Graduate Theses & Dissertations


Comparative phylogeography in conservation biology
Phylogeographic histories of taxa around the Great Lakes region in North America are relevant to a range of ongoing issues including conservation management and biological invasions. In this thesis I investigated the comparative phylogeographic histories of plant species with disjunct distributions and plant species with continuous distributions around the Great Lakes region; this is a very dynamic geographic area with relatively recent colonisation histories that have been influenced by a range of factors including postglacial landscape modifications, and more recently, human-mediated dispersion. I first characterized four species that have disjunct populations in the Great Lakes region: (Bartonia paniculata subsp. paniculata, Empetrum nigrum, Sporobolus heterolepis, and Carex richardsonii). Through comparisons of core and disjunct populations, I found that a range of historical processes have resulted in two broad scenarios: in the first scenario, genetically distinct disjunct and core populations diverged prior to the last glacial cycle, and in the second scenario more recent vicariant events have resulted in genetically similar core and disjunct populations. The former scenario has important implications for conservation management. I then characterized the Typha species complex (T. latifolia, T. angustifolia, T. x glauca), which collectively represent species with continuous distributions. Recent microevolutionary processes, including hybridization, introgression, and intercontinental dispersal, obscure the phylogeographic patterns and complicate the evolutionary history of Typha spp. around the Great Lakes region, and have resulted in the growing dominance of non-native lineages. A broader geographical comparison of Typha spp. lineages from around the world identified repeated cryptic dispersal and long-distant movement as important phylogeographic influences. This research has demonstrated that comparisons of regional and global evolutionary histories can provide insight into historical and contemporary processes useful for management decisions in conservation biology and invasive species. Author Keywords: chloroplast DNA, conservation genetics, disjunct populations, invasive species, phylogeography, postglacial recolonisation
On the Cyberflaneur
This thesis is a critical response to Evgeny Morozov’s article proclaiming the death of the cyberflâneur. Suspicious of the superficiality of his argument, I developed a practico-theoretical project to prove that the cyberflâneur is not dead but alive – or, if it were dead, to rescue it from its grave and bring it back to life. In the course of my response to Morozov, I develop a theoretical foundation that allows me to continue thinking about the concept and practice of the cyberflâneur in the context of the Internet. In doing so, I rely on Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s “Treatise on Nomadology: The War Machine” (2011), in combination with a history of the tradition of wandering. We are living in a postmodern-posthuman era driven by the chaotic and confusing forces that are manifested through the Internet. As such, it is no longer enough to be concerned with opening the space where we live, move and think; we cannot retreat to nature, we can’t escape society. However, I see potential in the Internet. The Internet, as a physical and material network, can be actualized as an apparatus of capture. It operates as a medium for accelerating or limiting speed, or as an apparatus for the control of the transmission of information. I develop the cyberflâneur as an aesthetic figure that reveals the Internet’s potential. If these revelations happen to be transmitted, then everyday life can again become an object of dispute, rather than unmeditated habituation. Author Keywords: Cyberflâneur, Everyday Life, Internet, Nomadology, Research-creation, Wandering
“It's like getting a new car without the manual”
This study explored teacher infusion of Indigenous curriculum content through interviews with ten non-Indigenous teachers of social studies and history. The interviews centered on teacher perceptions of preparedness to implement Ontario’s recent TRC curriculum revisions, which include more about the contributions, histories, cultures, and perspectives of Indigenous peoples. A brief analysis of Ontario’s First Nation, Métis, and Inuit Education Policy Framework is included, alongside critiques of the Eurocentrism at the heart of education systems. The interviews revealed that many of the teachers were committed to Indigenous education and learning more, but they felt unprepared and lacked resources to teach Indigenous curriculum content with confidence. This study highlighted the critical role of settler teachers in Indigenous education and the importance of teachers undertaking settler unsettling in order to be effective and appropriate in Indigenous curriculum delivery. Individual changes must occur alongside educational system decolonization with a particular focus on teacher preparation. Author Keywords: cognitive imperialism, Indigenous Education, Ontario, settler educator, settler unsettling, TRC curriculum
An Analysis of Hafted Biface Variability in the Kawartha Lakes and Trent River Drainage Region
The objective of this thesis is to evaluate the temporal sensitivity of morphological variability in hafted bifaces in the Kawartha Lakes and Trent River drainage region. This provides a base of information that will enable future analyses that address the possible sources of this variability and to test the robustness of existing typological categories of hafted bifaces for relative dating. This base of information is established via the use of a principal component analysis of shape, raw material, and use-life data from a large sample of hafted bifaces in the region, using a new geometric morphometrics method designed to improve the accuracy of shape representation. The results of the analysis indicate that while certain typological categories may represent distinct morphotypes that are temporally sensitive, the majority of typological categories in the sample show high, overlapping morphological variability that cannot be confidently correlated temporally based on shape alone. Author Keywords: Geometric Morphometrics, Morphological Variability, Ontario Archaeology, Principal Component Analysis, Project Point Morphology, Projectile Point Typology
