Browsing by Type "Master Thesis"
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- PublicationAdvisory & KT tools and processes to support potato farmers and agronomists to assess their exposure to risk of cadmium(University College Dublin. School of Agriculture and Food Science, 2020)
;0000-0002-9164-8886Cadmium (Cd) is a heavy metal found in soils all around the globe. This toxic metal accumulates in crops grown for consumption and is capable of causing harm to human health if consumed in high enough concentrations. There are several regions in Europe and across the globe with elevated levels of soil cadmium from a variety of sources, and the source of this cadmium determines the type of mitigation strategies needed to decrease levels of Cd in the soil. The source may be anthropogenic from use of phosphatic fertilizers or industrial contamination or geogenic from the weathering of soil and bedrock. There are maximum permitted levels of cadmium allowed in produce, as set by the European Union. Currently, there are discussions taking place in regard to lowering those maximum levels, making compliance a certain risk amongst growers in one of the most productive horticultural areas of Ireland. A mixture of methods was used to examine knowledge and attitudes of potato growers and agronomists in counties Meath, Dublin, and Kildare in Ireland where there are established elevated levels of available soil cadmium. The overall purpose of this study was to future proof the potato industry against this risk and provide insight into the effectiveness of advisory and knowledge transfer (KT) communication on farmer attitudes, knowledge, and intention to implement, particularly when dealing with an uncertain and unwelcome risk. Thirty-nine (39) growers and seven agronomists took part in one-on-one interviews and surveys regarding awareness of heavy metal contamination and intentions to mitigate. Themes from the interviews were established and analyzed in NVIVO, while quantitative statistical analysis was performed for the 39 grower surveys and seven agronomist surveys in SPSS. Qualitative analysis of the 39 one-on-one grower interviews and quantitative analysis of the 39 grower surveys revealed a very low level of awareness around the Irish cadmium issue but a high level of intention to mitigate. Qualitative analysis of the seven agronomists and quantitative analysis of the seven agronomist surveys revealed a very high level of awareness and concern in regard to the cadmium issue with a low level of knowledge on possible mitigation strategies and low rate of advising clients with regard to same. This project has components dealing with themes of uncertainty, negative messages, and many others that are applicable to not only tillage but also dairy and drystock sectors. This research offers insights into understanding the best practice of communicating unpalatable messages to farmers in a way that allows them to see the best possible outcomes so that the message is at least somewhat welcomed, wanted, and accepted by the farmer. 137
- PublicationApplication of Clustering Techniquesfor Pre-Processing Spatio-Temporal Data(University College Dublin. School of Computer Science, 2020)Today, huge amounts of data are being collected with spatial and temporal components from sources such as meteorological, satellite imagery, etc. Efficient analysis of this type of data is therefore very challenging and becoming a massive economic need. The research area of spatio-temporal data mining, has emerged, where innovative compu- tational techniques are being applied to the analysis of these very large spatio-temporal databases. The size of these databases and the rate that they are being produced is a major limiting factor on performing on-time data analysis. Therefore, there is a need for efficient pre-processing techniques to prepare the data effectively before analysis. In this thesis, we present our data reduction framework for very large spatio-temporal data sets. This framework incorporates our data compression model, based on density- based clustering techniques, to reduce spatio-temporal data. We describe firstly each technique, and then we compare them in an analytical way. Furthermore, we evaluate our model on real world data sets.
- PublicationApplication of digital advisory tools and services within a farm advisory service context(University College Dublin. School of Agriculture and Food Science, 2022)Digital technologies are transforming the everyday lives and practices of many people across the globe, including how they operate in their working lives. This too has even translated to the practices of farm advisors and farm advisory services in how they deliver advice to their farmer clients. Digital skills are becoming an essential element of modern advisory practices and management as a growing amount of digital technologies and tools become available. While there is a wide variety of digital tools available to farm advisors, most of these are underutilised. As agriculture changes through digital disruption, farmers should have the appropriate support to allow them to adopt such technologies. Farm advisors play an essential role in providing this support and in motivating farmers to adopt digital tools. They are central in helping to bridge the digital divide experienced by farmers in adapting digital technologies; however, this digital divide is also apparent in farm advisory services. Therefore, focus must be given, first and foremost, to ensure that the farm advisory community are equipped to address this challenge and provide ongoing support to their clients. Hence, this research focused on identifying the main challenges and trends to embedding Digital Advisory Tools and Services (DATS) in farm advisory. This research is based on two multi-actor workshops and an online survey completed by 212 public (Teagasc) farm advisors. The workshops involved a broad group of actors who had a vested interest in and/or an in-depth experience in embedding DATS in Irish agriculture. Some of the key themes that emerged in these workshops were then incorporated as constructs into a modified behavioural model survey along with the main constructs from the Theory of Planned Behaviour (Ajzen, 1991) and The Technology Acceptance Model (Davis, 1989). The findings of the study uncovered some of the important characteristics of DATS to make them attractive to farm advisors to aid their uptake such as being simple, easy to use, accessible and trustworthy. Accessibility and the interoperability of DATS in being able to operate and exchange data was also seen as key. The study also uncovered factors that influence farm advisors’ behavioural intention and attitude towards the use of DATS. Attitude, perceived behavioural control and perceived usefulness were found to be important determinants of a farm advisors’ Behavioural intention to use DATS. Likewise perceived usefulness was found to positively influence farm advisors’ attitude towards DATS. Ultimately the study recognised that digital technologies are integral to farm advisors meeting the challenges of an increasingly complex advisory system and it is important that advisors have access to a continuous training programme to ensure they have a positive attitude and a high degree of self-confidence to use DATS in their work.
