A red wolf lies on fallen leaves in exhibit A red wolf lies on fallen leaves in exhibit

Urban Wildlife Institute

Zoo scientists swabs a wild frog to gather hormones for analysis

Using Lincoln Park Zoo’s diverse scientific specialties, the Urban Wildlife Institute studies the interaction between urban development and the natural ecosystem to develop scientific standards for minimizing conflict between them. Landscape ecology, population biology, animal behavior, epidemiology, endocrinology, veterinary medicine, and other core disciplines contribute to an increased understanding of the urban ecosystem. The Urban Wildlife Institute aims to use Chicago as a model for urban areas struggling to deal with wildlife relocation, rehabilitation, disease, and conflicts.

Areas of Focus

Biodiversity Monitoring

Since 2010, monitoring stations from the city to the suburbs have helped scientists chronicle the urban ecosystem of the Chicago region. Largely focused on terrestrial mammals and bats, this long-term, unprecedented monitoring effort has included birds, ticks, small mammals, arthropods, and vegetation surveys—all made possible by collaborations with scientists and landowners.

Disease Transmission

The Urban Wildlife Institute focuses, in part, on the transmission of disease from animals to humans—another byproduct of urban sprawl. By studying how people and animals interact in an urban setting, the Urban Wildlife Institute can help scientists better understand—and curb—zoonotic diseases, such as West Nile virus, rabies, and avian influenza.

Community Partnerships

The Urban Wildlife Institute is forming partnerships with local nature and conservation organizations to conduct pilot studies on ecosystem health and human-wildlife interaction. By developing standards for managing urban wildlife, the institute is creating a conflict-management model that can be followed worldwide.

An image from a motion-activated field camera of a coyote sniffing a fence

Urban Wildlife Information Network

Urban wildlife live in every city around the world. Even though the Urban Wildlife Institute collects data in the heart of Chicago, its scientists aim to help humans and animals coexist worldwide. To that end, the institute founded the Urban Wildlife Information Network (UWIN) to help researchers, architects, city planners, and others across the planet collect data to build wildlife-friendly cities.

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Zoo scientists swabs a wild frog to gather hormones for analysis

Research Internships

The Urban Wildlife Institute offers opportunities for aspiring biologists to gain valuable experience in a rigorous scientific environment and take part in a long-term monitoring program.

