Michael Wimberly

Michael Wimberly
University of Oklahoma | ou · Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability

Ph.D.

About

169
Publications
32,317
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Introduction
My research addresses the impacts of changing climate and land use on ecosystems and human health. Specific topics include disease ecology, fire ecology, and land use and land cover change. My work encompasses multiple locations in Africa and North America. I use my research findings to develop decision-support applications for public health and natural resource management, including disease early warning systems and simulation models for projecting future scenarios of landscape change.

Publications

Publications (169)
Article
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Malaria epidemics can be triggered by fluctuations in temperature and precipitation that influence vector mosquitoes and the malaria parasite. Identifying and monitoring environmental risk factors can thus provide early warning of future outbreaks. Satellite Earth observations provide relevant measurements, but obtaining these data requires substan...
Article
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The Upper Guinean Forest region of West Africa, a globally significant biodiversity hotspot, is among the driest and most human-impacted tropical ecosystems. We used Landsat to study forest degradation, loss, and recovery in the forest reserves of Ghana from 2003 to 2019. Annual canopy cover maps were generated using random forests and results were...
Article
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Satellite remote sensing provides a wealth of information about environmental factors that influence malaria transmission cycles and human populations at risk. Long-term observations facilitate analysis of climate–malaria relationships, and high-resolution data can be used to assess the effects of agriculture, urbanization, deforestation, and water...
Article
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The emergence of mosquito-transmitted viruses poses a global threat to human health. Combining mechanistic epidemiological models based on temperature-trait relationships with climatological data is a powerful technique for environmental risk assessment. However, a limitation of this approach is that the local microclimates experienced by mosquitoe...
Article
Forest reserves in Ghana are the only significant refugia of natural tropical forests, but they are threatened by land use pressures that have led to widespread forest degradation. Additional stress from climate perturbations, such as droughts, can reduce fuel moisture and lead to fires that render the reserves more vulnerable to further degradatio...
Article
Background: West Nile virus (WNV), a global arbovirus, is the most prevalent mosquito-transmitted infection in the United States. Forecasts of WNV risk during the upcoming transmission season could provide the basis for targeted mosquito control and disease prevention efforts. We developed the Arbovirus Mapping and Prediction (ArboMAP) WNV forecas...
Article
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Expanding distributions of native juniper species have had significant ecological and economic impacts on prairie ecosystems of the Great Plains. Juniper encroachment reduces rangeland production by decreasing herbaceous biomass and affecting natural ecosystem functions as it alters other native plant communities, microclimates, and soils. Juniper...
Article
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West Nile virus (WNV) is a globally distributed mosquito-borne virus of great public health concern. The number of WNV human cases and mosquito infection patterns vary in space and time. Many statistical models have been developed to understand and predict WNV geographic and temporal dynamics. However, these modeling efforts have been disjointed wi...
Article
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Background Despite global intervention efforts, malaria remains a major public health concern in many parts of the world. Understanding geographic variation in malaria patterns and their environmental determinants can support targeting of malaria control and development of elimination strategies. Methods We used remotely sensed environmental data...
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Background: Despite remarkable progress in the reduction of malaria incidence, this disease remains a public health threat to a significant portion of the world's population. Surveillance, combined with early detection algorithms, can be an effective intervention strategy to inform timely public health responses to potential outbreaks. Our main ob...
Preprint
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Background Despite global intervention efforts, malaria remains a major public health concern in many parts of the world. Understanding geographic variation in malaria patterns and their environmental determinants can support targeting of malaria control and development of elimination strategies. We used multiple sources of remotely-sensed environm...
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Research Highlights: This research identified areas of the eastern United States forests that may be at particular risk from Sudden Oak Death (SOD) if it becomes established in the region. The highest suitability for SOD occurs where there are both species at risk of serious infection and species that could spread SOD to new hosts. Background and O...
Preprint
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Background Despite remarkable progress in the reduction of malaria incidence, this disease remains a public health threat to a significant portion of the world’s population. Surveillance, combined with early detection algorithms, can be an effective intervention strategy to inform timely public health responses to potential outbreaks. Our main obje...
Article
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The American Geophysical Union (AGU) issues position statements reflecting the state of the science and scientific consensus. AGU position statements can be used to support public and institutional policy development, conversations with peers and policymakers, and formal and informal education. The recent climate change position statement, "Society...
Article
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Despite the sparse distribution of meteorological stations and issues with missing data, vector-borne disease studies in Ethiopia have been commonly conducted based on the relationships between these diseases and ground-based in situ measurements of climate variation. High temporal and spatial resolution satellite-based remote-sensing data is a pot...
Article
