Maureen Murray, Ph.D.



Maureen began studying wildlife through several research projects on song learning in songbirds during her undergraduate degree. This interest in behavioral ecology and animal learning quickly turned into a fascination with the behavioral adaptations needed for wildlife to persist in urban areas.

She went on to study how individual differences in behavior can promote human-wildlife conflict in urban coyotes. Coyotes with parasite infections were more likely to use human resources, shifting Maureen’s interests toward wildlife disease ecology. After her doctorate, Maureen studied how feeding birds in parks can promote the spread of zoonotic bacteria, such as Salmonella, by tracking white ibis in Florida. These relationships between urbanization, wildlife health, and human-wildlife conflict continue to drive her current research.

Some features of the urban environment, such as low quality food or pollution, may promote disease in wildlife, leading to conservation issues. Wildlife disease may also promote human-wildlife conflict in cities through changes in wildlife behavior or the risk of disease transmission to people and pets. As Lincoln Park Zoo’s wildlife disease ecologist, Maureen seeks to use her research to prevent these problems to benefit both people and wildlife and foster coexistence in urban areas.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 .
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.