Conservation & Science Staff Bios

Mason Fidino

  Ecological Analyst
Urban Wildlife Institute


  • B.S. – Environmental Science with an Emphasis in Terrestrial Ecology, Western Washington University
  • Ph.D. student – Ecology and Evolution, Brown Lab, University of Illinois at Chicago

Areas of Expertise

  • Community ecology
  • Population modeling
  • Explicit hierarchical state-space models
  • Programming (Program R, JAGS, Netlogo)

About Mason Fidino:

Mason first began conservation and ecology work in 2006. Since then he has aided in numerous studies, from collecting clams and fish in the Columbia River to coring trees and identifying birds on the mountains of Washington. Mason completed his undergraduate education at Western Washington University in 2009. After a year-long stay in Dublin, Ireland, he moved to Chicago and began working at Lincoln Park Zoo. Currently, Mason is a doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Chicago studying how wildlife species respond to urbanization.

More specifically, Mason is primarily interested in how habitat fragmentation alters ecological processes, species’ distributions and how communities assemble. Unlike some of the classical fragmented habitats studied in ecology (e.g., oceanic islands, mountain peaks, etc.), the urban landscape is permeable, such that species can persist in the matrix between habitat patches.

To better understand how urban wildlife communities operate in these fragmented, yet permeable landscapes, Mason employs a variety of programmatic tools and statistical methods to more efficiently summarize, document and analyze all the data collected from the Urban Wildlife Biodiversity Monitoring project. With more than 1 million photos and almost 5 years of data this is no easy task, but when Mason is not working on new methods to account for how camera traps influence the observational process he works with the rest of the Urban Wildlife Institute on a variety of other projects. Mason firmly believes that cities are an important and often overlooked portion of the landscape that can be used toward conserving biodiversity.