- Publication'Are we doing the right thing?' Moral Agency in Paediatric Healthcare: Healthcare professionals' actions in response to moral conflict, and the associated enablers, barriers and outcomes(University College Dublin. School of Philosophy, 2021)
;0000-0003-3111-0731Paediatric health care professionals (HCPs) may experience moral conflict if they are required to deliver care which is not aligned with their moral values. While much research has been conducted to understand the causes and effects of situations which cause moral conflict, how HCPs actually act in these situations has received scant research attention. This study addresses this gap. A qualitative research approach incorporating the Critical Incident Technique (CIT) was used to explore the actions of paediatric nurses and doctors when faced with moral conflicts, the enablers and barrier of these actions, and participants’ perceptions of the outcomes of their actions. Semi-structured interviews were held with a sample of nurses and doctors (n=19) from a large tertiary children’s hospital in Ireland. Data was analysed using a process of thematic analysis, underpinned by the traditions of CIT. Trustworthiness was enhanced through the provision of a clear audit trail and the use of participants’ voice throughout the findings. The participants’ experiences were reflected in ten overarching themes. The causes of moral conflict were captured in the three themes of Conflicts in decision-making, reconciling their Professional role Vs children’s outcomes and the equitable Use and Allocation of resources. Participants’ moral actions emerged as three themes which involved Questioning Decisions, Seeking alternative approaches and Advocating for the child and family. These actions reflected a preference for facilitating negotiation and consensus with the healthcare team and parents as a means of preventing decisional-conflict and achieving mutually acceptable outcomes. The findings challenge notions of powerlessness and adversarial nurse-doctor representations, and instead revealed participants’ strong sense of moral agency. The enablers and barriers of their moral agency were collectively reflected in the themes of Environment of care factors and Personal factors. Moral agency was enabled by participants’ experience and knowledge and working within positive and respectful professional relationships. In contrast, inexperience, hierarchical decision-making structures or apprehension about jeopardising professional relationships impeded moral agency. The outcomes of participants’ action emerged in two themes: Influencing the outcome for the child, family and professionals, which participants’ judged by the extent to which relationships with these parties were preserved and Influencing self which reflected how they themselves were influenced personally and professionally. The participants’ capacity to take moral action appears to have provided a mediating effect against the negative implications of moral conflicts and contributed to their moral resilience. These findings have implications for theory, practice and education, and support the argument that the exploration of moral conflicts and moral agency should extend beyond the existing focus on barriers to understanding how moral agency can be enabled. The narratives offer numerous suggestions for organisational and clinical processes, ethics supports and educational resources to develop HCPs’ ethical competence and create opportunities for them to collaboratively engage with moral issues. As paediatric healthcare will continue to be characterised by increasing medical and technological advancements, and influenced by wider socio-cultural factors, it is unlikely that the situations which generate moral conflict for HCPs will ever be eliminated. It is crucial therefore, that there is a commitment to establishing an ethical climate which nurtures the moral agency of HCPs, enabling them to positively and constructively engage with the moral issues they encounter in practice. 230
- PublicationAn assessment of commonage groups and the knowledge transfer needs of upland farmers(University College Dublin. School of Agriculture and Food Science, 2022)
;0000-0003-4384-4329Commonages represent ~7% of Agricultural land in Ireland. As predominantly high nature value areas these are of particular interest for preservation and restoration works to encourage biodiversity. However as commonly managed areas this presents a management issue as all parties commonly farming these lands need to work collectively together to make a positive environmental impact. The SUAS project brings together groups of farmers together on these commonages to discuss and address the issues as per each individual commonage. Together proposals are made to address the issues and produce results. In the pursuit of this collective action there is a potential hurdle in achieving harmonised collaboration due to the personal and cultural differences in participants. This study draws on the experiences of SUAS in order to determine key factors and lessons which aid and enhance the collaboration process so that future collaborative projects of a similar nature in Ireland or further afield can share in these lessons. As discovered from the study, key aspects to delivering successful collaboration include: (1) Farmer involvement in all aspects of the project from the beginning. (2) The input of an external facilitator and project manager with distinctly separate roles. (3) Project Manager traits including open and effective communication skills, facilitation and conflict resolution skills, locally knowledgeable, local to the vicinity, an effective and fair leader. Additionally, the study investigated knowledge transfer needs for the scale up of similar projects in Ireland. Lessons include: (1) Farmers require more upland specific research in order to address both production and environmental issues. (2) New information derived from this research is likely to be best received through traditional information sources such as newspapers as opposed to more innovative digital methods. (3) Farmers wish to have the development of future upland agri-environment schemes carried out in a manner that broadly resembles a locally led bottom up approach to their design and implementation. 57
- PublicationBest practices and competencies of agricultural advisors supporting Interactive Innovation(University College Dublin. School of Agriculture and Food Science, 2022)
