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  • 1.
    Andersson, Pernilla
    Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Environmental Science. Södertörn University, Teacher Education.
    The Responsible Business Person: Studies of business education for sustainability2016Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Calls for the inclusion of sustainable development in the business curriculum have increased significantly in the wake of the financial crisis and increased concerns around climate change. This has led to the appearance of new initiatives and the development of new teaching approaches. This thesis explores business education at the upper secondary school level in Sweden following the inclusion of the concept of sustainable development in the curriculum. Drawing on poststructuralist discourse theory, the overarching purpose is to identify the roles of a responsible business person that are articulated in business education and to discuss how these roles could enable students to address sustainability issues. The thesis consists of four studies, based on textbook analyses, teacher interviews and classroom observations. Three categories of roles have been identified, implying that a business person is expected to either adapt to, add or create ethical values. These three categories are compared with the roles indicated in the environmental discourses constructed by Dryzek and the responsibility regimes developed by Pellizzoni. Drawing on Dryzek’s and Pellizzoni’s reasoning about which qualities are important for addressing sustainability issues, it is concluded that the roles identified in the studies could mean that students are unequipped (the adapting role), ill-equipped (the adding role) or better equipped (the creating role) to address uncertain and complex sustainability issues. The articles include empirical examples that illustrate how and in which situations specific roles are articulated, privileged or taken up. The examples also indicate how the scope for business students’ subjectivities are facilitated or hampered. It is suggested that the illustrative empirical examples could be used for critical reflection in order to enhance students’capabilities of addressing uncertain and complex sustainability issues and to improve educational quality in terms of scope for subjectivity.

  • 2.
    Asghar, Naveed
    Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Environmental Science.
    Ticks and Tick-borne Encephalitis Virus: From Nature to Infection2016Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Vector-borne diseases are an increasing global threat to humans due to climate changes, elevating the risk of infections transmitted by mosquitos, ticks, and other arthropod vectors. Ixodes ricinus, a common tick in Europe, transmits dangerous tick-borne pathogens to humans. Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a vector-borne disease caused by TBE virus (TBEV). Climate change has contributed to increased tick abundance and incidence of tick-borne diseases, and between 10,000 and 15,000 human TBE cases are reported annually in Europe and Asia. TBEV shows a patchy geographical distribution pattern where each patch represents a natural focus. In nature, TBEV is maintained within the tick-rodent enzootic cycle. Co-feeding is the main route for TBEV transmission from infected to uninfected ticks and for maintenance within the natural foci. The increasing number of TBE cases in Scandinavia highlights the importance of characterizing additional TBEV sequences and of identifying novel natural foci, and in this work we sequenced and phylogenetically characterized four TBEV strains: Saringe-2009 (from a blood-fed nymph), JP-296 (from a questing adult male), JP-554 (from a questing adult male), and Mandal-2009 (from a pool of questing nymphs, n = 10). Mandal-2009 represents a TBEV genome from a natural focus in southern Norway. Saringe-2009 is from a natural endemic focus in northern Stockholm, Sweden, and JP-296 and JP-554 originate from a natural focus “Torö” in southern Stockholm. In addition, we have studied the effect of different biotic and abiotic factors on population dynamics of I. ricinus in southern Stockholm and observed significant spatiotemporal variations in tick activity patterns. Seasonal synchrony of immature stages and total tick abundance are important factors for the probability of horizontal transmission of TBEV among co-feeding ticks. We found that the probability of co-occurrence of larvae, nymphs, and female adults was highest during early summer whereas increasing vegetation height and increasing amounts of forest and open water around the study sites had a significant negative effect on co-occurrence of larvae, nymphs, and female adults.

