88,788 results

  • Life history variation and diet preference in non-diadromous Otago galaxiids

    Morrison, Scott (2016)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Life history theory states that selection acts upon individuals to produce optimal reproductive success, through maximising number of recruited offspring. Selection pressures vary across different environments and subsequently produce a wide variation in optimal life history, resulting in variation of life history traits. Previous research has identified that life history variation can occur across large scale latitudinal and elevational gradients and between small scale allopatric populations. Research concerning the diets and life history variation at early life stages, particularly in fish, is severely limited. This thesis investigates the importance of diets and resource availability on the observed life history variation between four species of the ‘Galaxias vulgaris complex’; G. anomalus, G. eldoni, G. depressiceps and G. pullus across an altitude gradient and between life history categories at the larval life stage. Diet analyses displayed that Chironomidae were the most prevalent food item, which accounted for 62% of the observed diet contents, followed by Copepoda (20%) and Algae (8%). Chironomidae commonly dominate small freshwater fish diets, and as predicted, larval galaxiid populations displayed a correlation between larval galaxiid length and prey item size, as expected in gape-size limited fish. Additionally, species was observed to be a much poorer predictor of prey item length than either larval length or site. Galaxiids also displayed higher selectivity when exposed to extreme resource abundance. However, there were no significant trends observed between galaxiid diets and elevation or life history categories. Conversely, invertebrate communities displayed significantly greater diversity at fast life history populations than intermediate life history populations. Additionally, diets consistently displayed significantly lower diversity than their respective invertebrate community. This research highlights the importance of investigating multiple selection pressures when attempting to discern causal effects of life history variation. It is likely that, while resource abundance is important in defining life history, other selection pressures, such as disturbance and predation may be acting as stronger selection pressures upon populations of larval galaxiids.

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  • How do empowerment and self-determination affect national health outcomes?

    Garces-Ozanne, Arlene; Kalu, Edna Ikechi; Audas, Richard (2016-10)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    There remains a persistent gap in health outcomes between wealthy and poor countries. Basic measures such as life expectancy, infant and child mortality remain divergent, with preventable deaths being unacceptably high, despite significant efforts to reduce these disparities. We examine the impact of empowerment, measured by Freedom House’s ratings of country’s political and civil rights freedom, while controlling for per capita GDP, secondary school enrollment and income inequality, on national health outcomes. Using data from 1970-2013 across 149 countries, our results suggest, quite strongly, that higher levels of empowerment have a significant positive association with life expectancy, particularly for females, and lower rates of infant and child mortality. Our results point to the need for efforts to stimulate economic growth be accompanied with reforms to increase the levels of empowerment through increased political and economic freedom.

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  • Behind the front desk: A Critical Discourse Analysis of the talk of General Practice Receptionists about health inequities

    Manhire-Heath, Rowan Kathleen (2016)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    General Practice Receptionists (GPRs) are an under-researched and undervalued group of healthcare workers, both in Aotearoa/New Zealand and internationally, evidenced by the limited data on—and research involving—GPRs. As such, their influence on a patient’s experience within the primary healthcare system is unknown. This research explores the discursive patterns of a small group of GPRs within the Wellington region of Aotearoa/New Zealand to discover how GPRs talk about—and represent—health disparities. Eight in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted, guided by Social Constructionism, Decolonising Theory and Kaupapa Māori research principles. Through a Critical Discourse Analysis of the interview transcripts, three reoccurring patterns of discourses emerged that may have implications for the way Māori patients are viewed and treated. These were: discourses about the social determinants of health; discourses about Māori culture and behaviour; and discourses of egalitarianism. These findings suggest the impact of limited training opportunities for GPRs and highlight the need for anti-racism education to be accessible and formally embedded for this group of frontline health workers. Better recognition of the role GPRs play in the quality of a patient’s health journey is needed and further research into the implications of these findings is recommended.

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  • Mycorrhizal status of rushes and sedges in New Zealand

    Powell, Conway Ll. (1973)

    Post-doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    1. 18% of rush and sedge field samples were infected with endomycorrhizal fungi. 2. In pot experiments, rushes and sedges remained nonmycorrhizal in soils of Truog P ≤ 3.6 1 μg /ml, despite inoculation with rush and sedge mycorrhizas from the field and with known endogonaceous symbionts. 3. In poor soils, rushes and sedges made growth comparable with that of mycorrhizal Leptospermum scoparium and outgrew mycorrhizal Poa colensoi and achieved shoot P concentrations comparable to those which decreased mycorrhizal infection in Leptospermum and Poa. 4. Rushes and sedges achieved extensive root absorbing surface through a combination of high root productivity, large root length/root weight ratio, and long and persistent root hairs. 5. It is suggested that failure to form mycorrhizas is due to rapid P uptake by the extensive root absorbing surface resulting in high plant P concentrations early in seedling growth, inhibitory to mycorrhizal fungi.

