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  • Understanding and interpreting tourism: a constructionist probe into the epistemology of tourism studies

    Pernecky, Tomas (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2009-06)
    The landscape of Tourism Studies has been marked recently by scholars calling for new approaches to tourism and greater levels of transparency, placing the emphasis on the cultural politics of research making, criticality, situated research, and broader levels of theorisation. This composite agenda of issues has been voiced and marked under the umbrella terms The Critical Turn, and “new” tourism research. In the contemporary context of emerging innovative work and an expanding range of research, this thesis asserts that tourism and travel play an important role in today’s world and contribute greatly to the formation of various social phenomena. Tourism Studies as a field is beginning to expand beyond the applied business approach, and critical enquiry is becoming more prominent with increasing numbers of researchers voicing their discontent over deprived tourism theorising. The three broad issues providing impetus for this work are the lack of philosophical research and researchers’ understanding of emic and etic involvement in the process, the poverty of tourism theory, and the lack of critical approaches in the field. In this critical framework of reference, this research study is mainly concerned with examining the process of knowledge production in Tourism Studies. I employ a constructionist approach to research and present tourism as a social phenomenon that cannot hold meaning independently of cultural interpretations. I highlight that the widespread use of etic, situated, and perspectival voices of researchers leads only to one type of knowledge that tends to disregard other ways of knowing and understanding. I point to the plurality of places and objects and propose that one’s understanding of tourism is the result of our situated being in the world, a philosophical notion proffered by Martin Heidegger. I thus present tourism as a phenomenon that can “tell us” about our being in the world – an act which summons a theoretical shift as to what tourism “is”, what it “does” and what it “can do”. With regard to the use of empirical data, I employ hermeneutic phenomenology as the research methodology and focus on the New Age phenomenon to demonstrate the construction of meaning and production of knowledge. Additionally, New Age is relevant in the context of the shifting social, political and cultural climate. I examine some of the emerging works in the field and conclude that travellers (in this thesis, New Agers) not only make, re-make, and constitute places; they also become entangled in tourist performances and use their bodies to learn, to experience and to grow spiritually. I conclude that post-disciplinarity, criticality, and reflexivity are valuable in the constructionist line of enquiry, and I present tourism as a creative endeavour into the understanding of the lived world. The key findings show that there is room for more constructionist and subjectivist epistemologies and further explorations into tacit knowledge, and also the need for researchers to pay more attention to the philosophical assumptions guiding their work.
  • Repetitive DNA restructuring across multiple Nicotiana allopolyploidisation events shows a lack of strong cytoplasmic bias in influencing repeat turnover

    Dodsworth, Steven; Guignard, Maite S.; Pérez-Escobar, Oscar A.; Struebig, Monika; Chase, Mark W.; Leitch, Andrew R.; ; University of Bedfordshire; Queen Mary University of London; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; et al. (MDPI, 2020-02-19)
    Allopolyploidy is acknowledged as an important force in plant evolution. Frequent allopolyploidy in Nicotiana across different timescales permits the evaluation of genome restructuring and repeat dynamics through time. Here we use a clustering approach on high-throughput sequence reads to identify the main classes of repetitive elements following three allotetraploid events, and how these are inherited from the closest extant relatives of the maternal and paternal subgenome donors. In all three cases, there was a lack of clear maternal, cytoplasmic bias in repeat evolution, i.e., lack of a predicted bias towards maternal subgenome-derived repeats, with roughly equal contributions from both parental subgenomes. Different overall repeat dynamics were found across timescales of <0.5 (N. rustica L.), 4 (N. repanda Willd.) and 6 (N. benthamiana Domin) Ma, with nearly additive, genome upsizing, and genome downsizing, respectively. Lower copy repeats were inherited in similar abundance to the parental subgenomes, whereas higher copy repeats contributed the most to genome size change in N. repanda and N. benthamiana. Genome downsizing post-polyploidisation may be a general long-term trend across angiosperms, but at more recent timescales there is species-specific variance as found in Nicotiana.
  • The viability of some helminth parasites in sewage sludges applied to agricultural land