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Mosquito surveillance has been conducted across South Dakota (SD) to record and track potential West Nile virus (WNV) vectors since 2004. During this time, communities from 29 counties collected nearly 5.5 million mosquitoes, providing data from over 60,000 unique trapping nights. The nuisance mosquito, Aedes vexans (Meigen) was the most abundant s...
Article
The pika (Ochotona curzoniae) hole is an important landscape feature in the Tibetan Plateau (TP) grasslands, and it indicates grassland degradation levels due to the destruction caused by pika burrowing activities on grasslands. However, no studies have ever explored landscape patterns of pika holes and their effects on adjacent vegetation coverage...
Article
Time series models of malaria cases can be applied to forecast epidemics and support proactive interventions. Mosquito life history and parasite development are sensitive to environmental factors such as temperature and precipitation, and these variables are often used as predictors in malaria models. However, malaria-environment relationships can...
Article
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Understanding the geographic distribution of mosquito-borne disease and mapping disease risk are important for prevention and control efforts. Mosquito-borne viruses (arboviruses), such as West Nile virus (WNV), are highly dependent on environmental conditions. Therefore, the use of environmental data can help in making spatial predictions of disea...
Article
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In 2016, we compared susceptibility to the insecticide, permethrin, between the West Nile virus vector, Culex tarsalis Coquillett, and a major nuisance mosquito, Aedes vexans (Meigen), using baseline diagnostic dose and time values determined using the CDC bottle bioassay protocol. Mosquitoes were collected in the wild in Brookings County, South Da...
Article
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Few studies of breast cancer treatment have focused on the Northern Plains of the United States, an area with a high mastec-tomy rate. This study examined the association between geographic access to radiation therapy facilities and receipt of breast cancer treatments among early-stage breast cancer patients in South Dakota. Based on 4,209 early-st...
Article
Models that forecast the timing and location of human arboviral disease have the potential to make mosquito control and disease prevention more effective. A common approach is to use statistical time-series models that predict disease cases as lagged functions of environmental variables. However, the simplifying assumptions required for standard mo...
Article
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The Upper Guinean region of West Africa exhibits strong geographic variation in land use, climate, vegetation, and human population and has experienced phenomenal biophysical and socio-economic changes in recent decades. All of these factors influence spatial heterogeneity and temporal trends in fires, but their combined effects on fire regimes are...
Article
In the prairies of North America, remnant native grasslands are threatened by continuing agricultural ex-tensification. Fragmentation of the remaining grassland isolates patches and limits the potential for dispersal of native species. We explored these impacts by analyzing the spatial pattern of native grassland habitats in the Prairie Coteau regi...
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Context: Terrestrial ecosystems, including tropical forests, are hypothesized to have tipping points beyond which environmental change triggers rapid and radical shifts to novel alternative states. Objective: We explored the overarching hypothesis that fire-mediated alternative stable states exist in the semi-deciduous tropical forest zone of Ghan...
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Introduction Predicting the timing and locations of future mosquito-borne disease outbreaks has the potential to improve the targeting of mosquito control and disease prevention efforts. Here, we present and evaluate prospective forecasts made prior to and during the 2016 West Nile virus (WNV) season in South Dakota, a hotspot for human WNV transmi...
Article
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the geographic variations of late-stage diagnosis in colorectal cancer (CRC) and breast cancer as well as to investigate the effects of 3 neighborhood-level factors-socioeconomic deprivation, urban/rural residence, and spatial accessibility to health care-on the late-stage risks. Methods: This st...
Article
The extent of United States Great Plains grass agriculture has ebbed and flowed over decades in response to market incentives, government policies, technological innovations and weather patterns. Our thesis is that the land most responsive to these drivers is at the economic margin between grass-based production and cropping. Much of the eastern Da...
Article
Background Remotely-sensed earth observation data have the potential to inform early warning systems for malaria and other environmentally mediated diseases due to the lagged relation between environmental conditions at present and disease transmission potential in the near future. A common approach is to use total rainfall and mean temperature at...
Article
Background Within the USA, South Dakota is the state with the highest incidence rates of human West Nile virus disease. For effective disease prevention and mosquito control, it is crucial to identify potential transmission hot spots. Because disease occurrence is driven by the presence of avian hosts and mosquito vectors, understanding their habit...
Article
Background Infectious disease surveillance has traditionally focused on tracking human cases along with arthropod vectors and zoonotic hosts. For climate-sensitive diseases, there is potential to strengthen surveillance and predict future outbreaks by monitoring environmental risk factors using broad-scale sensor networks. We aim to highlight the o...
Article
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Landsat time series data were used to characterize forest degradation in Lam Dong Province, Vietnam. We conducted three types of image change analyses using Landsat time series data to characterize the land cover changes. Our analyses concentrated on the timeframe of 1973–2014, with much emphasis on the latter part of that range. We conducted a fie...
Conference Paper
Disease maps and forecasts developed using satellite remote sensing data can inform the decisions of public health officials and improve disease control and epidemic response. However, it is time consuming to construct a geospatial health system using remote sensing data products from scratch and it is quite expensive to maintain the system if chan...
Article
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Background Early indication of an emerging malaria epidemic can provide an opportunity for proactive interventions. Challenges to the identification of nascent malaria epidemics include obtaining recent epidemiological surveillance data, spatially and temporally harmonizing this information with timely data on environmental precursors, applying mod...