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  • The reason place matters: Climate change and community relocation in Fiji and Papua New Guinea

    Gharbaoui, Dalila; Blocher, Julia (2016)

    Reports
    University of Canterbury Library

    Retreating from coastal areas in response to changing environmental conditions has long been a part of Pacific Island communities’ traditional adaptive strategies, culture and practices. One can point to a number of cases of significant out-migration, as well as environmentally-induced partial and staggered community relocations, which are outside of “normal” migratory patterns. Furthermore, many traditional risk management and response strategies have been lost in the post-colonial era, due in part to today’s pre-eminence of “modern” strategies. This loss also applies to strategies of risk-sharing with traditional trading and kinship partners, who are now found across artificial international borders. It leaves exposed communities and specific vulnerable groups with fewer capacities to respond to extreme weather events and the (gradual but permanent and assured) loss of habitable land (as in the case of low-lying atolls and volcanic eruptions). The result may be the loss of shared social and cultural identities, spaces and meanings; the creation of a bifurcated, altered or hybrid identities. Those who migrate are often in tension with those who return to or remain anchored in the physical source of a shared heritage.

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  • Better water quality indicators for understanding microbial health risks.

    Devane, P. Megan L. (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    The aims of the research were to evaluate existing microbial water quality indicators, and refine and/or develop alternative, improved indicators for determining the source of faecal contamination in urban and rural surface waters. There has been concern that because E. coli is capable of long term persistence in the environment in temperate climates that it is no longer a valid frontline tool for water quality monitoring. This research explored urban (untreated human sewage) and rural (cow faeces) impacts on water quality, and investigated relationships between faecal source tracking (FST) markers, faecal ageing determinants, microbial indicators and pathogens. The variables measured were FST markers (quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR), and faecal steroids), the faecal ageing ratio of atypical colonies/total coliforms (AC/TC), and the indicator microorganism, Escherichia coli. In the urban river study, additional determinants were indicator microorganisms, Clostridium perfringens and F-RNA phage; potential pathogens belonging to the genera of Campylobacter, Giardia and Cryptosporidium, and the FST marker, fluorescent whitening agents (FWA). In the urban study, a river had been impacted by major discharges of untreated human sewage. Variables were monitored in the river water and underlying sediment at three locations both during discharge, and up to eighteen months post-discharge. Relationships between E. coli and potential pathogens in water demonstrated that E. coli was a reliable indicator of public health risk. As a signal of a recent human faecal input, F-RNA phage were identified as suitable, cost-effective indicators to be measured in conjunction with E. coli. In contrast, the ubiquitous C. perfringens was observed to accumulate in sediments, confounding its ability as an indicator in water. PCR markers and faecal steroids in water were similar and even superior to E. coli as predictors of protozoan pathogen presence, and hence indicative of human health risk. The faecal ageing ratio, AC/TC in water, was significantly, negatively correlated with increasing pathogen detection. Campylobacter had the weakest associations with all microbial and FST indicators. It was observed, however, that where elevated E. coli levels were detected in water, identification of the HumM3 PCR marker in conjunction with F-RNA phage and a low AC/TC ratio <1.5 was indicative of fresh pollution and an associated health risk from Campylobacter. River sediments appeared to be a reservoir for steroids and FWA, Cryptosporidium and Giardia but not Campylobacter or F-RNA phage. FST PCR markers were not assayed in the sediments. There was no relationship observed between chemical FST markers in sediments and the overlying water, and few correlations between chemical FST markers and target microorganisms in sediment. In the rural study, the decomposition of cowpats was investigated to determine the mobilisation rates of water quality determinants when irrigated and non-irrigated cowpats were subjected to simulated flood and rainfall runoff events. It was observed that decomposing cowpats harboured concentrations of E. coli, which were available for mobilisation after flood and rainfall events for at least five and a half months post-deposition under flood conditions, and for at least two and a half months after lighter rainfall. Persistent levels of total coliforms in ageing cowpats showed that AC/TC ratios would indicate fresh sources of faecal contamination in a waterway after flood conditions up to four months post-deposition. An amplicon–based metagenomic study of the ageing cowpat investigated shifts in microbial populations as the cowpat decomposed. Major bacterial community shifts were observed over 161 days in the mobilised fraction from decomposing cowpats. Dominant bacteria that inhabited the cow rumen and fresh faeces, such as a Ruminococcus species, were displaced by bacterial groups that could be utilised as potential PCR targets of aged bovine faecal sources. Faecal steroid ratios were observed to be reliable and stable FST markers during the ageing process. The PCR marker ratio of BacR/TotalBac (ruminant (BacR)/Total Bacteroidetes) has potential as an indicator of 100% contribution from fresh bovine sources. Recommendations for water managers are outlined for the cost-effective application of FST tools based on findings from this current research. The differential fate and transport of microbial and FST markers noted in this research supported the use of multiple lines of evidence through application of a cohort of indicators for tracking the source(s) of faecal contamination and indicating the associated public health risk. In the urban river study, strong to moderate correlations between PCR and steroid markers suggested they could be used individually or combined for greater confidence in the result. Some of the FST host-associated PCR markers (HumM3 and CowM2) were shown to be useful indicators of recent faecal inputs to a waterbody. The lack of correlation between chemical FST markers and microorganisms in sediment suggested that chemical markers in sediment were indicative of historical faecal sources, and restricted their predictive value for health risks. Due to the persistence of potential pathogens, re-suspension of sediment has the potential to increase risk to human health for those who participate in recreational and work activities in the river environment. It is suggested that where runoff from non-flood conditions may confound water quality monitoring, application of the Bacteroidales host-associated PCR markers would be preferable to the more persistent E. coli. In addition, AC/TC testing should only be performed during baseflow conditions. The sequence information generated from the cowpat metagenomic study could be used for development of a metagenomic FST library of bacteria. Mobilisation rates of FST markers from cowpat runoff determined in this rural study can contribute to models designed to apportion contamination from agricultural sources.

