Dr. Michael C. Wimberly

Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability, University of Oklahoma


  • B.A., Environmental Science, University of Virginia
  • M.S., Quantitative Resource Management, University of Washington
  • Ph.D., Forest Ecology, Oregon State University

Research Interests

Dr. Mike Wimberly is a Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability at the University of Oklahoma and the head of the EcoGRAPH research group. His research combines ecological models with earth observation data to address research questions and create practical applications in the fields of public health and natural resource management. He studies the interactions between wildfire and vegetation dynamics in temperate and tropical forest ecosystems, agricultural expansion and the resulting fragmentation of native forests and grasslands, and the effects of land use and climate on vector-borne disease transmission. Dr. Wimberly has applied the results of his research to build novel geoinformatics platforms that use satellite remote sensing to predict West Nile virus outbreaks in the United States and malaria in the highlands of East Africa. He has also created a satellite-based monitoring system to track forest degradation in tropical West Africa and developed spatial simulation models to project future landscapes under scenarios of global change.

Curriculum Vitae - Mike Wimberly

Project Information

EPIDEMIA - Malaria Early Warning in the Amhara Region of Ethiopoia

ARBOMAP - West Nile Virus Surveillance and Forecasting

Tropial Forest Degradation - Monitoring Landscape Change in West Africa

CHANGE - Integrated Land Use and Vegetation Dynamics Modeling

Agricultural Land System - Cropland Expansion and Grassland Loss

Media Coverage

Tools for Forecasting Malaria Outbreaks - Bioscience

Mosquito Meets MODIS - NASA Video on West Nile Virus Forecasting

Biofuels and Grassland Conversion - USA Today

Recent Grants

8/1/2016-7/31/2019 NASA SERVIR Applied Sciences Team (NNX16AN22G) Monitoring and Projecting Environmental Change in Fragmented Tropical Forest Landscapes PI: M. C. Wimberly; Co-I: M. A. Cochrane

8/15/2008-11/30/2018 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (R01AI079411) An Integrated System for the Epidemiological Application of Earth Observation Technologies PI: M. C. Wimberly; Co-Is: G. M. Henebry, Y. Liu; Collaborator: G. Senay

2/18/2015-2/17/2018 NASA Applied Sciences, Health and Air Quality Program (NNX15AF74G) An Early Warning System for Human West Nile Virus Disease PI: M. C. Wimberly; Co-I: M. B. Hildreth

6/1/2014-7/31/2017 National Science Foundation (1340583) Climatic and Anthropogenic Forcing of Wetland Landscape Connectivity in the Great Plains PI: C. K. Wright; Co-Is: G. M. Henebry, C. A. Johnston, M. C. Wimberly

2/1/2014-1/31/2017 USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (2014-67003-21772) Adaptation of Agroecosystems to Climate Change at the Edge of the U.S. Cornbelt―Assessing Different Drivers in a Network of Infrastructure PI: D. A. Hennessy; Co-Is: A. Akyüz, X. Du, H. Feng, L. Janssen, M. C. Wimberly, and P. T. Wolter

7/1/2014-6/30/2017 NASA Advancing Collaborative Connections for Earth System Science Program (NNX14AI37A) Expanding Earth Science Data Access for Public Health Research and Applications PI: M. C. Wimberly; Co-I: Y. Liu

Selected Recent Publications

Wimberly, M. C., D. M. Narem, P. J. Bauman, B. T. Carlson, and M. A. Ahlering. 2018. Grassland connectivity in fragmented agricultural landscapes of the north-central United States. Biological Conservation 217: 121-130.

Davis J. K., Vincent G., Hildreth M. B., Kightlinger L., Carlson C., and M. C. Wimberly. 2017. Integrating Environmental Monitoring and Mosquito Surveillance to Predict Vector-borne Disease: Prospective Forecasts of a West Nile Virus Outbreak. PLOS Currents Outbreaks. 2017 May 23. Edition 1. doi: 10.1371/currents.outbreaks.90e80717c4e67e1a830f17feeaaf85de.

Dwomoh, F. K., and M. C. Wimberly. 2017. Fire regimes and forest resilience: alternative vegetation states in the West African tropics. Landscape Ecology 32: 1849-1865.

Liu, Z., M. C. Wimberly, F. K Dwomoh. 2017. Vegetation dynamics in the Upper Guinean Forest region of West Africa from 2001 to 2015. Remote Sensing. 9(1): 5.

​Merkord, C. L., Y. Liu, A. Mihretie, T. Gebrehiwot, W. Awoke, E. Bayabil, G. M. Henebry, G. T. Kassa, M. Lake, and M. C. Wimberly. 2017. Integrating malaria surveillance with climate data for outbreak detection and forecasting: the EPIDEMIA system. Malaria Journal 16:89.

Wang, T. M. Luri, L. Janssen, D. A. Hennessy, H. Feng, M. C. Wimberly, and G. Arora. 2017. Determinants of motives for land use decisions at the margins of the Corn Belt. Ecological Economics: 134: 227-237.

Wimberly, M. C., L. L. Janssen, D. A. Hennessy, M. Luri, N. M. Chowdhury, and H. Feng. 2017. Cropland expansion and grassland loss in the eastern Dakotas: New insights from a farm-level survey. Land Use Policy 63: 160-173.

Liu, Z., M. C. Wimberly. 2016. Direct and indirect effects of climate change on projected future fire regimes in the western United States. Science of the Total Environment 542: 65-75.

