81,191 results

  • Plant Succession, Ecological Restoration and the Skinks of Stephens Island / Takapourewa

    Stephens, Cielle (2004)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Ecological restoration often involves revegetation. I have investigated the impact of revegetation on the distribution, abundance and body condition of skinks on Stephens Island (Takapourewa). I tested the prediction that only one, Oligosoma infrapunctatum, of the four skink species (Oligosoma lineoocellatum, O. nigriplantare polychroma, O. infrapunctatum and O. zelandicum) will benefit in terms of abundance and distribution from revegetation. Stephens Island is a Wildlife Sanctuary in the north-western Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand. The island is known for its diverse and abundant reptile community. Prior to the mid 19th century Stephens Island was covered in forest. Nearly 80% of this forest was destroyed following the establishment of a lighthouse and farm on the island in 1894. In 1989, when the control of Stephens Island passed to the Department of Conservation, reforestation became a key conservation goal. Stephens Island is currently a mosaic of different habitat types from pasture to coastal forest. Pitfall traps caught skinks for a mark-recapture study in four replicated habitat types: forest, tussock, pasture and replanted. Oligosoma lineoocellatum comprised 75% of all individuals caught. Densities of O. lineoocellatum were higher in replanted habitat (3020/ha in December and 3770/ha in March) than tussock (2690/ha in December and 2560/ha in March) and lowest in the pasture (1740/ha in December and 1960/ha in March). Rates of captures were too low to perform density estimates for the other three species. Trap occupancy rates indicate O. nigriplantare polychroma is more common in the tussock habitat, and O. infrapunctatum is more common in the replanted habitat. Few O. zelandicum were found, primarily in the tussock habitat. Pasture areas replanted 13 years ago (now scrub habitat) support a higher diversity and abundance of skinks. Forest areas remain depauperate of skinks. Skink preference for replanted areas suggests that, for now, revegetation benefits their populations, possibly due to greater food sources, lower predation pressure and a wider thermal range. Body condition (log weight/ log snout-vent length) and proportion of tail loss of skinks were similar in the different habitat types. However, both O. nigriplantare polychroma and O. lineoocellatum had higher body condition in the replanted than the tussock habitat. Juvenile skinks had significantly lower body condition and a lower proportion of tail loss. Skink body condition was not negatively affected by revegetation or by different habitats, despite the large differences between the habitats. Revegetation currently benefits skink populations. Maintaining a mosaic of habitat types is recommended, because, should revegetation create more forest habitat through plantations or plant succession, it is likely that the population of all four species of skink will decline.

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  • Minimising Community Opposition to Wind Farm Developments in New Zealand: Opportunities in Renewable Energy Planning

    Berg, Christian (2003)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    The erection of wind turbines, depending on their location, could significantly interfere with appreciated landscape values of a community, and consequently lead to its objection to a proposed wind energy project. This study explores possible options, which can be applied within the community consultation process to reduce the likelihood of substantial public opposition to wind farm developments in New Zealand. The research topic was chosen to support wind farm planners and decision makers in the consultation process for wind farm developments in order to increase public acceptance of a proposed project, to evaluate possibilities of benefit sharing and public involvement, to select the most appropriate level of community participation in the planning process and consequently to enhance the ability in gaining resource consent under the Resource Management Act 1991. The investigation covers the sequential development of public attitudes towards wind farms, the wider spectrum of public opposition, including vocalised reasons and hidden arguments, community consultation approaches and the different levels of public involvement. The applied methodology for this research comprises a case study approach concerning a New Zealand wind farm including an analysis of submissions made into the resource consent process, follow-up interviews with affected stakeholders, an interview with a wind farm developer, and a comprehensive text analysis. There are various opportunities to increase acceptance of wind farms including aesthetical design, sensitive siting, a pro-active approach, stakeholder analysis, participation and community ownership schemes. The results also demonstrate that increased community involvement may potentially satisfy consulted stakeholders, but could jeopardise obtaining resource consent under the current planning regime.

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  • Distribution of Marine Palynomorphs in Surface Sediments, Prydz Bay, Antarctica