That They Might Sing the Song of the Lamb
This thesis examines Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)'s theology of music, using as a starting place her letter to the Prelates of Mainz, which responds to an interdict prohibiting Hildegard's monastery from singing the liturgy. Using the twelfth-century context of female monasticism, liturgy, music theory and ideas about body and soul, the thesis argues that Hildegard considered the sung liturgy essential to monastic formation. Music provided instruction not only by informing the intellect but also by moving the affections to embrace a spiritual good. The experience of beauty as an educational tool reflected the doctrine of the Incarnation. Liturgical music helped nuns because it reminded them their final goal was heaven, helped them overcome sin and facilitated participation in the angelic choirs. Ultimately losing the ability to sing the liturgy was not a minor inconvenience, but the loss of a significant spiritual and educational tool fundamental to achieving union with God. Author Keywords: Hildegard of Bingen, Letter to the Prelates of Mainz, liturgy, monasticism, music
Using environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding to assess aquatic plant communities
Environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding targets sequences with interspecific variation that can be amplified using universal primers allowing simultaneous detection of multiple species from environmental samples. I developed novel primers for three barcodes commonly used to identify plant species, and compared amplification success for aquatic plant DNA against pre-existing primers. Control eDNA samples of 45 plant species showed that species-level identification was highest for novel matK and preexisting ITS2 primers (42% each); remaining primers each identified between 24% and 33% of species. Novel matK, rbcL, and pre-existing ITS2 primers combined identified 88% of aquatic species. The novel matK primers identified the largest number of species from eDNA collected from the Black River, Ontario; 21 aquatic plant species were identified using all primers. This study showed that eDNA metabarcoding allows for simultaneous detection of aquatic plants including invasive species and species-at-risk, thereby providing a biodiversity assessment tool with a variety of applications. Author Keywords: aquatic plants, biodiversity, bioinformatics, environmental DNA (eDNA), high-throughput sequencing, metabarcoding
Frequency-time and polarization considerations in spectral-focusing-based CARS microscopy
Spectral-focusing-based coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (SF-CARS) microscopy is a powerful imaging technique that involves temporally and spectrally stretching ultrashort laser pulses and controlling their frequency-time characteristics. However, a broader and more detailed understanding of the frequency-time characteristics of the laser pulses and signals involved, how they are related, and how they influence important aspects such as the spectral resolution is needed to understand the full potential of SF-CARS systems. In this work, I elucidate these relationships and discuss how they can be exploited to optimize SF-CARS microscopy setups. I present a theoretical analysis of the relationships between the spectral resolution, the degree of chirp-matching, and pulse bandwidth in SF-CARS. I find that, despite allowing better ultimate spectral resolution when chirp-matching is attained, the use of the broadest bandwidth pulses can significantly worsen the spectral resolution if the pulses are not chirp-matched. I demonstrate that the bandwidth of the detected anti-Stokes signal is minimized when the pump is twice as chirped as the Stokes, meaning that (perhaps counter-intuitively) a narrow anti-Stokes bandwidth does not imply good spectral resolution. I present approximate expressions that relate the bandwidths of the pump, Stokes, and anti-Stokes pulses to the degree of chirp-matching and outline how these could be used to estimate the amount of glass needed to attain chirp-matching. I develop a spectral-focusing-based polarization-resolved (SFP-CARS) setup, by modifying our existing system, to explore the merits of integrating polarization-dependent detection as an add-on to existing SF-CARS setups. By using the system to study polarization-dependent features in the CARS spectrum of benzonitrile, I assess its capabilities and demonstrate its ability to accurately determine Raman depolarization ratios. Ultimately, the detected anti-Stokes signals are more elliptically polarized than desired, hindering a complete suppression of the non-resonant background. Nevertheless, I find that the SFP-CARS setup is a useful tool for studying polarization-dependent features in the CARS spectra of various samples and is worthy of further investigation. This work clarifies several technical aspects of SF-CARS microscopy and provides researchers with valuable information to consider when working with SF-CARS microscopy systems. Author Keywords: coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering, nonlinear microscopy, polarization, spectral focusing, spectroscopy
Older Voluntarism and Rural Community Sustainability
With regards to building knowledge about rural aging, there is a gap in understanding of the diversity of older rural people’s experiences and the interaction between older rural people and the development trajectories of aging rural communities. One way to examine these experiences and interactions is through voluntarism; the activities of volunteers and voluntary organizations, which are pivotal for supporting aging in place in often-underserviced rural communities. To address this gap, this thesis features a community-based case study with a volunteer-based rural library in Ontario, Canada and was aimed at understanding the experiences of older library volunteers, examining the challenges of a rural library volunteer program and exploring how they contribute to rural community sustainability. Through surveys (n=87), interviews (n=48) and focus groups (n=6) with library volunteers, staff, board members and community leaders the findings demonstrate how older voluntarism is felt through the lived experiences of individual volunteers, poses interpersonal, operational and structural challenges, and can potentially contribute to the sustainability of rural communities. The thesis contributes to our understanding of the rural, older voluntarism and provides recommendations for ways to sustain library volunteer programs. Author Keywords:
