3,308 results for University of Canterbury Library, Doctoral

  • Enhancing the performance of wastewater microalgae through chemical and physical modifications in High Rate Algal Ponds

    Sutherland, Donna Lee (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    High rate algal ponds (HRAPs) are an advanced pond that provide efficient and cost-effective wastewater treatment, as well as the ability to recover nutrients in the form of microalgal biomass. Microalgal photosynthesis, nutrient uptake and subsequent growth, coupled with aerobic bacteria degradation of organic compounds, are fundamental to the process of wastewater treatment in HRAPs, yet are often limited in these ponds and, in particular, microalgal photosynthesis is well below the reported theoretical maximum. Understanding how the physico-chemical environment affects microalgal performance is therefore critical to improved wastewater treatment and nutrient recovery, yet has been the subject to few studies to date. This research focused on the enhancement of microalgal photo-physiology, growth and nutrient removal efficiency (NRE) through modification to the physical and chemical environment in wastewater HRAPs. In this study, I first examined the seasonal dynamics of microalgal performance in full-scale wastewater HRAPs. While both retention-time corrected chlorophyll biomass and photosynthetic potential increased from winter to summer, the summer-time performance was considered to be constrained, as indicated by the decreased light absorption, light conversion efficiency and NRE. The physico-chemical environment in the full-scale HRAPs were characterised by high day-time pH, high light attenuation and long, straight channels with low turbulence. This led to questions regarding 1) effects of nutrient supply, in particular carbon and 2) the role of the HRAP light climate on microalgal performance. I addressed these questions using a series of experiments that involved either changing the nutrient concentration and its supply or by modifying the light environment, through changes in pond operational parameters including CO2 addition, influent dilution, pond depth, hydraulic retention time (HRT), mixing speed and frequency. The overall results from these experiments showed that carbon was the primary and light the secondary limiting factors of microalgal performance. These limitations negatively affected light absorption, photosynthesis, productivity and NRE. While each operational parameter tested impacted on microalgal performance, to some degree, CO2 addition had the greatest influence on light absorption, photosynthetic efficiency and productivity, while continuous mixing had the greatest effect on NRE. Adding CO2 increased light absorption by 110% and 128%, maximum rate of photosynthesis by 185% and 218% and microalgal biovolume by between 150 – 256% and 260 – 660% (species specific), when cultures were maintained at pH 8 and 6.5, respectively. Providing sufficient mixing to achieve continuous turbulence enhanced NRE by between 300 – 425% (species specific), increased biomass concentrations between 150% and 4000% (species specific) compared to intermittent and no mixing, respectively, and increased harvest-ability of colonial species. However, at present, both CO2 addition and mechanical mixing attract high capital and operational costs. Modification to these technologies would be required to meet the objectives of cost-effective wastewater treatment and biofuel production. A more immediate and cost-effective solution demonstrated in this study was the altering pond depth, influent concentration and HRT. Doubling pond depth from 200 to 400 mm increased both microalgal nutrient removal and photosynthetic efficiencies which led to areal productivity increasing by up to 200%. When increased pond depth was coupled with decreased HRT, light absorption and photosynthetic performance further increased due to decreased internal self-shading and improved pond light climate. For nutrients, high influent loads increased productivity, while moderate loads increased effluent water quality. Overall, this work demonstrated that optimising the chemical and physical environment of wastewater treatment HRAPs (CO2 addition to maintain pH at 6.5 – 7, 400 mm pond depth, continuous mixing with vertical speed of 200 mm s-1, moderate nutrient load (15- 30 g m-3) and moderate HRT (4 / 6 days summer / autumn) can enhance microalgal biomass productivity, nutrient recovery as well as improve effluent water quality, particularly during summer when growth can be constrained.

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  • Puna kōrero: iwi and schools working together to support Māori student success

    Rewai-Couch, Melanie R (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    This thesis explores the notion that iwi and schools working together can contribute to culturally responsive curriculum and schooling. It investigates how some schools have formed genuine education partnerships with iwi, and provides answers to the following question: in what ways are iwi and schools working together to support Māori students? An understanding of communities of practice, and what Māori student success looks like, are essential. Imperatives for education partnerships and the educational policy, and drivers for partnership are foundational in understanding and connecting collaboration between iwi and schools with the wider educational picture in Aotearoa New Zealand. In New Zealand, Māori are not as successful as their non-Māori peers. Approaches to achieving education equity, including collaboration with iwi and Māori, is important for informing education approaches and strategy. How those approaches are informed, developed and implemented is equally important in achieving models likely to positively affect Māori achievement in education. This is also important in ensuring that participation expectations of iwi are co-constructed, reasonable and appropriately resourced. The theoretical base of this study draws upon the literature review on collaboration between Māori/iwi and the New Zealand education system, as well as international literature on supporting Indigenous students, using a community of practice approach. The metaphor of ‘puna kōrero’ is used in this research, as an approach allowing for consideration of different sites of investigation using an organic, kaupapa (issue, topic) Māori perspective. The three puna kōrero explored are Te Kauhua: A Ministry of Education funded professional development programme for schools and iwi; iwi voices: six iwi education representatives speak about their experiences working with schools and advancing their iwi education aspirations; Wai Study Help: an English-literacy programme operating in a kura kaupapa Māori (Māori immersion schooling) setting that has partnerships with its local university and iwi. From these puna kōrero, implications for iwi, schools and the Ministry of Education are considered. iii Exploration of the three puna kōrero identified passionate leadership and purposeful membership, funding and resourcing, monitoring and defining success, whakawhanaungatanga (nurturing relationships with others) and involvement of whānau (family) as key themes. Motivations for schools and iwi to work together are explored, along with rationale for the Ministry of Education’s support of iwi-school communities of practice. A framework for iwi-school communities of practice is proposed, including recommendations for iwi, schools and the Ministry of Education.

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  • Scalable and adaptable security modelling and analysis.