;0000-0002-3405-1792Irish and European agriculture face significant challenges in terms of sustainability and food and nutrition security, which has been further challenged due to crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the escalating war in Ukraine. Making our food supply more sustainable brings about new challenges for actors in the food value chain. Innovation plays a key role in assisting actors in local systems to respond effectively to rapid changing environments. The EIP-AGRI recognises the key role agricultural advisors have in facilitating change through interactive innovation and therefore this new role requires an evolving set of competencies. This study examines the best practices and competencies of agricultural advisors assisting in interactive innovation. This research was conducted through the analysis of nine interactive innovation case studies from across Europe, and a survey of 56 respondents from agricultural extension managers across Europe. To add an Irish perspective a comparative analysis was conducted with the use of the current competency profile of Agricultural Development Officers (ADO) within Teagasc. Additionally, responses within the European survey of Teagasc managers were individually analysed to understand their current perspectives on what is required for interactive innovation. This was reinforced with the use of two semi-structured interviews of senior agricultural extension managers within Teagasc. On analysis of the data from the case studies and survey, an inventory of best practices and competencies contributing to successful interactive innovation was established. The study found that an extension organisation has a positive influence on the enabling environment of interactive innovation. The output of this research is a ‘Success Profile for Interactive Innovation’ which identifies the best practices, competencies and enabling environment for interactive innovation . As this is a relatively new and under researched area, these results offer a key foundation for the requirements of agricultural advisors in fostering interactive innovation. Through a comparative analysis of the success profile and the current competency profile of Teagasc ADO, similarities and differences were documented. Findings of these were reinforced by the key informant interviews, which show that despite some recent actions undertaken by the organisation, the awareness of the need for interactive innovation has not fully permeated the organisation. This is evidenced by the outdated competency profile for hiring, evaluation and promotion activities within the organisation. Organisational influences may affect the advancement of interactive innovation by agricultural advisors, and without actively encouraging these best practices and competencies they will continue to be undervalued within the organisation. 129
- PublicationComparison of Ti-6Al-4V and 316L Stainless Steel Diamond Lattice Structures Fabricated by Additive Manufacturing(University College Dublin. School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, 2022)
;0000-0001-7986-5151Laser Based Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) is an additive manufacturing process, which can be used for the manufacture of geometrically complex metallic structures. The focus of this thesis is to evaluate the properties of PBF-LB fabricated Ti-6Al-4V and 316L stainless steel lattice structures, obtained using multiple laser scanning strategies. Amongst the investigations carried out was to determine the effect of both strut diameter and overhang angle, two key lattice design parameters, on the lattice morphology and internal porosity. Ti-6Al-4V structures were manufactured using a point-based approach, in which laser parameters were varied in order to control strut diameter, 316L stainless steel structures were manufactured with a hatch and contour approach, in which strut diameter is varied via. CAD. Evaluation of the structures showed limitations of the minimum achievable overhang angle for both structures of approximately 20°. Porosity formation within the titanium alloy structures was found to be largely associated with keyholing defects, while stainless steel porosity was attributed to lack of fusion defects, both of which were attributed to the selected laser process parameters. In-process monitoring used in the manufacture of the titanium alloy struts, demonstrated that reduced optical emission intensities were obtained from melt pools, from which higher levels of strut failures occurred. A further study evaluated the morphological and compressive mechanical properties of diamond lattice structures fabricated from the titanium and stainless steel alloys. The diamond lattice structure was selected for its noted ease of manufacture and its application within the biomedical sector. Samples fabricated in titanium alloy were found to be of higher quality, with lower amounts of external particle adhesion and more cylindrical struts in comparison to the stainless-steel samples. Both titanium and stainless steel were found to have similar relative compressive strengths, while stainless steel samples were found to have higher relative elastic modulus. Despite the same lattice structures differences in failure modes between the two alloys were obtained. Titanium samples were found to deform in a brittle manner, showing failure through sudden rupture of struts along parallel planes, while stainless steel samples underwent ductile failure where struts and nodes were found to deform consistently without rupture. 261
- PublicationDesign considerations for a high power, medium frequency transformer for a DC-DC converter stage of a solid state transformer(University College Dublin. School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering , 2016)ii. ABSTRACTIn recent years, the solid state transformer concept has challenged the conventional low frequency transformer. The conventional transformer cannot store energy and its output is easily distorted as a result of perturbations at its input. In same manner, disturbances from the output unit such as harmonics along with reactive power, as well as load transients are reflected back to the input of the conventional transformer. The size of the low frequency transformer is significantly larger. The Solid state transformer challenges the traditional low frequency transformer in that it eradicates the aforementioned drawbacks and provides multifunctional features.In this thesis a reliable model to design and optimize a high power medium frequency transformer for a dc-dc converter that forms part of a solid state transformer is researched and established. The aim is to use this model to investigate how high can be the operating frequency for a medium frequency transformer to achieve maximum efficiency and minimum volume. The dc-dc converter consists of a transformer that provides isolation between a medium-voltage circuit and a low-voltage circuit in a distribution system, and power semiconductor devices. Transformer operation at medium frequency reduces size and volume due to the inverse relationship of transformer area product and frequency. However, at medium frequency, the transformer is less efficient as a result of increased losses due to skin and proximity effects and the temperature rise constraint. Unlike low power magnetic cores where there are standard sizes and dimensions, high power magnetic cores for medium frequency maybe designed depending on demand or in certain cases, using limited dimensional references. Thus, an optimised transformer design for high power medium frequency relies on how its dimensions are defined. The characteristics expected of a core material for high power medium frequency are that it should have a high saturation flux density; low core loss and the material should continuously operate at high temperatures. The findings revealed that the frequency can be as high as 10 kHz to achieve maximum efficiency and minimum volume. An optimum design depends upon the flux density, the winding current density, the numbers of primary turns, the operating frequency and the power level of the transformer. There is no point operating above 20 kHz as there is very little reduction in volume and the winding loss results to increased temperature and reduces the efficiency of the transformer.
