Evaluation of statistical models for predicting Escherichia coli particle attachment in fluvial systems

Gregory Piorkowski, Rob Jamieson, Greg Bezanson, Lisbeth Truelstrup Hansen, Chris Yost

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Modeling surface water Escherichia coli fate and transport requires partitioning E. coli into particle-attached and unattached fractions. Attachment is often assumed to be a constant fraction or is estimated using simple linear models. The objectives of this study were to: (i) develop statistical models for predicting E. coli attachment and virulence marker presence in fluvial systems, and (ii) relate E. coli attachment to a variety of environmental parameters. Stream water samples (n = 60) were collected at four locations in a rural, mixed-use watershed between June and October 2012, with four storm events (>20 mm rainfall) being captured. The percentage of E. coil attached to particles (>5 mu m) and the occurrences of virulence markers were modeled using water quality, particle concentration, particle size distribution, hydrology and land use factors as explanatory variables. Three types of statistical models appropriate for highly collinear, multidimensional data were compared: least angle shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO), classification and regression trees using the general, unbiased, interaction detection and estimation (GUIDE) algorithm, and multivariate adaptive regression splines (MARS). All models showed that E. coli particle attachment and the presence of E. coli virulence markers in the attached and unattached states were influenced by a combination of water quality, hydrology, land-use and particle properties. Model performance statistics indicate that MARS models outperform LASSO and GUIDE models for predicting E. coil particle attachment and virulence marker occurrence. Validating the MARS modeling approach in multiple watersheds may allow for the development of a parameterizing model to be included in watershed simulation models. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWater Research
Issue number17
Pages (from-to)6701-6711
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Escherichia coli
  • MARS
  • Particle attachment
  • Virulence markers
  • Classification and regression tree
  • Model-performance statistics
  • Multivariate adaptive regression splines
  • Particle attachments
  • Watershed simulation models
  • Computer simulation
  • Forecasting
  • Land use
  • Particle size analysis
  • Surface waters
  • Trees (mathematics)
  • Water quality
  • Watersheds
  • surface water
  • algorithm
  • coliform bacterium
  • fluvial process
  • numerical model
  • parameterization
  • particle settling
  • particle size
  • regression analysis
  • size distribution
  • streamwater
  • virulence
  • water quality
  • watershed
  • article
  • bacterial virulence
  • environmental parameters
  • evaluation
  • explanatory variable
  • hydrology
  • land use
  • priority journal
  • simulation
  • statistical model
  • water contamination
  • water sampling
  • Algorithms
  • Bacterial Adhesion
  • Canada
  • Geography
  • Models, Statistical
  • Regression Analysis
  • Virulence Factors
  • Water
  • Water Microbiology
  • fluvial system attachment
  • land use factor
  • particle concentration
  • particle size distribution
  • Facultatively Anaerobic Gram-Negative Rods Eubacteria Bacteria Microorganisms (Bacteria, Eubacteria, Microorganisms) - Enterobacteriaceae [06702] Escherichia coli species pathogen, contaminant
  • 04500, Mathematical biology and statistical methods
  • 10515, Biophysics - Biocybernetics
  • 31000, Physiology and biochemistry of bacteria
  • 37014, Public health - Sewage disposal and sanitary measures
  • Computational Biology
  • classification and regression tree model CART model mathematical and computer techniques
  • general, unbiased, interaction detection and estimation algorithm model GUIDE algorithm model mathematical and computer techniques
  • least angle shrinkage and selection operator algorithm model LASSO algorithm model mathematical and computer techniques
  • multivariate adaptive regression spline model MARS model mathematical and computer techniques
  • Models and Simulations
  • Sanitation
  • E. COLI
  • 059QF0KO0R Water

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation of statistical models for predicting Escherichia coli particle attachment in fluvial systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this