    Hong, Jin Bum (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Modern networked systems are complex in such a way that assessing the security of them is a difficult task. Security models are widely used to analyse the security of these systems, which are capable of evaluating the complex relationship between network components. Security models can be generated by identifying vulnerabilities, threats (e.g., cyber attacks), network configurations, and reachability of network components. These network components are then combined into a single model to evaluate how an attacker may penetrate through the networked system. Further, countermeasures can be enforced to minimise cyber attacks based on security analysis. However, modern networked systems are becoming large sized and dynamic (e.g., Cloud Computing systems). As a result, existing security models suffer from scalability problem, where it becomes infeasible to use them for modern networked systems that contain hundreds and thousands of hosts and vulnerabilities. Moreover, the dynamic nature of modern networked systems requires a responsive update in the security model to monitor how these changes may affect the security, but there is a lack of capabilities to efficiently manage these changes with existing security models. In addition, existing security models do not provide functionalities to capture and analyse the security of unknown attacks, where the combined effects of both known and unknown attacks can create unforeseen attack scenarios that may not be detected or mitigated. Therefore, the three goals of this thesis are to (i) develop security modelling and analysis methods that can scale to a large number of network components and adapts to changes in the networked system; (ii) develop efficient security assessment methods to formulate countermeasures; and (iii) develop models and metrics to incorporate and assess the security of unknown attacks. A lifecycle of security models is introduced in this thesis to concisely describe performance and functionalities of modern security models. The five phases in the lifecycle of security models are: (1) Preprocessing, (2) Generation, (3) Representation, (4) Evaluation, and (5) Modification. To achieve goal (i), a hierarchical security model is developed to reduce the computational costs of assessing the security while maintaining all security information, where each layer captures different security information. Then, a comparative analysis is presented to show the scalability and adaptability of security models. The complexity analysis showed that the hierarchical security model has better or equivalent complexities in all phases of the lifecycle in comparison to existing security models, while the performance analysis showed that in fact it is much more scalable in practical network scenarios. To achieve goal (ii), security assessment methods based on importance measures are developed. Network centrality measures are used to identify important hosts in the networked systems, and security metrics are used to identify important vulnerabilities in the host. Also, new network centrality measures are developed to improvise the lack of accuracy of existing network centrality measures when the attack scenarios consist of attackers located inside the networked system. Important hosts and vulnerabilities are identified using efficient algorithms with a polynomial time complexity, and the accuracy of these algorithms are shown as nearly equivalent to the naive method through experiments, which has an exponential complexity. To achieve goal (iii), unknown attacks are incorporated into the hierarchical security model and the combined effects of both known and unknown attacks are analysed. Algorithms taking into account all possible attack scenarios associated with unknown attacks are used to identify significant hosts and vulnerabilities. Approximation algorithms based on dynamic programming and greedy algorithms are also developed to improve the performance. Mitigation strategies to minimise the effects of unknown attacks are formulated on the basis of significant hosts and vulnerabilities identified in the analysis. Results show that mitigation strategies formulated on the basis of significant hosts and vulnerabilities can significantly reduce the system risk in comparison to randomly applying mitigations. In summary, the contributions of this thesis are: (1) the development and evaluation of the hierarchical security model to enhance the scalability and adaptability of security modelling and analysis; (2) a comparative analysis of security models taking into account scalability and adaptability; (3) the development of security assessment methods based on importance measures to identify important hosts and vulnerabilities in the networked system and evaluating their efficiencies in terms of accuracies and performances; and (4) the development of security analysis taking into account unknown attacks, which consists of evaluating the combined effects of both known and unknown attacks.

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  • The regulation of 3-deoxy-D-arabino-heptulosonate 7 phosphate synthase from Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

    Blackmore, Nicola Jean (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Allosteric regulation of important enzymes is a mechanism frequently employed by organisms to exert control over their metabolism. The shikimate pathway is ultimately responsible for the biosynthesis of the aromatic amino acids in plants, microorganisms and apicomplexans. Two enzymes of the pathway, 3-deoxy-D-arabino-heptulosonate 7-phosphate synthase (DAH7PS) and chorismate mutase (CM) are located at critical positions along the aromatic amino acid biosynthetic pathway and are often tightly feedback regulated in order to control the flux of metabolites through the pathway. This research presents studies on the allosteric function of these two enzymes. These studies emphasise the complexity of the intersecting network of allosteric response, which alters the catalytic activity of each enzyme in response to metabolic demand for the aromatic amino acids.

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  • Climate Variability: changing weather patterns over New Zealand

    Parsons, Simon (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    The original intention of this thesis was to investigate Climate Change (CC), in particular the meteorological impacts of CC on New Zealand (NZ). Succinctly, “to understand what NZ’s future weather may entail”. However, as the research progressed it has led to the larger circulation and has highlighted the teleconnections that are present and the importance of the wider circulation and to NZ . It is apparent that the larger scale circulation needs to be considered in conjunction with, if not before, the synoptic scale. Thus, in order to understand NZ’s future weather first we must understand the Southern Hemisphere and the circulation within it. CC is often described in a broad global scale and it is difficult to translate and relate these mechanisms into day to day weather terms, which have the advantage of being commonly understood. Synoptic Climatology (SC) can bridge this gap by simplifying the wide variety of weather into a small grouping of types, and thus can provide an understandable alternative. To undertake this research an existing SC scheme known as the Kidson Types (KTs) was extended with the use of General Circulation Model (GCM) output. The KTs have been widely used in NZ, thus work detailing their future would be advantageous. The GCMs were able to reproduce the observed frequencies of occurrence of the KTs during the late 20th century. Future projections for the late 21st century surprisingly showed little change in annual type frequencies. To investigate this further a sensitivity study was undertaken, which revealed that the methodology was insensitive to annual type frequency change. The range of response from the GCM projections also inhibited determining significant changes in KT frequencies. Additionally, trend analysis using four realisations from one GCM noted both positive and negative trends in some of the types. This also highlights the difficulty in using GCM output, as a larger ensemble can diffuse results and in a small ensemble individual GCMs can unduly bias the results. Further scrutiny of the KT was then undertaken. An investigation of the KTs to ascertain their influence in the wider circulation using the ERA Interim (ERA-I) reanalysis and trends within the KT using a long term reanalysis data set, the Twentieth Century Reanalysis (20CR). Due to the high year to year variability in the KTs, significant trends were only determined in the 20CR with a reduction in the Zonal Regime representing the occurrence of strong westerly flows over NZ. A composite analysis was also undertaken to evaluate the KTs within the Southern Hemisphere (SH). A positive pressure anomaly was detected far from the Kidson domain, which is defined over NZ, during the SW type. This motivated another study on SH Blocking. Blocking is a large scale phenomena that can influence the paths of synoptic systems and thus potentially cause or exacerbate adverse weather events. Blocking is an area of climate research that requires further work, as there is a deficit of GCM studies in the SH. This study utilised a Persistent Positive Anomaly (PPA) methodology which is advantageous as the spatial pattern, latitude and longitude, of the Blocking Events (BEs) is determined. To our knowledge, this is the first study to use GCM output using the PPA methodology in the SH and this is also the first blocking study using Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project (CMIP)5 GCM output in the SH. A reduction of BEs was observed over the South Pacific Ocean (SPO) region during summer and spring, in the GCM projections between 2041-2070 and 2071- 2100. The Southern Annular Mode (SAM) has been suggested as an influence on blocking frequency in previous work and this relationship was studied. A high negative correlation between SAM + and BEs was observed in summer with the reanalysis and GCM historical output. This correlation was reduced in 21st century. However, further work is needed in this study in order to gain an understanding of the mechanisms and linkages between SAM and the BEs.

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  • Education and the boarding school novel : examining the work of José Régio

    Santos, Filipe D. Saavedra (2014)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    This thesis is centred on the work of Portuguese writer José Régio (1901-1969). He was a teacher-writer and, arguably, the most philosophical of Portuguese school novel authors. In his novel ‘A Drop of Blood’ (1945), Régio shows interest in the formation of the artist as the special object of education – the ‘marked man’ –, whose sensitivity distances him irremediably from the crowd. He adopted the radical individualism of Nietzsche not in order to be ‘for’ or ‘against’ this or that schooling model but to exemplify the perpetual clash, inherent in mankind, between the individual and the group, the artist and the non-artistic person, the young and the adult, the son and the father and the self and the world. Published Proquest ebook version: http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/canterbury/detail.action?docID=4799556 (UC Staff and Student use only)

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  • A multi-criteria approach to the evaluation of food safety interventions.

