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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
  2. The accurate forecast of algal blooms can provide helpful information for water resource management. However, the complex relationship between environmental variables and blooms makes the forecast challenging. In this study, we build a pipeline incorporating four commonly used machine learning models, Support Vector Regression (SVR), Random Forest Regression (RFR), Wavelet Analysis (WA)-Back Propagation Neural Network (BPNN) and WA-Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM), to predict chlorophyll-a in coastal waters. Two areas with distinct environmental features, the Neuse River Estuary, NC, USA—where machine learning models are applied for short-term algal bloom forecast at single stations for the first time—and the Scripps Pier, CA, USA, are selected. Applying the pipeline, we can easily switch from the NRE forecast to the Scripps Pier forecast with minimum model tuning. The pipeline successfully predicts the occurrence of algal blooms in both regions, with more robustness using WA-LSTM and WA-BPNN than SVR and RFR. The pipeline allows us to find the best results by trying different numbers of neuron hidden layers. The pipeline is easily adaptable to other coastal areas. Experience with the two study regions demonstrated that enrichment of the dataset by including dominant physical processes is necessary to improve chlorophyll prediction when applying it to other aquatic systems.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  3. Abstract

    Satellites bring opportunities to quantify precipitation amount and distribution over the globe, critical to understanding how the Earth system works. The amount and spatial distribution of oceanic precipitation from the latest versions (V07 and the previous version) of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM)Core Observatoryinstruments and selected members of the constellation of passive microwave sensors are quantified and compared with other products such as the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP V3.2); the MergedCloudSat, TRMM, and GPM (MCTG) climatology; and ERA5. Results show that GPM V07 products have a higher precipitation rate than the previous version, except for the radar-only product. Within ∼65°S–65°N, covered by all of the instruments, this increase ranges from about 9% for the combined radar–radiometer product to about 16% for radiometer-only products. While GPM precipitation products still show lower mean precipitation rate than MCTG (except over the tropics and Arctic Ocean), the V07 products (except radar-only) are generally more consistent with MCTG and GPCP V3.2 than V05. Over the tropics (25°S–25°N), passive microwave sounders show the highest precipitation rate among all of the precipitation products studied and the highest increase (∼19%) compared to their previous version. Precipitation products are least consistent in midlatitude oceans in the Southern Hemisphere, displaying the largest spread in mean precipitation rate and location of latitudinal peak precipitation. Precipitation products tend to show larger spread over regions with low and high values of sea surface temperature and total precipitable water. The analysis highlights major discrepancies among the products and areas for future research.

     
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  4. Rapid and ultrasensitive point-of-care RNA detection plays a critical role in the diagnosis and management of various infectious diseases. The gold-standard detection method of reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) is ultrasensitive and accurate yet limited by the lengthy turnaround time (1-2 days). On the other hand, antigen test offers rapid at-home detection (15-20 min) but suffers from low sensitivity and high false-negative rates. An ideal point-of-care diagnostic device would combine the merits of PCR-level sensitivity and rapid sample-to-result workflow comparable to antigen testing. However, the existing RNA detection platform typically possesses superior sensitivity or rapid sample-to-result time, but not both. This paper reports a point-of-care microfluidic device that offers ultrasensitive yet rapid detection of viral RNA from clinical samples. The device consists of a microfluidic chip for precisely manipulating small volumes of samples, a miniaturized heater for viral lysis and ribonuclease (RNase) inactivation, a CRISPR Cas13a- electrochemical sensor for target preamplification-free and ultrasensitive RNA detection, and a smartphone-compatible potentiostat for data acquisition. As demonstrations, the devices achieve the detection of heat-inactivated SARS-CoV-2 samples with a limit of detection (LOD) down to 10 aM within 25 minutes, which is comparable to the sensitivity of RT-PCR and rapidness of antigen test. The platform also successfully distinguishes all nine positive unprocessed clinical SARS-CoV-2 nasopharyngeal swab samples from four negative samples within 25 minutes of sample-to-result time. Together, this device provides a point-of-care solution that can be deployed in diverse settings beyond laboratory environments for rapid and accurate detection of RNA from clinical samples. The device can potentially be expandable to detect other viral targets, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) self-testing and Zika virus, where rapid and ultrasensitive point-of-care detection is required. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 26, 2024
  5. Abstract

    A photochemical model of photosynthetic electron transport (PET) is needed to integrate photophysics, photochemistry, and biochemistry to determine redox conditions of electron carriers and enzymes for plant stress assessment and mechanistically link sun‐induced chlorophyll fluorescence to carbon assimilation for remotely sensing photosynthesis. Towards this goal, we derived photochemical equations governing the states and redox reactions of complexes and electron carriers along the PET chain. These equations allow the redox conditions of the mobile plastoquinone pool and the cytochrome b6f complex (Cyt) to be inferred with typical fluorometry. The equations agreed well with fluorometry measurements from diverse C3/C4species across environments in the relationship between the PET rate and fraction of open photosystem II reaction centres. We found the oxidation of plastoquinol by Cyt is the bottleneck of PET, and genetically improving the oxidation of plastoquinol by Cyt may enhance the efficiency of PET and photosynthesis across species. Redox reactions and photochemical and biochemical interactions are highly redundant in their complex controls of PET. Although individual reaction rate constants cannot be resolved, they appear in parameter groups which can be collectively inferred with fluorometry measurements for broad applications. The new photochemical model developed enables advances in different fronts of photosynthesis research.

     
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  6. Annual U.S. production of bioethanol, primarily produced from corn starch in the U.S. Midwest, rose to 57 billion liters in 2021, which fulfilled the required conventional biofuel target set forth by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007. At the same time, the U.S. fell short of the cellulosic or advanced biofuel target of 79 billion liters. The growth of bioenergy grasses (e.g., Miscanthus and switchgrass) across the Central and Eastern U.S. has the potential to feed enhanced cellulosic bioethanol production and, if successful, increase renewable fuel volumes. However, water consumption and climate change and its extremes are critical concerns in corn and bioenergy grass productivity. These concerns are compounded by the demands on potentially productive land areas and water devoted to producing biofuels. This is a fundamental Food-Energy-Water System (FEWS) nexus challenge. We apply a computational framework to estimate potential bioenergy yield and conversion to bioethanol yield across the U.S., based on crop field studies and conversion technology analysis for three crops—corn, Miscanthus, and two cultivars of switchgrass (Cave-in-Rock and Alamo). The current study identifies regions where each crop has its highest yield across the Center and Eastern U.S. While growing bioenergy grasses requires more water than corn, one advantage they have as a source of bioethanol is that they control nitrogen leaching relative to corn. Bioenergy grasses also maintain steadily high productivity under extreme climate conditions, such as drought and heatwaves in the year 2012 over the U.S. Midwest, because the perennial growing season and the deeper and denser roots can ameliorate the soil water stress. While the potential ethanol yield could be enhanced using energy grasses, their practical success in becoming a potential source of ethanol yield remains limited by socio-economic and operational constraints and concerns regarding competition with food production. 
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