Skip to main content

News & Events

Monday Noon Seminar - Biodiversity and disease transmission

Monday, November 17, 2014, 12:00PM - 1:00PM


Ross Meentemeyer

Center for Geospatial Analytics, North Carolina State University


ARC room 620

Full title

Biodiversity and disease transmission: Discovery through geography and tangible analytics


We are only beginning to explore the various ways biodiversity may impact the provision of vital ecosystem services, including the mitigation of disease risk. In this seminar I share my group's journey studying the complex role that biodiversity and its management plays in the spread of sudden oak death—an emerging infectious disease killing millions of trees in coastal forests of California and Oregon. Our empirical findings are incorporated into dynamic simulations that explore alternative futures of disease spread based on multiple—and often competing—scenarios of biodiversity management. We are now in the beginning stages of making actionable models in tangible GIS environments, literally allowing stakeholders to gather around a geographically-realistic “sandbox” and visualize what-if scenarios with near real-time projected outcomes. This “quick envisioning” can speed decision making by eliminating non-starters and revealing tradeoffs that build consensus. From these experiences we glean three lessons: geography matters, time to action counts, and tangible analytics are needed for solutions to future outbreaks.


Free and open to the public.