- PublicationDevelopment of a Ransomware Investigation Playbook for the Financial Sector, in compliance with ISO/IEC 27043(University College Dublin. School of Computer Science, 2022)Within the field of digital forensics, incident response and investigation, many groups have developed and evolved their own methods and procedures for conducting investigations of incidents in the digital space, until the creation of ISO/IEC 27043 in 2015. This was an attempt to harmonise existing methods into a single model, however the Standard is intentionally generalist and non-industry specific. This is why we have developed an augmented version tailored for the financial services sector, in the hope that this will assist the reader in both comprehending and implementing ISO/IEC 27043 within their own organisation, thus increasing compliance. Specifically, we have developed and evaluated a playbook for ransomware incident investigation that is practical without sacrificing compliance.
- PublicationDistribution and prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu latu genospecies, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Babesia divergens in Irish questing nymphal ticks(University College Dublin. School of Veterinary Medicine, 2020)Ixodes ricinus is an important vector of various pathogens of medical and veterinary importance in western Europe, including bacteria, protozoa and viruses. In Ireland, there has never been a national survey of ticks or tick-borne diseases. I. ricinus is the only exophilic tick present on the island, and it is the primary vector of borreliosis, babesiosis, anaplasmosis and Louping ill. This study aimed to optimise molecular assays and employ them to investigate the distribution and prevalence of different Borrelia species, Babesia divergens and Anaplasma phagocytophilum in I. ricinus nymphs collected from woodland sites and farms throughout Ireland between 2017 and 2019. Chapter 1 summarised the most important tick species worldwide and in Ireland, their life cycle and the most important tick-borne diseases. It also describes the most recent molecular assays used to investigate tick-borne pathogens and microbiomes and discusses strategies used to control ticks and tick-borne diseases. Chapter 2 investigated the distribution and prevalence of different B. burgdorferi s.l. genospecies in Irish I. ricinus nymphs using TaqMan and nested PCRs. In agreement with previous reports from Ireland we found a higher prevalence of Borrelia spp in woodland sites compared to farms which may be due to higher numbers of potential reservoir hosts in the former. Chapter 3 investigated the distribution and prevalence of Babesia divergens and Anaplasma phagocytophilum using optimised molecular assays. The results also showed a higher prevalence of A. phagocytophilum in woodland ticks compared to those collected from farm sites. In contrast the prevalence of B. divergens was higher in ticks collected farms confirming that cattle are the primary hosts for B. divergens. It is suggested for future research to investigate the presence of other pathogens not included in this study and to examine the role of different potential reservoir hosts to get a better understanding of tick-borne pathogens and their enzootic cycles in Ireland.
- PublicationDogs, people, and deer in an urban park: female fallow deer (Dama dama) bed-site selection during the fawning season(University College Dublin. School of Biology and Environmental Science, 2020)Human population keeps growing at an unprecedented pace and so do the effects of the anthropogenic footprint on wildlife habitat. As a result, human-wildlife conflict in urban and semi-urban areas is an issue of increasing concern. Empirical data from wildlife research carried out in urban areas are key to understand the effect of human pressures on wildlife ecology and behaviour, and to inform future wildlife management decisions within human dominated landscapes. An empirical-driven management of wild animal populations is of vital importance for both human wellbeing and animal welfare. Animal welfare includes allowing animals to display natural behaviours, which is often significantly constrained within urban areas. Here, I gathered empirical data on the behaviour of fallow deer (Dama dama) mothers and their fawns during the fawning season in the largest urban park in Europe, Phoenix Park in Dublin, Ireland. The aim of this study was to understand how female deer and their fawns have adapted their behaviour during the birth period in an area dominated by people (over 10 million visitors per year in an area of 10km2) and their dogs. More in detail, I have collated data about 481 bedsites of 285 fawns during three consecutive fawning seasons, and modelled bedsite selection by fitting Resource Selection Functions (RSFs). In the first two to three weeks after birth, mothers leave their fawns alone hidden in the vegetation for several hours while they are grazing in the main pastures. Hiding is an anti-predator behaviour adopted by fawns to reduce predator pressure mainly from terrestrial predators such as the red fox. I found that, when choosing the bedsites where to give birth and leave fawns unattended, mothers significantly avoided hotspots of people presence, keeping a distance of at least 187.5m from them. In addition, bedsites were located away from roads (being rarely located within 50 meters from a road) and characterized by dense understory vegetation giving low visibility. For the first time, through the combination of bedsite data as well as observations of people and their dogs, I described bedsite selection at a resolution never attempted before, gathering empirical evidence on the features of bedsites selected by mothers to successfully give birth and protect their fawns during the first weeks of life. These data can be used by urban wildlife managers to protect fawning sites and alleviate human-wildlife conflict during this critical period of the deer annual biological cycle. Ensuring fawns’ wellbeing and survival in urban areas is fundamental for maintaining high welfare standards of urban wildlife through the implementation of good management practices.
