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

    Lake trophic state is a key ecosystem property that integrates a lake’s physical, chemical, and biological processes. Despite the importance of trophic state as a gauge of lake water quality, standardized and machine-readable observations are uncommon. Remote sensing presents an opportunity to detect and analyze lake trophic state with reproducible, robust methods across time and space. We used Landsat surface reflectance data to create the first compendium of annual lake trophic state for 55,662 lakes of at least 10 ha in area throughout the contiguous United States from 1984 through 2020. The dataset was constructed with FAIR data principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reproducible) in mind, where data are publicly available, relational keys from parent datasets are retained, and all data wrangling and modeling routines are scripted for future reuse. Together, this resource offers critical data to address basic and applied research questions about lake water quality at a suite of spatial and temporal scales.

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  3. null (Ed.)
    Physics-based models are often used to study engineering and environmental systems. The ability to model these systems is the key to achieving our future environmental sustainability and improving the quality of human life. This article focuses on simulating lake water temperature, which is critical for understanding the impact of changing climate on aquatic ecosystems and assisting in aquatic resource management decisions. General Lake Model (GLM) is a state-of-the-art physics-based model used for addressing such problems. However, like other physics-based models used for studying scientific and engineering systems, it has several well-known limitations due to simplified representations of the physical processes being modeled or challenges in selecting appropriate parameters. While state-of-the-art machine learning models can sometimes outperform physics-based models given ample amount of training data, they can produce results that are physically inconsistent. This article proposes a physics-guided recurrent neural network model (PGRNN) that combines RNNs and physics-based models to leverage their complementary strengths and improves the modeling of physical processes. Specifically, we show that a PGRNN can improve prediction accuracy over that of physics-based models (by over 20% even with very little training data), while generating outputs consistent with physical laws. An important aspect of our PGRNN approach lies in its ability to incorporate the knowledge encoded in physics-based models. This allows training the PGRNN model using very few true observed data while also ensuring high prediction accuracy. Although we present and evaluate this methodology in the context of modeling the dynamics of temperature in lakes, it is applicable more widely to a range of scientific and engineering disciplines where physics-based (also known as mechanistic) models are used. 
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  4. Abstract

    In lakes, the rates of gross primary production (GPP), ecosystem respiration (R), and net ecosystem production (NEP) are often controlled by resource availability. Herein, we explore how catchment vs. within lake predictors of metabolism compare using data from 16 lakes spanning 39°N to 64°N, a range of inflowing streams, and trophic status. For each lake, we combined stream loads of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), total nitrogen (TN), and total phosphorus (TP) with lake DOC, TN, and TP concentrations and high frequencyin situmonitoring of dissolved oxygen. We found that stream load stoichiometry indicated lake stoichiometry for C : N and C : P (r2 = 0.74 andr2 = 0.84, respectively), but not for N : P (r2 = 0.04). As we found a strong positive correlation between TN and TP, we only used TP in our statistical models. For the catchment model, GPP and R were best predicted by DOC load, TP load, and load N : P (R2 = 0.85 andR2 = 0.82, respectively). For the lake model, GPP and R were best predicted by TP concentrations (R2 = 0.86 andR2 = 0.67, respectively). The inclusion of N : P in the catchment model, but not the lake model, suggests that both N and P regulate metabolism and that organisms may be responding more strongly to catchment inputs than lake resources. Our models predicted NEP poorly, though it is unclear why. Overall, our work stresses the importance of characterizing lake catchment loads to predict metabolic rates, a result that may be particularly important in catchments experiencing changing hydrologic regimes related to global environmental change.

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  5. Abstract

    Near‐term ecological forecasts provide resource managers advance notice of changes in ecosystem services, such as fisheries stocks, timber yields, or water quality. Importantly, ecological forecasts can identify where there is uncertainty in the forecasting system, which is necessary to improve forecast skill and guide interpretation of forecast results. Uncertainty partitioning identifies the relative contributions to total forecast variance introduced by different sources, including specification of the model structure, errors in driver data, and estimation of current states (initial conditions). Uncertainty partitioning could be particularly useful in improving forecasts of highly variable cyanobacterial densities, which are difficult to predict and present a persistent challenge for lake managers. As cyanobacteria can produce toxic and unsightly surface scums, advance warning when cyanobacterial densities are increasing could help managers mitigate water quality issues. Here, we fit 13 Bayesian state‐space models to evaluate different hypotheses about cyanobacterial densities in a low nutrient lake that experiences sporadic surface scums of the toxin‐producing cyanobacterium,Gloeotrichia echinulata. We used data from several summers of weekly cyanobacteria samples to identify dominant sources of uncertainty for near‐term (1‐ to 4‐week) forecasts ofG. echinulatadensities. Water temperature was an important predictor of cyanobacterial densities during model fitting and at the 4‐week forecast horizon. However, no physical covariates improved model performance over a simple model including the previous week's densities in 1‐week‐ahead forecasts. Even the best fit models exhibited large variance in forecasted cyanobacterial densities and did not capture rare peak occurrences, indicating that significant explanatory variables when fitting models to historical data are not always effective for forecasting. Uncertainty partitioning revealed that model process specification and initial conditions dominated forecast uncertainty. These findings indicate that long‐term studies of different cyanobacterial life stages and movement in the water column as well as measurements of drivers relevant to different life stages could improve model process representation of cyanobacteria abundance. In addition, improved observation protocols could better define initial conditions and reduce spatial misalignment of environmental data and cyanobacteria observations. Our results emphasize the importance of ecological forecasting principles and uncertainty partitioning to refine and understand predictive capacity across ecosystems.

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