Rachel T Noble

Rachel T Noble
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | UNC · Department of Marine Sciences

Ph.D Marine Science

About

125
Publications
30,344
Reads
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8,749
Citations
Citations since 2017
29 Research Items
3372 Citations
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20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500600
20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500600
Additional affiliations
January 2001 - present
January 1998 - June 2001
University of Southern California
Education
September 1991 - February 1998
University of Southern California
Field of study
  • Marine Science

Publications

Publications (125)
Article
Wastewater surveillance of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) may be useful for monitoring population-wide coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections, especially given asymptomatic infections and limitations in diagnostic testing. We aimed to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater and compare viral concentrations to COVID...
Article
Full-text available
Wastewater based epidemiology (WBE) is useful for tracking and monitoring the level of disease prevalence in a community and has been used extensively to complement clinical testing during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the numerous benefits, sources of variability in sample storage, handling, and processing methods can make WBE data diffic...
Article
Full-text available
The global spread of SARS-CoV-2 has continued to be a serious concern after WHO declared the virus to be the causative agent of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) a global pandemic. Monitoring of wastewater is a useful tool for assessing community prevalence given that fecal shedding of SARS-CoV-2 occurs in high concentrations by infected indi...
Preprint
Full-text available
The global spread of SARS-CoV-2 has continued to be a serious concern after WHO declared the virus the causative agent of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) a global pandemic. Monitoring of wastewater is a useful tool for assessing community prevalence given that fecal shedding of SARS-CoV-2 occurs in high concentrations by infected individual...
Article
Wastewater surveillance for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has garnered extensive public attention during the coronavirus disease pandemic as a proposed complement to existing disease surveillance systems. Over the past year, methods for detection and quantification of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA in untreated sewage have adva...
Article
Full-text available
Wastewater surveillance for pathogens using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is an effective and resource-efficient tool for gathering additional community-level public health information, including the incidence of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19). Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater can provide an early warning signa...
Article
Throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic there has been significant interest and investment in using Wastewater-Based Epidemiology (WBE) for surveillance of viral pathogen presence and infections at the community level. There has been a push for widescale implementation of standardized protocols to quantify viral loads in a range of wastewater syste...
Article
Examinations of stormwater delivery in the context of tidal inundation are lacking. Along the coastal plains of the southeast, tidal inundation is increasing in frequency and severity, often with dramatic adverse impacts on stormwater discharge and “sunny day flooding”. Therefore, a comprehensive study was conducted to examine tidally-influenced st...
Preprint
Full-text available
Wastewater surveillance for pathogens using the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is an effective, resource-efficient tool for gathering additional community-level public health information, including the incidence and/or prevalence and trends of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19). Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater may...
Article
Fecal contamination is observed downstream of municipal separate storm sewer systems in coastal North Carolina. While it is well accepted that wet weather contributes to this phenomenon, less is understood about the contribution of the complex hydrology in this low-lying coastal plain. A quantitative microbial assessment was conducted in Beaufort,...
Article
Eating raw oysters can come with serious health risks, as oysters can potentially contain bacteria of the Vibrio genus that cause food-borne infections. Vibrio are concentrated by oysters and, when consumed, infections can result with severe symptoms such as diarrhea, lesions on the extremities, or even death. Vibrio spp. concentrations are affecte...
Article
Rapid qPCR methods for enumerating enterococci can provide results in a few hours, thereby enhancing public health protection. Analysis of 140 samples collected from 11 beaches in Hawaii for enterococci using EPA Method 1611 revealed that a majority (70%) of samples yielded unusable data using the recommended protocol due to DNA losses during extra...
Article
Full-text available
A decade long study was conducted to investigate the ecological, biological, and temporal conditions that affect concentrations of Vibrio spp. bacteria in a well-studied lagoonal estuary. Water samples collected from the Neuse River Estuary in eastern North Carolina from 2004–2014 (with additional follow-up samples from Fall of 2018) were analyzed...
