Conservation & Science Staff Bios

Seth Magle, Ph.D.

Urban Wildlife Institute


  • Post-Doctoral Researcher – Ecology of deer in a chronic wasting disease area, University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • Ph.D. – Effects of habitat fragmentation and urbanization on black-tailed prairie dogs, Colorado State University
  • M.S. – Behavior and distribution of prairie dogs impacted by urbanization, University of Wisconsin—Madison

Areas of Expertise

  • Urban wildlife ecology
  • Landscape ecology and GIS methodology
  • Behavioral ecology
  • Conservation biology
  • Population estimation

About Seth Magle:

Seth first became interested in conservation and ecology as a college student in 1997 while observing black-tailed prairie dogs living in sidewalk median strips near his home in Boulder, Colorado. Daily interactions with these resilient animals made him wonder what adaptations enabled these small mammals to persist in highly urban habitat and which factors contributed to their distribution and abundance. Eventually he completed an honors thesis on the behavior of this urban-adapted keystone species; he ultimately expanded on that research for both a master’s degree and a doctorate.

However, Seth’s interests go far beyond prairie dogs to encompass all wildlife species impacted by urbanization and human development. He has also engaged in research on movement behavior of white-tailed deer in a rural landscape characterized by high prevalence of disease outbreaks, assessments of the diversity of bird communities residing in agricultural habitat and the conservation of Canada lynx reintroduced to the southern edge of their historical range, where they are threatened by roads and traffic.

Seth strongly believes that if rare and imperiled species are to be conserved in our modern world, we must understand and mitigate all potential impacts of urban areas on wildlife. To that end, he engages in studies of urban wildlife that span a broad range of scientific disciplines, including behavioral ecology, conservation genetics, landscape ecology, environmental education and human dimensions of wildlife. His vision is to help create a world in which urban ecosystems represent an important component of the worldwide conservation of biodiversity.


Vernon, M.E., Magle, S.B., Lehrer, E.W., and Bramble, J.E. 2014. Invasive European Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica L.) Association with Mammalian Species Distribution in Natural Areas of the Chicagoland Region, USA. Natural Areas Journal 34(2):134-143. 2014.

Hunt, V., Magle, S., Vargas, C., Brown, A., Lonsdorf, E., Sacerdote, A., Sorley, E., Santymire, R. 2014. Survival, abundance, and capture rate of eastern cottontail rabbits in an urban park. Urban Ecosystems 17(2): 547-560.

Hamer, S., E.W. Lehrer, and S. Magle 2012. Wild birds as sentinels for multiple zoonotic pathogens along an urban to rural gradient in greater Chicago, Illinois. Zoonoses and Public Health.

Magle, S.B. and L.M. Angeloni. 2011. Effects of urbanization on the behavior of a keystone species. Behaviour 148: 31-54.

Magle, S.B., P. Reyes, J. Zhu, and K.R. Crooks. 2010. Extirpation, colonization, and habitat dynamics of a keystone species along an urban Gradient. Biological Conservation 143: 2146-2155.

Magle, S.B., E.F. Ruell, M.F. Antolin, and K.R. Crooks. 2010. Population genetic structure of black-tailed prairie dogs, a highly interactive species, in fragmented urban habitat. Journal of Mammalogy 91: 326-33.

Magle, S.B., D. Theobald and K.R. Crooks. 2009. A comparison of metrics predicting landscape connectivity for a highly interactive species along an urban gradient in Colorado, USA. Landscape Ecology 24: 267-280.

Magle, S.B. and K.R. Crooks. 2009. Investigating the distribution of prairie dogs in an urban gradient. Animal Conservation 12: 192-203.

Magle, S.B. and K.R. Crooks. 2008. Interactions between black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) and vegetation in habitat fragmented by urbanization. Journal of Arid Environments 72: 238-246.

Magle, S.B. 2008. Observations on body mass of prairie dogs in urban habitat. Western North American Naturalist 68: 113-118.

Magle, S.B., B.T. McClintock, D. Tripp, G.C. White, M.F. Antolin and K.R. Crooks. 2007. A new method for estimating population densities for prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.). Journal of Wildlife Management 71: 2067-2073.

Magle, S.B., J. Zhu and K.R. Crooks. 2005. Behavioral responses to repeated human intrusion in black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus). Journal of Mammalogy 86: 524-530.

Vernon, M.E., S.B. Magle, E.W. Lehrer, and J.E. Bramble . Invasive European buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) association with mammalian species distribution in natural areas of the Chicagoland region. In preparation.

Magle, S.B., N.E. Mathews, and J.C. Chamberlin. . Survival of white-tailed deer in Wisconsin’s CWD outbreak area. In Press, Northeastern Naturalist.

Hamer, S., E. Lehrer, and S. Magle. . Wild birds as sentinels for multiple zoonotic pathogens along an urban to rural gradient in greater Chicago, Illinois. In Press, Zoonoses and Public Health.