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  • Coming to terms with the disenchantment of the world: the extent and limit of immanent numinosity in the poetry of Wallace Stevens.

    Rowe, Tam John (2016)

    Masters thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    The following thesis does not pretend to arrive at a definitive conception of what literary modernism was, or for that matter is, in the rigorous sense required of a taxonomist. Attempts to define or classify modernism have been fraught with contradictions and counter-examples too numerous to be resolved within the limited scope of the present thesis. Suffice it to say, I am in agreement with Peter Nicholls, who insists that it is more sensible to speak pluralistically of ‘modernisms’.1 I would, indeed, prefer to avoid using the term altogether, were it not for the fact that the inspiration for this thesis stems, as will be shortly seen, from Gabriel Josipovici’s endearingly eccentric study Whatever Happened to Modernism?. My preference is for the term ‘modern’, which, as solid an arbitration as any, I would align with the period concurrent with the establishment of what we commonly refer to as the language of ‘modern English’, taking in as it does the rise of Renaissance humanism and the Enlightenment, historical developments that are integral to the position my thesis wishes to advance. Nonetheless, I will seek recourse to the use of the term ‘modernist’, simply to distinguish, as per convention, a period in literary history spanning the close of the nineteenth century through to the mid-twentieth, while reserving the right to bracket out what does not immediately concern my thesis, namely a descriptive account of what exactly modernism qua modernism entails. Instead, the provenance of this thesis issues from the implications of Josipovici’s suggestion that modernism, which he dates from approximately 1850 to the mid-twentieth century, might be revealingly considered ‘a response…to that ‘disenchantment of the world’ to which cultural historians have long been drawing our attention’ (Josipovici, 2010, 11). This thesis will explore the implications of Josipovici’s suggestion specifically in relation to the work of the so-called ‘major’ modernist poet Wallace Stevens.

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  • The United Nations Security Council and the challenge of political neutrality.

    Roberts, Samantha (2016)

    Masters thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations (UN), an institution that was established to operate as an apolitical, administrative body that would, above all other obligations, maintain international peace and security. This thesis will primarily focus on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which has been given the supreme power to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression” and may also “take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security.” The permanent members of the UNSC, who individually each enjoy the power to veto decisions made by the Council, are: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States (P5). There are also ten non-permanent members of the UNSC, who are elected for a rotational two-year term from the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which comprises all 193 member states of the UN.

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  • Aid and development policy: European Union vs. China

    Jiang, Xiqian (2016)

    Masters thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Aid, in a practical form, is an agreement between donor and recipient countries. Any bilateral or multilateral international Aid and Development agreement is based on the current analysis of immediate global affairs. Aid policy makers evaluate and decide on a framework that can underlie the continuous cooperation required to function any aid agreements effectively. The notion of “development”, by large, is taken as a process of social and economic changes that could improve people’s living standards.1 Aid is one of the methods used to achieve development and it is a voluntary transfer of resources from one party to another. In this thesis, policies that combine with the two above concepts of “aid” and “development” are named as the Aid and Development Policy (ADP). Different actors have diverse ADP interests, motivations, objectives, approaches and fears. In Chapter One, the historical progress of the EU and China’s ADP will be introduced; it will set the background for this thesis. Moreover, the methodology that used in this thesis will also be demonstrated here. In the history of Europe, particularly in the Mediaeval period, frequent diplomatic exchanges between two Princes often involved some forms of aid being delivered at the same time. Likewise, in the ancient Chinese history, such as the Tang dynasty, aid giving and receiving was commonly used as a diplomatic tool to achieve border security and integration. From the 1600s to mid-1900s, Europe dominated the role of contributing aid to the Third World as a result of de-colonisation. From the 1940s to the end of Cold War, Europe and China were in the process of recovering from the Wars, meanwhile, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in aid giving with strong political incentives. From the 1970s and onwards, China and other emerging economies started to play a role and changing the structure of the world ADP. In the 21st century, the EU, which is currently the largest aid donor, is a prominent actor in development issues; whereas China is a new comer in the international aid community, and its influence is growing rapidly. The EU and China’s ADPs have a long history of formation and a complex progress of development. Chapter Two will demonstrate and compare the EU and China’s ADPs in terms of institutional functionalities, because this reflects the major differences and similarities between the EU and China’s ADPs in principle. The ADP is often used as an instrument to achieve different goals, in particular, that of the aid donors’. This is endowed with a strategic character in the theories of International Relations (IR). Political scientists and philosophers expressed significant interests in the topic of aid and development, and often delivered in different contexts. Popular theories are used to explain different aid and development phenomena from time to time, and most of them come to a conclusion within the spectrum of IR theories. In Chapter Three, theories of Political Science, the IR, human nature, power politics and the game theory will be discussed in relation to the ADP. Some new thoughts on the theory of Prisoner’s Dilemma will also be introduced. Most importantly, developing and demonstrating a new direction for future studies of ADP. The current ADPs of the EU and China are shaped by three major historical periods, which concerns both political and economic factors. The first phrase is the Cold War period. The second phrase is the transitional period: for the EU, it is the European Enlargement; for China, it is the Reform and Open Door. The third period is the Globalisation era, which had the most recent impacts to the EU and China’s ADPs.

