Research in the Biosystems Analytics Lab takes a data-intensive, management-focused, and interdisciplinary approach to the study of complex biological system dynamics. Members of the lab pursue questions related to estuarine and coastal water quality, land-sea connectivity, and the influence of climate and land use change on agroecosystem productivity in the Atlantic-Gulf Coastal Plains through the use of statistical, process-based, and machine learning models. As a team, we analyze a wide range of data types - from in situ monitoring observations to satellite imagery - and advance the use of predictive models in natural resources management.
Asterisks indicate an author is/was a postdoctoral (*), graduate (**) or undergraduate (***) researcher in the Biosystems Analytics Lab
Sheila Saia*, Natalie G. Nelson, Anders Huseth, Khara Grieger, and Brian Reich (2020), Transitioning Machine Learning from Theory to Practice in Natural Resources Management, Ecological Modelling, 435(1): 109257. EarthArXiv Preprint here.
Jeffrey Niedermeyer, William Miller, Emma Yee, Angela Harris, Ryan Emanuel, Theo Jass, Natalie G. Nelson, and Sophia Kathariou (2020), Search for Campylobacter reveals high prevalence and pronounced genetic diversity of Arcobacter butzleri in floodwater samples associated with Hurricane Florence, North Carolina, USA, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 86(20): e01118-20
Barbara Doll, Jack Kurki-Fox, Jonathan Page, Natalie G. Nelson, and Jeffrey Johnson (2020), Flood Flow Frequency Analysis to Estimate Potential Floodplain Nitrogen Treatment during Overbank Flow Events in Urban Stream Restoration Projects, Water, 12(6): 1568
Sara Donatich, Barbara Doll, Jonathan Page, and Natalie G. Nelson (2020), Can the Stream Quantification Tool (SQT) protocol predict the biotic condition of streams in the Southeast Piedmont (USA)?, Water, 12(5): 1485
Natalie G. Nelson, Rafael Muñoz-Carpena, and Edward Phlips (2020), Parameter uncertainty drives important incongruities between simulated chlorophyll and phytoplankton functional group dynamics in a mechanistic management model, Environmental Modelling & Software, 129: 104708
Edward Phlips, Susan Badylak, Natalie G. Nelson, and Karl Havens (2020), Hurricanes, El Niño and harmful algal blooms in two sub-tropical Florida estuaries: Direct and indirect impacts, Scientific Reports, 10: 1910
Tiffany Messer, Kyle R. Douglas-Mankin, Natalie G. Nelson, and J. Randall Etheridge (2019), Wetland ecosystem resilience: Protecting and restoring valuable ecosystems, Transactions of the ASABE, 62(6): 1541-1543
Natalie G. Nelson, Lise Montefiore**, Cord Anthony***, Laura Merriman, Emma Kuster, and Garey Fox (2019), Undergraduate exposure to climate education in natural resources management, Transactions of the ASABE, 62(3): 831-839
Lora Smith, C. Nathan Jones, and Natalie G. Nelson (2019), Featured Collection Introduction: The Emerging Science of Aquatic System Connectivity II, Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 55(3): 526-528
C. Nathan Jones, Natalie G. Nelson, and Lora Smith (2019), Featured Collection Introduction: The Emerging Science of Aquatic System Connectivity I, Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 55(2), 287-293
Natalie G. Nelson, Rafael Muñoz-Carpena, Edward J. Phlips, David Kaplan, Peter Sucsy, and John Hendrickson (2018), Revealing biotic and abiotic controls of harmful algal blooms in a shallow subtropical lake through statistical machine learning, Environmental Science & Technology, 52(6), 3527-3535. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b05884
Yue Rong, Andrea V. Padron, Kyle J. Hagerty, Natalie G. Nelson, Song Chi, Nemat O. Keyhani, Joseph Katz, Shoumen Datta, Carmen Gomes, and Eric McLamore (2018), Post hoc support vector machine learning for biosensors based on weak protein-ligand interactions, Analyst, 143, 2066-2075. doi: 10.1039/C8AN00065D
Natalie G. Nelson, Rafael Muñoz-Carpena, Patrick J. Neale, Maria Tzortziou, and J. Patrick Megonigal (2017), Temporal variability in the importance of hydrologic, biotic, and climatic descriptors of dissolved oxygen dynamics in a shallow tidal-marsh creek, Water Resources Research, 53, 7103-7120. doi:10.1002/2016WR020196
Natalie G. Nelson, Rafael Muñoz-Carpena, and Edward J. Phlips (2017), A novel quantile method reveals spatiotemporal shifts in phytoplankton descriptors between bloom and non-bloom conditions in a subtropical estuary, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 567:57-78. doi:10.3354/meps12054
Submitted and Under Review:
Tiffany Messer, Trisha Moore, Natalie G. Nelson, Laurent Ahiablame, Eban Bean, Chelsie Boles, Sonja Cook, Steven Hall, John McMaine, and Derek Schlea, Constructed Treatment Wetlands for Agroecosystems: A Synthesis for Nutrient Removal, Submitted (Feb 24, 2020)