    Dunn, Alexander Hiram (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    New Zealand faces a range of food safety hazards. Microbial hazards alone were estimated to cause over 2,000 years of lost healthy life in 2011 (Cressey, 2012) and $62m in medical costs and lost productivity in 2009 (Gadiel & Abelson, 2010). Chemical hazards are thought to be well managed through existing controls (Vannoort & Thomson, 2009) whereas microbial hazards are considered harder to control, primarily due to their ability to reproduce along the food production chain. Microbial hazards are thought to cause the majority of acute foodborne gastroenteritis. This research reviewed food safety literature and official documentation, and conducted 55 interviews, mostly with food safety experts from different stakeholder groups, to examine the food safety decision-making environment in New Zealand. This research explores the concept of the ‘stakeholder’ in the context of food safety decision-making and proposes an inclusive ‘stakeholder’ definition as any group which is able to affect, or be affected by, the decision-making process. Utilising this definition, and guided by interviews, New Zealand stakeholders in food safety decision-making were identified and classified as follows: •Regulators •Public health authorities •Food safety scientists/academics •Consumers •Māori •Food Businesses (further classified as): o Farmers o Processors o Food retailers o Exporters Interviews with stakeholders from these groups highlighted twelve criteria as being relevant to multiple groups during food safety intervention evaluation: •Effectiveness •Financial cost •Market Access •Consumer Perceptions •Ease of Implementation •Quality or Suitability •Quality of Science •Equity of Costs •Equity of Benefits •Workplace Safety •Cultural Impact •Animal Welfare There are a number of different ways to measure or assess performance on these criteria. Some are able to be quantitatively measured, while others may require the use of value judgements. This thesis used the Disability-Adjusted Life Year (DALY) metric for quantifying effectiveness during the testing of different MCDA models. This thesis reviews the MCDA process and the food safety specific MCDA literature. There are different ways of conducting MCDA. In particular, there are a large number of models available for the aggregation phase; the process of converting model inputs, in the form of criteria scores and weights, into model recommendations. This thesis has described and reviewed the main classes of model. The literature review and interview process guided the construction and testing of three classes of MCDA model; the Weighted Sum, Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and PROMETHEE models. These models were selected due to their having different characteristics and degrees of complexity, as well as their popularity in the food safety and Health Technology Assessment (HTA) literature. Models were tested on the problem of selecting the most appropriate intervention to address the historic Campylobacter in poultry problem in New Zealand during the mid-2000s. Experimentation was conducted on these models to explore how different configurations utilise data and produce model outputs. This experimentation included: •Varying the format of input data •Exploring the effects of including/excluding criteria •Methods for sensitivity analysis •Exploring how data inputs and outputs can be elicited and presented using visual tools • Creating and using hybrid MCDA models The results of this testing are a key output of this thesis and provide insight into how such models might be used in food safety decision-making. The conclusions reached throughout this research phase can be classified into one of two broad groups: •Those relating to MCDA as a holistic process/methodology for decision-making •Those relating to the specific models and mathematical procedures for generating numerical inputs and outputs This thesis demonstrates that food-safety decision-making is a true multi-criteria, multi-stakeholder problem. The different stakeholders in food-safety decision-making do not always agree on the value and importance of the attributes used to evaluate competing intervention schemes. MCDA is well suited to cope with such complexity as it provides a structured methodology for the systematic and explicit identification, recording and aggregation of qualitative and quantitative information, gathered from a number of different sources, with the output able to serve as a basis for decision-making. The MCDA models studied in this thesis range from models that are simple and quick to construct and use, to more time consuming models with sophisticated algorithms. The type of model used for MCDA, the way these models are configured and the way inputs are generated or elicited can have a significant impact on the results of an analysis. This thesis has identified a number of key methodological considerations for those looking to employ one of the many available MCDA models. These considerations include: •Whether a model can accommodate the type and format of input data •The desired degree of compensation between criteria (i.e. full, partial or no compensation) •Whether the goal of an analysis is the identification of a ‘best’ option(s), or the facilitation of discussion, and communication of data •The degree of transparency required from a model and whether an easily understood audit trail is desired/required •The desired output of a model (e.g. complete or partial ranking). This thesis has also identified a number of practical considerations when selecting which model to use in food safety decision-making. These include: •The amount of time and energy required of stakeholders in the generation of data inputs (elicitation burden) •The degree of training required for participants •How data inputs are to be elicited and aggregated in different group decision-making environments •The availability of MCDA software for assisting an analysis Considering the above points will assist users in selecting a suitable MCDA model that meets their requirements and constraints. This thesis provides original and practical knowledge to assist groups or individuals looking to employ MCDA in the context of food-safety intervention decision-making. This research could also serve as a guide for those looking to evaluate a different selection of MCDA models.

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  • Morphosyntactic development of typically- and atypically-developing Bangla-speaking children.

    Sultana, Asifa (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Aims: Verb morphology, arguably, is identified as an area of exceptional challenge for the language development of both young typically-developing children, and children with language difficulties (Leonard, 2014a; Rice & Wexler, 2001). The developmental patterns of verb acquisition are found to be strongly governed by the typological properties of the ambient language; often language errors found in fusional languages (e.g. English and German) are significantly different from those found in agglutinative languages (e.g. Turkish and Tamil) (cf. Phillips, 2010). Therefore, the purpose of the study was to explore the developmental trends in the acquisition of verb morphology in Bangla, a language with agglutinative features. The first objective was to examine the morphosyntactic development of typically-developing (TD) Bangla-speaking children with regard to three verb forms, namely the Present Simple, the Present Progressive and the Past Progressive. A second objective was to examine the development of the three verb forms among a group of children with language impairment (LI). Rationale: Since Bangla is spoken by a large population, the acquisition data of Bangla represents a significant number of people, and the findings from the acquisition studies, when considered for intervention purposes, serve a considerably large population. Also, given that the normative data of language acquisition is unavailable for Bangla which leads to the absence of a language-specific assessment and intervention for LI children, the present study is expected to have importance for Bangla-speaking contexts. Method: Before the main study commenced, a pilot study was conducted with 19 Bangla-speaking TD children aged between two and four (years) in order to explore the developmental characteristics of the verb forms and to evaluate the research instruments identified for the actual study. The main study included 70 TD children between 1;11 and 4;3 years who were recruited from six daycare centres of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The children participated in three elicitation tasks, each to elicit one verb form, and a 20-minute play session that yielded a spontaneous language sample from each child. The researcher scored children’s performances on the three tasks, and transcribed the language samples using transcription software (Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts). The elicitation tasks were used to determine children’s mastery of the forms, whereas the language samples were used to calculate a set of language measures associated with morphological development. The study also included a group of nine children with LI between 3;11 and 9;4 years who participated in the same set of tasks as the TD children. These children were recruited from a special school in Dhaka. Findings: The results revealed that, for both TD and LI children, the Present Simple form was acquired with highest accuracy which was followed by the scores in the Present Progressive and the Past Progressive forms respectively. The error patterns indicated a qualitative progress even in children’s errors, which was consistent with the accuracy rates of the target forms. Based on the TD children’s performance on the three tasks, a developmental sequence for the three Bangla verb forms was proposed. Results also identified that Mean length of Utterance (MLU) did not have stronger associations with the tasks scores than did Age. Among the determinants tested, Bound Morpheme Type (BMT) was identified to have the strongest associations with the task scores. Analyses of the data from the LI children revealed a significant difference between the TD and the LI children on all three tasks and the other language measures. When compared against the proposed developmental stages, the children within the LI group were found to different in terms of their morphosyntactic capacities. A sub-group of LI children also did not conform to any stages of typical development. Conclusions: Results of the present study offer directions for future investigations in a wide range of areas of Bangla morphosyntax that need to be examined with both TD and LI children. Moreover, factors associated with language development that the present study did not examine (e.g. the role of input) also need to be addressed in future studies. Above all, there is a strong need for ongoing investigations in order to identify a comprehensive picture of morphosyntactic development of Bangla-speaking TD children, which can then lead to the assessment of a range of language impairments in Bangla.