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  • Voorhies, K. J., Szymanski, J., Nail, K. R., & Fidino, M. 2019. A Method to Project Future Impacts From Threats and Conservation on the Probability of Extinction for North American Migratory Monarch (Danaus plexxipus) Populations. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 7. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2019.00384
  • Magle, S. B., Fidino, M., Lehrer, E. W., Gallo, T., Mulligan, M. P., Ríos, M. J., Ahlers, A. A., Angstmann, J., Belaire, A., Dugelby, B., Gramza, A., Hartley, L., MacDougall, B., Ryan, T., Salsbury, C., Sander, H., Schell, C., Simon, K., Onge, S. S., & Drake, D. 2019. Advancing urban wildlife research through a multi-city collaboration. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 17(4), 232–239. https://doi.org/10.1002/fee.2030
  • Murray, M. H., Sánchez, C. A., Becker, D. J., Byers, K. A., Worsley‐Tonks, K. E., & Craft, M. E. 2019. City sicker? A meta-analysis of wildlife health and urbanization. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 17(10), 575–583. https://doi.org/10.1002/fee.2126
  • Potratz, E. J., Brown, J. S., Gallo, T., Anchor, C., & Santymire, R. M. 2019. Effects of demography and urbanization on stress and body condition in urban white-tailed deer. Urban Ecosystems, Early View. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-019-00856-8
  • Allocca, M., Corrigan, J. J., Mazumder, A., Fake, K. R., & Samson, L. D. 2019. Inflammation, Necrosis and RIP3 are Key Mediators of AAG-dependent Alkylation-induced Retinal Degeneration. Science Signaling, 12(568), eaau9216. https://doi.org/10.1126/scisignal.aau9216
  • Magle, S. B., & Fidino, M. 2018. Long-term declines of a highly interactive urban species. Biodiversity and Conservation. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-018-1621-z
  • Fidino, M., Simonis, J. L., & Magle, S. B. 2018. A multi-state dynamic occupancy model to estimate local colonization-extinction rates and patterns of co-occurrence between two or more interacting species. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, Early View. https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.13117
  • Fidino, M., Herr, S. W., & Magle, S. B. 2018. Assessing online opinions of wildlife through social media. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, Early View. https://doi.org/10.1080/10871209.2018.1468943
  • Gallo, T., & Fidino, M. 2018. Biodiversity: Making wildlife welcome in urban areas. eLife, 7, e41348
    Murray, M.H., Kidd, A., Curry, S., Hepinstall-Cymerman, J., Welch, C.N., Hernandez, S.M. 2018. From wetland specialist to hand-fed: shifts in diet and condition in a recently urbanized wading bird. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 373(1745), 20170100
  • Fake, K. R. 2018. Importance of nutritional status of passerines to immunity and disease dynamics. Michigan State University, ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global
  • Murray, M. H., Fyffe, R., Fidino, M., Byers, K. A., Rios, M. J., Mulligan, M. P., & Magle, S. B. 2018. Public Complaints Reflect Rat Relative Abundance across Diverse Urban Neighborhoods. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 6. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2018.00189
  • Kay, C., K. Markley, D. Rockowitz, M. Sahai, C. Askew-Merwin. 2018. Roadmap to Water Security. Deep Blue, 320
  • Cleveland, C.A., Garrett, K.B., Cozad, R.A., Williams, B.M., Murray, M.H. and Yabsley, M.J. 2018. The wild world of Guinea Worms: A review of the genus Dracunculus in wildlife. International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife, 7(3): 289-300
  • Sapp, S.G.H, Gupta, P., Martin, M.K., Murray, M.H., Niedringhaus, K.D., Madeleine A. Pfaff, M.A., Yabsley, M.J. 2017. Beyond the Raccoon Roundworm: The natural history of non- raccoon Baylisascaris species in the New World. International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife, 6(2), 85-99
  • Magle, S. B. 2017. Building the civilized wild. In G. V. Horn & J. Hausdoerffer, Wildness: Relations of People and Place (pp. 156–165). University of Chicago Press.
  • Farr, C., D. Bennett, S. Bombaci, T. Gallo, A. Mangan, T. Nogeire, H. Riedl. L. Stinson, K. Wilkins, L. Pejchar. 2017. Distinguished speakers as role models: addressing the gender gap at professional conferences. Bioscience. 67:464-468.
