Abstracts A3-A4

 Showcase Session A3:  Arts, Humanities and Social Science 
 Chair: Professor Donna Heddle

 Presentation 1 - Hospitality in Adventure Tourism 

 Jelena Farkic, West Highland College UHI

Abstract

 

This thesis confronts the gap in knowledge around commercial hospitality and service skills in the outdoor scenarios. It therefore seeks to deepen understanding of hospitality in adventure tourism in particular, by asking an overarching question: what are the conditions of hospitality on outdoor guided tours? It does so by critically examining lived experiences, guiding practices and social relationships on guided tours in the Scottish outdoors.
While there is extensive literature on the topics of commercial hospitality, leadership, group dynamics and adventure tourism, there is no study which interrogates guiding practices and skills required to deliver world class commercial hospitality whilst leading a group of tourists on multi-day journeys in the outdoors. Furthermore, tour guiding in general has not yet received much attention from the hospitality scholarship.

Hospitality negotiates and regulates social relations that emerge between home and away, domestic and foreign, host and guest, self and other. For its complex nature, scholarship continually reiterate its definitions, meanings and boundaries. Likewise, this thesis suggests that tour guides enact hosting roles while delivering services. As front line service providers, they are in the focus of this study, which, through the lens of researcher-as-guest, looks into ways in which these services are delivered in order to facilitate world-class hospitality.

Drawing on concepts of dwelling, belonging and embodiment, the study takes phenomenological approach towards the phenomenon. It employs the autoethnographic method of inquiry, which seeks to produce evocative accounts of personal and interpersonal experience of being on a guided tour. Data is collected via observant participation, notetaking and online diary.

 Presentation 2 - Introduction of PhD project: Runic writing in the Viking diaspora: Expression of a Norse identity?

 Andrea Blendl, Centre for Nordic Studies, Orkney College UHI

Abstract

 

This presentation is a short introduction into my PhD project which starts in October 2016: This project, funded by an ARCS studentship, focuses on a comparative study of the corpus of runic inscriptions from the entire Scandinavian diaspora in the North Atlantic region, and looks at runic literacy as a means of expressing identity in the Viking diaspora. Runic writing is found in areas of Northern Europe inhabited by Germanic speaking peoples. In Britain, we find two types of runic script: that of the Anglo-Saxons and that of the Scandinavians. Orkney Museum is involved as a non-academic partner, as Orkney is the heart of the Viking Age and medieval Scandinavian colonies in Scotland, and home to Britain’s largest assemblage of runic inscriptions. With the major corpus of inscriptions in Orkney at its centre, the project is not restricted to examining material from Orkney, but takes the whole Viking diaspora into account. Editions and evaluations of the runic corpus tend to focus on certain regions and seldom examine connections throughout the Scandinavian diaspora in-depth. By interpreting runic inscriptions as witness of an extended network of literacy across the North Atlantic the project seeks to establish connections and larger patterns of common traits, and examine cultural and linguistic exchange with other cultures inhabiting the region. This research has a natural place within the growing field of research on the Viking diaspora, also taking into account recent work on Gaelic influence on Viking culture, language and place-names as well as DNA studies and key archaeological features. This makes it possible to view the Viking settlement of the North Atlantic Isles from a new perspective which has not been fully explored so far and will shed light on the growing area of Viking diaspora research from a new angle.

 Presentation 3 - What is the Meaning of Life?

 Alan Dunn, Highland Theological College UHI

Abstract

 

What is it all about? Does my life have meaning? The questions of the significance of the universe and individual human lives have been the subject of much thought and debate over the centuries. Some thinkers focus on individual meaning and suggest people may find meaning in life (MIL), whilst others focus on cosmic or ultimate meaning (UM). MIL theorists deny significance may be found in UM, and vice versa. In this paper I will suggest that even in a Godless universe MIL is possible, however UM requires God and immortality. The topic will appeal to anyone who wishes to seriously consider the meaning of the universe and their own lives.