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  • A spatial analysis of dengue fever and an analysis of dengue control strategies in Jeddah City, Saudi Arabia

    Alkhaldy, Ibrahim (2014)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Dengue fever poses a constant serious risk and continues to be a major public health threat in Saudi Arabia, particularly in the city of Jeddah where, since 2006, despite formally introduced Control Strategies, there has been a significant increase in the number of cases. International literature suggests that a range of variables can influence the persistence of dengue, including climatic conditions, the quality of the urban environment, socioeconomic status and control strategies. The overall aims of this research are to understand neighbourhood influences on the pattern of dengue fever across Jeddah City and to make a preliminary determination of the enabling factors for, and barriers to, the effective implementation of the Control Strategies for dengue fever in Jeddah City. A mixed methods research design using quantitative and qualitative data was used. Quantitative data were obtained from administrative sources for dengue fever cases and some of the spatial and temporal variables associated with them, but new variables were created for neighbourhood status and the presence of surface water. Qualitative data are drawn from key informant interviews with 15 people who were, or who had been, working on dengue fever Control Strategies. A qualitative descriptive analysis was based on pre- determined and emergent themes. The spatial and temporal analysis of the variables related to dengue fever in Jeddah City neighbourhoods revealed that neighbourhood status has a direct relationship with dengue fever cases, which is mediated through population density and the presence of non- Saudi immigrants. While there was no relationship with the presence of swamps, seasonal variations in the incidence of dengue were most pronounced in neighbourhoods of low socioeconomic status. The qualitative review of dengue Control Strategies indicated five themes: (1) workforce characteristics and capability, (2) knowledge about dengue fever in Saudi Arabia and Jeddah City, (3) operational strategies for dengue fever control in Jeddah City, (4) the progress of implementation, and (5) overall view of the Government strategies in Jeddah City. This analysis found that the Strategies were well regarded but that aspects of implementation were not always effective. Nevertheless, both quantitative and qualitative results showed the persistence dengue fever problems in Jeddah City neighbourhoods and suggested how cases might be controlled. The number of dengue fever cases in Jeddah City neighbourhoods could continue to rise if the direct and indirect variables affecting dengue fever at the neighbourhood level are not well controlled. Careful attention to the further monitoring of patterns of dengue and specific neighbourhood Control Strategies are recommended, and established Control Strategies need to be implemented as designed. Nonetheless, there is still a need to develop new approaches that can examine and address neighbourhood level issues of dengue fever control.

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  • The Influence of Music Congruence and Message Complexity on the Response of Consumers to Advertisements

    Seneviratne, Buddhakoralalage Leelanga Dananjaya (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    The overall aim of this study was to examine how the characteristics of two salient stimuli -music and message- of an audio advertisement influence the psychological state of consumers and how such a state subsequently determines their cognitive and affective responses to the advertisement. In achieving this aim, this study was guided by a combination of two cognitive resource utilisation theories, Limited Capacity Model of Motivated Mediated Message Processing (Lang, 2000) and Resource-Matching Hypothesis (Anand & Sternthal, 1989). In particular building upon inconsistency and load theories, this study proposed that certain stimulus characteristics prompted certain states of a consumer’s cognition. These two stimulus characteristics were the congruence of musical stimulus and the complexity of the message stimulus. The model then predicted the potential effect of these characteristics on certain psychological states (Psychological Discomfort and Cognitive Load) leading to affective (Attitude towards Advertisement) and cognitive (encoding, storage, and retention) responses. To empirically examine this model, an online experiment (using a 2 x 2 between-subject x 2 with-in subject mix design) was conducted, in which a mixed sample of 284 subjects was exposed to a set of audio advertisements especially designed for this study. Unfamiliar music in conjunction with a fictitious brand was used and the exposure level was maintained at low. ANCOVA, MANCOVA, two-stage hierarchical regression analysis, and Repeated-measures MANCOVA were administered to test the hypotheses presented in the conceptual model. Among major findings were that the multiple informational structures in a complex message positively influenced cognitive load, while congruent music was capable of attenuating the level of cognitive load. Incongruent music, on the other hand, was capable of generating a dissonance state experienced as psychological discomfort that in turn increased the level of cognitive load as a result of listener’s trying to resolve such a state. Both dissonance and cognitive load negatively influenced attitude towards advertisements, and the affect primacy of attitude formation appeared to be more applicable. Though high cognitive load clearly undermines encoding, storage, and retrieval processes, no evidence was found to support the Resource-matching Hypothesis. Furthermore, the findings suggested that the cognitive load offset by the congruent music would increase advertisement effectiveness by enabling its message to carry more information and by generating more favourable attitudes.

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  • Hydrodynamics and chemistry of silica scale formation in hydrogeothermal systems.