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The western Corn Belt region of the United States has become a hotspot for agricultural extensifica-tion and consequent land use and land cover changes. The goals of this research were to characterize geographic patterns of grassland loss resulting from cropland expansion in the eastern Dakotas, and to understand how these changes were associated w...
Article
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The Upper Guinea Forest (UGF) region of West Africa is one of the most climatically marginal and human-impacted tropical forest regions in the world. Research on the patterns and drivers of vegetation change is critical for developing strategies to sustain ecosystem services in the region and to understand how climate and land use change will affec...
Article
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A variety of land-use and land-cover (LULC) models operating at scales from local to global have been developed in recent years, including a number of models that provide spatially explicit, multi-class LULC projections for the conterminous United States. This diversity of modeling approaches raises the question: how consistent are their projection...
Article
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The impacts of interannual climate fluctuations on vector-borne diseases, especially malaria, have received considerable attention in the scientific literature. These effects can be significant in semi-arid and high-elevation areas such as the highlands of East Africa because cooler temperature and seasonally dry conditions limit malaria transmissi...
Article
Sensors are becoming ubiquitous in everyday life, generating data at an unprecedented rate and scale. However, models that assess impacts of human activities on environmental and human health, have typically been developed in contexts where data scarcity is the norm. Models are essential tools to understand processes, identify relationships, associ...
Article
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This research examines the larger-scale associations between obesity and food environments in metropolitan areas in the United States (US). The US Census County Business Patterns dataset for 2011 was used to construct various indices of food environments for selected metropolitan areas. The numbers of employees engaged in supermarkets, convenience...
Article
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To explore grazing effects on carbon fluxes in alpine meadow ecosystems, we used a paired eddy-covariance (EC) system to measure carbon fluxes in adjacent fenced (FM) and grazed (GM) meadows on the Tibetan plateau. Gross primary productivity (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (Re) were greater at GM than FM for the first two years of fencing. In the t...
Article
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An improved understanding of the relative influences of climatic and landscape controls on multiple fire regime components is needed to enhance our understanding of modern fire regimes and how they will respond to future environmental change. To address this need, we analyzed the spatio-temporal patterns of fire occurrence, size, and severity of la...
Article
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Analysis of the relationship between evapotranspiration (ET) and its natural and anthropogenic drivers is critical in water-limited basins such as the Nile. The spatiotemporal relationships of ET with rainfall and vegetation dynamics in the Nile Basin during 2002–2011 were analyzed using satellite-derived data. Non-parametric statistics were used t...
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The global human population is projected to increase from 7.2 billion in 2013 to 9.6 billion in 2050 (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs 2013). Increasing numbers of people and households are placing escalating pressure on global forests through demand for wood and other forest resources. In addition, the geographic expansion...
Article
Full-text available
Sensors are becoming ubiquitous in everyday life, generating data at an unprecedented rate and scale. However, models that assess impacts of human activities on environmental and human health, have typically been developed in contexts where data scarcity is the norm. Models are essential tools to understand processes, identify relationships, associ...
Article
Full-text available
Context Wildfire is a particular concern in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) of the western United States where human development occurs close to flammable natural vegetation. Objectives (1) Assess the relative influences of WUI expansion versus climate-driven fire regime change on spatial and temporal patterns of burned WUI, and (2) determine wh...
Article
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Malaria is a major global public health problem, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. The spatial heterogeneity of malaria can be affected by factors such as hydrological processes, physiography, and land cover patterns. Tropical wetlands, for example, are important hydrological features that can serve as mosquito breeding habitats. Mapping and moni...
Article
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The national resurgence of human West Nile virus (WNV) disease in 2012 raised questions about the factors responsible for WNV outbreaks. Interannual climatic variations may influence WNV amplification and transmission to humans through multiple pathways, including mosquito breeding habitats, gonotrophic cycles, extrinsic incubation, avian communiti...
Article
Advance information about the timing and locations of malaria epidemics can facilitate the targeting of resources for prevention and emergency response. However, predictions must be accurate to ensure that potential outbreaks are not missed and resources are not wasted responding to predicted outbreaks that do not occur. Early warning systems based...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods The tropical forest ecosystem is a potential tipping element likely to shift to alternative states; with dire consequences for ecosystem functions, human wellbeing, the climate system and terrestrial biodiversity. In this process, the interactions between climate change and land-use pressures could alter fire regimes t...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Land cover change is the result of reciprocal interactions and feedbacks between socioeconomic and natural processes that can be better understood within the framework of coupled human and natural systems (CHANS). The Colorado Front Range Corridor is a mixture of urban, agricultural, grassland, and diverse forest types...