    The proximal part of the 3 ́non-coding region (3 ́NCR) of TBEV contains an internal poly(A) tract, and genomic analysis of Saringe-2009 revealed variability in the poly(A) tract indicating the existence of different variants within the TBEV pool of Saringe-2009. Like other RNA viruses, TBEV exists as swarms of unique variants called quasispecies. Because Saringe-2009 came from an engorged nymph that had been feeding on blood for >60 h, we propose that Saringe-2009 represents a putative shift in the TBEV pool when the virus switches from ectothermic/tick to endothermic/mammalian environments. We investigated the role of poly(A) tract variability in replication and virulence of TBEV by generating two infectious clones of the TBEV strain Toro-2003, one with a short/wild-type (A)3C(A)6 poly(A) tract and one with a long (A)3C(A)38 poly(A) tract. The infectious clone with the long poly(A) tract showed poor replication in cell culture but was more virulent in C57BL/6 mice than the wild-type clone. RNA folding predictions of the TBEV genomes suggested that insertion of a long poly(A) tract abolishes a stem loop structure at the beginning of the 3 ́NCR. Next generation sequencing (NGS) analysis of the TBEV genomes after passaging in cell culture and/or mouse brain revealed molecular determinants and quasispecies structure that might contribute to the observed differences in virulence. Our findings suggest that the long poly(A) tract imparts instability to the TBEV genome resulting in higher quasispecies diversity that in turn contributes to TBEV virulence. Phylogenetic analysis of Saringe-2009, JP-296, JP-554, and Mandal-2009 predicted a strong evolutionary relationship among the four strains. They clustered with Toro-2003, the first TBEV strain from Torö, demonstrating a Scandinavian clade. Except for the proximal part of the 3 ́NCR, TBEV is highly conserved in its genomic structure. Genomic analysis revealed that Mandal-2009 contains a truncated 3 ́NCR similar to the highly virulent strain Hypr, whereas JP-296 and JP-554 have a genomic organization identical to Toro-2003, the prototypic TBEV strain from the same natural focus. NGS revealed significantly higher quasispecies diversity for JP-296 and JP-554 compared to Mandal-2009. In addition, single nucleotide polymerphism (SNP) analysis showed that 40% of the SNPs were common between quasispecies populations of JP-296 and JP-554, indicating the persistence and maintenance of TBEV quasispecies within the natural focus.

    Taken together, these findings indicate the importance of environmental factors for the occurrence pattern of the different life-stages of the tick vector, which are important for the persistence of TBEV in nature. Our findings also show that the selection pressure exerted by specific host also affects the population structure of the TBEV quasispecies. In addition, our results further demonstrate that the evolution of quasispecies has effect on TBEV virulence in mice.

  • 3.
    Börjeson, Natasja
    Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Environmental Science. natasja.borjeson@sh.se.
    Toxic Textiles: Towards Responsibility in Complex Supply Chains2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The governance of the environmental and health problems that follow in the wake of globalised trade is one of the great contemporary challenges. One of these challenges is the management of chemical pollution and associated risks, and one sector facing this challenge is the textile industry, which has complex supply chains spread across continents. At the same time the role of actors on the playing field are changing and market actors are being called on to responsibly manage the issue of chemical risks and associated challenges. However, governance and control are often obstructed due to complexity and considerable knowledge uncertainty. This situation complicates responsibility-taking and makes it difficult to ascribe liabilities to specific actors, as it is not obvious who is responsible for what. This thesis is concerned with the process of how a group of market actors – private and public textile buyers – assume responsibility of chemical risks in their supply chains in a situation that is characterized by uncertainty and complexity. This thesis aims to contribute to an understanding of what happens when market actors are called on to manage the negative side effects of globalisation. The focus is on Swedish textile-buying private and public organisations. The thesis constructs an analytical model based on the key concepts responsible governance, responsibilisation, and responsible supply chain management (RSCM). The thesis explores the barriers, challenges and opportunities that exist for buyers seeking to assume RSCM and whether a process of responsibilisation can be observed in the textile sector. The thesis uses an exploratory approach and interviews, participatory observations and literature studies, as well as case studies to understand the process and to investigate barriers, challenges, opportunities. In summary, the thesis shows that a process of responsibilisation is ongoing on the organisational and sector levels. Further, it is shown that due to the complex structures of the chains, there are more barriers and challenges than opportunities for buyers striving for RSCM. However, it is argued that cooperation, stronger public and private policy, and a reflexive approach could be ways forward towards RSCM and increased responsibilisation in the textile sector.