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  • Replaying the evolution of FMET : experimental evidence that translation initiation in bacteria was invaded by a selfish genetic element.

    Rickerby, Alannah M. (2016)

    Masters thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    The core machinery for protein synthesis is universal to cellular life. However, idiosyncrasies exist that differentiate the process of translation across the three domains (Archaea, Bacteria, Eukarya). One such example is found in bacteria, mitochondria and chloroplasts, where a formyl group is added to methionine prior to initiation of translation. Intriguingly, this formyl group is removed from the nascent polypeptide by peptide deformylase before protein production is complete, and appears to have no clear function. Despite this, formylation is essential to bacterial translation: interrupting formylation is deleterious. Such a well-conserved, and apparently deleterious, process would be expected to play an important role in bacterial translation initiation. Previous work in our group has indicated that formylation, and the removal of the formyl group by deformylation, likely evolved from an ancient, plasmid transmitted, toxin antitoxin system capable of post-segregational killing. These systems work by addicting cells to their presence; the toxin is more stable than the antitoxin, so if the gene pair is interrupted, the toxin is able to exert its lethal effects. A line devoid of the def-fmt gene pair was generated, and evolved in the absence of the genes for 1,500 generations. Despite suffering a large decrease in fitness, wildtype growth rates were observed after 1,500 generations, showing that bacteria are capable of wildtype growth in the absence of formylation. Further to this, when def-fmt is reintroduced on a plasmid, a PSK phenotype was observed, with cell death occurring upon interruption of the plasmid. We have now investigated the initial evolution of formylation in bacteria by reintroducing the def-fmt gene pair into a line evolved in its absence for 1,500 generations. A further 3,000-generation evolution experiment was performed with these lines. Our results indicate that an immediate reassertion of addiction has occurred. Once we reintroduce these genes into the genome, they immediately become addictive once again. We have been unable to knock-out these genes, and they also appear to out-compete cells which are not performing formylation. Whole genome sequencing has revealed a number of parallel compensatory mutations across the evolved lines, as well as a number of reversions of mutations previously observed in lines evolved in the absence of def-fmt. These results ultimately indicate that formylation evolved as a selfish genetic element, invading bacteria and persisting through addiction as opposed to any functional advantage.

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  • Analytical determination and biochemical effects of waterborne diclofenac exposure to the common bully ( Gobiomorphus cotidianus)

    Regan, Kerri-Anne B. (2016)

    Masters thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Diclofenac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug used as a human pharmaceutical and a veterinary medicine has been identified as a priority emerging organic compound. Diclofenac has been detected within waterways globally at low ng-μg/L concentrations. While diclofenac has been shown to be toxic to aquatic organisms, there is currently a lack of data on the toxicity of diclofenac to endemic New Zealand fish species. A current limitation of ecotoxicity studies is the cost and workload associated with determining exposure concentrations. Cheap and robust alternative extraction methods need to be developed. This study developed a method of passive sampling using nylon filters to extract diclofenac from water samples. Extraction recoveries of diclofenac were concentration dependent and there was no effect of pH on recovery. Average recoveries for diclofenac for 0.05 and 500 μg/L were 103% and 58% respectively. The toxicity of diclofenac on the common bully was investigated in a concentration-dependent and a salinity dependent manner. Exposure concentrations for diclofenac were 0, 0.1, and 1000 μg/L and the salinities tested were 0, 6, and 20‰. The biochemical endpoints used for determination of toxicity were ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase, glutathione-S-transferase and protein carbonylation. Overall, there was no effect of diclofenac observed on the common bully.

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  • Proteins as bulding blocks for biological nanomaterials.