- PublicationThe effect of a group motor skills programme on the participation and movement ability of children with developmental coordination disorderPurpose: This study aimed to investigate the levels of change in participation and movement ability in children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) following attendance at a community-based group motor skills intervention programme.Relevance: Children with DCD participate and enjoy active hobbies less than their peers (Jarus et al., 2011), and are at risk of overweight and obesity (Rivillis et al., 2011). DCD presents in 6% of school-aged children (American Psychiatric Association, 2000), who are frequently treated in community-based groups (Hung & Pang 2010). The effects of group motor skills interventions on participation are unknown.Participants: Thirty children aged 7-10 years with DCD, without other physical or intellectual impairment, suitable for group therapy, were recruited from the Health Service Executive (HSE) Dublin South West community area and the Adelaide and Meath Hospital, Tallaght. Ethical permission to undertake this study was gained from University College Dublin (UCD) and the Adelaide and Meath Hospital, Tallaght.Methods: Participants were randomly allocated into intervention (n=15) or control (n=15) groups and were assessed using the Children's Assessment of Participation and Enjoyment (CAPE) and the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (MABC). Intervention was a physiotherapist-led group motor skills programme, one hour weekly for 10 weeks.Analysis: SPSS was used to perform nonparametric testing for between-group (Mann-Whitney U) and within-group analysis (Wilcoxon-signed rank) following intervention. The study was sufficiently powered, with 26 children being required to demonstrate treatment effect.Results: Following intervention participation intensity improved significantly between groups (p=0.01), and remained significantly improved from baseline at 8 months post intervention (p=0.01) in the intervention group. Motor performance improved significantly between groups (p=0.01) and also remained significantly improved from baseline at 8 months post intervention in the intervention group (p=0.005).Conclusion: A specific 10 week group motor skills intervention improved participation and motor performance in children with DCD, with results maintained at 8 months.
- PublicationThe effect of artificial feeding on the antler size of male fallow deer (Dama dama)(University College Dublin. School of Biology and Environmental Science, 2022)Human encroachment into wildlife habitats is increasingly having an impact on shaping wildlife populations. The increased contact rates between humans and wildlife, also boosted by the rise of social media, has led to an increase in wildlife-human conflicts, including a rise in numbers of people intentionally feeding wild animals within human-dominated landscapes. These feeding practices, whenever they do not occur in a random fashion but rather target specific individuals, put wildlife populations at risk of artificial selection, although very little is known about the effects of these interactions on wildlife. Here, for the first time, we examine the implications that these interactions may have on the body condition in a charismatic population of fallow deer living on the edge of a metropolis, which experiences 10 million tourists a year. We combined unique behavioural observations of males interacting with and accepting food from humans with antler size data - a proxy for body condition - collected using non-invasive photogrammetry. We tested the hypothesis that males receiving supplementary food from humans are likely to gain an advantage over males avoiding human interactions when it comes to growing larger sexual secondary traits. We found that these feeding interactions are far more complex than predicted a priori. In areas of the park mainly used by female deer there is reduced male-male competition and it is mostly accessed by resident visitors who tend to provide food of higher quality (e.g. carrots, apples). The males interacting with and accepting food from humans in these areas were shown to gain an advantage in terms of enhanced antler size when compared to males living in the same areas and avoiding these interactions. The opposite trend was found in the male dominated area with significant male-male competition for food of lower quality (e.g. chocolate, crisps) provided mostly by international visitors. For the first time, this study shows the complex dynamics associated with artificial feeding and its potential effects on male antler size, a secondary sexual ornament for deer, which is linked to mating success. This study highlights the risk of artificial selection processes (only a subset of males receiving a benefit) and gathers empirical evidence which suggests avoiding any intentional feeding of wildlife as it can lead to effects never predicted before.