  • 4.
    Franzén, Frida
    Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Environmental Science. KTH, Hållbar utveckling, miljövetenskap och teknik.
    From words to action: Lessons from active stakeholder participation in water management2015Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Water governance worldwide is going through a shift towards more holistic and participatory approaches. In Europe, the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) adopted in 2000, aims at protecting surface water and groundwater. The WFD emphasizes the importance of stakeholder participation in planning and implementation of the directive, and in order to reach environmental objectives. However, the empirical findings are insufficient regarding how stakeholder participation can lead to improved decisions and implemented plans. In Sweden, a major water quality problem is eutrophication caused to a large extend by diffuse nutrient leakage from agriculture. Therefore, it is important to involve farmers in water management, since their participation can lead the commitment of mitigation measures for reduced nutrient leakage. The overall aim of this study is to contribute the knowledge and understanding of active stakeholder participation in water management, in particular how it can lead to implementation of water quality objectives. The thesis addresses stakeholder participation in eutrophication management in local Swedish catchments, with a particular focus on farmers’ participation in the commitment of mitigation measures. The results are based on case study research, involving four catchment areas in Sweden with severe eutrophication problems. The thesis identified socio-demographic factors, farmers’ knowledge, and the level of existing information and economic support for wetland creation, as factors affecting farmers’ willingness to participate in wetland creation to mitigate nutrient leakage. In the local catchment groups studied, farmers and other local stakeholders participated to discuss potential mitigation activities. In these, farmers emphasized other emitting actors’ responsibility and commitment in local action plans. Where this was realized, social capital within the group increased and led to further collaboration. The thesis also analyzed large-scale wetland programmes at catchment scale, where the organizational and institutional arrangements were central to realize farmers’ participation: inter-municipal agreements entailed sufficient resources, the organization involved the most relevant actors; and leadership resources were important. The thesis argues that organizing water management at a catchment level can be important to cope with challenges related to stake-holder participation for mitigating diffuse nutrient leakage. In particular for dissemination and collection of information, suggesting potential measures for all concerned actors, provide resources needed to realize actions, and to build trust and collaboration. The thesis also emphasized that stakeholder participation has to be underpinned by a genuine meaning, both for the initiators and the participants.

  • 5.
    Kellner, Martin
    Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Environmental Science. Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Baltic & East European Graduate School (BEEGS).
    Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors in the environment: Effects of citalopram on fish behaviour2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a class of anxiolytic and anti-depressant drugs. SSRIs act on the evolutionarily ancient serotonergic system which is virtually identical throughout the vertebrate phylum. Serotonin is involved in a wide range of processes ranging from neuronal and craniofacial embryonic development to regulation of behaviour. However, SSRIs are also emerging pollutants, mainly entering the environment via sewage treatment plants. Since the serotonergic system is virtually identical in humans and other animals, exposed animals will be affected in similar ways as humans and suspicions are rising that ecologically important behaviours may be affected in subtle ways. Using the three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) and zebrafish (Danio rerio) as model organisms, this thesis focuses on the behavioural effects of SSRIs in fish. The SSRI used throughout this thesis is citalopram, which has been found in fish in coastal areas of the Baltic Sea and other parts of the world.

