School of Environmental Studies Undergraduate Theses

Permanent URI for this collection

In ENSC 501 and 502, students work on their own independent research projects under the supervision of a faculty member in the School of Environmental Studies. In this course, students gain experience in the full range of activities involved in doing research, including project design, data analysis and interpretation, literature review, scientific writing, oral presentation and interactive collaboration with colleagues. Assessment is based in part on the submission and defense of a thesis.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 115
  • Item
    Climate Change Adaptation in the Thai Rice Sector: Why Social Context Matters
    (2023) Ethan Westbury
    Climate change has already caused significant problems in Thailand’s rice cultivation industry. These issues will only worsen as the effects of climate change intensify, threatening the country’s economy and food security. To address these challenges, the Thai government has proposed a wide range of technological and financial solutions. This thesis investigates the extent to which current and proposed climate adaptation measures address the heterogeneity of Thai rice farmers. Analysis of policy documents from the Thai government and NGOs reveals that proposed solutions cater to more affluent farmers with access to key agricultural inputs, neglecting the needs of smallholder farmers with no land and rising levels of debt. Such a narrow approach could lead to maladaptation and the exclusion of less privileged farmers. This study emphasizes the importance of explicitly considering farmers’social context when designing new solutions to ensure equitable outcomes for all Thai rice farmers.
  • Item
    A Review of the Enzymes Secreted from Fungi and Evaluation of their Range of Commercial Applications.
    (2022-04) Kereluik, Mckenzie
    The following report aims to demonstrate the significance of enzymes that are secreted from across all fungi. The enzymes under evaluation will be introduced and the importance of their environmental applications will be established. Then a survey will be produced to rank the enzymes in accordance to the taxonomically ordered fungi they are affiliated with. This survey will be discussed and referenced throughout the report to establish a relationship between phylogeny and societal applications. The enzymes will then be categorized based on their ability to be applied commercially as well as their methods of secretion, ability to be cultured, stability, pathogenic nature and potential for genetic modification. The purpose of identifying and evaluating these enzymes will be to gain a better understanding of their functions in modern biotechnology and how they can be used to help the environment. Then the results of the categorizations will be discussed and interpreted to draw conclusions regarding climate change applications. By combining biotechnological methods of research with environmental applications, this survey is presented in a way that is readily interpretable in guiding future scientific investigations.
  • Item
    Representativeness of Protected Areas in the Algonquin to Adirondacks Region: A Gap Analysis
    (2023-05-11) Johnston, Grace
    Protected area networks play an important role in the conservation of biodiversity. A useful approach for determining their suitability is assessing how represented certain ecosystem types are in these networks, in comparison to the region as a whole. Here, a gap analysis was performed to analyze representation of ecosystem types within protected areas of the Algonquin to Adirondacks region. ArcGIS Pro software was used to create a map of ecosystem types across the region based on land cover and topography. The composition of ecosystems contained within protected areas was then compared with the composition of the region as a whole. The results show certain ecosystem types as overrepresented in protected areas, while others are underrepresented, and that this varies by ecoregion. These findings have implications for how new protected areas should be established moving forward, with protected areas potentially needing to be modified to account for representation. The next step in this analysis would be the addition of current and future climate data, as climate change will very likely affect the composition of ecosystem types in protected areas.
  • Item
    Determining The Heat and Cold-Related Excess Morbidity in the Golden Horseshoe Region of Ontario
    (2023-04-17) McCallum, Aidan
    The objective of this study is to quantify the excess morbidity related to extreme heat and cold events in Ontario’s healthcare system. The aim is to develop a greater understanding of how the “ENVIRO” syndrome and other ailments that are monitored for aberrational activity within Acute Care Enhanced Surveillance (ACES) are influenced by extreme heat and cold events. This may allow for conclusions to be drawn regarding the excess population morbidity related to these events in Ontario. The specific research questions that will be addressed in this study are as follows: 1) During a heat or cold event, which of the 15 syndromes monitored for aberrational activity are elevated in addition to the established “ENVIRO” syndrome? 2) To give a proxy of excess morbidity across all health outcomes during a heat or cold event, what is the difference between the overall Emergency Department (ED) visit volume during a heat or cold event and the non-event baseline visit volume? This study aims to determine the relationship between extreme heat and cold events and visits to the ED, ultimately contributing to preparatory methods for these events and a reduction in morbidity. By determining the excess morbidity related to extreme heat and cold events, a more holistic approach to preparation and prevention is feasible within the Golden Horseshoe region of Ontario. As the climate changes, these studies must be conducted to determine the excess morbidity that the healthcare system will face due to extreme weather events as they become more frequent and unpredictable. Syndromic surveillance systems can be developed and improved based on the scientific findings of this study, enabling a more prepared public health response (CEC, 2017).
  • Item
    Roadmap to Brownfield Remediation for Urban Agriculture in Kingston, Ontario
    (2022-07) Kluck, Jessica
    As Canada continues to transition towards deindustrialisation, brownfields have become a problematic by-product that causes environmental and social issues within cities. Brownfields are especially prone to degrade communities in marginalized areas. The goal of this research is to determine the best practices for urban agriculture on brownfield sites in Kingston, Ontario. The City of Kingston currently has a Community Improvement Plan that outlines the policies and procedures in regard to brownfield remediation. Kingston has no urban agriculture on brownfield sites and there are gaps in the policies that guide the city on the most appropriate way to conduct a project like this on contaminated lands. This study was conducted by analyzing Ontario and Kingston government reports to determine the policies that regulate urban agriculture on brownfield sites. Case studies were selected to determine the best practices for urban agriculture in the Canadian context. The findings demonstrate that urban agriculture on brownfields is an integral component to Kingston Ontario sustainable growth. Whether the property is for mixed use such as housing and agriculture or solely agricultural, it promotes civic engagement and connects the community with the land and ecosystem.