- PublicationThe effect of growth rate on production and reproduction in replacement dairy heifers in seasonally calving, pasture-based systems.(University College Dublin. School of Veterinary Medicine, 2021)
;0000-0002-6258-5097There is continued pressure on agricultural systems to become more environmentally and economically efficient. Meanwhile, modern pasture-based dairy systems have resulted in the selection of a dairy cow type, with management requirements, production goals and possibly even growth targets distinct from those of a cow in a confinement system. A 365-day calving interval is key to maintaining the seasonal nature of calving and hence maximising milk production from grazed grass. Maximising milk production from grazed grass begins with the achievement of an appropriate age at first calving, in which pre-breeding growth is an integral factor. However, to date much of the research into replacement dairy heifer growth has been carried out in confinement systems. The objectives of this thesis were to investigate the effect of pre-breeding growth rate on production and reproduction in dairy heifers in seasonally calving, pasture-based systems. In the first study, I analysed the effect of growth rate between birth and mating start date (MSD) on days between MSD and date of conception (days open). Using survival analysis, I found that increasing pre-breeding average daily weight gain (ADG) was associated with a reduction in days open. The predicted median days open for a heifer with a pre-breeding ADG of 0.40, 0.70, or 0.90kg/day were 27, 16 and 11 days, respectively. In the second study, I investigated the effect of growth rate on first lactation milk yield. Linear regression analysis demonstrated a quadratic relationship between ADG from birth to breeding and first lactation milk yield. Increasing ADG had a positive effect up to a maximum beneficial effect of 0.88kg/day, and a minor negative effect thereafter. Combining the findings of these two studies, while recognising their limitations, it was concluded that an overall birth to breeding ADG of 0.88kg/day will minimise days open while maximising first lactation milk yield. 132
- PublicationEffective teaching and learning strategies to enhance knowledge and understanding of sustainable farming amongst Teagasc full-time agricultural students(University College Dublin. School of Agriculture and Food Science, 2022)
;0000-0002-0393-0663A major challenge for farmers is to produce safe food in an environmentally sustainable manner. Thus, the agricultural education that farmers receive must reflect this challenge and must appropriately equip and prepare young farmers for their role as custodians of the landscape. In 2018, Teagasc published the ‘Teagasc Education Vision Report’ outlining the future education and training needs of the land sector. This report incorporated the views of key national and international educationalists and stakeholders. Included as one of the goals and recommendations of this report is to ‘Develop learners’ knowledge, skills and competence to meet the changing requirements of the 21st Century land sector occupations. Central to this is embedding sustainable farming knowledge and skillsets in future land sector curricula. The ability to farm sustainably is a key competency in the 21st Century, as the agri-food industry is faced with more environmental challenges than ever before. The aim of this study is to identify teaching and learning strategies that are most likely to; resonate with Teagasc full time agricultural students and advance their thinking, appreciation, and understanding of agri-environmental sustainability. This study employs a mixed methods approach, combining student and teacher surveys, key informative interviews with peer agricultural education institutions and a teacher focus group. The findings support the importance of practical delivery and hands on learning, with college farms playing a pivotal role in demonstrating sustainable farming practices. The findings support a holistic approach, where sustainable farming knowledge is integrated into every module completed by agricultural students, effectively conveying the message that as farmers, they are working with nature not against nature. This study also advances new information in the area of effective teaching and learning strategies to enhance knowledge and understanding of sustainable farming. 203
- PublicationThe effects of selected non-thermal interventions on various aspects of the hydrolysis of sodium caseinate by Protamex®In this thesis the potential applications of non-thermal technologies, including pulsed electric fields, low frequency ultrasound and high pressure, at various stages in the production process of protein hydrolysates were investigated. These technologies have the potential to induce structural changes at a molecular level to protein substrates.The first area investigated was the use of selected non-thermal technologies as pre-treatments for a caseinate substrate prior to enzyme hydrolysis. It has been shown by other authors that pulsed electric field, low frequency ultrasound and high pressure treatments can induce protein denaturation under specific settings and this may increase their susceptibility to subsequent hydrolysis. The pre-treatments of 10% (w/v) sodium caseinate employed were: pulsed electric field treatment of 34 kV cm-1 with a total specific energy of 276.81 kJ kg-1, low frequency ultrasound at a frequency of 20 kHz (amplitudes of 170 µm and 136 µm) and a high pressure treatment of 400 MPa, each applied for 30 minutes. The results from this investigation indicated that low frequency ultrasound applied for 30 minutes at an amplitude of 136 µm is the most promising pre-treatment as a ~33% reduction in the hydrolysis time was achieved, while all other pre-treatments investigated had, at best, a marginal effect on the hydrolysis rate.Low frequency ultrasound (24 kHz) was also applied during enzymatic hydrolysis of sodium caseinate to investigate if the cavitational effect could lead to increased mixing in the system, thus leading to an enhanced rate of hydrolysis. Amplitudes of 20, 40 and 60 µm were investigated with stirring speeds ranging from 100-600 rpm and protein concentrations of 5-15%. It was found that the rate of the hydrolysis could be enhanced by applying ultrasound but only under very specific conditions. For a stirring speed of 400 rpm with a protein concentration of 10% (w/v), application of ultrasound at amplitudes of 20 µm and 40 µm decreased the hydrolysis time by ~25% and ~45% respectively. All other ultrasound conditions investigated lead to either an increased hydrolysis time or had a marginal effect over the control indicating that there is a narrow optimum range of conditions in which this phenomenon occurs.Finally high pressure was compared to thermal treatments as a means to inactivate enzyme activity (e.g. for the termination of a hydrolysis reaction). The enzyme, Protamex®, was subjected to thermal and high pressure treatments when dispersed in water or in a 10% (w/v) sodium caseinate substrate solution. The presence of the caseinate substantially increased the stability of the enzyme to heat treatment. Similarly the enzyme was more pressure susceptible in water than in the presence of sodium caseinate, again indicating a protective effect of the substrate. Over 90% inactivation was achieved at pressures ≥400 MPa with holding times of 30 minutes in water, whereas this level of inactivation required 600 MPa in the sodium caseinate solution. No significant inactivation occurred at pressures <400 MPa.During the course of this work it became apparent that these non-thermal technologies only have a positive effect on hydrolysis under a very narrow range of conditions and careful process optimisation is required. All of the investigations conducted were also at laboratory scale and up-scaling of these experiments may result in different outcomes.
