Graduate Theses & Dissertations


An Assessment of Spatial Trends in the Accumulation of Oil Sands Related Metals in the Clearwater River Valley and Temporal Trends in Six Northern Saskatchewan Lakes
The objective of this thesis was to assess current spatial trends and historic trends in the accumulation of trace metals related to the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR). The AOSR hosts some of the largest industrial developments in Canada, yet relatively little is known about the transport and fate of trace metal emissions from the region – particularly in the relatively remote areas to the east of the AOSR. Lichens are widely used as biomonitors and are employed in this thesis to assess the range of metals deposition within the Clearwater River and Athabasca River Valleys. Lake sediment cores can retain a historical record of the long-range transport and deposition of metals but can also respond to large regional metal emissions sources. This thesis used lake sediment cores to assess temporal trends in metals accumulation in six road accessible lakes in NW Saskatchewan that are likely to be used by local residents. Results show that metal concentrations (V, Co, Cu, Ni, Pb, Zn, Zr and Cd ) in lichen decline exponentially with distance from the AOSR and approach background levels within a few kilometers . Results from lake sediment cores show that there was no evidence that metal concentrations had increased due to industrial activities in the AOSR. Author Keywords: Air Emissions, Lakes, Lichens, Oil Sands, Saskatchewan, Trace Metals
An Ecological Analysis of Late Woodland Settlement Patterns in the Rouge River Watershed, Southern Ontario
This thesis seeks to understand the influences of environmental variables on site location selection during the Late Woodland period (ca. A.D. 1000-1650) in south-central Ontario, specifically variables considered to be favourable to maize agriculture. Four analyses were undertaken: a geographic information system (GIS) comparative analysis of Late Woodland sites compared to random points; population estimates of four sites for which settlement pattern data was available; maize consumption estimates for these same sites, and; a maize resources catchment analysis of these sites. The analysis conducted did not produce conclusive results to answer questions related to maize-driven site selection, however it did show that requirements for maize resources at these sites could have been met in catchment areas of a 500 m radius, in one case in 250m. The results led to an important question for future research: if agricultural needs were not driving settlement location selection in this area, what was? Author Keywords: Environmental Modeling, GIS, Late Woodland, Maize Agriculture, Movement of Communities, Ontario Archaeology
An Emergent Model of the Return to Learn Process for Adolescents with Prolonged Concussion
Current literature on concussion management focuses primarily on the return to physical activity, while the return to learn process is less clearly understood. This knowledge gap is particularly problematic for adolescents, whose primary responsibility is academics. The present study sought to develop a more in-depth understanding of the return to learn process through the perspectives of adolescents who had sustained a concussion and their parents in in-person, semi-structured interviews. A substantive grounded theory of the return to learn process for adolescents that emerged from the data is provided. The basic model is consistent with many speculative, non-empirically based concussion management protocols, but extends these models by emphasizing the central role of parents in managing their child’s recovery process, highlighting the importance of role fulfillment within the concussion management network, and identifying the impact of the adolescent’s capacity and readiness for help-seeking. The results also highlight the vulnerability of concussed adolescents to losing their support structure as they move through key school transitions. Implications for educators, medical professionals, parents, and adolescents in the return to learn process are also discussed. Author Keywords: Adolescent, Concussion, Concussion Management, Multidisciplinary Management, Return to Learn, Return to School
An Emprirical Investigation into the Relationship Between Education and Health
Health literature has long noted a positive correlation between health and levels of education. Two competing theories have been advanced to explain this phenomenon: (1) education "causes" health by allowing individuals to process complex information and act on it; and, (2) education and health are merely correlated through some third underlying characteristic. Determining which of these two theories is correct is of importance to public policy. But that task is empirically difficult because, from the standard, static perspective, the theories are observationally equivalent. We exploit a way in which the two theories have different implications regarding the sort of behaviour we should observe over time. We use smoking as a measure of health behaviour and find that smoking rates between "high" and "low" educated individuals expand when information is hard to process, and then contract as it becomes more easily processable. This approach is then repeated using physical activity as a measure of health-related behaviour to address limitations of the smoking model. Our novel approach to estimating the differences in the behavioural responses to changes in the processability of health-related information, across education groups, provides strong evidence in support of the view that education and health are causally linked. Author Keywords: applied statistics, education, health economics, public health, public policy, smoking