    Storkey, Claire Andrea (2006)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Prydz Bay Antarctica is an embayment situated at the ocean-ward end of the Lambert Glacier/Amery Ice Shelf complex East Antarctica. This study aims to document the palynological assemblages of 58 surface sediment samples from Prydz Bay, and to compare these assemblages with ancient palynomorph assemblages recovered from strata sampled by drilling projects in and around the bay. Since the early Oligocene, terrestrial and marine sediments from the Lambert Graben and the inner shelf areas in Prydz Bay have been the target of significant glacial erosion. Repeated ice shelf advances towards the edge of the continental shelf redistributed these sediments, reworking them into the outer shelf and Prydz Channel Fan. These areas consist mostly of reworked sediments, and grain size analysis shows that finer sediments are found in the deeper parts of the inner shelf and the deepest areas on the Prydz Channel Fan. Circulation within Prydz Bay is dominated by a clockwise rotating gyre which, together with coastal currents and ice berg ploughing modifies the sediments of the bay, resulting in the winnowing out of the finer component of the sediment. Glacial erosion and reworking of sediments has created four differing environments (Prydz Channel Fan, North Shelf, Mid Shelf and Coastal areas) in Prydz Bay which is reflected in the palynomorph distribution. Assemblages consist of Holocene palynomorphs recovered mostly from the Mid Shelf and Coastal areas and reworked palynomorphs recovered mostly from the North Shelf and Prydz Channel Fan. The percentage of gravel to marine palynomorph and pollen counts show a relationship which may reflect a similar source from glacially derived debris but the percentage of mud to marine palynomorph and pollen counts has no relationship. Reworked palynomorphs consist of Permian to Eocene spores and pollen and Eocene dinocysts which are part of the Transantarctic Flora. Holocene components are a varied assemblage of acritarchs, dinoflagellate cysts (dinocysts), prasinophyte algae, red algae and large numbers of Zooplankton sp. and foraminifera linings. In situ dinocysts are dominated by the heterotroph form Selenopemphix antarctica and none of the Holocene dinocyst species found in Prydz Bay have been recorded in the Arctic. In contrast acritarchs, prasinophytes and red algae are all found in the Arctic and reflect a low salinity and glacial meltwater environment. Comparison with modern surface samples from the Arctic and Southern Ocean show there is a strong correlation to reduction in the autotroph:heterotroph dinocyst ratio with increasing latitude. Todays assemblage of marine palynomorphs are more complex than those recorded in ancient assemblages and there is a lower level of reworked material. Acritarchs (Leiosphaeridia spp. Sigmopollis sp.) and prasinophytes (Cymatiosphaera spp. Pterospermella spp. Tasmanites spp.) are recorded in the ancient record in Antarctica as well as surface sediments in Prydz Bay, but there are very low numbers of Leiosphaeridia spp. and Sigmopollis spp. present today in comparison to the ancient record. Dinocysts in situ and recovered in Prydz Bay are endemic to the Antarctic but have not been recorded in the ancient record.

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  • Four Cities & a Region: Integrated Transport, Land Use Planning as a Sustainable Transport Solution for the Welllington Region

    Chapman, Susan (2004)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Greater Wellington Regional Council is responsible for the Regional Land Transport Strategy (RLTS) for the Wellington region, comprising of four cities, numerous towns and governed by eight disparate territorial authorities. The strong central core of Wellington City and the geographically enforced ‘Y’ formation of the transport corridor have traditionally dominated the region’s urban development. To date, transport and land use planning in the region have been undertaken independently, when research demonstrates that a combination of land use, transport, financial and regulatory planning mechanisms are required to establish a successful sustainable transport solution. This research examines six different policy intervention scenarios, and identifies the optimal transport - land use intervention (for growth projections to 2026) as the densification of development around key public transport nodes. This policy intervention meets the RLTS vision of providing a balanced and sustainable transport system through the increased adoption of active modes across all trip types of short duration, an increase in public transport use for longer distance trips and an overall decrease in daily trips by car.

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  • Participatory Democracy in Porto Alegre and Belo Horizonte

    Wood, Terence (2004)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Participatory budgeting is a form of Participatory Democracy that is being increasingly used in Brazilian cities. This dissertation describes research conducted on the participatory budgets of two Brazilian cities, Porto Alegre and Belo Horizonte. The research was undertaken with the overall aim of examining and comparing the participatory budgeting experiences in these two cities and then using this examination to identify the key local variables that can influence the outcomes of participatory budgets. The research made use of both primary and secondary data sources. The primary data used the result of 22 semistructured interviews that took place in April and May 2004, and the secondary data was the already existing body of literature on participatory budgeting in Porto Alegre and Belo Horizonte. The key findings of this research are that participatory budgeting has had some significant successes in both Porto Alegre and Belo Horizonte. At the same time though the participatory budgets in Porto Alegre and Belo Horizonte have encountered problems that have limited their abilities to produce results. There are also several areas where the outcomes of participatory budgeting are, at present, unclear. Some of the outcomes of the participatory budgets in Porto Alegre and Belo Horizonte are very similar yet there were differences in the processes’ results. Two key variables are identified in the analysis: the ability of the participatory budget to produce tangible results and the degree of need that a city’s populace has for municipal services. Associated with these key variables are a range of secondary variables that also influence the outcomes of participatory budgets.

