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  1. Raina, Jean-Baptiste (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Predicting outcomes of marine disease outbreaks presents a challenge in the face of both global and local stressors. Host-associated microbiomes may play important roles in disease dynamics but remain understudied in marine ecosystems. Host–pathogen–microbiome interactions can vary across host ranges, gradients of disease, and temperature; studying these relationships may aid our ability to forecast disease dynamics. Eelgrass, Zostera marina , is impacted by outbreaks of wasting disease caused by the opportunistic pathogen Labyrinthula zosterae . We investigated how Z. marina phyllosphere microbial communities vary with rising wasting disease lesion prevalence and severity relative to plant and meadow characteristics like shoot density, longest leaf length, and temperature across 23° latitude in the Northeastern Pacific. We detected effects of geography (11%) and smaller, but distinct, effects of temperature (30-day max sea surface temperature, 4%) and disease (lesion prevalence, 3%) on microbiome composition. Declines in alpha diversity on asymptomatic tissue occurred with rising wasting disease prevalence within meadows. However, no change in microbiome variability (dispersion) was detected between asymptomatic and symptomatic tissues. Further, we identified members of Cellvibrionaceae, Colwelliaceae, and Granulosicoccaceae on asymptomatic tissue that are predictive of wasting disease prevalence across the geographic range (3,100 kilometers). Functional roles of Colwelliaceae andmore »Granulosicoccaceae are not known. Cellvibrionaceae, degraders of plant cellulose, were also enriched in lesions and adjacent green tissue relative to nonlesioned leaves. Cellvibrionaceae may play important roles in disease progression by degrading host tissues or overwhelming plant immune responses. Thus, inclusion of microbiomes in wasting disease studies may improve our ability to understand variable rates of infection, disease progression, and plant survival. IMPORTANCE The roles of marine microbiomes in disease remain poorly understood due, in part, to the challenging nature of sampling at appropriate spatiotemporal scales and across natural gradients of disease throughout host ranges. This is especially true for marine vascular plants like eelgrass ( Zostera marina ) that are vital for ecosystem function and biodiversity but are susceptible to rapid decline and die-off from pathogens like eukaryotic slime-mold Labyrinthula zosterae (wasting disease). We link bacterial members of phyllosphere tissues to the prevalence of wasting disease across the broadest geographic range to date for a marine plant microbiome-disease study (3,100 km). We identify Cellvibrionaceae, plant cell wall degraders, enriched (up to 61% relative abundance) within lesion tissue, which suggests this group may be playing important roles in disease progression. These findings suggest inclusion of microbiomes in marine disease studies will improve our ability to predict ecological outcomes of infection across variable landscapes spanning thousands of kilometers.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 30, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  3. Seagrass meadows provide valuable ecosystem benefits but are at risk from disease. Eelgrass ( Zostera marina ) is a temperate species threatened by seagrass wasting disease (SWD), caused by the protist Labyrinthula zosterae . The pathogen is sensitive to warming ocean temperatures, prompting a need for greater understanding of the impacts on host health under climate change. Previous work demonstrates pathogen cultures grow faster under warmer laboratory conditions and documents positive correlations between warmer ocean temperatures and disease levels in nature. However, the consequences of disease outbreaks on eelgrass growth remain poorly understood. Here, we examined the effect of disease on eelgrass productivity in the field. We coupled in situ shoot marking with high-resolution imagery of eelgrass blades and used an artificial intelligence application to determine disease prevalence and severity from digital images. Comparisons of eelgrass growth and disease metrics showed that SWD impaired eelgrass growth and accumulation of non-structural carbon in the field. Blades with more severe disease had reduced growth rates, indicating that disease severity can limit plant growth. Disease severity and rhizome sugar content were also inversely related, suggesting that disease reduced belowground carbon accumulation. Finally, repeated measurements of diseased blades indicated that lesions can grow fastermore »than healthy tissue in situ . This is the first study to demonstrate the negative impact of wasting disease on eelgrass health in a natural meadow. These results emphasize the importance of considering disease alongside other stressors to better predict the health and functioning of seagrass meadows in the Anthropocene.« less
  4. Understanding how environmental characteristics affect bio- diversity patterns, from individual species to communities of species, is critical for mitigating effects of global change. A central goal for conservation planning and monitoring is the ability to accurately predict the occurrence of species com- munities and how these communities change over space and time. This in turn leads to a challenging and long-standing problem in the field of computer science - how to perform ac- curate multi-label classification with hundreds of labels? The key challenge of this problem is its exponential-sized output space with regards to the number of labels to be predicted. Therefore, it is essential to facilitate the learning process by exploiting correlations (or dependency) among labels. Previ- ous methods mostly focus on modelling the correlation on label pairs; however, complex relations between real-world objects often go beyond second order. In this paper, we pro- pose a novel framework for multi-label classification, High- order Tie-in Variational Autoencoder (HOT-VAE), which per- forms adaptive high-order label correlation learning. We ex- perimentally verify that our model outperforms the existing state-of-the-art approaches on a bird distribution dataset on both conventional F1 scores and a variety of ecological met- rics. To show our method ismore »general, we also perform em- pirical analysis on seven other public real-world datasets in several application domains, and Hot-VAE exhibits superior performance to previous methods.« less
  5. Multi-label classification is the challenging task of predicting the presence and absence of multiple targets, involving representation learning and label correlation modeling. We propose a novel framework for multi-label classification, Multivariate Probit Variational AutoEncoder (MPVAE), that effectively learns latent embedding spaces as well as label correlations. MPVAE learns and aligns two probabilistic embedding spaces for labels and features respectively. The decoder of MPVAE takes in the samples from the embedding spaces and models the joint distribution of output targets under a Multivariate Probit model by learning a shared covariance matrix. We show that MPVAE outperforms the existing state-of-the-art methods on important computational sustainability applications as well as on other application domains, using public real-world datasets. MPVAE is further shown to remain robust under noisy settings. Lastly, we demonstrate the interpretability of the learned covariance by a case study on a bird observation dataset.

  6. Computational advances reveal opportunities for more sustainable hydropower development in large transboundary river basins.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 18, 2023
  7. A key problem in computational sustainability is to understand the distribution of species across landscapes over time. This question gives rise to challenging large-scale prediction problems since (i) hundreds of species have to be simultaneously modeled and (ii) the survey data are usually inflated with zeros due to the absence of species for a large number of sites. The problem of tackling both issues simultaneously, which we refer to as the zero-inflated multi-target regression problem, has not been addressed by previous methods in statistics and machine learning. In this paper, we propose a novel deep model for the zero-inflated multi-target regression problem. To this end, we first model the joint distribution of multiple response variables as a multivariate probit model and then couple the positive outcomes with a multivariate log-normal distribution. By penalizing the difference between the two distributions’ covariance matrices, a link between both distributions is established. The whole model is cast as an end-to-end learning framework and we provide an efficient learning algorithm for our model that can be fully implemented on GPUs. We show that our model outperforms the existing state-of-the-art baselines on two challenging real-world species distribution datasets concerning bird and fish populations.