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  1. Cryptic diversity in Microcystis may explain ecotype variability across morphospecies.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 13, 2024
  2. Abstract We have more data about wildlife trafficking than ever before, but it remains underutilized for decision-making. Central to effective wildlife trafficking interventions is collection, aggregation, and analysis of data across a range of source, transit, and destination geographies. Many data are geospatial, but these data cannot be effectively accessed or aggregated without appropriate geospatial data standards. Our goal was to create geospatial data standards to help advance efforts to combat wildlife trafficking. We achieved our goal using voluntary, participatory, and engagement-based workshops with diverse and multisectoral stakeholders, online portals, and electronic communication with more than 100 participants on three continents. The standards support data-to-decision efforts in the field, for example indictments of key figures within wildlife trafficking, and disruption of their networks. Geospatial data standards help enable broader utilization of wildlife trafficking data across disciplines and sectors, accelerate aggregation and analysis of data across space and time, advance evidence-based decision making, and reduce wildlife trafficking.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  3. We calculate STM signatures of correlated ground-states at integer filling of the magic angle twisted bilayer graphene narrow bands. First, we compute the fully-interacting TBG spectral function at ±4 electrons/moiré unit cell and show that it can be used to experimentally validate the strong-coupling approach. Although variation exists in the data, we find experimental evidence for the strong-coupling regime. For all other integer fillings of the flat bands, we consider the spatial features of the corresponding spectral functions of many states in the large degenerate ground-state manifold, and assess the possibility of Kekulé distortion (KD) emerging at the graphene lattice scale. Remarkably, we find that coupling the two opposite graphene valleys in the intervalley-coherent (IVC) TBG insulators does not always result in KD. As an example, we show that the K-IVC state and its nonchiral U(4) rotations do not exhibit any KD, while T-IVC does. We analyze 14 different many-body correlated states and show that their combined STM/Chern number signal can be used to uniquely determine the nature of the many-body ground-state. Their STM signal and features are obtained over a large range of energies and model parameters.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 6, 2023
  4. Particulate methane monooxygenase (pMMO), a membrane-bound enzyme having three subunits (α, β, and γ) and copper-containing centers, is found in most of the methanotrophs that selectively catalyze the oxidation of methane into methanol. Active sites in the pMMO of Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b were determined by docking the modeled structure with ethylbenzene, toluene, 1,3-dibutadiene, and trichloroethylene. The docking energy between the modeled pMMO structure and ethylbenzene, toluene, 1,3-dibutadiene, and trichloroethylene was −5.2, −5.7, −4.2, and −3.8 kcal/mol, respectively, suggesting the existence of more than one active site within the monomeric subunits due to the presence of multiple binding sites within the pMMO monomer. The evaluation of tunnels and cavities of the active sites and the docking results showed that each active site is specific to the radius of the substrate. To increase the catalysis rates of methane in the pMMO of M. trichosporium OB3b, selected amino acid residues interacting at the binding site of ethylbenzene, toluene, 1,3-dibutadiene, and trichloroethylene were mutated. Based on screening the strain energy, docking energy, and physiochemical properties, five mutants were downselected, B:Leu31Ser, B:Phe96Gly, B:Phe92Thr, B:Trp106Ala, and B:Tyr110Phe, which showed the docking energy of −6.3, −6.7, −6.3, −6.5, and −6.5 kcal/mol, respectively, as compared to the wildmore »type (−5.2 kcal/mol) with ethylbenzene. These results suggest that these five mutants would likely increase methane oxidation rates compared to wild-type pMMO.« less
  5. Abstract

    Climate change is a defining challenge of the 21st century, and this decade is a critical time for action to mitigate the worst effects on human populations and ecosystems. Plant science can play an important role in developing crops with enhanced resilience to harsh conditions (e.g. heat, drought, salt stress, flooding, disease outbreaks) and engineering efficient carbon-capturing and carbon-sequestering plants. Here, we present examples of research being conducted in these areas and discuss challenges and open questions as a call to action for the plant science community.

  6. Abstract

    The second UN Sustainable Development Goal establishes food security as a priority for governments, multilateral organizations, and NGOs. These institutions track national-level food security performance with an array of metrics and weigh intervention options considering the leverage of many possible drivers. We studied the relationships between several candidate drivers and two response variables based on prominent measures of national food security: the 2019 Global Food Security Index (GFSI) and the Food Insecurity Experience Scale’s (FIES) estimate of the percentage of a nation’s population experiencing food security or mild food insecurity (FI). We compared the contributions of explanatory variables in regressions predicting both response variables, and we further tested the stability of our results to changes in explanatory variable selection and in the countries included in regression model training and testing. At the cross-national level, the quantity and quality of a nation’s agricultural land were not predictive of either food security metric. We found mixed evidence that per-capita cereal production, per-hectare cereal yield, an aggregate governance metric, logistics performance, and extent of paid employment work were predictive of national food security. Household spending as measured by per-capita final consumption expenditure (HFCE) was consistently the strongest driver among those studied, alonemore »explaining a median of 92% and 70% of variation (based on out-of-sample R2) in GFSI and FI, respectively. The relative strength of HFCE as a predictor was observed for both response variables and was independent of the countries used for model training, the transformations applied to the explanatory variables prior to model training, and the variable selection technique used to specify multivariate regressions. The results of this cross-national analysis reinforce previous research supportive of a causal mechanism where, in the absence of exceptional local factors, an increase in income drives increase in food security. However, the strength of this effect varies depending on the countries included in regression model fitting. We demonstrate that using multiple response metrics, repeated random sampling of input data, and iterative variable selection facilitates a convergence of evidence approach to analyzing food security drivers.

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  7. Changes in magma chemistry that affect eruptive behavior occur during many volcanic eruptions, but typical analytical techniques are too slow to contribute to hazard monitoring. We used rapid energy-dispersive x-ray fluorescence analysis to measure diagnostic elements in lava samples within a few hours of collection during the 2018 Kīlauea eruption. The geochemical data provided important information for field crews and civil authorities in advance of changing hazards during the eruption. The appearance of hotter magma was recognized several days before the onset of voluminous eruptions of fast-moving flows that destroyed hundreds of homes. We identified, in near real-time, interactions between older, colder, stored magma—including the unexpected eruption of andesite—and hotter magma delivered during dike emplacement.