Natalie Nelson, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator & Assistant Professor

Lise Montefiore

PhD Candidate (Bio & Ag Eng.) & Former SECASC Global Change Fellow

Emine Fidan

PhD Student (Bio & Ag Eng.) & Former NC Space Grant Fellow

Mariella Carbajal Carrasco

PhD Student (Bio & Ag Eng.), Co-Advised by Dr. Mike Boyette

Randi Butler

Incoming PhD Student (Geospatial Analytics)

Natalie Von Tress

MS Student (Bio & Ag Eng.) & NSF Graduate Research Fellow

Megan Carr

MS Student (Bio & Ag Eng.), Co-Advised by Dr. Lucie Guertault

Natalie Chazal

Incoming MS Student (Bio & Ag Systems Analysis)

Anjel Iriaghomo

P4 Undergraduate Research Fellow

Brea Sorrells

P4 Undergraduate Research Fellow

Dillon Weidner

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Eshwar Thedla

ShellCast Web Developer


Asterisks indicate an author is/was a postdoctoral (*), graduate (**), or undergraduate (***) researcher in the Biosystems Analytics Lab

Peer-Reviewed Research Publications:


  • Lise R. Montefiore**, Natalie G. Nelson, Amanda Dean***, Mahmoud Sharara, Reconstructing the historical expansion of concentrated swine feeding operations from Landsat imagery, Submitted (June 15, 2021)

  • Nandita B. Basu, Kimberly Van Meter, Roy Brouwer, Danyka K. Byrnes, Maria C. Cunha, Georgia Destouni, Brian H. Jacobsen, Jerker Jarsjö, Natalie G. Nelson, Søren Bøye Olsen, David L. Rudolph, Philippe Van Cappellen, Managing Nitrogen Legacies to Accelerate Water Quality Improvement, In review (submitted, March 19, 2021)

  • Sheila Saia*, Natalie G. Nelson, Sierra N. Young, Stanton Parham, Micah Vandegrift, Ten Simple Rules for Researchers Who Want to Develop Web Apps, In revision (submitted Mar 18, 2021)

  • Angela Harris, Emine Fidan**, Natalie G. Nelson, Ryan Emanuel, Theo Jass, Sophia Kathariou, Jeffrey Niedermeyer, Mahmoud Sharara, Francis de los Reyes III, Diego Riveros-Iregui, Jill Stewart, Microbial Contamination in Environmental Waters of Rural and Agriculturally-Dominated Landscapes Following Hurricane Florence, In revision (submitted Mar 12, 2021)

  • Lise R. Montefiore** and Natalie G. Nelson, Can a parsimonious water quality model effectively estimate runoff-driven nutrient loads to estuarine systems? A national-scale comparison of STEPL and SPARROW, In revision (submitted Feb 11, 2021)

  • Eric Milbrandt, Alfonse J. Martignette, Mark Thompson, Richard Bartleson, Edward J. Phlips, Susan Badylak, and Natalie G. Nelson (2021), Geospatial distribution of hypoxia associated with a Karenia brevis bloom, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, In press

  • Alice Alonso*, Natalie G. Nelson, Simeon Yurek, David Kaplan, Maitane Olabarrieta, and Peter Frederick (2021), Estimating the influence of oyster reef chains on freshwater detention at the estuary scale using Landsat-8 imagery, Estuaries and Coasts, In press

  • Martin J. Wells, Troy E. Gilmore, Natalie G. Nelson, Aaron Mittelstet, and JK Böhlke (2021), Determination of vadose and saturated-zone nitrate lag times using long-term groundwater monitoring data and statistical machine learning, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 25: 811–829

  • Samiul Haque, Edgar Lobaton, Natalie Nelson, Craig Yencho, Kenneth Pecota, Russel Mierop, Michael Kudenov, Mike Boyette, and Cranos M Williams (2021), Computer vision approach to characterize size and shape phenotypes of horticultural crops using high-throughput imagery, Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 182: 106011

  • Tiffany Messer, Trisha Moore, Natalie G. Nelson, Laurent Ahiablame, Eban Bean, Chelsie Boles, Sonja Cook, Steven Hall, John McMaine, and Derek Schlea (2021), Constructed Treatment Wetlands for Agroecosystems: A Synthesis for Nutrient Removal, Transactions of the ASABE, 64(2): 625-639





Peer-Reviewed Extension and Teaching Publications:

Teaching and Training

Research and Extension Experience for Undergraduates:


  • BAE 495 / 590: R Coding for Data Management and Analysis (offered every fall, distance ed)
  • BAE 565: Environmental and Agricultural Data Analytics and Modeling (offered every spring)
  • BAE 495 / 590: Applied Statistics for Environmental and Agricultural Data Analysis (spring 2018)

Guest lectures:

  • Applying for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
  • Principles of data visualization
  • Intro to R and reproducible science
  • Intro to local and global sensitivity analysis
  • Big data and biological & agricultural engineering
  • Challenges and opportunities for application of process-based models and predictive analytics in water quality management decision-making
  • Tracking environmental change from space (for 3rd-5th graders)


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.

Lab news

More Posts

The Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA) will fund the development of ShellBase, a water quality database for shellfish waters in NC, SC, GA, and FL. ShellBase team members include Dr. Natalie Nelson, Dr. Sheila Saia, and Megan Carr from NC State, and Dr. Dwayne Porter, Jeremy Cothran, and Dan Ramage from the University of South Carolina. Learn more here.


More on the Gulf Research Program’s Early-Career Research Fellowship.


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”).