    Ashmead, Helen (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Within the field of nanoscience there is a growing interest in the use of biological molecules such as proteins, peptides and nucleic acids, to create materials with complex structure and function. These molecules self-assemble to form a huge variety of functional nanoscale structures in biological systems. Through the work of supramolecular chemistry there is now a greater understanding of how to control the assembly of molecules into functional entities. The aim of this thesis is to combine the fields of biology and supramolecular chemistry to increase the repertoire of available protein building blocks for use in bionanotechnology. Three proteins have been selected due to their ability to self assemble in nature, Lsr2, the Nterminal domain of Lsr2 (Nterm-Lsr2) and human peroxiredoxin 3 (H?Prx3). Lsr2 is a small DNA binding protein that has the innate ability to self-assemble in vivo via a number of routes. This makes it an ideal candidate as a biological building block for forming nanomaterials in vitro. The truncated version of Lsr2 (Nterm-Lsr2) oligomerises into linear chains via anti-parallel β-sheet formation between the extended N-termini of neighbouring dimers. This process was facilitated in vitro using low concentrations of trypsin which removed three N-terminal residues, Met¹, Ala² and Lys³, allowing an inter-dimer anti-parallel β-sheet to form. Using trypsin to initiate assembly led to unwanted proteolysis at additional lysine and arginine residues within the polypeptide chain. A novel and more controlled method of initiating assembly was developed by replacing three N-terminal residues with an enteropeptidase recognition site. Enteropeptidase cleaves specifically at Lys⁴ leaving an identical sequence to the native protein when treated with trypsin but without additional fractionation. This allows the formation of an ordered network of “spaghetti-like” fibres. The structures alternate between a tetramer and high molecular weight oligomers in response to variations in pH. Further control is exerted over the system by exploiting the open symmetry of the assemblies. Increasing and decreasing the protein tecton concentration leads to the formation of larger and smaller structures respectively. Wild type H?Prx3 has been shown to assemble into one dimensional tubes at acidic pH (pH 4.2). By incorporating the N-terminal histidine tag and linker sequence (H?Prx3-6his) into the current assembly system, a number of novel oligomerisation routes were developed. The presence of the tag and linker stabilises the dodecameric toroid leaving an ideal tecton from which higher ordered structures can form. The increased pH sensitivity of H?Prx3-6his allows the formation of tubes at pH 7.4. The size of the assembly was further controlled by small changes in pH, with the tube length increasing with decreasing pH values. It is proposed that electrostatic interactions at the ring interface are driving the assembly. Increasing the salt concentration, thereby disrupting these electrostatic interactions, caused the tubes to dissociate into single rings. Increasing the histidine content within the tag led to the formation of longer tubes, suggesting that the presence of the non-native histidine residues is the origin of the pH sensitivity. The metal-binding imidazole side groups of the histidine tag were also utilised to stabilise stacks of H?Prx3-6his through coordination to Ni²⁺. The switch from high molecular weight stacks to low molecular weight rings was achieved with the addition of chelating agents to the solution. Throughout this study, novel protein building blocks have been developed that assemble and disassemble in a controllable manner in response to variations in environmental conditions. The assembly system of an existing protein tecton (H?Prx3-WT) has been enhanced, creating a protein building block that associates within the physiological pH range. These new routes towards controlled protein oligomerisation could be utilised in future work to form protein nanomaterials for specific functions.

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  • Autobiographical memory and cognitive theory of mind in non-mild cognitive impairment Parkinson’s patients.

    Nicolson, Meisha Naomi (2016)

    Masters thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    The current study examined autobiographical memory and theory of mind (ToM), both of which are associated with overlapping subsystems in the default mode network, in a group of Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients who were characterised as not representing a stage of mild cognitive impairment, but at risk of future cognitive decline. The Autobiographical Memory Interview (AMI), which separately measures both personal episodic memory and personal semantic memory across the lifespan, was used for the first time in PD; a card sequencing task measured cognitive Theory of Mind (ToM) in these patients. Twenty non-MCI PD participants (18 above a threshold of 29% risk of future cognitive decline and 2 below this threshold) were compared with 15 healthy age and education matched controls (HC). PD participants showed significantly poorer personal episodic memory but unimpaired personal semantic memory, but neither measure was related to the cognitive risk score. Similarly their impaired ToM scores were unrelated to their risk scores. However, the Brief Visuospatial Memory Test showed a greater effect size than any other measures, and performance in the PD group was associated with the risk score, suggesting it may be a useful addition to improving a risk score in this patient group. Future research should examine these measures in larger sample sizes and in PD-MCI and PDD groups, and evaluate their MRI correlates. PD patients who do not meet criteria for PD-MCI nonetheless show a subtle range of cognitive changes, but only a subset may be useful predictors of significant decline in cognition.

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  • Exploring the use of strategies to support Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) to enhance engagement with adolescent males: one counsellor’s experience.