An Ethical Analysis of Bell's Targeted Ad Prorgram
Online behavioural advertising (OBA) is an advertising technique which relies on collected customer information and online activity to serve people with more relevant ads. On November 16th, 2013, Bell Canada launched their first OBA program via Bell Mobility: the Bell Targeted Ads Program, or BTAP. My thesis provides an ethical analysis of BTAP and shows that Bell undermined and violated customer privacy, stifled customer autonomy, and harmed customer identity. Relevant moral problems include typification, a disrespecting of customer autonomy, and identity commodification. I show that BTAP was unethical by grounding my arguments within the moral framework of Information Ethics (IE). IE is an ethical system which focuses on the role of information in the ethical dilemmas. IE also justifies the self-constitutive theory of privacy (SCP) which argues that our information and privacy are entangled with our identities. This gives us strong reason to defend our privacy/identity within BTAP. After making several arguments which demonstrate that BTAP was unethical, I will then turn my attention to showing how it is possible to rectify and mitigate many of BTAP’s ethical problems by installing a two-stage opt-in (TSOI) which provides customers with a greater deal of autonomy, and the ability to remove themselves from BTAP. Author Keywords: Bell Canada, Ethics, Identity, Online Behavioural Advertising, Privacy, Targeted Advertising
An Evaluation of Wastewater Treatment by Ozonation for Reductions in Micropollutant Toxicity to Fish
Micropollutants are discharged into the aquatic environment with industrial and domestic wastewater and these compounds may cause toxic effects in aquatic organisms. In this study, the toxic effects to fish of micropollutants extracted from ozonated and nonozonated municipal wastewater effluent (MWWE) were measured in order to assess the effectiveness of ozonation in reducing toxicity. Juvenile rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) injected with extracts prepared from ozonated MWWE had significantly reduced induction of plasma vitellogenin (VTG), significantly reduced hepatic total glutathione (tGSH) levels and an elevated oxidized-to-total glutathione (GSSG-to-tGSH) ratio. Exposure of Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes) embryos to extracts prepared from both ozonated and non-ozonated MWWE resulted in elevated developmental toxicity in both treatment groups. These results indicate that wastewater treatment by ozonation reduces the estrogenicity of wastewater, but treatment may induce oxidative stress and embryonic developmental toxicity due to the production of toxic by-products. Author Keywords: Estrogenicity, Micropollutants, Oxidative stress, Ozonation, Toxic by-products, Wastewater
An Exploration of Attachment Influences on Rape Attitudes
While there is substantial research on the influence of adverse childhood experiences on sexual offending behaviours and attachment representations on sexual offending behaviours, few studies to date have explored how adverse childhood experiences and attachment representations act together to influence the development of rape attitudes in a non-clinical population. The purpose of this thesis was to explore how childhood experiences and attachment may help to understand the development of rape attitudes. Data were collected from 273 undergraduate students who completed self-report questionnaires pertaining to their attachment, childhood experiences and rape attitudes. Correlational and Structural Equation analyses were computed, and the results did not find support for the simultaneous influence of adverse childhood experiences and attachment representations on rape attitudes. Given that the sample was primarily female (83%), the results indicate that the outcomes of adverse childhood experiences on sexual attitudes may differ by gender. Understanding the formation of rape attitudes is important to understand the motivations behind sexual assault behaviours. Author Keywords: adverse childhood experiences, rape attitudes
An Exploration of Partnership Models for Urban Conservation Land Management in Ontario
Partnerships for management of public parks have a long history, but little attention has been given to the current models of partnerships during a period of municipal austerity in Ontario. Using a qualitative assessment of transcripts from representatives of 10 municipal partner groups, this research considers what some of the current models are, the impact that they may have, and how municipalities may foster these partnership arrangements. The participating organizations demonstrated that their governance models evolved to suit their mandate, activities, and scope of interaction with their municipality. Additionally, this research corroborates past findings that efficacy of an organization is tied to their ability to partner with other agencies and act as a capacity amplifier. These results demonstrate how municipal conservation partnerships can be effectively applied to create enhanced financial outcomes and improved community engagement, while delivering community based environmental programming. Author Keywords: Conservation, Environmental Stewardship, Municipal Management, Partnership, Social Ecology, Urban Parks
An Investigation of Load Balancing in a Distributed Web Caching System
