the trade-offs between three different modeling techniques. Environmental variables were important drivers of black bear density across the province, while anthropogenic variables were more important in structuring finer-scale space use within study areas. Within forest regions these variables acted as both bottom-up and top-down processes that were consistent with ecological influences on black bear foods and intensity of human influences on the species’ avoidance of developed habitats. Collectively, this thesis highlights the opportunities and challenges of working across multiple scales and over expansive landscapes within a SECR framework. Specifically, the multi-scale approach of this thesis allows for robust inference of the mechanisms structuring fine and broad scale patterns in black bear densities and offers insight to the relative influence of top-down and bottom-up forces in driving these patterns. Taken together, this thesis provides an approach for monitoring large carnivore population dynamics that can be leveraged for the species conservation and management in increasingly human-modified landscapes. Author Keywords: animal abundance, black bear, capture-recapture, density estimation, statistical ecology, wildlife management
Green Leadership in the Classroom
Concerns about climate change means that there is an urgent need to understand teachers’ role in educating students about environmental issues and sustainability. However, little is known about teachers’ environmental leadership and how that affects their competencies in the classroom, their general well-being and connections with nature, or what kinds of personality characteristics shape these teachers. A sample of current, future, and past Canadian teachers (N = 260) completed an online survey which included quantitative and qualitative questionnaires. Correlational and regression analyses determined teachers who possess environmental leadership qualities have a greater connection with nature, more positive well-being, and are more confident in their abilities to teach students outdoors. Furthermore, positive personality traits predict teachers’ environmental leadership. Qualitative data revealed both structural and psychological barriers reduced the likelihood of teachers taking students outdoors and that greater support, resources and training are needed to enable teachers to implement more nature-based learning. Author Keywords: competence, environmental leadership, nature relatedness, personality, teachers, well-being
On Forests, Witness Trees, and Bears
This dissertation is about Forests, their loss and the grieving that arises from their loss. The loss of ancient and old-growth forests by way of clearcutting and or anthropogenically driven disturbances, including climate change, presents the quandary of loss of both biological and cultural diversity. Following Umeek’s/E. Richard Atleo’s term, I suggest that “dis-ease” in the dominant relationship to forests in parts of the Western world significantly rests within inherited cultural and political pasts at play in the present, carried in much of the language and lifeways of modern Anglophone societies today. I do so by a critical topographical exploration of thematic patterns that go back to the Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest written account of deforestation in the history of Western civilization. I offer at the center of my inquiry a collection of witness trees as North American case studies. Each tree is a witness object, a station from which I confront and explore social-ecological grief as it has accumulated over time from English colonization, with one focusing on Indigenous cultural reclamation and place-based ecological co-management. Lastly, I turn to a multispecies exploration of social-ecological grief, using bears in North America as a face for reflection and consider who and what more is lost when old forests are degraded and gone. By asking the place question—“what place is this?”—of forests, or the Forest Question, my dissertation is thus an exploration of the connection and responsibilities to other place-based human and other-than-human communities in a rapidly changing climate. Author Keywords: critical topography, environmental grief, forests, multispecies, social-ecological relations, witness trees
Great Liberation (or Standing Up, Laying Down)
This thesis presents a critical history of stand-up comedy alongside rhetorical analyses of specific stand-up routines and performances to argue for stand-up’s efficacy as a therapeutic artform. Through analysis of the history, function, and content of satire, this thesis presents stand-up comedy as an artform utilized for more than just simple laughter. Stand-up comedy, as a form and genre, provides the unique ability to engage with difficult subject matter, traumatic experiences, and offense for the benefit of both listener and audience in a way that subverts, therapizes, and equalizes instances of discrimination, trauma, and denigration. Author Keywords: Abjection, Offense, Satire, Stand-up Comedy, Therapy
Speaking of Being
The central question of this research is “What is poetry?” The ambiguity and unintelligibility of the question itself forces the writing to take two different approaches to it. The first approach is to define poetry not by what it is but by how it is related to the human being and to the world. Seeing poetry as its relation to Being allows a definition of poetry based on its function. This approach draws on philosophical discussions how poetry is related to the human and how Being can be extended into poetic creation. Martin Heidegger’s move from seeing poetry as the possibility of worldmaking to seeing it as a place of dwelling, and, in his later works, as unconcealment and the extension of Being as the House of Being, marks the direction of philosophical discussions in this paper. In this sense, poetry is defined as a creative possibility, where the speaking being comes in close contact with the speaking things and speaks of being.The second approach is to define poetry not as a whole but as some of its essential parts, as “poetic imagination” for instance. This attempt to define the poetic imagination draws on long-running discussions of imagination, metaphor, metaphorical thinking, image and imaging. It also relies on Freud’s discussions of how dreams function as textual phenomena: the poetic imagination, this approach argues, is similar to dreaming. The poet’s conscious and unconscious engagements with language create an uncanny experience where the relation between object and its poetic image is simultaneously known and unknowable. The third part of this study focuses on Lacan’s move from the symbolic unconscious to the real unconscious, in order to shed light on how the real is related to its linguistic reality. This brings the discussion to a point where language is replaced by lalangue in order to knot the real directly to the symbolic. Author Keywords: poetic creation, poetic imagination, poetry