- PublicationEfficient performance testing of Java web applications through workload adaptation(University College Dublin. School of Computer Science, 2019)Performance testing is a critical task to ensure an acceptable user experience with software systems, especially when there are high numbers of concurrent users. Selecting an appropriate test workload is a challenging and time-consuming process that relies heavily on the testers’ expertise. Not only are workloads application-dependent, but it is usually also unclear how large a workload must be to expose any performance issues that exist in an application. Previous research has proposed to dynamically adapt the test workloads in real-time, based on the application’s behavior. Workload adaptation claims to decrease the effort and expertise required to carry out performance testing, by reducing the need for trial-and-error test cycles (which occur when using static workloads). However, such approaches usually require testers to properly configure many parameters. This is cumbersome and hinders the usability and effectiveness of the approach, as a poor configuration, due to the use of inadequate test workloads, could lead to problems being overlooked. To address this problem, this thesis outlines and explains essential steps to conduct efficient performance testing using a dynamic workload adaptation approach, and examines the different factors influencing its performance. This research conducts a comprehensive evaluation of one of such approach to derive insights for practitioners w.r.t. how to fine-tune the process in order to obtain better outcomes based on different scenarios, as well as discuss the effects of varying its configuration, and how this can affect the results obtained. Furthermore, a novel tool was designed to improve the current implementation for dynamic workload adaptation. This tool is built on top of JMeter and aims to help advance research and practice in performance testing, using dynamic workload adaptation.
- PublicationEiner multiplen und partizipativen europäischen Bürgerschaft entgegen? : Beiträge zivilgesellschaftlicher Akteure zur Weiterentwicklung der Unionsbürgerschaft(1997-01-01)Die Diskussion um das Demokratiedefizit der EU läßt sich auf zwei Alternativen zuspitzen: Man definiert entweder das Problem weg, indem man mit Fritz W. Scharpf behauptet, die eigenständige Legitimität von Verhandlungssystemen substituiere "in normativ zureichender Weise" die mangelnde demokratische Legitimation transnationaler Politik. Oder man versucht, die aktuelle Staatsvertragslogik der EU durch eine Verfassungslogik zu ersetzen, indem ein Prozeß einer "demokratischen Selbstverfassung Europas" postuliert wird. In der vorliegenden Arbeit möchte ich allerdings diese politiktheoretische Debatte nicht nachzeichnen. Mir geht es vielmehr darum, empirisch die These eines möglichen Selbstverfassungsprozesses hinsichtlich ihres Potentials zu überprüfen. Da die Protagonisten des letztgenannten Ansatzes davon ausgehen, daß Demokratisierungs- wie Verfassungsgebungsprozesse meist von sozialen Bewegungen und nicht von den Regierenden initiiert werden, lautet meine konkrete Fragestellung folgendermaßen: Welchen Beitrag leisteten zivilgesellschaftliche Akteure zur Weiterentwicklung der europäischen Bürgerschaft im Kontext der EU-Regierungskonferenz von 1996/1997? Dabei werde ich wie folgt vorgehen: Zuerst gilt es, die Aktualität, die verschiedenen Konzepte und die Geschichte des vielschichtigen Begriffs von "Bürgerschaft" zu klären, zumal wenn man ihn nicht auf rechtstechnischen Gebrauch von Staatsbürgerschaft einengen will. Bürgerschaft an sich ist ein zu breites und zu unterschiedlich definiertes Konzept. Es geht deshalb vorab darum, die Kategorie "Bürgerschaft" in zentrale, operationalisierbare Unterkategorien aufzuteilen. Anhand aktueller Theoriedebatten werden die zentralen Teilbereiche des Konzepts Bürgerschaft heraus gearbeitet. Diese dienen als Basis für die Konstruktion einer eigenen Bürgerschafts-Typologie, welche anschließend anhand historischer Beispiele illustriert wird.Im zweiten Teil analysiere ich die Entstehung und Entwicklung einer europäischen Bürgerschaft sowie auf die Rolle der institutionellen und zivilgesellschaftlichen Akteure in diesem Prozeß. Dabei beschränke ich mich nicht nur auf eine Analyse des EU-Primärrechtes (polity), sondern beziehe auch den Policy-Bereich ein, der unter dem Namen "Europa der Bürger" firmiert. Diese Kombination von Policy- und Polityanalyse erscheint mir aufschlußreich, weil sich im Politikfeld "Europa der Bürger" konkrete Policy-Netzwerke zwischen