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  • Exploring a Bioinformatics Clustering Algorithm

    Matti, Mukhlis (2004)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This thesis explores and evaluates MAXCCLUS, a bioinformatics clustering algorithm, which was designed to be used to cluster genes from microarray experimental data. MAXCCLUS does the clustering of genes depending on the textual data that describe the genes. MAXCCLUS attempts to create clusters of which it selects only the statistically significant clusters by running a significance test. It then attempts to generalise these clusters by using a simple greedy generalisation algorithm. We explore the behaviour of MAXCCLUS by running several clustering experiments that investigate various modifications to MAXCCLUS and its data. The thesis shows (a) that using the simple generalisation algorithm of MAXCCLUS gives better result than using an exhaustive search algorithm for generalisation, (b) the significance test that MAXCCLUS uses needs to be modified to take into consideration the dependency of some genes on other genes functionally, (c) it is advantageous to delete the non domain-relevant textual data that describe the genes but disadvantageous to add more textual data to describe the genes, and (d) that MAXCCLUS behaves poorly when it attempts to cluster genes that have adjacent categories instead of having two distinct categories only.

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  • Some Exact Solutions in General Relativity

    Boonserm, Petarpa (2005)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    In this thesis four separate problems in general relativity are considered, divided into two separate themes: coordinate conditions and perfect fluid spheres. Regarding coordinate conditions we present a pedagogical discussion of how the appropriate use of coordinate conditions can lead to simplifications in the form of the spacetime curvature — such tricks are often helpful when seeking specific exact solutions of the Einstein equations. Regarding perfect fluid spheres we present several methods of transforming any given perfect fluid sphere into a possibly new perfect fluid sphere. This is done in three qualitatively distinct manners: The first set of solution generating theorems apply in Schwarzschild curvature coordinates, and are phrased in terms of the metric components: they show how to transform one static spherical perfect fluid spacetime geometry into another. A second set of solution generating theorems extends these ideas to other coordinate systems (such as isotropic, Gaussian polar, Buchdahl, Synge, and exponential coordinates), again working directly in terms of the metric components. Finally, the solution generating theorems are rephrased in terms of the TOV equation and density and pressure profiles. Most of the relevant calculations are carried out analytically, though some numerical explorations are also carried out.

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  • Groundwater Quality and Farm Nitrogen Management on the West Coast, South Island, New Zealand

    Baker, Tim (2004)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Dairy farming in the West Coast region has undergone substantial intensification over the last decade. Associated with this intensification has been an increased use of nitrogen fertiliser and an increasing number of farms applying dairy shed effluent (DSE) to land. The aim of this project was to assess the current and potential effects of these practices. Groundwater quality in the most intensive dairying areas on the West Coast was assessed through the monitoring of twenty-two bores on four occasions in 2001. Elevated (>1 g/m3) nitrate-nitrogen concentrations were found in nineteen of these bores (54 of 74 samples, 72%). The only long-term data available, from 3 bores, showed significant increasing trends in nitrate-nitrogen (e.g. 0.41 g/m3/yr in the Bertacco bore) and chloride over the period September 1998 – June 2003. Spatially isolated occurrences of microbial contamination were also recorded: in 7 bores and 12% of all samples analysed. Overall, groundwater quality of the shallow unconfined groundwater of the Kowhitirangi area was of better quality, and less affected by landuse practices, than the deeper unconfined aquifers of the Grey and Inangahua Valleys. Nitrogen isotope analysis indicated the source of the nitrate-nitrogen was likely to be from a fertiliser or soil organic nitrogen source (average d15N of 3.5‰); however, the significant increasing trends of chloride (e.g. 0.50 g/m3/yr in the Bertacco bore, 0.22 g/m3/yr in the Coleman/Lyndale bore) suggest an effluent-based source is affecting groundwater quality in the Kowhitirangi and Grey Valley areas. Groundwater dating, using chloroflurocarbons, suggested that the groundwater in the river recharge dominated shallow aquifer of the Kowhitirangi area is approximately 7 years old. In the deeper unconfined aquifers of the Grey Valley it is approximately 12 years old. These results suggest that the full effects of landuse intensification over the past decade are yet to been seen in terms of changes in groundwater quality. Land application of DSE is currently managed through a regional permitted activities rule that sets a maximum DSE nitrogen-loading rate of 275 kgN/ha/yr. An evaluation of this rate through the use of the NLE and OVERSEER nitrate leaching models suggested that this rate may be sustainable in the future. However, the lack of control over nitrogen fertiliser application rates and detailed (West Coast-specific) data on the rates of complex nitrogen transformations that occur following DSE and nitrogen fertiliser application warrant further research.