Data
Dissolved inorganic nitrogen vs. log Vibrio abundance at station 70S. Red regression line is significant (p<0.05, r2 = .23). (TIF)
Data
Linear regression of salinity and log Vibrio concentration at station 70S. Regression line = p<0.05 r2 = 0.230. (TIF)
Data
Ammonia at station 70S over time during the study. Red line is linear regression (p>0.05, r2 = -0.005). (TIF)
Data
Linear regression of Vibrio abundance to dissolved oxygen at station 70S. Regression line is p<0.05, r2 = 0.1. (TIF)
Data
Dissolved inorganic nitrogen at station 70S during the study. Slope of regression line (red) is not significantly different than zero (p>0.05). (TIF)
Data
Chlorophyll A at station 70S over time during the study. Red line is linear regression (p<0.05, r2 = 0.03). (TIF)
Data
Eigenvalues and variance for each principal component. (DOCX)
Data
DOC at station 70S over time during the study. Red line is 5 order polynomial regression (p<0.05, r2 = 0.06). (TIF)
Data
Dissolved oxygen at station 70S during the study. Slope of regression line (red) is not significantly different than zero (p>0.05). (TIF)
Data
R2 values of Spearman correlations. Green Highlights indicated significant (p<0.05) correlations. (DOCX)
Article
There is growing interest in the application of rapid quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and other PCR-based methods for recreational water quality monitoring and management programs. This interest has strengthened given the publication of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-validated qPCR methods for enterococci fecal indicator b...
Article
There is interest in the application of rapid quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) methods for recreational freshwater quality monitoring of the fecal indicator bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli). In this study we determined the performance of 21 laboratories in meeting proposed, standardized data quality acceptance (QA) criteria and the...
Article
Along southern California beaches, the concentrations of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) used to quantify the potential presence of fecal contamination in coastal recreational waters have been previously documented to be higher during wet weather conditions (typically winter or spring) than those observed during summer dry weather conditions. FIB ar...
Article
Monitoring of Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus abundance is pertinent due to the ability of these species to cause disease in humans through aquatic vectors. Previously, we performed a multiyear investigation tracking Vibrio spp. levels in five sites along the southeastern North Carolina coast. From February 2013 to October 2015 total...
Article
Full-text available
Viruses are the most abundant biological entities in the world’s oceans, and they play a crucial role in global biogeochemical cycles. In deep-sea ecosystems, archaea and bacteria drive major nutrient cycles, and viruses are largely responsible for their mortality, thereby exerting important controls on microbial dynamics. However, the relative imp...
Article
Full-text available
Viruses profoundly influence benthic marine ecosystems by infecting and subsequently killing their prokaryotic hosts, thereby impacting the cycling of carbon and nutrients. Previously conducted studies, based on different methodologies, have provided widely differing estimates of the relevance of viruses on benthic prokaryotes. There has been no at...
Article
Full-text available
The bacterial species, Vibrio parahaemolyticus and V. vulnificus, are ubiquitous in estuaries and coastal waters throughout the world, but they also happen to be important human pathogens. They are concentrated by filter feeding shellfish which are often consumed raw or undercooked, providing an important potential route of entry for an infective d...
Article
Full-text available
Infectious marine diseases can decimate populations and are increasing among some taxa due to global change and our increasing reliance on marine environments. Marine diseases become emergencies when significant ecological, economic or social impacts occur. We can prepare for and manage these emergencies through improved surveillance, and the devel...
Article
Full-text available
The human-pathogenic marine bacteria Vibrio vulnificus and V. parahaemolyticus are strongly correlated with water temperature, with concentrations increasing as waters warm seasonally. Both of these bacteria can be concentrated in filter-feeding shellfish, especially oysters. Because oysters are often consumed raw, this exposes people to large dose...
Article
Full-text available
Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) has become a frequently used technique for quantifying enterococci in recreational surface waters, but there are several methodological options. Here we evaluated how three method permutations, type of mastermix, sample extract dilution and use of controls in results calculation, affect method reliabili...
Article
Full-text available
Vibrio vulnificus, a bacterium ubiquitous in oysters and coastal water, is capable of causing ailments ranging from gastroenteritis to grievous wound infections or septicemia. The uptake of these bacteria into oysters is often examined in vitro by placing oysters in seawater amended with V. vulnificus. Multiple teams have obtained similar results i...
Article
Recent studies showing an association between fecal indicator organisms (FIOs) in sand and gastrointestinal (GI) illness among beachgoers with sand contact have important public health implications because of the large numbers of people who recreate at beaches and engage in sand contact activities. Yet, factors that influence fecal pollution in bea...
Article
Monitoring concentrations of bacterial pathogens and indicators of fecal contamination in coastal and estuarine ecosystems is critical to reduce adverse effects to public health. During storm events, particularly hurricanes, floods, Nor'easters, and tropical cyclones, sampling of coastal and estuarine waters is not generally possible due to safety...
Article
Full-text available
We investigated whether the proliferation of a non-native macroalga, Gracilaria vermiculophylla, within the mid-Atlantic coast region, USA, could be related to concentrations of Vibrio bacteria in water, sediment, and oysters on intertidal mudflats where mats of the macroalga are found. Vibrio spp. are naturally found in a range of aquatic environm...