institutionellen und zivilgesellschaftlichen Akteuren bilden konnten. Es ist naheliegend, daß diese Akteure auch bei der Weiterentwicklung der Polity der EU relevant sein können. Weiterhin wird Inhalt und Begriff der "Unionsbürgerschaft" nach Art. 8 bis 8eEGV geklärt sowie deren Wahrnehmung durch die Europäer. Dies sollte eine Klassifizierung heutiger europäischer Bürgerschaft innerhalb meiner Bürgerschaftstypologie ermöglichen. Das dritte und letzte Kapitel stellt die konkreten Beiträge zivilgesellschaftlicher Akteure zur Weiterentwicklung der europäischen Bürgerschaft im Kontext der EU-Regierungskonferenz von 1996/1997 dar. Dabei beziehe ich mich auf inhaltliche (beispielsweise durch Einforderung neuer europäischer Bürgerrechte) oder strukturelle Beiträge (indem Bürgerbewegungen Grundlagen für ein transnationales politisches Handeln legen und damit die Chancen der Aneignung einer neuen kollektiven Identität steigern). Somit geht es hier um die beiden Dimensionen des deutschen Begriffs von Bürgerschaft, nämlich um die vertikale Dimension der Bürgerrechte (Citoyenneté) sowie um die horizontale Dimension einer - kollektive Identität stiftenden - politischen Gemeinschaft (Cité).In dieser Arbeit werde ich mich indes auf drei bürgerschaftliche Initiativen und Netzwerke beschränken müssen. Im einzelnen handelt es sich dabei:• um das klassisch-föderalistisch ausgerichtete "PERMANENT FORUM OF CIVIL SOCIETY", eine von der EUROPÄISCHEN BEWEGUNG initiierte Plattform von über hundert, zumeist etablierten NGO's; • um die verschiedenen "ALTERNATIVE SUMMITS" sowie um den "EUROPÄISCHEN MARSCH GEGEN ERWERBSLOSIGKEIT, UNGESCHÜTZTE BESCHÄFTIGUNG UND AUSGRENZUNG", deren Protagonisten den Maastrichter-Vertrag größtenteils ablehnten; • um das der europäischen Integration gegenüber kritisch-konstruktiv gesonnene "INTER CITIZENS CONFERENCES (ICC)"-Netzwerk in dem dreißig europäische Bürgerbewegungen, Initiativen und Vereinigungen agieren.Die Wahl dieser drei Gruppierungen scheint mit vor allem aus folgenden Gründen gerechtfertigt zu sein: Einerseits stehen sie für jeweils eine spezifische inhaltliche Strömung in bezug auf die europäische Integration. Andererseits handelt es sich bei ihnen um Gruppierungen, die sich selbst nicht als Brüsseler Lobbyorganisationen, sondern als Protagonisten eines europäischen zivilgesellschaftlichen Engagements sehen. Bei der Analyse dieser Gruppen werde ich mich insbesondere auf eine breiten Palette grauer Literatur sowie auf eigene teilnehmende Beobachtungen stützen.
- PublicationEmpirical Analysis of Asset Pricing Models, Prospect Theory and Covid-19 Pandemic: Evidence from Hong Kong Stock Market(University College Dublin. School of Business, 2022)Covid-19 causes hundreds of deaths globally meanwhile it brings higher volatility on Hong Kong Stock Market which is the financial center of Asia. It attracts to investigate whether Asset Pricing Models, Prospect Theory and Covid-19 Pandemic can clearly illustrate variations in stocks returns on the market via a set of regression analysis. The empirical findings demonstrate that Hong Kong Stock Market experiences large fluctuations during the pandemic; Hang Seng Index positively relates to constructed portfolios; Government interventions such as Lockdown and Traveling Restrictions bring higher returns on the index; Crude Oil is another factor that affects the stock market negatively; Stocks with the highest previous monthly returns tend to have higher returns in the current month; Asset Pricing Models can provide assistance on assessing whether market efficiency exists in Hong Kong Stock Market.
- PublicationEnabling the remote acquisition of digital forensic evidence through secure data transmission and verificationProviding the ability to any law enforcement officer to remotely transfer an image from any suspect computer directly to a forensic laboratory for analysis, can only help to greatly reduce the time wasted by forensic investigators in conducting on-site collection of computer equipment. RAFT (Remote Acquisition Forensic Tool) is a system designed to facilitate forensic investigators by remotely gathering digital evidence. This is achieved through the implementation of a secure, verifiable client/server imaging architecture. The RAFT system is designed to be relatively easy to use, requiring minimal technical knowledge on behalf of the user. One of the key focuses of RAFT is to ensure that the evidence it gathers remotely is court admissible. This is achieved by ensuring that the image taken using RAFT is verified to be identical to the original evidence on a suspect computer.