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  • Temporal Changes in Seismic Anisotropy as a New Eruption Forecasting Tool

    Gerst, Alexander (2003)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    The orientation of crustal anisotropy changed by ~80 degrees in association with the 1995/96 eruption of Mt. Ruapehu volcano, New Zealand. This change occurred with a confidence level of more than 99.9%, and affects an area with a radius of at least 5 km around the summit. It provides the basis for a new monitoring technique and possibly for future mid-term eruption forecasting at volcanoes. Three deployments of seismometers were conducted on Mt. Ruapehu in 1994, 1998 and 2002. The fast anisotropic direction was measured by a semi-automatic algorithm, using the method of shear wave splitting. Prior to the eruption, a strong trend for the fast anisotropic direction was found to be around NW-SE, which is approximately perpendicular to the regional main stress direction. This deployment was followed by a moderate phreatomagmatic eruption in 1995/96, which ejected material with an overall volume of around 0.02-0.05 km3. Splitting results from a deployment after the eruption (1998) suggested that the fast anisotropic direction for deep earthquakes (>55 km) has changed by around 80 degrees, becoming parallel to the regional stress field. Shallow earthquakes (<35 km) also show this behaviour, but with more scatter of the fast directions. Another deployment (2002) covered the exact station locations of both the 1994 and the 1998 deployments and indicates further changes. Fast directions of deep events remain rotated by 80 degrees compared to the pre-eruption direction, whereas a realignment of the shallow events towards the pre-eruption direction is observed. The interpretation is that prior to the eruption, a pressurised magma dike system overprinted the regional stress field, generating a local stress field and therefore altering the fast anisotropic direction via preferred crack alignment. Numerical modelling suggests that the stress drop during the eruption was sufficient to change the local stress direction back to the regional trend, which was then observed in the 1998 experiment. A refilling and pressurising magma dike system is responsible for the newly observed realignment of the fast directions for the shallow events, but is not yet strong enough to rotate the deeper events with their longer delay times and lower frequencies. These effects provide a new method for volcano monitoring at Mt. Ruapehu and possibly at other volcanoes on Earth. They might, after further work, serve as a tool for eruption forecasting at Mt. Ruapehu or elsewhere. It is therefore proposed that changes in anisotropy around other volcanoes be investigated.

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  • Caring for People with Mental Health Problems Who Present at the Emergency Department: a Nurse Educator's Journey

    Thompson, Charlotte (2005)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    The New Zealand Emergency Department (ED) nurse is faced daily with the challenge of caring for patients of all ages with a wide variety of presenting complaints. Courses are available for ED specialty work such as trauma and paediatric assessment. However, as this thesis argues, it is difficult to access updated and ongoing education in relation to caring for people with mental health problems who present to the Emergency Department. In addition to this education deficit are the challenges of providing care in an overcrowded ED environment. Such factors contribute to a perceived lack of confidence and sometimes ambivalence or frustration on the part of nursing staff in caring for this group. This may result in an inconsistent standard of care for the the person with a mental health problem unless such issues are addressed. The aim of this research paper was to explore the education needs of ED nurses when caring for people with mental health problems. A literature review was undertaken to investigate the broad education strategies available to overcome these challenges. Diverse approaches were identified such as workshops, clinical guidelines, and mental health consultation-liaison roles. Research was also identified that examined ED nursing attitudes and their learning needs in relation to mental health. This paper concludes with a discussion of recommendations for the New Zealand setting with the intention of developing a more confident and competent nursing workforce, who are better prepared to care for the person with a mental health problem.

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  • Cosmological Milestones and Gravastars - Topics in General Relativity

    Cattoen, Celine (2005)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    In this thesis, we consider two different problems relevant to general relativity. Over the last few years, opinions on physically relevant singularities occurring in FRW cosmologies have considerably changed. We present an extensive catalogue of such cosmological milestones using generalized power series both at the kinematical and dynamical level. We define the notion of “scale factor singularity” and explore its relation to polynomial and differential curvature singularities. We also extract dynamical information using the Friedmann equations and derive necessary and sufficient conditions for the existence of cosmological milestones such as big bangs, big crunches, big rips, sudden singularities and extremality events. Specifically, we provide a complete characterization of cosmological milestones for which the dominant energy condition is satisfied. The second problem looks at one of the very small number of serious alternatives to the usual concept of an astrophysical black hole, that is, the gravastar model developed by Mazur and Mottola. By considering a generalized class of similar models with continuous pressure (no infinitesimally thin shells) and negative central pressure, we demonstrate that gravastars cannot be perfect fluid spheres: anisotropc pressures are unavoidable. We provide bounds on the necessary anisotropic pressure and show that these transverse stresses that support a gravastar permit a higher compactness than is given by the Buchdahl–Bondi bound for perfect fluid stars. We also comment on the qualitative features of the equation of state that such gravastar-like objects without any horizon must have.

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