  • Kilgour, R.J., Magle, S.B., Slater, M. et al. 2017. Estimating free-roaming cat populations and the effects of one year Trap-Neuter-Return management effort in a highly urban area. Urban Ecosystems, 20: 207
  • Gallo, T., Fidino, M., Lehrer, E. W., & Magle, S. B. 2017. Mammal diversity and metacommunity dynamics in urban green spaces: implications for urban wildlife conservation. Ecological Applications. 27:2330–2341
  • Gallo, T., L.T. Stinson, L. Pejchar. 2017. Mitigation for energy development fails to mimic natural disturbance for birds and mammals. Biological Conservation. 212:39-47
  • Gallo, T., Lehrer, E. W., Fidino, M., Kilgour, R. J., Wolff, P. J., & Magle, S. 2017. Need for multiscale planning for conservation of urban bats. Conservation Biology: The Journal of the Society for Conservation Biology. https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13047
  • Allocca, M., Corrigan, J. J., Fake, K. R., Calvo, J. A., & Samson, L. D. 2017. PARP inhibitors protect against sex- and AAG-dependent alkylation-induced neural degeneration. Oncotarget, 8(40), 68707–68720
  • Murray, M.H., St. Clair., C.C. 2017. Predictable features attract coyotes to residential yards. The Journal of Wildlife Management. Early View doi: 10.1002/jwmg.21223
  • Murray, M.H., Fassina, S., Hopkins, J.B. III, Whittington, J., St. Clair, C.C. 2017. Seasonal and individual variation in the use of rail-associated food attractants by grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in a National Park. PLoS ONE, 12(5), e0175658
  • Bombaci, S., T. Gallo, L. Pejchar. 2017. Small-scale woodland reduction practices have neutral or negative short-term effects on birds and small mammals. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 70:363-373
  • Miller, A., E. Goad, T. Gallo, L. Pejchar, L. Bailey, S. Reed. 2017. The impact of exurban housing density on wintering birds. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology. 129:85-97
  • Riedl, H., D. Bennett, A. Mangan, L. Stinson, K. Wilkins, T. Gallo, L. Pejchar. 2017. The Paradox of the Carnivorous Conservationist. Biological Conservation. 205: 11-112. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2016.11.015
  • Fidino, M., & Magle, S. B. 2017. Trends in Long-Term Urban Bird Research. In E. Murgui & M. Hedblom (Eds.), Ecology and Conservation of Birds in Urban Environments (pp. 160–186). Springer
  • Fidino, M., & Magle, S. B. 2017. Using Fourier series to estimate periodic patterns in dynamic occupancy models. Ecosphere, 8(9): e01944
  • Gallo, T. and L. Pejchar 2017. Woodland reduction and long-term change in breeding bird communities. Journal of Wildlife Management. 81:259-268
  • Troxell-Smith, S., Whelan, C., Magle, S., & Brown, J. 2017. Zoo foraging ecology: development and assessment of a welfare tool for captive animals. Animal Welfare, 26(3), 265–275
  • Bender, J., M. Fidino, K. Limbrick, and S. B. Magle. 2016. Assessing nest success of black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) in an urban landscape using artificial cavities. Wilson Journal of Ornithology
  • St. Clair, C.C., Found, R., Gangadharan, A., and Murray, M*. 2016. Behavior-based design and management for reserves and corridors. In: Conservation Behaviour, Berger-Tal, O., and Saltz, D. eds. *Authors following C.C. St. Clair in alphabetical order
  • Fidino, M., E. W. Lehrer, and S. B. Magle. 2016. Habitat dynamics of the Virginia opossum in a highly urban landscape. American Midland Naturalist 175:155-167
  • Lehrer, E.W., R.L. Schooley, J.M. Nevis, R.J. Kilgour, P.J. Wolff, and S.B. Magle. 2016. Happily ever after? Fates of translocated nuisance woodchucks in the Chicago metropolitan area. Urban Ecosystems (early online version), 1-15
  • Gallo, T. and L. Pejchar. 2016. Improving habitat for game animals has mixed consequences for biodiversity conservation. Biological Conservation. 197: 47-52
  • Calvo, J. A., Allocca, M., Fake, K. R., Muthupalani, S., Corrigan, J. J., Bronson, R. T., & Samson, L. D. 2016. Parp1 protects against Aag-dependent alkylation-induced nephrotoxicity in a sex-dependent manner. Oncotarget, 7(29), 44950–44965
  • Gallo, T., L.T. Stinson, L. Pejchar. 2016. Pinyon-juniper removal has long-term effects on mammals. Forest Ecology and Management 377:93-100. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2016.06.029