    Kokhanenko, Pavlo (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    The extraction of geothermal heat can cause precipitation of the minerals dissolved in geothermal fluid. Their deposition on the walls of wells and above-ground plant and in pores near reinjection wells, also known as mineral scaling, is one of the main obstacles to increasing the effectiveness of utilization of the limited geothermal resources. If not controlled properly it can result in accumulation of a significant amount of scale which obstructs pipes and reinjection wells and reduces the efficacy of heat exchangers. The most abundant mineral in geothermal fluid is silica and thus its precipitation can cause the highest scaling rate. While this dissertation is devoted to the study of silica scaling the results obtained may be applicable to other minerals with similar deposition mechanism. Oversaturated silica is known to precipitate from aqueous solution either by the direct chemisorption of single silicic acid molecules (monomers) or by forming colloidal particles suspended in the solution. These particles can subsequently be transported to, and attach onto, a wall. This process of colloidal silica deposition was previously recognised to cause much faster scaling than the direct deposition of silica monomers under typical geothermal plant conditions. While the chemical kinetics of silica polymerization and colloid formation are relatively well understood, transport of these colloids and their stability, which control their aggregation and attachment rates, on the other hand are not. Previous studies of the silica scaling process have identified prominent effects of geothermal brine hydrodynamics on the scaling rate. It was found to increase with the flow rate and particle size, thus suggesting the dominance of the advective (inertial) deposition of colloidal silica. However, this conclusion contradicted the present theory of particle transport in turbulent flows which argues the dominance of the diffusive transport for the relevant range of particle sizes (<1 μm). The development and continuing improvement of the anti-scaling measures required deeper understanding of the complex combination of the phenomena involved in the process of silica scaling. This was pursued in the present study using theoretical and experimental methods. First, the rate of colloidal silica transport from a turbulent flow onto the internal surface of a circular pipe, a cylinder and a flat plate were calculated using available analytical and numerical methods. The obtained theoretical transport rate was found to be about four orders of magnitude higher than the corresponding experimental scaling rate. The latter was determined in the previous studies to be 4.2·10-8 kg/s/m2 for silica colloids of 125 nm in diameter which corresponded to the dimensionless deposition velocity (the dimensionless deposition velocity is the scaling rate normalised by the particle mass concentration and friction velocity) of 1.2·10-6 for the dimensionless particle relaxation time of 2·10-4. Next, based on the standard DLVO theory of particle interactions and in the framework of the Smoluchowski approach the probability of colloidal silica particle attachment to a wall was found to be 10-6. Therefore, the theoretical scaling rate, calculated as a product of this probability and the above-mentioned transport rate was two orders of magnitude lower than the experimental scaling rate. This suggested that the implemented theoretical approach either underestimated particle transport rate or overestimated particle stability. Both possibilities are explored in this dissertation. In addition, the silica scaling rate was measured for a range of conditions: particle size from 20 to 60 nm, particle concentration 1600-10000 ppm, friction velocity from 0.09 to 0.18 m/s (Re = 9-50·103) and ionic strength from 30 to 80 mM, pH 8.1-9.5 and temperature from 25 to 44 °C. For this, laboratory experiments were designed and progressively modified in order to improve the repeatability of the results and to study the scaling process. In these experiments colloidal silica deposition onto the walls of mild steel pipe sections was studied with a recirculating flow rig with variable (but controllable) particle size, concentration, flow rate, pH and ionic strength of the solution. In addition, a parallel plate flow test section was designed and built which will provide better capabilities for the control over the hydrodynamic and test surface conditions in future experiments. The control over the chemical conditions was achieved by the use of the synthetic colloidal solutions. Two methods of their production – hydrolysis of either sodium metasilicate or active silicic acid – were employed. The influence of the synthesis conditions, ion content and pH on the long term behaviour of these colloidal solutions was investigated. The particle size data, obtained using dynamic light scattering (DLS) and verified by electron microscopy, was analysed and compared against the predictions of the current models of nanoparticle growth and stability. The kinetic aggregation was identified to be the dominant particle growth mechanism. Experimental data collected during the long-term observations of the particle growth allowed relationships between the aggregative stability and such parameters as the particle size, ion concentration and pH of the solution to be elucidated. In particular, the aggregative stability of 10-20 nm particles was found to be 108-1010 which is 7-9 orders of magnitude higher than the corresponding DLVO stability. It was also found to decrease with the increase of the particle size. This agreed with the theory of the colloid stabilization by steric interactions. Moreover, the model of the “gel” layer was used to explain the observed “anomalies” of the colloidal silica behaviour. The deposition experiments conducted with these synthetic colloidal solutions showed that the scaling rate increased with the particle size, flow rate and ionic strength (IS) of the solution. Thus, it was measured to be 9.7·10-9 kg/s/m2 for the 45 nm particles in a solution with IS = 0.05 M, which corresponded to the dimensionless deposition velocity of 6.6·10-8 for a dimensionless particle relaxation time of 2.2·10-6. The scaling rate was calculated for these conditions by multiplying the corresponding transport rate and the actual attachment probability determined as an inverse of the experimental stability. It was found to agree with the experimental value within an order of magnitude. In addition, the observed increase of the scaling rate with the increase of particle size was explained by the compensation of the decreased rate of the particle transport by faster decrease of actual particle stability (increase in attachment probability). Therefore the contradiction between the theory and the experiment was resolved for the particles of 20 to 60 nm in diameter. Moreover, the observations of the dimensions and distribution of the scale elements formed in some of the present experiments strongly suggested the significance of the advective (inertial) mechanism of particle deposition. This and comparative analysis of other experimental and theoretical data suggested that the present theory may underestimate the convective transport of the particles onto a rough wall. Therefore, the hypothesis of the parallel-to-wall advective deposition of the nanoparticles onto the roughness/scale elements (not accounted in the current theory) was proposed. The corresponding mass transfer problem was solved analytically using experimentally found dimensions of the scale elements. The additional transport was found to decrease the above-stated discrepancy between the theoretical and experimental scaling rate for large (125 nm) particles by one order of magnitude. The remaining difference of one order of magnitude was speculated to be due to the underestimation of these particles attachment probability derived with the standard DLVO theory. The actual aggregative stability of the silica colloids larger than 60 nm in diameter and for a wider range of IS values is of interest for future experimental studies. An improved understanding of the interrelation between the chemical and hydrodynamic phenomena in the process of silica scaling and its dominant mechanisms was achieved in this dissertation. This allowed optimization of the present anti-scaling practices aimed to minimize the negative effects of mineral scaling on the operation of geothermal power stations. Besides the practical recommendations, which may ultimately help to increase the efficiency of geothermal power stations, the results of the present study may be of value in the fields of mass transfer and colloid science.

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  • Development and optimization of an in vitro process for the production of Oryctes nudivirus in insect cell cultures