    Effects on behaviour were investigated using several different tests measuring stress response, feeding behaviour, aggression and locomotor activity. Anxiolytic effects of 0.1 μg/l, 1.5 μg/l 15 μg/l were investigated as well as effects of 0.15 μg/l and 1.5 μg/l on feeding behaviour. Because serotonin is involved in the development of the nervous system, the effects of developmental exposure to 1.5 μg/l was studied after 100 days of remediation. Finally, because SSRIs rarely occur alone in natural waters, the effects on zebrafish of citalopram in a cocktail scenario, with the anxiogenic compound 17α-ethinyl estradiol (EE2 ) was also investigated. Citalopram was found to have anxiolytic effects on the three-spined stickleback at 0.1 μg/l, 1.5 μg/l and 15 μg/l.

    Citalopram also suppressed feeding behaviour within a week of exposure and at concentrations as low as 0.15 μg/l. Developmental exposure to 1.5 μg/l for 30 days was found to increase aggression and feeding behaviour and to reduce locomotor activity. The changes were persistent and remained in adult fish. In the cocktail scenario, citalopram in single-substance exposure had anxiolytic effects on one parameter in the novel tank test at 0.1 μg/l. Citalopram enhanced the anxiogenic effects of EE2 in the novel tank test, but in the scototaxis test citalopram appeared to counteract the effects of EE2. It is concluded that citalopram has the potential to affect behaviour in fish at concentrations that have been found in close proximity of sewage treatment plants.

  • 6.
    Larsson, Josefine
    Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Environmental Science.
    Genetic Aspects of Environmental Disturbances in Marine Ecosystems: Studies of the Blue Mussel in the Baltic Sea2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Anthropogenic environmental changes can serve as drivers for evolutionary responses in wild populations. To predict the long-term impact of anthropogenic changes on populations, it is crucial to understand the genetic effects caused by these disturbances. The Baltic Sea is considered to be one of the world’s most contaminated seas, and the increase of anthropogenic chemical pollution is a major threat to its ecosystems. This thesis assesses the impact of harbors and sewage treatment plants on physiological traits and genetic structure of resident populations of blue mussels at replicated sites in the Baltic Sea. The initial evaluation of the overall genetic pattern in blue mussel populations in the Swedish West Coast, the Baltic Proper and the Bothnian Sea found genetic differentiation between the three water basins and a low genetic differentiation within each basin, especially within the Baltic Proper. Despite the low genetic differentiation among blue mussels within the Baltic Proper, a parallel genetic differentiation associated with sewage treatment plant effluents was found in this basin. This included genomic regions with a high degree of differentiation between reference sites and sites affected by sewage plants effluent. This genetic differentiation is suggested to be due to post-dispersal selection acting in each generation. In contrast, no parallel genetic differentiation was associated with harbors. We identified five genomic regions in blue mussels, showing strong signs of selection, shared among three out of four replicated reference sites and sites affected by sewage effluents in the Baltic Proper i.e. Askö, Tvärminne and Karlskrona. An initial characterization of these genomic regions revealed functions related to immune and endocrine responses, oxidative stress and shell formation. Our results indicate that selection caused by sewage effluents involves multiple loci. The same genomic regions are found across different locations in the Baltic Proper but there are also unique genomic regions at each location. No genotoxic or histopathological effects were found among blue mussels from sewage effluent-affected areas but a higher frequency of histological abnormalities in the digestive gland were observed in mussels from harbors.

