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Tom Dilts

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science
University of Nevada/Mail Stop 186
1664 N. Virginia Street
Reno,  Nevada   89557


Office: (775) 784-1447
Fax: 784-4583

Email: tdilts@cabnr.unr.edu
Building: Max Fleischmann Agriculture,  Office 239d


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I'm a research landscape ecologist with skills in Geographic Information Systems, remote sensing, habitat modeling, habitat connectivity modeling, landscape genetics, and a member of the Great Basin Landscape Ecology Lab led by Dr. Peter Weisberg. I also work collaboratively with other faculty members in NRES on a variety of projects. Interests include:

  • Understanding landscape change using remote sensing, field measurements, and historical information such as General Land Office survey notes
  • Understanding habitat connectivity using genetic data or movement data combined with habitat variables using landscape genetics optimization approaches
  • Modeling current and future species distributions using novel climatic, topographic, and vegetation variables such as climatic water deficit and height above river
  • Working with emerging technologies such as LiDAR, UAVs, and hyperspectral imagery
  • Developing GIS scripts to automate repetitive and/or complex tasks


Dilts, T.E., Weisberg, P.J., Dencker, C.M., Chambers, J.C. 2015, Functionally relevant climate variables for arid lands: using climatic water deficit modeling to predict distribution of desert shrub vegetation., Journal of Biogeography, doi:10.1111/jbi.12561.  
Weisberg, P.J., Dilts, T.E., Becker, M.E., Ammon, E.M., Young, J.S., Newton, W.E., Wong-Kone, D.C. 2014, Guild-specific responses of avian species richness to LiDAR-derived habitat heterogeneity., Acta Oecologica 59: 72-83.  
Dilts, T.E., Yang, J., Weisberg, P.J., Olson, T.J., Turner, P.L., Condon, L.A. 2012, Direct and indirect effects of irrigated agriculture on land cover change in an arid lands watershed., Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 102(3): 531-548.  
Yang, J., T.E. Dilts, L.A. Condon, P.L. Turner, Weisberg, P.J. 2011, Longitudinal- and transverse- scale environmental influences on riparian vegetation across multiple levels of ecological organization., Landscape Ecology, 26(3): 381-395.  
Yang, J., Dilts, T., Condon, L. A., Turner, P. L., Weisberg, P. J. 2010, Longitudinal- and Transverse-scale Environmental influences on riparian vegetation across multiple levels of ecological organization., Landscape Ecology. 26 (3) 381-395   Read More...
Dilts, T., Yang, J., Weisberg, P. J. 2010, The Landscape Similarity Toolbox: new tools for optimizing the location of control sites in experimental studies., Ecography  

Large-scale manipulative experiments are critically important for linking ecological theory with land management at a relevant spatial scale. Statistically powerful inferential approaches such as the before-after-control-impact design involve pairing a small number of treatment sites with control sites of analogous ecological structure and landscape context. Pairing treatment and control sites that are as analogous as possible is an important step to ensuring that differences are due to a treatment effect. The Landscape Similarity Toolbox provides tools for optimizing the location of potential control sites based upon the spatial characteristics of the treatment site.

Dilts, T., Sibold, J. S., Biondi, F. 2009, A weights-of-evidence model for mapping the probability of fire occurrence in Lincoln County, Nevada., Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 99(4), 712-727.  
Lay or Popular Publications
Dilts, T., Yang, J., Weisberg, P. J. 2010, Mapping riparian vegetation with LiDAR data: Predicting plant community distribution using height above river and flood height., Redlands, California: ArcUser