    Pushparajan, Charlotte (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    The coconut rhinoceros beetle, an economically important pest of coconut and oil palms, is effectively managed by application of its natural pathogen, the Oryctes nudivirus (OrNV), which act as a bioinsecticide. While this approach offers an environment-friendly alternative to chemical pesticides, the current method of production in infected larvae suffers from inconsistencies in virus productivity and purity. While the anchorage-dependent DSIR-HA-1179 insect cell line has been identified as a susceptible and permissive host for OrNV and therefore would be suitable for the in vitro mass production of the virus, no attempts have been made toward the mass production of the virus, because of the technological challenges that working with DSIR-HA-1179 cells represent. Thus, the main objective of this research was to develop processes for the in vitro production of OrNV in the DSIR-HA-1179 cell line. Knowledge of the growth kinetics and metabolic properties of the host cell line in a chosen culture medium, as well as the selection of an appropriate infection strategy, form the basis for the rational development of bioreactor-based virus production processes. However, characterization of these properties in the DSIR-HA-1179 cell line has been virtually precluded, due to its strongly adherent growth characteristics and the lack of a reliable method to accurately dissociate and count cells grown in monolayers. Using TrypLE™ Express enzyme, a technique allowing the precise counting of cells was developed. The cell line was adapted to grow in four serum-supplemented culture media: TC-100, IPL-41, Sf-900 II and Sf-900 III, which were then individually screened for cell growth and virus production in 25 cm2 attached T-flask cultures. TC-100 supplemented with 10% fetal bovine serum was chosen as a suitable culture medium, based on its capacity for achieving a high cell yield and OrNV production. The cell line metabolism was characterized with respect to nutrient consumption and metabolites production in this culture medium. Glucose, along with glutamine were found to be the nutrients that were consumed faster and to a greater extent, while other amino acids were not consumed to a significant degree. The production of metabolites was characterized by non-production of lactate and ammonia, and production of alanine, as a non-toxic alternative to ammonia. The influence of cell density (CD) at time of infection (TOI) and multiplicity of infection (MOI) on OrNV production was evaluated in T-flask cultures that were infected at different CDs at the TOI and a range of MOIs. The CD at TOI was found to significantly influence OrNV yields, while MOI influenced the dynamics of infection. The cell density effect was found to exist for the DSIR-HA-1179/OrNV system with the progressive decline in cell-specific yield beginning at low cell densities. It was found that in order to maximize OrNV volumetric yield, a combination of MOI and CD at TOI should be selected that allows to keep the maximum cell density reached by the infected culture within a range between 5.0 and 7.0 x 105 viable cells/ml. The roller bottle system was evaluated for its potential to scale-up DSIR-HA-1179 cell growth and OrNV production, and culture parameters were optimized for the improvement of cell and virus yields. An inoculum density of 3.3 x 105 cells/ml and culture volume of 60 ml resulted in the highest cell yield of 1.5 x 106 cells/ml, in 490 cm2 roller bottles. It was found that an optimal infection strategy for roller bottle cultures, which represented the most efficient use of viral inoculum, involved infecting cells at a density of 5.0 x 105 cells/ml and at a MOI of 1. The resulting OrNV volumetric yield of 2.5 x108 TCID50/ml, improved significantly the viral yields obtained in attached T-flask cultures infected under similar conditions (6.8 x 107 TCID50/ml). The microcarrier system was also evaluated for culturing DSIR-HA-1179 cells and producing OrNV in spinner flask bioreactors. Three types of microcarriers (Cytodex-1, Cytodex-3 and Cultispher-G microcarriers) were screened for their ability to support DSIR-HA-1179 growth. Cells attached to Cytodex-1 and 3, but failed to attach to Cultispher-G microcarriers. The final cell density reached in microcarrier culture was dependent on bead type and concentration, and the cell to bead ratio. At an optimal bead concentration of 1 mg/ml and cell to bead ratio of 30, cells grew to a maximum density of 1.7 x 106 cells/ml on Cytodex-1, but only to 1.3 x 106 cells/ml on Cytodex-3 microcarriers. Since it supported higher cell yields, Cytodex-1 was chosen to study the kinetics of OrNV production in this system. Microcarrier cultures infected at a cell density of 5.0 x 105 cells/ml and a MOI of 1, produced OrNV at 1.4 x 108 TCID50/ml, which was higher than the yield obtained in T-flask cultures infected under similar conditions. A framework of knowledge on the physiology, metabolism and growth kinetics of the DSIR-HA-1179 insect cell line has been developed in this thesis. In addition, the feasibility of using roller bottles and microcarrier systems for the in vitro production of the virus has been ascertained. It is envisaged that these findings will contribute to the future development of a large-scale industrial process for the production of the OrNV biopesticide.

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  • Gold-based Nanomaterials: Spectroscopy, Microscopy and Applications in Catalysis and Sensing

    Adnan, Rohul (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    The birth of nanotechnology era has revolutionized materials science, catalysis and field of optoelectronics. Novel and unique phenomena emerge when material dimensions are reduced to ultra-small size regime and enter nanometre (2-100 nm) realm. Such novel materials are expected to replace bulk materials, offering lower cost of manufacturing and enabling progress in many areas such as solar cell, drug delivery, quantum communication and computing, catalysis and sensing applications. With the progress in nanomaterial synthesis and fabrication, the need for the state-of-art characterization techniques became obvious; such techniques help to establish a complete understanding of the nature and interactions of nanosized materials. In this thesis, the first part focuses on the synthesis of gold and ruthenium clusters, namely Au8, Au9, Au101, Ru3, Ru4 and AuRu3, using the well-established synthetic protocols in the literature. Apart from the standard lab-based characterization techniques such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), UV-visible spectroscopy (UV-vis) and Fourier Transform Infra-red (FTIR), a less explored but useful technique far infra-red (far IR) spectroscopy, available at the Australian Synchrotron (AS), was employed to investigate the vibrational modes in these clusters. Peaks in the experimental far IR spectra were assigned unambiguously to specific vibrations by comparing with the ones generated via DFT calculations with the help of collaborators, group of Professor Gregory Metha, University of Adelaide. For the Au9 cluster, three significant gold core vibrations are observed at 157, 177 and 197 cm-1 in the experimental spectrum. In the case of the Ru3 cluster, only a single ruthenium core vibration is identified within the spectrum, at 150 cm-1 with the calculated force constant, k = 0.33 mdyne/Å. The Ru4 cluster exhibits two metal core vibrations at 153 and 170 cm-1 with force constants of 0.35 and 0.53 mdyne/Å, respectively. Substitution with a gold atom yielding a mixed metal AuRu3 cluster shifts the core transitions toward higher wavenumbers at 177 and 299 cm-1 with an increase in force constants to 0.37 and 1.65 mdyne/Å, respectively. This is attributed to the change in chemical composition and geometry of the metal cluster core. A combination of the DFT calculations and high quality synchrotron-based experimental measurements allowed the full assignment of the key transitions in these clusters. Next, these clusters were fabricated into heterogeneous catalysts by depositing on different metal oxide nanopowders. Synchrotron X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) studies were performed at the Australian Synchrotron and the Photon Factory synchrotron in Japan to investigate the electronic structure of Au8, Au9 and Au101 on TiO2 catalysts. The XPS analysis reveals that “as-deposited” Au8 and Au9 retain some un-aggregated clusters while Au101 show bulk-like gold. These findings are in line with TEM observations, where the aggregates (large particles, > 2 nm) of Au8, Au9 and Au101 are hardly seen under HRTEM. UV-visible diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (UV-vis DRS) studies show the absence of localised surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) peaks in these “as-deposited” clusters, suggesting they are below 2 nm in size. Importantly, the XAS spectrum of “as-deposited” Au9 clusters estimates that 60% of pure, un-aggregated Au9 clusters and 40% of bulk gold in the sample. Upon calcination under O2 and combined O2 and H2 (O2-H2), Au8, Au9 and Au101 clusters form larger nanoparticles (> 2 nm) with the appearance of LSPE peak in UV-vis DR spectra. In addition, majority of the phosphine ligands (that stabilise the gold core) dislodge and form phosphine oxide-like species by interacting with oxygen on the TiO2 surface. The third part focused on testing the catalytic performance of the supported Au8, Au9, Au101, Ru3, Ru4 and AuRu3 clusters on different TiO2, SiO2, ZnO and ZrO2 in benzyl alcohol oxidation. Au101-based catalysts display the highest catalytic activity with a turn-over frequency (TOF) up to 0.69 s-1. The high catalytic activity is attributed to the formation of large Au nanoparticles (> 2 nm) that coincides with the partial removal of capping ligands. Au8 and Au9 clusters which contain NO3- counter anions are found to be inactive in benzyl alcohol oxidation. Further work shows that the presence of NO3- species diminishes the catalytic activity. Monometallic ruthenium clusters, Ru3 and Ru4, are found to be inactive yet the bimetallic AuRu3 clusters are active in benzyl alcohol oxidation, suggesting the synergistic effect between ruthenium and gold metal. Investigation of catalytic testing parameters reveals that tuning selectivity of the product is possible through manipulating the reaction temperature. Finally, a joint experiment with Prof. Wojtek Wlodarski’s group at RMIT, Melbourne was undertaken to test the sensing ability of Au9 clusters for hydrogen detection. Au9 clusters were deposited onto radio-frequency (RF) sputtered WO3 films at two different concentrations; 0.01(S1) and 0.1(S2) mg/mL. It was found that the optimal temperatures for sensor S1 and S2 were 300 °C and 350 °C, respectively. The sensor with lower Au9 concentration (S1) displays a faster response and recovery time, and a higher sensitivity toward H2. HRTEM studies reveal that the sensor S1 contain a significant population of sub-5 nm Au nanoparticles which might be responsible for a faster rate of H2 adsorption and dissociation. The key finding in this study suggest that the addition of catalytic layer such as ultra-small Au9 clusters results in improved sensitivity and dynamic performance (response and recovery time) of H2 sensors. In summary, this thesis demonstrated that cluster-based nanomaterials have wide range of applications spanning from catalysis to sensing. Further improvements in material synthesis and use of multiple complimentary characterization techniques allowed better understanding of the nature of the key active species (metal nanoparticles) assisting design of catalysts and sensors with enhanced performance.