Martin J. Wells, Troy E. Gilmore, Natalie G. Nelson, Aaron Mittelstet, and JK Böhlke, Determination of vadose and saturated-zone nitrate lag times using long-term groundwater monitoring data and statistical machine learning, Submitted (Apr 15, 2020), discussion open for comments
Samiul Haque, Edgar Lobaton, Natalie Nelson, Craig Yencho, Kenneth Pecota, Russel Mierop, Michael Kudenov, Mike Boyette, and Cranos M Williams, Computer vision approach to characterize size and shape phenotypes of horticultural crops using high-throughput imagery, Submitted (Jul 9, 2020)
Alice Alonso*, Natalie G. Nelson, Simeon Yurek, David Kaplan, Maitane Olabarrieta, and Peter Frederick, Estimating the influence of oyster reef chains on freshwater detention at the estuary scale using Landsat-8 imagery, Submitted (Aug 5, 2020)
Peer-Reviewed Extension Fact Sheets
Natalie G. Nelson, Layla El-Khoury***, and Mike Boyette (2020), Interpreting Freeze / Frost Probabilities from the National Centers for Environmental Information, NC Cooperative Extension, Fact Sheet AG-873
Sheila Saia* and Natalie G. Nelson, Rainfall and Shellfish Harvest Closures Along the North Carolina Coast, NC Cooperative Extension, Fact Sheet, Under review
Sheila Saia* and Natalie G. Nelson, Getting Data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Using R, NC Cooperative Extension, Fact Sheet, Under review
Natalie Von Tress** and Natalie G. Nelson, Detecting Blue-Green Algal Blooms with Satellite Imagery, NC Cooperative Extension, Fact Sheet, Under review
Research and Extension Experience for Undergraduates:
If you’re interested in broadening your students’ perspectives through podcasts, check out this working list of episodes related to biological and agricultural engineering. Episodes cover topics ranging from water quality to hydrologic modeling, ecosystem restoration, mariculture, and agriculture.
Congratulations to Natalie for receiving a prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!
As a 2020 USGS National Climate Adaptation Science Center Science to Action Fellow, Lise will spend time at the Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center in Massachusetts this fall to develop an interactive web-based decision-support tool as part of the last chapter of her dissertation, which focuses on estimating estuarine vulnerability to water quality change under potential future climate and land use scenarios. Many congratulations, Lise!
The grant, supported by the North Carolina Sea Grant Core Research Program, will focus on developing a new forecast and decision-support tool (“ShellCast”) for the NC shellfish mariculture industry. In addition to creating ShellCast, the grant will support additional analysis on historical management and water quality dynamics in shellfish growing areas along the NC coast.
The grant, supported by the newly-established USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s Food and Agriculture Cyberinformatics and Tools (FACT) initiative, will focus on developing data-to-decision pipelines for agroecosystem management through high-performance computing and big data analytics. The FACT initiative seeks to catalyze activities that harness big data for synthesizing new knowledge, making predictive decisions, and fostering data-supported innovation in agriculture.
Natalie and Lise traveled to China from July 27 - August 9 along with two other faculty, two graduate students, and six P4 undergraduate fellows to visit China Agricultural University, Zhejiang University, and Zhejiang A&F University and forge new collaborations. Above, the NC State group poses with colleagues at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou.
Lise and Emine continue to make the Biosystems Analytics Lab proud! Emine received an Oral Presentation Award in the Natural Resources and Environment System Technical Community for her presentation, “Using Machine Learning and Remotely Sensed Data to Develop Spatiotemporal Maps of Flood Surge and Retreat”, and Lise received 1st Place in the Engineering Ethics Video Competition along with BAE PhD student, Mahmoud Shehata. Congratulations, Emine and Lise!
Congratulations to Emine for receiving a 2019 NC Space Grant Graduate Research Fellowship for her project, Using Machine Learning and Remotely Sensed Data to Develop Spatiotemporal Maps of Flood Surge and Retreat!
Natalie Nelson was awarded a grant from the USDA NIFA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, Educational Literacy Initiative’s Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduates grant program (grant no. 2019-67032-29074/project accession no. 1018043) to create a new REEU program at NC State: Pigs, Poultry, the Planet and Data-Driven Problem-Solving (nicknamed “P4”).
Congratulations to Emine for this prestigious recognition from the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program!