    Washington, Claire (2016)

    Masters thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    This thesis seeks to examine how young men, at a New Zealand single sex high school, engage with strategies and tools offered to support solution focused brief therapy (SFBT). A qualitative case study research approach is used. The context of this study is the counselling service of a high school where young men are aged between 13 and 18 years of age. These are often turbulent years for teenagers and high school presents its own challenges irrespective of those faced at home or in other contexts. The counselling they are offered uses a solution-focused approach where the purpose is to encourage clients to create their own preferred future and strategies for achieving this. The aim of this study is to help the young men engage and gain benefit from their counselling. Students were invited to volunteer to be part of this study. The four selected presented with reasons for coming to counselling similar to those of students typically seeking counselling (work/study and relationship issues). Each participant consented to engage in solution-focused counselling where the counsellor used a range of kinaesthetic and visual tools to assist in the counselling process. Counselling sessions were videoed and analysed with specific focus on client engagement. Four key findings emerged. Firstly, the use of SFBT tools and strategies produced increased verbal interaction (i.e. more talking); secondly a range of non-verbal expressions including changes in body language were displayed as signs of engagement; thirdly the clarification of goal/s through visual/practical scales evoked positive talk and ownership over the student’s future; and finally self-reflection by the researcher on the impact of each counselling session produced positive and improved outcomes on the researcher’s own counselling practice.

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  • Predicting the academic performance of international students on an ongoing basis

    Han, Binglan; Watts, Michael J. (2016-07)

    Conference paper
    Unitec

    The academic success of international students is crucial for many tertiary institutions. Early predictions of students’ learning outcomes allow for targeted support and therefore improved success rates. In this study, international students’ demographic information, past academic histories, weekly class attendance records, and assessment results in an ongoing course were used to develop models to predict student success and failure in the course on a weekly basis. The prediction models were produced with three decision tree classification algorithms: REPTree, J48 tree, and LMT on the data-mining platform WEKA. Of these, the LMT algorithm has the highest level of accuracy, but the REPTree and J48 models are simpler and easier to interpret. While the accuracies of all three models are above 75%, further research is needed to more accurately predict student failure at early stages.

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  • A student laptop roll-out for international information technology students

    Watts, Michael J.; Albakry, Kabas; Choe, Kar Wen; Han, Binglan; Hookings, Alistair; Fonua, Havea; Kumar, Rakesh; Ahmadi, Kourosh; Ketu'u, Sione (2016-07)

    Conference paper
    Unitec

    Adequate computing resources are essential to the effective teaching of Information Technology. There are several complicating factors when these resources are provided in the context of computer laboratories. These include the reliability of machines, consistency of software environments, and adequacy of hardware and the cost in both financial and human resources. We addressed these problems by progressively phasing out desktop computers in laboratories in favour of issuing laptops to IT students. These laptops were of a consistent specification and had a standard software environment. Practical problems encountered with this approach included procuring appropriate numbers of laptops in a timely manner, challenges with technical support and monitoring of students during practical tests and exams. Procedural problems included security of the laptops, handling returns and meeting student expectations. Each of these problems was solved and we succeeded in creating an efficient, cost-effective and flexible laptop-based environment. This created an improved teaching environment where student fees could be directed to other areas, where technical staff could focus on other issues, and students have greater flexibility in their work. We can therefore recommend a transition to laptop-based teaching for Information Technology students.

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  • Investigating the modulation of methylphenidate’s effects on impulsivity by fluoxetine

    Chittenden, Rosemary (2015)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    The co-prescribing of methylphenidate (MPH) and a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor for patients presenting co-morbidly with both attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and depression or anxiety is in some cases recommended. Little research has been conducted on the specific cognitive and behavioural outcomes of this. Studies with rats have shown that SSRI’s potentiate MPH-induced dopamine release in the pre-frontal cortex, hippocampus and nucleus accumbens, as well as enhancing MPH-induced hyper-locomotion (Borycz, Zapata, Quiroz, Volkow, & Ferré, 2008; Weikop, Yoshitake, & Kehr, 2007b). Impulsivity is a behavioural construct with dissociable sub-types, of which one, ‘action restraint’, has been consistently shown to be associated with increased dopamine activity in the mesolimbic system, including the nucleus accumbens. It was hypothesised that rats would make more ‘no-go’ errors in a Go/No-Go task, indicative of an increase in ‘action restraint’ type impulsivity, when co-administered fluoxetine (FLX) and MPH compared to either drug administered alone. Although this was not shown in the current study, tentative evidence was found to suggest that the combination of these drugs may negatively impact on attention, based on a decrease in ‘go’ accuracy. A second subtype of impulsivity, “action cancellation”, was tested using a new variant of the Stop-Signal Reaction Time (SSRT) task that we have developed for rats. Studies show that this subtype of impulsivity seems to be unaffected by changes in dopamine activity, but is improved by increases in norepinephrine. In the Weikop study mentioned above, the SSRI citalopram enhanced not only MPH-induced dopamine release, but also norepinephrine release in the nucleus accumbens. Thus it was hypothesised that FLX may potentiate MPH’s impulsivity-reducing effects as measured by stopping latency in the SSRT. We were not able to show this in the current study, however the demonstration that lower doses of MPH reduced stopping latency, consistent with previous versions of the SSRT, validated the new version developed for the current study. A final experiment revealed a rapid, short-term increase in locomotor activity when rats were co-administered FLX and MPH, an effect not present when either drug was administered singly. This synergistic effect replicates previous findings, and indicates a potentiation of dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens, as was found in previous studies. Although FLX was not found to moderate MPH’s effects on impulsivity in the current study, synergistic effects of the two drugs were effects were found on motor activity and potentially on attention also. This is an indication of the value of further research into specific behavioural and cognitive process that may be affected by co-administration of MPH and an SSRI.