Oil is Thicker than Justice
This thesis provides a comprehensive overview of the extractive industry operating out of the Alberta tar sands region to determine how environmental violence is enacted against Indigenous women, girls, and queer or Two-Spirit peoples in the Lubicon Lake Cree Nation and beyond. Through an analysis of existing literature in the field, a case study on the Lubicon Lake Nation and a policy analysis of the Calls for Justice from the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, this thesis draws links between industrialization, capitalism, the heteropatriarchy, and colonialism. Finally, this thesis offers a pathway to resurgence, through the subversion of colonial gender and sexual norms, and collective action to reclaim Indigenous territory as an alternative to state-sponsored solutions and policies. Author Keywords: Colonial heteropatriarchy, Environmental violence, Land Back, Lubicon Lake, Tar sands, Violence against Indigenous women
Does boredom lead to ego-depletion? Examining the association between boredom and ego-depletion
Ego-depletion refers to the observation that using self-control at Time 1 (T1) in the sequential-task paradigm leads to worse self-control at Time 2 (T2; Baumeister et al., 1998). Self-control is often manipulated by varying the difficulty of the task used at T1. Recently, Wolff and colleagues (2020) suggested that failures to replicate the ego-depletion phenomenon may arise because simple tasks may be boring, therefore requiring self-control to maintain attention on the task. Three experiments (Experiment 1, N=60; Experiment 2, N=61; Experiment 3, N=59) are reported that examined whether boredom at T1 predicted self-control at T2. A simple Go/No-Go task was used at T1. The ratio of Go to No-Go trials was changed across experiments to explore how the properties of the boring task impacted the association between boredom and self-control. When responding was frequent, increased boredom at T1 was associated with fewer anagrams correctly solved (Experiment 1 and 3), and more self-reported fatigue at T2 (Experiment 1), consistent with boredom leading to ego-depletion. However, when responding was infrequent (Experiment 2), increased boredom at T1 was associated with more correctly solved anagrams at T2, suggesting that the properties of a boring task change the psychological outcome that task has on self-control. Author Keywords: attention, boredom, ego-depletion, executive function, self-control
Land Cover Effects on Hydrologic Regime within Mixed Land Use Watersheds of East-Central Ontario
Land cover change has the potential to alter the hydrologic regime from its natural state. Southern Ontario contains the largest and fastest growing urban population in Canada as well as the majority of prime (Class I) agricultural land. Expansions in urban cover at the expense of agricultural land and resultant ‘agricultural intensification’, including expansion of tile drainage, have unknown effects on watershed hydrology. To investigate this, several streams with a range of landcovers and physiographic characteristics were monitored for two years to compare differences of flashiness and variability of streamflow using several hydrologic metrics. Urban watersheds were usually the flashiest while agriculture had moderate flashiness and natural watersheds were the least flashy across all seasons, signifying that landcover effects were consistent across seasons. Tile drainage increased stream flashiness during wet periods, but minimized the stream response to an extreme rain event in the summer, perhaps due to increases in soil moisture storage. A sixty-year flow analysis showed that flashiness and streamflow increased (p < 0.05) above a development threshold of ~10% of watershed area. Flashiness was also greater in wetter years suggesting that climate shifts may enhance stream variability in developed watersheds. Author Keywords: Agriculture, Flashiness, Hydrologic Metrics, Hydrologic Regime, Landcover Change, Urban
What Happens in Childhood, Does Not Stay in Childhood
Researchers have found associations between attachment, childhood adversity, and posttraumatic stress symptoms; however, the underlying mechanisms between these variables remains unknown. The present study explored the moderating effects of childhood adversity on the relationship between adult attachment and posttraumatic stress symptoms in two samples. In total, 533 undergraduate students and 357 individuals recruited from online communities completed measures of childhood adversity, adult attachment, and posttraumatic stress symptoms. Hierarchical regression analyses were used to test the moderating effect on childhood adversity. One-way ANOVA post hoc analyses were run to assess mean differences of attachment and posttraumatic stress across five childhood adversity groups. The results suggested that attachment and childhood adversity do predict posttraumatic stress symptoms; however, there was no significant moderating effect of adversity found. The post hoc analyses revealed significant mean differences for secure attachment, avoidant attachment, and posttraumatic stress symptoms. The findings suggest that attachment and childhood adversity are significantly associated with posttraumatic stress symptoms. Author Keywords: adult attachment, childhood adversity, posttraumatic stress symptoms, trauma

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Format: 2023/02/04