Article
The most common cause of seafood-borne death in the United States is the bacterium Vibrio vulnificus which can be concentrated into high numbers in the tissues of oysters or other shellfish. The ability to quickly, accurately, and inexpensively isolate living strains of this organism from oyster tissues is crucial for effective research on this pat...
Chapter
The Galapagos Islands offer a unique ecological landscape found nowhere else in the world. However, a lack of water and sanitation infrastructure within populated areas of the Galapagos Islands has the potential to affect many of these ecosystem attributes. Specifically, a rapidly growing population and expanding impacts of tourism are contaminatin...
Article
Recently, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) revised their recreational water quality criteria, in which adjustments were made by approving enterococci (ENT) quantitative PCR (qPCR) as an alternative, rapid method and advocating the use of predictive models for water quality management. The implementation of qPCR-based method...
Article
Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) offers a rapid, highly sensitive analytical alternative to the traditional culture-based techniques of microbial enumeration typically used in water quality monitoring. Before qPCR can be widely applied within surface water monitoring programs and stormwater assessment research, the relationships betwee...
Article
Bacteria in the genus Vibrio are ubiquitous to estuarine waters worldwide and are often the dominant genus recovered from these environments. This genus contains several potentially pathogenic species, including Vibrio vulnificus, Vibrio cholerae, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, and Vibrio alginolyticus. These bacteria have short generation times, as low...
Article
Full-text available
Microbial source tracking (MST) methods were evaluated in the Source Identification Protocol Project (SIPP), in which 27 laboratories compared methods to identify host sources of fecal pollution from blinded water samples containing either one or two different fecal types collected from California. This paper details lessons learned from the SIPP s...
Article
Full-text available
Here we report results from a multi-laboratory (n = 11) evaluation of four different PCR methods targeting the 16S rRNA gene of Catellicoccus marimammalium originally developed to detect gull fecal contamination in coastal environments. The methods included a conventional end-point PCR method, a SYBR(®) Green qPCR method, and two TaqMan(®) qPCR met...
Article
A number of PCR-based methods for detecting human fecal material in environmental waters have been developed over the past decade, but these methods have rarely received independent comparative testing in large multi-laboratory studies. Here, we evaluated ten of these methods (BacH, BacHum-UCD, Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron (BtH), BsteriF1, gyrB, HF...
Article
An inter-laboratory study of the accuracy of microbial source tracking (MST) methods was conducted using challenge fecal and sewage samples that were spiked into artificial freshwater and provided as unknowns (blind test samples) to the laboratories. The results of the Source Identification Protocol Project (SIPP) are presented in a series of paper...
Article
Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) is increasingly being used for the quantitative detection of fecal indicator bacteria in beach water. QPCR allows for same-day health warnings, and its application is being considered as an option for recreational water quality testing in the United States (USEPA, 2011. EPA-OW-2011-0466, FRL-9609-3, Not...
Article
Full-text available
The detection of environmental enterococci has primarily been determined using culture-based techniques that might exclude some enterococci species as well as those that are nonculturable. To address this, the relative abundance of enterococci was examined by challenging fecal and water samples against a currently available genus-specific assay (En...
Article
Coastal and estuarine waters are the site of intense anthropogenic influence with concomitant use for recreation and seafood harvesting. Therefore, coastal and estuarine water quality has a direct impact on human health. In eastern North Carolina (NC) there are over 240 recreational and 1025 shellfish harvesting water quality monitoring sites that...
Article
Full-text available
Despite years of successful isolation of Vibrio vulnificus from estuarine waters, beginning in 2007, it was extremely difficult to culture V. vulnificus from either North Carolina estuarine water or oyster samples. After employing culture-based methods as well as PCR and quantitative PCR for the detection of V. vulnificus, always with negative resu...
Article
Traditional fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) measurement is too slow (>18 h) for timely swimmer warnings. Assess relationship of rapid indicator methods (qPCR) to illness at a marine beach impacted by urban runoff. We measured baseline and two-week health in 9525 individuals visiting Doheny Beach 2007-08. Illness rates were compared (swimmers vs. non...
Article
The objective was to assess the impacts of repairing a failing onsite wastewater treatment system (OWTS, i.e., septic system) as related to coastal microbial water quality. Wastewater, groundwater and surface water were monitored for environmental parameters, faecal indicator bacteria (total coliforms, Escherichia coli, enterococci) and the viral t...