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  • Larval culture and settlement of the intertidal gastropod Siphonaria australis

    Marinus, Stephanie (2016)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Laboratory rearing studies on the larvae of benthic marine invertebrates are important in providing information on the development of marine species, particularly those with complex life history cycles. Intertidal gastropods of the genus Siphonaria have been well studied in aspects of their physiology, behaviour, ecology, and reproduction. However, to our current knowledge, there are no cases on the successful laboratory rearing, from hatching through to metamorphosis, of larvae within this genus. Siphonariids are a primitive family of basommatophoran limpets in which the majority produce encapsulated embryos that hatch into feeding, planktonic veliger larvae. For such larvae, the quality and quantity of phytoplankton food can strongly affect larval growth, survival, and the ability to settle and metamorphose successfully. The primary aim of this study was to identify the optimal algal feeding diet for culturing the larvae of Siphonaria australis to competence in laboratory conditions, with a focus on algal composition and quantity. Once having defined the preferred feeding conditions, a secondary aim was to successfully culture larvae through to metamorphosis, by identifying the required settlement cue(s). First, I exposed newly hatched larvae to diets of three different algal compositions (all at a high concentration of 20,000 cells/mL): two unialgal diets of Isochrysis galbana and Pavlova lutheri, and a mixed diet consisting of a 1:1 ratio of both species. The results revealed that, although they grew in all diets, S. australis larvae exhibited highest growth and survival when fed the unialgal I.galbana diet. In a second experiment, I exposed newly hatched larvae to three different food concentrations of the unialgal I. galbana diet; low (1,000 cells/mL), medium (10,000 cells/mL) and high (20,000 cells/mL). Larval growth and survival were highest when fed a high food concentration, with development and survival severely reduced in low food treatments. At the end of this experiment it was discovered that once larvae grew to ~350µm in length, at an age of approximately one month post-hatching, they began to demonstrate signs of competence and growth rates plateaued. Finally, I exposed newly hatched larvae to optimum feeding conditions in an attempt to achieve larval settlement using different potential cues. Once larvae began to show signs of competence, they were exposed to five settlement cues: (1) live adults in filtered seawater (FSW), (2) adult-conditioned FSW, (3) rocks in adult-conditioned FSW, (4) rocks in regular FSW, and (5) crustose coralline algae-covered rocks in FSW. Larvae only successfully metamorphosed (i.e. exhibited loss of the larval velum) in treatments containing live adults. In total, my results provide a successful method in culturing Siphonaria australis larvae in laboratory conditions, as well as determines the cue required to induce settlement and metamorphosis. Not only can this method aid in providing more information on the development of this species, but it may also be applied to other members in this genus as well, and further our knowledge on the overall biology of Siphonariid limpets.

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  • The relationship between enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation and intellectual capital under the moderating effect of organizational learning capability

    Nguyen, Quang (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Although Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems alone are not the source of competitive advantage, they may do this indirectly through enhancing or supplementing the organization’s other strategic resources. Studies on ERP have not explicitly examined the interactions of ERP systems with other organizational capabilities to determine how investment in ERP systems can be leveraged into the creation of strategic resources of organizations. Further, ERP systems are large and complex, and the degree to which they are implemented throughout an organization can vary – this is described as the ERP scope. The scope of ERP implementation is believed to influence the degree of its effects on an organization. Relying on the literature on ERP effects, business value of information technology (IT) and the notion that organizations are learning systems which utilize their knowledge to create value and to accumulate further knowledge, this study examines the influence of the scope of ERP implementation on a strategic resource of organizations, namely intellectual capital, under the moderating effect of organizational learning capability. This study develops a research model to show the influence of the three dimensions of ERP implementation scope (breadth, depth, and magnitude) on intellectual capital and simultaneously the influence of organizational learning capability on these base relationships. The hypothesized relationships among variables are evaluated by a data set of 226 responses collected from manufacturing firms in Vietnam. With the support of SmartPLS version 2.0, the structural equation model is evaluated using the techniques of multiple regression analysis, and the moderation effects are analyzed using group comparison and product term approaches. The findings provide support for the hypotheses. The three dimensions of ERP implementation show a positive impact on intellectual capital. Organizational learning capability more or less moderates the relationship between ERP implementation scope and intellectual capital. As a result of the group comparison approach for moderation analysis, firms with a low level of learning capability are likely to have no effect of ERP implementation on intellectual capital. However, in the group with a high level of learning capability the breadth and magnitude of ERP implementation have a positive effect on intellectual capital. By using the product term approach, only the magnitude of ERP implementation shows an interaction effect with organizational learning capability on intellectual capital. The breadth and depth of ERP implementation appear to have minimal interaction with organizational learning capability. The results inform the literature on the business value of IT by demonstrating that an ERP system can become a strategic asset as its implementation has a positive effect on intellectual capital especially with the presence of a firm’s learning capability. Additionally, the research reveals another ERP effect (e.g. the effect on the intellectual capital of organizations) that complements the understanding of ERP effects that have been identified in prior studies. The findings practically contribute to managerial knowledge by showing that ERP implementation should not be considered in isolation, but rather organizations should build a substantial level of learning capability to fully obtain the positive effect of ERP implementation on intellectual capital.