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  • Investigation and Prediction of the Sound Transmission Loss of Plywood Constructions

    Wareing, Robin Richard (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    The sound transmission loss of a range of plywood panels was measured to investigate the influence of the orthotropic stiffness of the plywood panels. The plywood panels were tested as single and also double leaf partitions, with a range of stud configurations. A new method was developed for predicting the sound transmission loss of single leaf partitions with both orthotropic and frequency dependent stiffness values. The sound transmission loss was evaluated for two significantly different sample sizes. The observed influence of the sample size on the measured sound transmission loss was profound. The construction of the partition was shown to significantly affect the influence of the sample size on the sound transmission loss. A qualitative analysis based on existing published research of the contributing factors is presented, and methods for adjusting the results for the small sample size for comparison with the large results were developed. The influence of a range of acoustic treatments of lightweight plywood partitions was investigated. The treatments involved internal viscoelastic materials and decoupled mass loaded barriers in various arrangements. The attachment between the treatment and the plywood panel was found to influence the sound transmission loss significantly. A prediction method based on published models was modified to allow the influence of the treatments to be included. Reasonable agreement was achieved between the predicted and measured results for a wide range of samples. A prediction method was developed that accounts for the influence of orthotropic, frequency dependent material parameters. This method utilised an adaptive, numerical integration method to solve an analytical formulation for the sound transmission loss. The influence of the finite sample size was accounted for using an expression for the finite panel radiation impedance. The finite panel radiation impedance was predicted analytically and an approximation was also presented. The presence of a significant source room niche was accounted for by applying an appropriate limit to the integration range of the angle of incidence. The prediction methods developed are compared with the measured transmission loss results from both the small and large test facilities. Good agreement was seen for some of the predicted results. Generally the agreement within the coincidence region was worse than for the rest of the transmission loss curve. The inclusion of orthotropic and frequency dependent stiffness values significantly improved the agreement within the coincidence region.

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  • A multi-modal device for application in microsleep detection

    Knopp, Simon James (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Microsleeps and other lapses of responsiveness can have severe, or even fatal, consequences for people who must maintain high levels of attention on monotonous tasks for long periods of time, e.g., commercial vehicle drivers, pilots, and air-traffic controllers. This thesis describes a head-mounted system which is the first prototype in the process of creating a system that can detect (and possibly predict) these lapses in real time. The system consists of a wearable device which captures multiple physiological signals from the wearer and an extensible software framework for imple- menting signal processing algorithms. Proof-of-concept algorithms are implemented and used to demonstrate that the system can detect simulated microsleeps in real time. The device has three sensing modalities in order to get a better estimate of the user's cognitive state than by any one alone. Firstly, it has 16 channels of EEG (8 currently in use) captured by 24-bit ADCs sampling at 250 Hz. The EEG is acquired by custom-built dry electrodes consisting of spring-loaded, gold-plated pins. Secondly, the device has a miniature video camera mounted below one eye, providing 320 x 240 px greyscale video of the eye at 60 fps. The camera module includes infrared illumination so that it can operate in the dark. Thirdly, the device has a six-axis IMU to measure the orientation and movement of the head. These sensors are connected to a Gumstix computer-on-module which transmits the captured data to a remote computer via Wi-Fi. The device has a battery life of about 7.4 h. In addition to this hardware, software to receive and analyse data from the head-mounted device was developed. The software is built around a signal processing pipeline that has been designed to encapsulate a wide variety of signal processing algorithms; feature extractors calculate salient properties of the input data and a classifier fuses these features to determine the user's cognitive state. A plug-in system is provided which allows users to write their own signal processing algorithms and to experiment with different combinations of feature extractors and classifiers. Because of this flexible modular design, the system could also be used for applications other than lapse detection‒any application which monitors EEG, eye video, and head movement can be implemented by writing appropriate signal processing plug-ins, e.g., augmented cognition or passive BCIs. The software also provides the ability to configure the device's hardware, to save data to disk, and to monitor the system in real time. Plug-ins can be implemented in C++ or Python. A series of validation tests were carried out to confirm that the system operates as intended. Most of the measured parameters were within the expected ranges: EEG amplifier noise = 0.14 μVRMS input-referred, EEG pass band = DC to 47 Hz, camera focus = 2.4 lp/mm at 40 mm, and total latency < 100 ms. Some parameters were worse than expected but still sufficient for effective operation: EEG amplifier CMRR ≥ 82 dB, EEG cross-talk = -17.4 dB, and IMU sampling rate = 10 Hz. The contact impedance of the dry electrodes, measured to be several hundred kilohms, was too high to obtain clean EEG. Three small-scale experiments were done to test the performance of the device in operation on people. The first two demonstrated that the pupil localization algorithm produces PERCLOS values close to those from a manually-rated gold standard and is robust to changes in ambient light levels, iris colour, and the presence of glasses. The final experiment demonstrated that the system is capable of capturing all three physiological signals, transmitting them to the remote computer in real time, extracting features from each signal, and classifying simulated microsleeps from the extracted features. However, this test was successful only when using conventional wet EEG electrodes instead of the dry electrodes built into the device; it will be necessary to find replacement dry electrodes for the device to be useful. The device and associated software form a platform which other researchers can use to develop algorithms for lapse detection. This platform provides data capture hardware and abstracts away the low-level software details so that other researchers are free to focus solely on developing signal processing techniques. In this way, we hope to enable progress towards a practical real-time, real-world lapse detection system.