    Dean, R. Ann (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1981-09)
    The public health and veterinary significance of sewage transmissible helminth infections is largely underestimated. Since land application is the ultimate destination of mu.ch of the sludge produced, this study was designed to investigate the longevity of helminth parasites in such material. The initial aim of the investigation was to develop reliable and quantitative isolation techniques. After determining specific gravity values for the ova of Taenia and Ascaris, several methods of isolating these were compared and modified to improve the efficiency of recovery. The effectiveness of sewage treatment for the removal of these ova was examined by measuring sedimentation rates. These values indicated that the retention times currently used in treatment plants must often be inadequate • .Anaerobic mesophilic digestion had no observable effect on the removal of ova. A number of criteria for judging the viability of ova were used to investigate the persistance of helminth ova stored in raw, digested and dried-cake sludge. Treated sludges were found to provide the leas:t favourable conditions for egg survival. The influence of ultraioletv light, temperature and humidity on egg survival was studied. Of these, humidity had the most detrimental effect. In situ lysimeter experiments were conducted to examine both persistance and viability of helminth ova under field conditions. Under the cirumstances tested Ascaris ova were found to persist longer than Taenia ova. Calves were infected. experimentally with ova recovered from raw sludge in order to obtain conclusive proof that such eggs were infective; ova retained infectivity upto 3 months. This work contributes to the understanding of the fate of animal parasites in sludges a:p:plied to agricultural land and may therefore be used to assist in the drafting of responsible policies for the safe use of sludge in agriculture.
  • The biological and chemical effects of digested sludge as a nitrogenous fertiliser on grass crops using in situ lysimeters

    Thomas, William Morgan (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1981-07)
    This thesis details field and laboratory experiments on the biological and chemical effects of liquid anaerobically digested sewage sludge (LDS) used as a nitrogenous fertiliser on grass crops. The main objectives of the investigation were to ascertain the nitrogen (N) fertiliser value of LDS on grassland and evaluate its leaching losses using monolith lysimeters. Some LDS volatilisation studies were undertaken in the laboratory and a N balance compiled for the field lysimeters. To enable a detailed assessmBnt of crop uptake of LDS N some LDS was prepared with isotopic N15 using laboratory anaerobic digesters. The product LDS contained N15 as organic and inorganic N and was similar to a typical LDS. The field lysimeters were arranged as an integral part of each field plot and some techniques devised for their installation in situ. For laboratory work a scaled-down version of the field lysimeter was used. An assessment of the comparability of lysimeter and field conditions showed a satisfactory correlation with respect to crop productivity. Similar levels of N15 uptake were recorded for the field and lysimeter swards. Crop productivity trials showed that LDS applied as a single and split application was about 70% as effective as a split dressing of ammonium nitrate (Nitram). Evidence from the field trials suggested that LDS organic N contributes less than 10% of its fertiliser value during its year of application. Leaching losses of LDS were found to be similar to those of Nitram. At application rates equivalent to 300 kgN/ha/season typical nitrate-N concentrations in the leachate water were 1 mg/1 and 0.1-6.2% applied N was lost from the field A quick crop response to LDS N was recorded with N15 accumulation by the crop 7 days after LDS application. Crop productivity trials indicated a lack of sustained response by the grass to LDS applications.
  • The diagnosis of toxoplasmosis in the immune compromised patient

    Johnson, Julie Dawn (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1999-10)
    Human infection with the obligate intracellular protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii may be clinically silent in the immune competent person but can cause fatal disease in immune immature, i.e. the foetus, or compromised individuals, such as human immunodeficiency virus infected patients or organ graft recipients. Whilst a number of assays already exist the fact that immune compromised patients present a limited or for the laboratory diagnosis of toxoplasmosis, ablated immune response to primary infection means that many of these are of limited diagnostic value. The aim of the publications presented for this doctorate was to develop, and technically and clinically evaluate assays which would have particular use for the immune compromised patient. The research demonstrates the development of two new serological assays; the immunosorbent agglutination assay for the detection of toxoplasma-specific immunoglobulin-A which was demonstrated to be the investigation of choice for the post-natal diagnosis of congenital toxoplasmosis; the avidity assay which is of value for confirming recently acquired toxoplasma infection in immunoglobulin-M positive pregnant women and for the exclusion of recent onset toxoplasma infection in patients with prolonged irnmunoglobulin-M responses. It is also of use in the diagnosis of congenital infection. One assay based on detection of parasite deoxyribonucleic acid using the polymerase chain reaction was developed and demonstrated to be optimal in the examination of brain biopsies from acquired immune deficiency syndrome patients with suspected toxoplasma encephalitis, amniotic fluid and foetal blood samples from the potentially infected foetus and cardiac biopsies from transplant recipients. The research also gives a technical evaluation of two existing assays􀓫 the direct agglutination test which proved less sensitive but more specific than the latex agglutination test and demonstrated to be the assay of choice for reducing screening test false positive reactions; the immunosorbent agglutination assay for the detection of toxoplasma-specific immunoglobulin-M which demonstrated to be the investigation of choice for screening women requesting testing during pregnancy, for diagnosis of congenital infection in the foetus and neonate, those suffering from ocular disease and for transplant mismatch cases. The research also clinically evaluates the use of all existing assays for immune compromised patients, concluding with a presentation of a multi-assay approach to diagnosis.

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