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  • Feverish: Self-Induced Fever and the Creative Mind

    Fenster, Giovanna (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This thesis is a hybrid work that combines the critical and creative components of the Creative Writing PhD in a novel, Feverish. It includes notes, an afterword, and a full bibliography. Feverish is a novel narrated by Gigi, a writer who wishes to induce a fever in herself. The thesis aims to present more than a fictional account of a quest for fever. It aims, rather to travel with the mind of the protagonist. Gigi is not exclusively engaged in quest-related transactions in her present. Her interest in fever moves her to consider events from her past and her upbringing in Apartheid South Africa. It reminds her of a teenaged fascination with brain fever in Wuthering Heights. It prompts her to research fever-related aspects of psychiatric history and Jewish history. It drives her to research the law on consent to self-harm. As Gigi’s interest in fever leads her to these and other topics, so the thesis follows her, so the form adapts. In both its form and its content, Feverish presents a view into a mind. It provides glimpses of the events that shaped the mind. It describes where the mind goes when in the single-minded grip of a quasi-fever. The novel contains strands of theory, memoir, creative non-fiction, ficto-criticism. These different forms are layered upon each other. At times they make way for each other. At times they assert themselves over each other. In the notes at the end of the novel, the theoretical strand is at its most assertive. The notes present Gigi’s mind at its most critical, when it is directed at supporting the theoretical aspects of her quest. They support Gigi’s accounts of her research by providing additional information and citations. The narrative arc is provided by a chronological account of the days Gigi devotes to her fever quest. What follows here is a skeleton account of the novel. Feverish opens with a conversation between Gigi and a friend. This conversation spurs Gigi to explore brave artistic acts, and to the decision to induce a fever in herself. She remembers childhood holidays. Books, and in particular the nineteenth-century children’s literature that featured fever, are the focal point of these memories. Gigi recalls one particular holiday, taken at a time when a friend of hers, Simon, was just starting to show signs of mental illness. Gigi starts planning her fever. She writes a ‘fever manifesto’. But she worries her siblings will think her insane. She remembers Alberto, a schizophrenic patient of her father’s for whom recovery had, according to his parents, been foretold. Gigi’s husband, son and daughter are introduced. The family has a dinnertime discussion on bravery, anti-Semitism and terrorist attacks. Gigi starts researching fever. She imagines a conversation between her deceased father and Simon about Julius Wagner-Jauregg, a Nobel Prize-winning psychiatrist who induced malaria in patients suffering from neurosyphilis. Gigi’s father and Simon discuss an historic ‘showdown’ between Wagner-Jauregg and Freud. Gigi remembers Steve Biko’s death and her father’s aggressive response to a guest who supported Biko’s doctors. Gigi is distracted from her research into fever by her son, who is vacuuming his room. She tells him a friend of hers is thinking of inducing a fever in herself. He explains the difference between fever and hyperthermia. Gigi realises that, to induce true fever, she will have to become ill. This prompts memories of the meningitis her brother suffered from as a child. Gigi uses Fildes’s famous painting, The Doctor as the starting point in an argument for a universal desire to be watched over in illness. Gigi imagines a conversation she feels she ought to have had with her father, about (mental) illness in Wuthering Heights. They test the characters against each one’s ability to empathise with Catherine’s ‘brain fever’. Their discussion of Nelly’s status as servant prompts in Gigi the memory of a shameful childhood act. A visit from a friend from law school prompts Gigi to research the law that could impact on her quest. She reviews case law relating to consent to self-harm, personal autonomy, and the boundaries of criminal law. Her research is interrupted by domestic concerns: her cat kills an endangered bird; her son writes a fever-related essay for school; she accompanies a friend in looking for her errant daughter. At the end of the novel Gigi and her family confront a crisis. It becomes clear that Gigi is not the only family member unsettled by fever.

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