With the exponential growth of the Internet, performance is an issue as bandwidth is often limited. A scalable solution to reduce the amount of bandwidth required is Web caching. Web caching (especially at the proxy-level) has been shown to be quite successful at addressing this issue. However as the number and needs of the clients grow, it becomes infeasible and inefficient to have just a single Web cache. To address this concern, the Web caching system can be set up in a distributed manner, allowing multiple machines to work together to meet the needs of the clients. Furthermore, it is also possible that further efficiency could be achieved by balancing the workload across all the Web caches in the system. This thesis investigates the benefits of load balancing in a distributed Web caching environment in order to improve the response times and help reduce bandwidth. Author Keywords: adaptive load sharing, Distributed systems, Load Balancing, Simulation, Web Caching
An Investigation of Rare Earth Element Patterns and an Application of Using Zn and Cd Isotope Ratios in Oysters to Identify Contamination Sources in an Estuary in Southern China
Environmental monitoring and investigation of metal biogeochemical cycling has been carried out in the Pearl River Estuary (PRE), an important and complex system in Southern China. In this study, rare earth element (REE) patterns as well as isotope ratios (i.e., Zn and Cd) were evaluated as tools to identify contamination sources in environmental compartments (i.e., water and suspended particles (SP)) as well as in oysters collected from estuarine sites. Results show elevated concentrations (also called anomalies) of Pr, Nd, Dy and Ho, relative to other REE elements, in water samples, potentially from REE recycling and other industrialized activities in this area. Unlike water samples, no REE anomalies were found in SP or oysters, suggesting that the dominate REE uptake pathway in oysters is from particles. Secondly, site to site variations in Zn isotope ratios were found in water and SP, showing the complexity of the source inputs in this area. Also, in estuarine locations, larger spatially differences in Zn isotope ratios were found in water collected in wet season than those in dry season, which may due to mixing of different source inputs under the water circulations in different seasons. A series of laboratory experiments were conducted during which changes in Zn isotope ratios were measured during uptake under varying salinity and Zn concentrations and during depuration. Neither in vivo Zn transportation among the various tissues within the oysters nor water exposure conditions (i.e., different salinities or Zn concentrations) caused Zn isotopic fractionation in the oysters. Cd and Zn isotope ratios were also determined in oysters obtained from the PRE. Large variations in Cd and Zn isotope ratios suggest that oysters were receiving contaminants from different input sources within the PRE. A consistent difference (approximately 0.67‰) was observed for Zn isotope ratios in oysters collected from the east side of the PRE compared to those from sampling locations on the western side of the PRE, suggesting different Zn sources in these two areas. Ultimately, by combining biogeochemistry with physiology, this study represents a first attempt to assess pollution status, monitor contaminants using oysters and model/identify contamination sources using both REEs and metal isotope ratios. Author Keywords:
An Investigation of the Impact of Big Data on Bioinformatics Software
As the generation of genetic data accelerates, Big Data has an increasing impact on the way bioinformatics software is used. The experiments become larger and more complex than originally envisioned by software designers. One way to deal with this problem is to use parallel computing. Using the program Structure as a case study, we investigate ways in which to counteract the challenges created by the growing datasets. We propose an OpenMP and an OpenMP-MPI hybrid parallelization of the MCMC steps, and analyse the performance in various scenarios. The results indicate that the parallelizations produce significant speedups over the serial version in all scenarios tested. This allows for using the available hardware more efficiently, by adapting the program to the parallel architecture. This is important because not only does it reduce the time required to perform existing analyses, but it also opens the door to new analyses, which were previously impractical. Author Keywords: Big Data, HPC, MCMC, parallelization, speedup, Structure
An Official Plan for Peterborough, Ontario
Using the Official Plan as the case study, this research examines the extent to which underrepresented groups are engaged in public consultation in the planning process for the City of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. The Official Plan, along with the tools and secondary plans and policies which reinforce it, shape how people navigate and benefit from the built environment, such as access to public institutions and amenities, transit, parks, safe public space, quality housing, and more. This research frames the Official Plan as an opportunity for the city to demonstrate its new commitment to transparency and community engagement. Drawing on a range of experts and community members, and best engagement practices of other Canadian municipalities and nongovernmental organizations, a set of recommendations is proposed for the city’s community engagement framework. These recommendations emphasize an inclusive, democratic, and feminist approach to engagement and consultation which honours lived experience and local knowledge of diverse and underrepresented demographics and multi-sector stakeholders. Author Keywords: diversity, equity , inclusion, marginalized , public engagement, underrepresented


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