  • Sacerdote-Velat A, Manjerovic MB, and Santymire R. 2016. Preliminary survey of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis occurrence on an urban-rural gradient in the Chicago region of Illinois, USA. Herpetological Review 47(1): 57-58
  • Murray, M.H., Hill, J., Whyte, P., and St. Clair C.C. 2016. Urban compost attracts coyotes, contains toxins, and may promote disease in urban-adapted wildlife. EcoHealth 13: 285–292
  • Magle, S. B., E. W. Lehrer, and M. Fidino. 2016. Urban mesopredator distribution: examining the relative effects of landscape and socioeconomics factors. Animal Conservation 19:163-175
  • Bombaci, S., C. Farr, T. Gallo, A. Mangan, L. Stinson, M. Kaushik, L. Pejchar. 2016. Using Twitter to communicate conservation science beyond professional conferences. Conservation Biology 30: 216-225. DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12570
  • Murray, M.H., Becker, D.J., Hall, R.J., Hernandez, S.M. 2016. Wildlife health and supplemental feeding: a review and management recommendations. Biological Conservation 204: 163–174
  • Gray, M. J., Lewis, J. P., Nanjappa, P., Klocke, B., Pasmans, F., Martel, A., … Olson, D. H. 2015. Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans: The North American Response and a Call for Action. PLoS Pathogens, 11(12), e1005251
  • Green ML, Monick K, Manjerovic MB, Novakofski J, and Mateus-Pinilla N. 2015. Communication stations: camera traps reveal river otter (Lontra canadensis) behavior and activity patterns at latrines. Journal of Ethology 33(3):225-234. doi:10.1007/s10164-015-0435-7
  • Murray, M., Cembrowski, A., Latham, D., Pruss, S., and St. Clair, C. C. 2015. Greater consumption of protein-poor anthropogenic food by urban relative to rural coyotes increases diet breadth and potential for human-wildlife conflict. Ecography 38: 1235-1242
  • Murray, M.H. and St. Clair, C.C. 2015. Individual flexibility in nocturnal activity reduces probability of road mortality for an urban carnivore. Behavioural Ecology 26:1520-1527
  • Magle, S.B., L.H. Kardash, A.O. Rothrock, J.C. Chamberlin, and N.E. Nathews. 2015. Movements and habitat interactions of white-tailed deer: implications for chronic wasting disease management. American Midland Naturalist 173: 267-282
  • Murray, M. Edwards, M.E., Abercrombie, B., and St. Clair, C. C. 2015. Poor health is associated with use of anthropogenic resources in an urban carnivore. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 282:20150009
  • Manjerovic, M.B., Green, M.L., Miller, A.N. et al. 2015. Trash to treasure: assessing viability of wing biopsies for use in bat genetic research. Conservation Genetics Resources 7:325-327 http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12686-014-0417-z/fulltext.html
  • Manjerovic MB and Waterman JM. 2015. ‘Failure to launch’: is there a reproductive cost to males living at home?. Journal of Mammalogy 96(1):144-150. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyu015
  • Sacerdote-Velat, A. and King, R. 2014. Direct Effects of an Invasive European Buckthorn Metabolite on Embryo Survival and Development in Xenopus laevis and Pseudoacris triseriata. Journal of Herpetology Vol. 48 (1):51-58
  • Green ML, Manjerovic MB, Mateus-Pinilla N, and Novakofski J. 2014. Genetic assignment tests reveal dispersal of white-tailed deer: implications for chronic wasting disease. Journal of Mammalogy 95(3):646-654
  • 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
  • Magle SB, Poessel SA, Crooks KR, Breck SW. 2014. More dogs less bite: The relationship between human–coyote conflict and prairie dog colonies in an urban landscape. Landscape and Urban Planning 127: 146–153
  • 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
  • Manjerovic MB, Green ML, Mateus-Pinilla N, and Novakofski J. 2014. The importance of localized culling in stabilizing chronic wasting disease prevalence in white-tailed deer. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, available online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2013.09.011
  • Green ML, Novakofski J, Green R, Manjerovic MB, and Mateus-Pinilla N. 2014. The scene of the crime: classroom integration of biosafety, microscopy and forensics. The American Biology Teacher 76:9
