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 scientific questions and create practical applications in the fields of public health and natural resource management. Areas of study include 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 builds upon the results of this research to create software that applies geospatial data and analysis methods for decision support. He has developed disease early warning systems to predict West Nile virus outbreaks in the United States and malaria in Ethiopia, used Earth observations to monitor forest degradation in tropical West Africa, and designed spatial simulation models to project future landscapes under scenarios of global change.

Curriculum Vitae - Mike Wimberly

Project Information

Media Coverage

Professional Service

  • Communications and Outreach Committee Co-Chair - GeoHealth Section, American Geophysical Union
  • Associate Editor - Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
  • Scientific Program Committee Member - American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

Recent Grants

  • 8/2/2021-8/1/2024 NASA Carbon Cycle Science Program (80NSSC21K1714) Drought, Disturbance, and Carbon Dynamics of West African Tropical Forests PI: M. C. Wimberly; Co-I S. Crowell
  • 9/14/2020-8/31/2025 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (R01AI153444) Redefining thermal suitability for urban malaria transmission in the context of humidity PI: C. C. Murdock; Co-Is: M. Pascual, M. C. Wimberly
  • 6/26/2019-6/25/2022 NASA Applied Sciences, Health and Air Quality Program (NSSC19K1233) Rapid Response to Assess the Risk of Arbovirus Outbreaks Triggered by Climate Events PI: M. C. Wimberly; Co-I: J. K. Davis
  • 9/26/2019-4/30/2021 USAID Adaptation Thought Leadership and Assessments (AID-OAA-TO-14-00044 SUB-778) Scaling Malaria Forecasts to the National Level in Ethiopia: A Feasibility Assessment PI: M. C. Wimberly; Co-I: D. M. Nekorchuk
  • 8/1/2016-2/07/2020 NASA SERVIR Applied Sciences Team (NNX16AN22G) Monitoring and Projecting Environmental Change in Fragmented Tropical Forest Landscapes PI: M. C. Wimberly; Co-Is: M. A. Cochrane, I. Numata
  • 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

  • McMahon, A., A. Mihretie, A. A. Ahmed, M. Lake, W. Awoke, and M. C. Wimberly. 2021. Remote sensing of environmental risk factors for malaria in different geographic contexts. International Journal of Health Geographics 20: 28.
  • Nekorchuk, D. M., T. Gebrehiwot, M. Lake, W. Awoke, A. Mihretie, and M. C. Wimberly. 2021. Comparing malaria early detection methods in a declining transmission setting in northwestern Ethiopia. BMC Public Health 21: 788.
  • Wimberly, M. C., K. M. de Beurs, T. V. Loboda, W. K. Pan. 2021. Satellite observations and malaria: new opportunities for research and applications. Trends in Parasitology 37: 525-537.
  • Wimberly, M. C., J. K. Davis, M. V. Evans, A. Hess, P. M. Newberry, N. Solano-Asamoah, C. C. Murdock. In Press. Land cover affects microclimate and temperature suitability for arbovirus transmission in an urban landscape. PLoS Neglected Tropial Diseases s 14(9): e0008614.
  • Davis, J. K., Gebrehiwot, T., Worku. M., Awoke, W., Mihretie, A., Nekorchuk, D., and M. C. Wimberly. 2019. A genetic algorithm for identifying spatially-varying environmental drivers in a malaria time series model. Environmental Modelling and Software 119: 275-284.
  • Dwomoh, F. K., M. C. Wimberly, M. A. Cochrane, and I. Numata. 2019. Forest degradation promotes fire during drought in moist tropical forests of Ghana. Forest Ecology and Management 440: 148-168.
  • Hess, A., J. K. Davis, and M. C. Wimberly. 2018. Identifying environmental risk factors and mapping the distribution of West Nile virus in an endemic region of North America. GeoHealth 2: 395-409.
  • 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, 2020, 2021
  • GEOG 3890 - Pandemics and Place, the Geography of Infectious Diseases (3 semester credits, lecture/discussion) 2021
  • GEOG 6240 - Graduate Seminar in Climate and Health (3 semester credits, lecture/discussion) 2020

    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

  • Eric Bump (In Progress) Ph.D. in Geography and Environmental Sustainability, University of Oklahoma
  • Andrews Korah (In Progress) Ph.D. in Geography and Environmental Sustainability, University of Oklahoma
  • Avery Taylor (In Progress) M.S. in Geography and Environmental Sustainability, University of Oklahoma
  • Andrea McMahon (8/2021) Ph.D. in Geography and Environmental Sustainability, University of Oklahoma Dissertation: Earth Observation and Mosquito-Borne Diseases: Assessing Environmental Risk Factors for Disease Transmission via Rremote Sensing Data
  • 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

  • Dawn Nekorchuk (2017-present)
  • Justin Davis (2016-2020) Current Position: Research Analyst, Oklahoma Health Care Authority
  • Francis Dwomoh (2018-present) Current Position: Research Scientist, USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science Center
  • Christopher Merkord (2014-2017) Current Position: Assistant Professor, Minnesota State University Mankato
  • Zhihua Liu (2012-2016) Current Position: Research Scientist, Numerical Terradynamics Simulation Group, 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: Associate Professor, Taipei Medical University
  • Aki Michimi (2008-2011) Current Position: Adjunct Professor, Eastern Connecticut State University
  • Mirela Tulbure (2008-2010) Current Position: Associate Professor, North Carolina State University