Article
Beach sand can harbor fecal indicator organisms and pathogens, but enteric illness risk associated with sand contact remains unclear. In 2007, visitors at 2 recreational marine beaches were asked on the day of their visit about sand contact. Ten to 12 days later, participants answered questions about health symptoms since the visit. F+ coliphage, E...
Article
Full-text available
Several studies have examined how fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) measurements compare between quantitative PCR (qPCR) and the culture methods it is intended to replace. Here, we extend those studies by examining the stability of that relationship within a beach, as affected by time of day and seasonal variations in source. Enterococcus spp. were qu...
Article
The application of quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) technologies for the rapid identification of fecal bacteria in environmental waters is being considered for use as a national water quality metric in the United States. The transition from research tool to a standardized protocol requires information on the reproducibility and sources of variatio...
Article
Fecal contamination in stormwater is often complex. Because conventional fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) cannot be used to ascertain source of fecal contamination, alternative indicators are being explored to partition these sources. As they are assessed for future use, it is critical to compare alternative indicators to conventional FIB under a ran...
Article
To examine microbial transport through properly functioning and failing onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTS) and its implication in surrounding water quality. Water samples were collected from monitoring wells near leach lines of OWTS and nearby ditches and receiving surface waters to analyse for Escherichia coli and enterococci. Tracer studi...
Chapter
In assessments of water quality, determining the source of fecal ­contamination is of paramount importance for mitigating contamination, maintaining­ and restoring healthy ecosystems, and protecting public health. Historically, attention has focused on the use of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) to indicate the level of fecal contamination, but over...
Article
Assessing the potential threat of fecal contamination in surface water often depends on model forecasts which assume that fecal indicator bacteria (FIB, a proxy for the concentration of pathogens found in fecal contamination from warm-blooded animals) are lost or removed from the water column at a certain rate (often referred to as an "inactivation...
Article
Full-text available
Recreational water quality is currently monitored using culture-based methods that require 18 to 96 h for results. Quantitative PCR (QPCR) methods that can be completed in less than 2 h have been developed, but they could yield different results than the conventional methods. We present two studies in which samples were processed simultaneously for...
Article
Full-text available
Sea-surface warming, sea-ice melting and related freshening, changes in circulation and mixing regimes, and ocean acidification induced by the present climate changes are modifying marine ecosystem structure and function and have the potential to alter the cycling of carbon and nutrients in surface oceans. Changing climate has direct and indirect c...
Data
Full-text available
Supplemental information on qPCR assay and CCE calculations.
Article
Full-text available
In the United States and elsewhere, recreational water quality is monitored for fecal indicator bacteria to help prevent swimming-associated illnesses. Standard methods to measure these bacteria take at least 24 hours to obtain results. Molecular approaches such as quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) can estimate these bacteria faster, in...
Article
In the New River Estuary (NRE) in eastern North Carolina (NC), fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) levels exceed water quality standards, leading to closure of estuarine waters for shellfishing and classification of parts of the estuary as "impaired" per the Clean Water Act section 303(d) list. As a means to investigate fecal contamination and loading o...
Article
Microbial contaminants in stormwater runoff have the potential to negatively impact public health. Stormwater runoff to coastal waters is increasing in amount and rate of discharge due to loss of vegetated landscape and increasing coastal development. However, the extent and nature of microbial contamination of stormwater runoff in North Carolina (...
Conference Paper
On-site wastewater treatment (septic) systems are thought to be one of the major contributors of fecal contaminants to coastal and estuarine systems. Material leaking from failing systems could potentially represent a significant public health risk to those using nearby waters for shellfish harvesting and recreation. This potential problem is exace...
Article
Concentrations of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB; e.g. Escherichia coli, and Enterococcus sp.) can only be used in limited ways for determining the source of fecal contamination in recreational waters because they cannot distinguish human from non-human fecal contamination. Several Bacteroides spp. have been suggested as potential alternative indica...
Article
The Newport River Estuary (NPRE) is a high-priority shellfish harvesting area in eastern North Carolina that is impaired due to fecal contamination, specifically exceeding recommended levels for fecal coliforms. A hydrologic-driven mean trend model was developed, as a function of antecedent rainfall, in the NPRE to predict levels of Escherichia col...
Article
Full-text available
New advances in molecular biology can be invaluable tools in resource management, but they are best incorporated through a collaborative process with managers who understand the most pressing questions, practical limitations, and political constraints.
Article
Full-text available
The proposed introduction of Crassostrea ariakensis along the mid-Atlantic Coast of the United States has sparked controversy regarding ecological, economic, and human health consequences. Previous research has focused primarily on the ecological and socioeconomic implications of this initiative, yet few studies have assessed the potential impacts...