Examining the Role of Intermediary Organizations in Participatory Planning
This research evaluates the role of GreenUP, a non-profit in Peterborough, Ontario, as the intermediary organization for NeighbourPLAN. The project examines GreenUP’s role in facilitating and managing NeighbourPLAN, a participatory planning project with multiple local partners and actors. Six critical success factors are used to understand and conceptualize intermediary success (adapted from Holden et al., 2016). Critical success factors include knowledge; governance; relationships; resources; activities; and motivation. Findings from the research highlight the importance of trust, resources, and time within this framework. Author Keywords: Community Based Research, Intermediary, Neighbourhood, Non-profit, Participatory Planning, Partnership Structure
Canadian Refugee Policy
This dissertation is an inquiry into the politics of the frame in Canadian refugee policy. It is focused on "framing," thereby taking up the stance of critical policy studies while pressing the contribution of Donald Schön and Martin Rein in a critical and politically inflected direction. The dissertation unfolds as a political history of Canadian refugee policy that provides a "contextual mapping," relevant to both inquiry and action in regard to the framing of refugees. The main argument is that twentieth- and twenty-first- century refugee policy in Canada is a story of three shifting meta-frames: beginning with humanitarianism (in the inter-War years and the post-World War II period); shifting to neo-humanitarianism (beginning in the late 1970s, in connection with the rise of neoliberalism); then shifting again (beginning in the 1990s) to securitization. The concept of a meta-frame here is analogous to that of a "metacultural frame" in Schön and Rein, but accents political rather than cultural dimensions. This concept is developed in a manner suitable to a political history by illustrating how meta-frames both become stable and change. With humanitarianism, the refugee was typically portrayed in ambivalent terms - both deserving of and entitled to protection, while also posing a burden for the national interest. In the context of neo-humanitarianism, this ambivalence began to wane, and the refugee was more typically portrayed as a potential criminal. With securitization, especially as it has become entrenched and intensified, the refugee has been more typically portrayed as a potential terrorist. The analysis includes a focus on the particular importance of ambivalence and contingency in the politics of the frame. Securitization has become so deeply entrenched since September 11, 2001 that it appears virtually fixed in place. However, it may still become possible in moments of contingency for refugee advocates to destabilize the securitization meta-frame and help shift the framing of refugees into a more hospitable register. Author Keywords: ambivalence, contingency, humanitarianism, neo-humanitarianism, refugees, securitization
Practicing and Rewarding Task-Relevant Motor Variability to Optimize Motor Performance
It is universally accepted that human motor performance is variable in both its timing and spatial qualities. However, it is unclear to what extent motor variability impedes performance when learning a new skill and to what extent it enables our ability to learn. The first experiment examined whether performance during a test task depended on whether participants practiced to constrain or vary the task-relevant parameter. Participants used their right hand to make simple point-to-point movements. Results demonstrated the importance of paying attention to test task demands to evaluate which form of practice is most beneficial. The second experiment examined whether levels of variability could be manipulated using a reward-based paradigm to enhance learning when adapting to a perturbation of a simple visually-guided reaching movement. A reward-based feedback task was designed to encourage exploration along the task-relevant dimension, specifically movement direction variability. Overall, I did not find any significant results. Author Keywords: Adaptation, Motor Control, Motor Learning, Reaching
Assessing the environmental correlates of a lethal amphibian pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, in Ontario wetlands
Many emerging infectious diseases are caused by pathogens that possess free-living life stages, in which they interact with the environment directly rather than through the mediation of a host. These diseases represent major impediments to wildlife conservation; however, the dynamics of their interaction with the environment are poorly studied, often due to the difficulty of detecting these microscopic pathogens in environmental samples. One of these pathogens is Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a fungus that has been linked to declines in many amphibian species. In this thesis I use an emerging technique, environmental DNA detection (eDNA), to detect and quantify Bd in the water of southern Ontario (Canada) wetlands and examine its correlation with a variety of aspects of water quality, surrounding habitat, and seasonal timing. My purpose was to inform not only on potential environment-pathogen dynamics for Bd in northern environments, but to provide insight into the use of eDNA as a disease surveillance tool. I found that not only was there high geographic variation in Bd detection and intensity, but also high temporal variation within the same site on time scales as low as two weeks. While Bd prevalence was not strongly correlated with any of the variables tested, intensity showed strong correlation with canopy cover, with greater canopy cover over a waterbody correlating to lower Bd intensity. My results present several promising avenues for further examination of Bd in northern ecosystems, and indicate that, while caution is warranted in its implementation, eDNA may become an important tool in amphibian pathogen surveillance. Author Keywords: amphibian disease, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, disease monitoring, environment-pathogen dynamics, environmental DNA, wildlife disease


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Format: 2024/03/04