  • LaMontagne, J.M., R.K. Kilgour, E.C. Anderson, and S. Magle. 2014. Tree cavity availability across forest, park, and residential habitats in a highly urban area. Urban Ecosystems 18: 151-167
  • Magle, S.B., Simoni, L.S., Lehrer, E.W., Brown, J.S. 2014. Urban predator–prey association: coyote and deer distributions in the Chicago metropolitan area. Urban Ecosystems 17 (4): 875-891
  • Magle, S.B., M.D. Samuel, T.R. Van Deelen, S.J. Robinson, and N.E. Mathews. 2013. Evaluating spatial overlap and relatedness of white-tailed deer in a chronic wasting disease management zone. PLOS ONE 8: e56568
  • Green ML, Ting T-F, Manjerovic MB, Mateus-Pinilla N, and Novakofski J. 2013. Noninvasive alternatives for DNA collection from threatened rodents. Natural Science 5:18-26
  • Magle, S.B., K.A. Salamack, K.R. Crooks, and R.P. Reading. 2012. Effects of habitat fragmentation and black-tailed prairie dogs on urban avian diversity. Biodiversity Conservation 21: 2803-2821
  • Manjerovic MB and Waterman JM. 2012. Immunological sex differences in socially promiscuous African ground squirrels. PLoS ONE 7(6): e38524. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038524
  • Scantlebury M, Danek-Gontard MC, Bateman PW, Bennett NC, Manjerovic MB, Joubert KE, and Waterman JM. 2012. Seasonal patterns of body temperature daily rhythms in group-living Cape ground squirrels Xerus inauris. PLoS ONE 7(4): e36053. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036053
  • Lehrer, E.W., R.L. Schooley, and J.K. Whittington. 2012. Survival and anti-predator behavior of woodchucks across an urban-agricultural landscape. Canadian Journal of Zoology: 90:12-21
  • Magle, S.B., N.E. Mathews, and J.C. Chamberlin. 2012. Survival of white-tailed deer in Wisconsin’s chronic wasting disease zone. Northeastern Naturalist 19: 67-76
  • Magle, S.B., V.M. Hunt, M. Vernon, and K.R. Crooks. 2012. Urban wildlife research: past, present, and future. Biological Conservation 155: 23-32
  • 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
  • Gallo. T. and D. Waitt. 2011. Creating a successful citizen science model to detect and report invasive species. BioScience 61: 459-465
  • Joubert KE, Serfontein T, Scantlebury M, Manjerovic MB, Bateman PW, Bennett NC, and Waterman JM. 2011. Determination of an optimal dose of medetomidine-ketamine-buprenorphine for anaesthesia in the Cape ground squirrel (Xerus inauris). Journal of the South African Veterinary Association, 82:94-96
  • EW Lehrer, RL Schooley, and JK Whittington. 2011. Effects of urbanization on survival and anti-predator behavior of woodchucks. Canadian Journal of Zoology
  • 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
  • Lehrer, E.W., S.L. Fredebaugh, R.L. Schooley, and N.E. Mateus-Pinilla. 2010. Prevalence of antibodies to Toxoplasma??gondii??in woodchucks across an urban-rural gradient. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 46:977-980
  • Lehrer, E.W. and R.L. Schooley. 2010. Space use of woodchucks across an urbanization gradient within an agricultural landscape. Journal of??Mammalogy??91:1342-1349
  • 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
  • Manjerovic MB, Waterman JM, Hoffman EA, and Parkinson CL. 2009. Characterization of nine microsatellite loci in the Cape ground squirrel, Xerus inauris, and their cross-utility in other species. In: Permanent Genetic Resources added to Molecular Ecology Resources database 1 January 2009- 30 April 2009. Molecular Ecology Resources, 9:1375-1379
  • Magle, S.B. and K.R. Crooks. 2009. Investigating the distribution of prairie dogs in an urban gradient. Animal Conservation 12: 192-203
  • Manjerovic MB, Bohall Wood P, and Edwards JW. 2009. Mast and weather influences on population trends of a species of concern: the Allegheny woodrat. American Midland Naturalist, 162:52-61
  • 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
  • Manjerovic MB, Waterman JM, Kinahan AA, Bennett NC, and Bateman PW. 2008. Structure and allometry of genitalia in males and females of a social African ground squirrel with high promiscuity. Journal of Zoology, 275:375-380
  • 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
  • Lehrer, E.W., R.L. Schooley, and J.K. Whittington. . Survival??and anti-predator behavior of woodchucks??across an urban-agricultural landscape. In press,??Canadian Journal of Zoology