Natalie Nelson

Associate Professor

Dr. Natalie Nelson is an Associate Professor in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department at NC State. She received her Ph.D. in Agricultural and Biological Engineering with a concentration in Interdisciplinary Hydrologic Sciences from the University of Florida. Dr. Nelson joined BAE in August 2017.


B.S. 2012

Agricultural and Biological Engineering

University of Florida

Ph.D. 2017

Agricultural and Biological Engineering

University of Florida

Research Description

Dr. Nelson’s research focuses on characterizing and modeling nonpoint source pollution in inland and coastal waters, and takes a watershed-scale approach to studying where and why nonpoint source pollution occurs. More specifically, studies in her lab investigate: (1) How agricultural and maricultural systems influence, and are influenced by, water quality; (2) Ways in which climate-driven changes in freshwater and sea level affect water quality and biota; and (3) Methods for combining models (statistical, machine learning, process-based) and environmental monitoring data to create decision-support tools for natural resource managers.

Honors and Awards

  • NSF CAREER Award, 2021
  • Goodnight Early Career Innovator, 2021
  • University Faculty Scholar, 2021
  • Early Career Research Fellow, Gulf Research Program, NASEM, 2020
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellow, 2012


Characterizing fecally-associated bacteria in tidal floodwaters and associated risks to pedestrians
NCSU Sea Grant Program(1/01/23 - 1/31/24)
Harmful algal blooms in the Indian River Lagoon – North
US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)(10/13/22 - 9/15/23)
Indian River Lagoon Microalgae and Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring
US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)(10/01/21 - 9/15/22)
Future of Aquatic Flows: Exploring Changes in the Freshwater/Saltwater Interface and its Impacts to Aquatic Species
US Geological Survey (USGS)(10/01/22 - 9/30/24)
Coupling Lake, Watershed, and Estuarine Models to Better Understand the Role of Engineered Freshwater Discharges in Driving the Severity, Location, and Timing of Harmful Algal Blooms
Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC)(9/29/21 - 8/28/23)
Towards Real-Time Fecal Indicator Bacteria Monitoring in Coastal Waters
US Army - Corps of Engineers(3/04/22 - 3/04/25)
Developing a Pilot Data Science Extension Program to Advance Data-Driven Soybean Production
United Soybean Board(10/01/21 - 9/30/23)
Leveraging Real-Time Insect Traps and Data Analytics to Improve Corn Earworm Risk Prediction
NC Soybean Producers Association, Inc.(2/01/21 - 1/31/23)
Integrated Decision Support and Management Tools for Adaptive Public Health Practices: An Early Advisement and Reporting System for Recreational and Shellfish Harvesting Waters of the Southeast
Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association - SECOORA(7/01/21 - 6/30/23)
Creating ShellBase: The Southeast Shellfish Water Quality Database
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)(1/15/21 - 1/31/22)