The paper will be a theoretical investigation looking specifically at the English speaking analytic and continental philosophical tradition. The key concepts associated with the scepticism; supernaturalism; nihilism; and naturalism will be discussed. Naturalists such as Metz and Wolf offer compelling accounts of MIL, whilst jettisoning completely UM. By contrast, the supernaturalist William Lane Craig makes the bold claim that life without God and immortality is absurd. In his strong view without God then there is no UM and therefore no MIL. My work will challenge both Craig and other supernaturalists as well as the prevailing consensus among analytic and continental philosophers by making the case for UM. A middle ground between uncompensated humanism and absolutism is called for. Philosophers have called this indescribable meta-physical reality “mystery” or “nothing”. The quest for UM will engage with thinkers such as Heidegger, Cooper, Bennett-Hunter and Waghorn. On the face of the literature it may be more plausible to say that without God and immortality, MIL is possible, however UM is not possible. The question then arises as to what exactly UM is and why it may depend on God and immortality.

 Presentation 4 - Angela Lansbury: Servant, Mother, Tourist, Spy

 Kyle Smith, Perth College UHI

Abstract

 

No genre has remained so ‘rigidly masculine’ (Natasha Walter) as the spy novel. The women of John Buchan’s spy novels or Ian Fleming’s spy novels (and their many filmic offshoots) were, for the most part, whores or angels, insane or childlike, dispensable or peripheral. The image of the woman in the spy narrative, in books, films and the wider news media, plays out these stereotypes but also suggests, and sometimes even offers, more complex representations.

I am presently working on a chapter for a collection of essays - Spying from a Gendered Position: Analysis of Gender in the Fictions of Espionage
(ed. Ann Rea). This chapter is on the work of Helen MacInnes (a Scottish spy writer whose most interesting texts came out near the start of World War II) and how her spies negotiate the roles they play. In my presentation I want to use the actor and producer Angela Lansbury and some of her most famous parts (Eleanor Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate 1962, Miss Froy in The Lady Vanishes (1979) and Emily Pollifax in The Unexpected Mrs Pollifax (1999)) to consider both complex and stereotypical images of women in espionage texts and how these have come to define the obsessions of the genre – from John Buchan’s 1916 Greenmantle to the feminist theorist Natasha Walter’s 2016 spy novel, A Quiet Life.

 Showcase Session A4:  Marine Science and Engineering 
 Chair: Professor Angela Hatton

 Presentation 1 - The BioMAG Laboratory: a genetic resource for aquatic biodiversity management

 Mark Coulson and Eric Verspoor, Rivers and Lochs Institute, Inverness College UHI

Abstract

 

The BioMAG (Biodiversity Management Applied Genomics) Laboratory is a state-of-the-art genetics laboratory within the Rivers and Lochs Institute at Inverness College UHI, which opened in January 2016. It is equipped to offer a range of genetic screening services and applications in support of biodiversity monitoring and management applications. The lab encompasses 80 m2 divided between general lab workspace and four dedicated application-specific rooms and computer workstations for data analysis. In addition a large freezer rooms allows for the storage and cataloguing of samples and DNA. A  wide range of applications are carried out, from DNA extraction to environmental DNA and metabarcoding and next-generation DNA sequencing, capable of generating millions of sequences within a single run. This presentation will give an overview of the lab facilities, including current projects being undertaken as well as providing a look forward to the role it will play in locally-based research aimed at informing management and conservation, especially in the field of freshwater biodiversity.

 Presentation 2 - Microplastics in the Marine Environment

 Bhavani Narayanaswamy, SAMS

Abstract

 

The development of plastic polymers has resulted in a number of technological, medical and cosmetic advances being made. We are aware of the impacts of large plastics in the marine environment but not smaller particles (<5mm in size). These microplastics (comprising fibres, fragments and beads) are found more and more frequently in household products and enter the marine environment through a number of different routes either through the breakdown and fragmentation of larger plastics e.g. plastic bags, fishing rope, clothing, or are manufactured for a specific use e.g. exfoliants/scrubbers in cosmetics (soon to be phased out). Initially these products contained natural exfoliating material, but more recently have been replaced by microplastics. Quantities of plastics used in cosmetic products varies widely with some having a plastic content of >90%. It is only recently that microplastics have been identified as a problem.

Research at SAMS has focused on microplastics in the deep-sea. Analysis of deep-water corals collected from the SW Indian Ocean in 2009, found microplastic fibres attached to the corals1. More recently we have aimed to determine whether microplastics are being ingested by deep-sea organisms, and if they are, the quantity and type that are found. In 2016 biological and water samples were collected from a station situated at 2200m in the Rockall Trough, NE Atlantic. A subset of the fauna were investigated and processed to determine whether microplastics could be found within the bodies of these organisms. In addition, deep sea-water collected using a CDT was filtered on board ship and once again analysed for the presence of microplastics. Methodological comparisons2 have resulted in our historical samples being used, in conjunction with the recent data in an attempt to determine when microplastics could be first detected in deep sea organisms, and use modelling techniques to elucidate where the microplastics may have originated.