Sohl, T. L., M. C. Wimberly, V. C. Radeloff, D. M. Theobald, B. M. Sleeter. 2016. Divergent projections of future land use in the United States arising from different models and scenarios. Ecological Modelling 337: 281–297

Liu, Y., J. Hu, I. Snell-Feikema, M. S. VanBemmel, A. Lamsal, M. C. Wimberly. 2015. Software to Facilitate Remote Sensing Data Access for Disease Early Warning Systems. Environmental Modeling and Software. Environmental Modelling and Software 74: 238-246.

Liu, Z., M. C. Wimberly, A. Lamsal, T. L. Sohl, T. J. Hawbaker. 2015. Climate change and wildfire risk in an expanding wildland-urban interface: a case study from the Colorado Front Range Corridor. Landscape Ecology 30: 1943-1957.

Midekisa A., B. Beyene, A. Mihretie, E. Bayabil, M. C. Wimberly. 2015. Seasonal associations of climatic drivers and malaria in the highlands of Ethiopia. Parasites & Vectors 8: 339.

Wimberly, M. C. T. L. Sohl, Z. Liu, and A. Lamsal. 2015. Simulating forest landscapes as coupled human and natural systems. Pages 233-261 In: A. Perera, B. Sturtevant, and L. Buse, editors. Modeling Forest Landscape Disturbances. Springer, New York.

University Courses Taught

University of Oklahoma

GIS 4453/5453 - Advanced GIS and Spatial Analysis (3 semester credits, lecture/lab) 2019

South Dakota State University

GSE 743 – Geospatial Analysis (3 semester credits, lecture/lab) 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017

GSE 792 – Special Topics: Geospatial Analysis (3 semester credits, lecture/lab) 2006

GSE 792 – Special Topics: GIS Application in Ecology (3 semester credits, lecture/lab) 2009, 2011

NRM 706 – Landscape Ecology (3 semester credits, lecture/lab 2014, 2016

University of Georgia

FORS 3910 – Spatial Information in Forest Resources (3 semester credits, lecture/lab) 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005

FORS 4730 – Senior Project (4 semester credits, lecture/discussion) 2003

FORS 5930 – Prescribed Fire in the Forest Ecosystem (2 semester credits, field class) 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005

FORS 8000 – Landscape Ecology Seminar (2 semester credits, lecture/lab/discussion) 2002

FORS 8330 – Landscape Ecology (3 semester credits, lecture/lab/discussion)

2003, 2004, 2005

Oregon State University

FS 599 – Applied Landscape Ecology Seminar (2 quarter credits, lecture/lab/discussion) 2000, 2001

Graduate Student Supervised

Andrea Hess (In Progress) Ph.D. in Geospatial Science and Engineering, South Dakota State University

Francis Dwomoh (5/2018) Ph.D. in Geospatial Science and Engineering, South Dakota State University Dissertation: Vulnerability of Protected Areas to Human Encroachment, Climate Change and Fire in the Fragmented Tropical Forests of West Africa

Kyle Kaskie (5/2018) M.S. in Biological Sciences, South Dakota State University Thesis: Mapping and Risk Assessment of Juniper Encroachment Into a Prairie Landscape

Henok Alemu (5/2015) Ph.D. in Geospatial Science and Engineering, South Dakota State University Dissertation: Contemporary Evapotranspiration Changes and Drivers in the Nile Basin.

Alemayehu Midekisa (12/2014) Ph.D. in Geospatial Science and Engineering, South Dakota State University Dissertation: Integrating Multi-Sensor Satellite Data for Malaria Early Warning in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia.

Aaron Friesz (8/2012) M.S. in Geography, South Dakota State University Thesis: Effects of Bird Community Structure on West Nile Virus Incidence in the Northern Great Plains.

Narayana Ganapathy (12/2011) Ph.D. in Geospatial Science and Engineering, South Dakota State University Dissertation: Influences of Forest Roads on the Spatial Pattern of Modern Wildfire Regimes in the East Cascades of Washington State.

Aashis Lamsal (8/2011) M.S. in Geography, South Dakota State University Thesis: Evaluating Geospatial Visualization Methods for West Nile Virus Risk Mapping.

Stephen Boyte (8/2009) M.S. in Geography, South Dakota State University Thesis: Modeling Fire Disturbance and Forest Structure Change in the Black Hills

Jamie Manangan (12/2006) M.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Management, University of Georgia Thesis: Spatial Analysis of the Distributions of Two Tick-Borne Bacteria, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Ehrlichia chaffeensis, in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley.

Darroc Goolsby (12/2005) M.S. in Forest Biology, University of Georgia Thesis: Patterns of Land Use and Succession in a Longleaf Pine Forest.

Yangjian Zhang (5/2005) Ph.D. in Forest Resource Management, University of Georgia Dissertation: Identification of the Wildland-Urban Interface at Regional and Landscape Scales.

Matthew Reilly (8/2004) M.S. in Forest Biology, University of Georgia Thesis: Plant Community Dynamics Following Wildfire in the South Appalachians: Changes in Diversity at Multiple Spatial Scales.

Postdoctoral Scholars Supervised

Francis Dwomoh (2018-present)

Dawn Nekorchuk (2017-present)

Justin Davis (2016-present)

Christopher Merkord (2014-2017) Current Position: Assistant Professor, Minnesota State University Mankato

Zhihua Liu (2012-2016) Current Position: Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Montana

Ramu Sudhagoni (2012-2013) Current Position: Assistant Professor, University of South Dakota

Chris Wright (2011-2013) Current Position: Research Associate, Natural Resources Research Institute

Ting-Wu Chuang (2009-2012) Current Position: Assistant Professor, Taipei Medical University

Aki Michimi (2008-2011) Current Position: Adjunct Professor, Eastern Connecticut State University

Mirela Tulbure (2008-2010) Current Position: Senior Lecturer, University of New South Wales