  • 7.
    Thureborn, Petter
    Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Environmental Science.
    Microbial Ecosystem Functions Along the Steep Oxygen Gradient of the Landsort Deep, Baltic Sea2016Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Through complex metabolic interactions aquatic microbial life is essential as a driver of ecosystem functions and hence a prerequisite for sustaining plant and animal life in the sea and on Earth. Despite its ecological importance, infor­mation on the complexity of microbial functions and how these are related to environmental conditions is limited. Due to climate change and eutrophication, marine areas facing oxygen depletion are increasing and predicted to continue to do so in the future. Vertically steep oxygen gradients are particularly pronoun­ced in the Baltic Sea. In this thesis, therefore, the ecosystem functions of micro­bial communities were investigated, using metagenomics, to understand how they were distributed along the steep oxygen gradient at the Landsort Deep, the deepest point of the Baltic Sea. Furthermore, microbial communities from the Lands­ort Deep transect were compared to microbial communities of other marine environments to establish whether the environment at this site resulted in a characteristic community. To reveal what microbial community functions and taxa were active in the anoxic sediment a metatranscriptomic approach was used. Results showed a marked effect of the coupled environmental parameters dissolved oxygen, salinity and temperature on distribution of taxa and par­ti­cularly community functions. Microbial communities showed functional capa­cities consistent with a copiotrophic life-style dependent on organic ma­terial sinking through the water column. The eutrophic condition with high organic load was further reflected in the metatranscriptome of the anoxic sedi­ment com­munity, which indicated active carbon mineralisation through ana­erobic hetero­trophic-autotrophic community synergism. New putative linkages between nitro­gen and- sulphur metabolisms were identified at anoxic depths. Further­more, viable Cyanobacteria in the anoxic sediment was evident from the tran­script analyses as another reflection of marine snow. High abundance and expres­­sion of integron integrases were identified as a charac­teristic feature of the Lands­ort Deep communities, and may provide these communities with a mech­an­ism for short-term-adaptation to environmental change. In summary, this thesis clearly documents what impact eutrophication and oxygen depletion have on microbial community functions. Furthermore, it specifically advances the mechanistic insight into microbial processes in anoxic deep-water sediment at both genomic and transcriptional level. Given the predicted progress of oxygen depletion in marine and brackish environments, this work advances information necessary to estimate effects on marine and in particular brackish ecosystem functions where anoxic conditions prevail.

  • 8.
    Udovyk, Oksana
    Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Environmental Science. Linköpings universitet, Tema teknik och social förändring.
    Science-policy interaction in the governance of complex socio-ecological risks: The case of chemicals management in the Baltic Sea2014Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In this thesis, I examine knowledge production and science-policy interaction associated with the management of chemical substances in the Baltic Sea under conditions of uncertainty and complexity. The thesis is primarily based on a qualitative analysis of policy documents and reports produced by the European Union (EU), the Helsinki Commission, the Swedish Chemicals Agency, and Gothenburg municipality, as well as 30 semi-structured interviews with scientific experts, policy makers, and government officials with knowledge and working experience in the relevant policy arenas.

    I identify and examine key challenges of science-policy interaction associated with the management of chemical substances in the Baltic Sea, such as lack of data, uncertainty, and complexity (Article I). I further argue that the current model of science-policy interaction fails to adequately handle and account for these challenges (e.g. uncertainty in Article II).

    Scientists and policy makers have made substantial (and sometimes successful) efforts to understand and counteract negative environmental trends in the Baltic Sea. However, on the basis of this empirical analysis, I conclude that the uncertainties tied to the complex chemical risks in the Baltic Sea region are too large and multifaceted to be adequately addressed by the “modern science-policy model” underpinning most contemporary risk assessments. Linked to this analysis, I identify several possible ways to improve the situation, for example new tools and methods for handling uncertainty as well as alternative models for science-policy interaction.

    As a consequence, I explore the potential of alternative models of science-policy interaction, giving particular attention to the participatory model and the associated idea of post-normal science. The results highlight the substantial amount of rhetoric in EU sources about recommending wider public involvement in policies, but also reveal that there is a different situation in practice. The introduction of more radical approaches (such as post-normal science) to knowledge co-production and participation would require epistemological, institutional, and constitutional changes that are not feasible in the foreseeable future – at least for the case of chemical substances (Article III).

    Improvements (methodological, institutional and so on) in the current modern model of science-policy interaction are just as important as the development of alternative modes of science-policy interaction (Article IV). However, the general conclusion of this thesis is that there is a need to rethink current science-policy interaction and in the process “break through” the widespread institutional denial of irreducible uncertainties.

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