 Presentation 3 - Investigating the Ecology of Black Guillemots in Relation to Marine Renewable Energy and Marine Protected Areas

Daniel Johnston, ERI-CfEE

Abstract

 

In Scotland, black guillemots Cepphus grylle are thought to specialize in an inshore, demersal, piscivorous diet, and have been seen to associate with tidal currents while undertaking foraging dives. Individuals have also been recorded to dive to depths at which tidal turbines will likely operate. These behaviours make them potentially vulnerable to planned tidal-stream marine renewable energy developments. However, unlike other diving seabirds, the black guillemot is relatively understudied. Therefore further research is needed to understand the spatial and temporal aspects of foraging behaviour and habitat use, as the potential effects of tidal turbines may include collision risk, habitat modification, and changes in prey distribution.
Furthermore, in 2014, six Marine Protected Areas (MPA) were allocated in Scotland specifically for black guillemots, recognising the importance of their conservation. Investigating the foraging movements of black guillemots will help to assess the effectiveness of such conservation measures.
In June 2016, breeding adult black guillemots from the islands of Stroma and North Ronaldsay were tracked using GPS tags. These were used to determine the fine scale movements in Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters, an area within which tidal energy projects are planned. To provide an insight into how foraging tracks relate to chick diet, a mixture of direct observations and camera traps were used to identify prey items delivered, and feeding frequency at monitored nests. Cameras were placed at nest entrances of both handled and unhandled birds. The traps also picked up predator presence, kleptoparasitism, and even fledging chicks. Here results from the 2016 field season will be presented.

 Presentation 4 - Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Observations of a Tide Water Glacier, Western Svalbard

 John Howe, SAMS

Abstract

 

The Arctic will probably experience the most severe environmental change on Earth with an estimated annual average warming of 4 – 8°C degrees. The fjord systems of western Svalbard are highly sensitive to the present warming and are therefore very vulnerable to change. These ‘natural Arctic laboratories’, are influenced by both temperate Atlantic water advected from the West Spitsbergen Current as well as atmospheric input from North America, Europe and Asia. Furthermore, marine terminating glaciers locally influence many Svalbard fjords. Thus, Svalbard is an important site for investigations of polar marine environmental and climate change. The distribution and movement of glacier fronts in the Krossfjorden-Kongsfjorden region has previously been mapped using surface vessels, yet the innermost part of these fjords and the glacier front environments have not been subject to detailed surveys. In this study, the seafloor from the inner part of a fjord in Krossfjorden, the Fjortendejulibuka, and the adjacent to the tide water Fjortendejulibreen glacial front, has been mapped using an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) equipped with a swath sonar system, providing very high-resolution bathymetry, side-scan data and the seabed photography to document the seabed geomorphology, sediment type and benthic habitat. Preliminary bathymetric, photographic and side-scan data suggests sedimentation from subglacial meltwater dominates the ice-proximal zone whilst settling from suspension is more prevalent away from the glacier. Seabed photographs from the AUV reveal a fine-grained depositional environment with fine-grain sediments and intense bioturbation with a limited benthic species diversity. Glaciomarine systems are characterized by a dynamic climatically controlled environment and the use of autonomous and robotic vehicles can greatly aid in the monitoring of change by collecting high-resolution datasets where vessel based observations are lacking.

 Presentation 4 - Development of a Workflow for Processing High Volume X-Band Radar Data with Respect to Validation of Point Sensor and Specific Areas of Interest

 James Morrison / Angus Murray / Charles Greenwood, Lews Castle College UHI

Abstract

 

X-Band radar systems are now being used to quantify sea states at sites with potential for the development of marine renewables. Such radar systems create a large amount of data (≈5GB/hour) over a large spatial area (10km2). This presentation aims to demonstrate a workflow used with one live commercial radar system and its Matlab interface. The approaches demonstrated here contrast two main methods. One where all data of polar format is exported and a second where selective output is used to accelerate the analysis process. Correlation of time series data between the radar and point sensors will be demonstrated along with approaches for reconstructing surface elevation from backscatter information.