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  • An Approach to Embedding ITSs into Existing Systems

    Amalathas, Sagaya Sabestinal (2012)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITSs) have proven their effectiveness in many domains, but very few attempts have been made to embed them with existing systems. This area of research has a lot of potential in providing life-long learning and work place training. This PhD project makes several significant contributions. This is the first attempt to embed a Constraint-Based Tutor (CBT) with an existing system, in order to investigate the benefits of providing on-the-job training. We also propose a framework for embedded ITSs, and develop DM-Tutor (Decision-Making Tutor) embedded with the MIS for palm oil. DM-Tutor is the first ITS for the domain of oil palm plantation decision making, and was developed in the ASPIRE authoring system. Our hypothesis was that DM-Tutor embedded with the MIS for palm oil would provide effective instruction and training for oil palm plantation decision making. We also wanted to investigate the role of feedback messages in helping to provide effective training.

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  • Safe, effective, and patient-specific glycaemic control in neonatal intensive care.

    Dickson, Jennifer Launa (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Very premature infants often experience high blood sugar levels as a result of incomplete metabolic development, illness, and stress. High blood sugar levels have been associated with a range of worsened outcomes and increased mortality, but debate exists as to whether high blood sugar levels are a cause of, or marker for, these worsened outcomes. Insulin can be used to lower blood sugar levels, but there is no standard protocol for its use in neonates, and the few clinical studies of insulin use in neonatal intensive care are relatively small and/or have resulted in high incidence of dangerously low blood sugar levels. Hence, there is a need for a safe and effective protocol for controlling blood sugar levels to a normal range in order that potential clinical benefits can be successfully studied in this clinical cohort. This thesis adapted a glucose-insulin model successfully used in adult intensive care for the unique physiology and situation of the very premature infant. The model aims to reflect known physiology. As such, sources and disposal of glucose and insulin within the body are examined using both published data and unique data sets from a study here in New Zealand. In addition, the absorption of glucose from milk feeds is examined. This glucose-insulin physiological model is then used alongside statistical forecasting to develop a protocol for selecting an appropriate insulin dose based on targeting of likely outcomes to a specified target normal range. The protocol is tested in silico using virtual trials, and then clinically implemented, with results showing improved performance over current clinical practice and other published studies. In particular, ~77% of blood glucose is observed within the specified target range across the cohort, and there has been no incidence of dangerously low blood glucose levels. This protocol is thus safe and effective, accounting for inter- and intra- patient variability, and thus enabling patient-specific care.

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  • Progesterone and the striatal 6-hydroxydopamine model of Parkinson’s disease

    Perry, James Colin (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder that is characterised by akinesia, muscular rigidity, and postural instability, due primarily to the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra and depletion of upstream dopamine in the striatum. Current dopaminergic treatments reduce motor symptoms, but have diminishing benefits as the disease progresses. Treatment with the neuroactive steroid natural progesterone (PROG) improves outcomes in many experimental models of brain injury due to its pleiotropic mechanisms of neuroprotection, many of which may also benefit PD. This thesis investigated the influence of PROG on motor impairments in the unilateral intrastriatal 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesion model of PD in rats. We established a PD-like impairment with a d-amphetamine induced rotation test at day 7 after large lesions and then administered PROG (4 mg/kg or 8 mg/kg) once daily for 7 days starting at day 8. Both PROG doses markedly improved the primary outcome measure, forelimb akinesia on the adjusting steps test, with improvement sustained for six weeks after treatment had stopped. In a second study the beneficial influence of PROG (8 mg/kg) on akinesia was replicated for rats with large lesions and was extended to rats with small lesions so that the latter rats were now similar to sham operated controls. We also found that PROG modestly improved postural instability of the ipsilateral forelimb on the postural instability test, and sensorimotor integration on the whisker test, but did not improve skilled reaching accuracy on a single-pellet reaching task, forelimb use asymmetry on the cylinder test, sensory neglect on the corridor test, or rotation bias after apomorphine. Furthermore, PROG did not change striatal tyrosine hydroxylase density when assessed in rats with large lesions. This study has provided the most thorough examination to date regarding PROG’s influence on motor skills in an animal model of PD. Furthermore, this study has produced novel evidence of the beneficial effects of PROG treatment on forelimb akinesia. These initial promising findings suggest that PROG is an effective therapy for akinesia and thus provides an impetus to further investigate PROG’s efficacy for the treatment of PD.

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  • Rubisco's chiropractor: a study of higher plant Rubisco activase

    Keown, Jeremy Russell (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Rubisco activase operates as the chaperone responsible for maintaining the catalytic competency of Ribulose 1,5-bisphophate carboxylase oxygenase (Rubisco) in plants. Rubisco is notoriously inefficient, rapidly self-inactivating under physiological conditions. Rubisco activase uses the power released from the hydrolysis of ATP to power a conformational change in Rubisco, reactivating it. Rubisco activase has been previously shown to form a large range of species in solution; however, little has been done to relate the size of oligomeric species and physiological activity. In this thesis data is presented from a range of biophysical techniques including analytical ultracentrifugation, static light scattering, and small angle X-ray scattering combined with activity assays to show a strong relationship between oligomeric state and activity. The results suggest that small oligomers comprising 2-4 subunits are sufficient to attain full specific activity, a highly unusual property for enzymes from the AAA+ family. Studies utilising a number of Rubisco activase variants enabled the determination of how Rubisco and Rubisco activase may interact within a plant cell. A detailed characterisation of the α-, β-, and a mixture of isoforms further broadened our knowledge on the oligomerisation of Rubisco activase. Of particular importance was the discovery of a thermally stable hexameric Rubisco activase variant. It is hoped that these findings may contribute to development of more heat tolerant Rubisco activase and lead research into more drought resilient crop plants.

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  • The Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1955-58 - How the crossing of Antarctica moved New Zealand to recognise its Antarctic heritage and take an equal place among Antarctic nations

    Hicks, Stephen Walter (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    The thesis analyses the expedition (TAE) led by Dr.Vivian Fuchs and Sir Edmund Hillary from three vantage points: 1)the years from 1948 to 1955 leading up to the expedition 2) the interaction between the IGY and the TAE projects and 3) the role of the US Navy as the expedition unfolded. The thesis also investigates key events including the purchase of the ship Endeavour from Britain, the competition for leadership of the UK and NZ parties, the 'dash to the Pole' by Hillary, and the search for base sites and routes to the Polar Plateau. The thesis contains an overview historical introduction, a comprehensive literature review as well as a broad-based set of conclusions.

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