Arielle Parsons, Ph.D.

Conservation & Science
Alexander Center for Applied Population Biology
Research Scientist
  • Ph.D – Wildlife Biology, North Carolina State University
  • M.S. – Zoology, North Carolina State University
  • B.Sc. – Zoology, McGill University

Areas of Expertise

  • Community and population ecology
  • Demographic modeling
  • Abundance and distribution modeling


Arielle is a quantitative ecologist and population biologist. Arielle joined the zoo as a Research Scientist in the Alexander Center for Applied Population Biology in 2022. Arielle’s research examines factors influencing wildlife population demographics, dynamics, distribution, movement and interspecific interactions using cutting-edge quantitative and field methods. Much of her past work has involved analysis of large-scale ecological datasets including camera trap data and citizen-science observations, addressing a range of questions from implications of global change on mammal abundance and distribution to modeling factors affecting disease risk in human populations.

Arielle is particularly interested in addressing applied questions related to population persistence and dynamics, particularly in the face of anthropogenic change. Her current work at Lincoln Park Zoo involves data analysis for demographic modeling, predominantly for wild populations at risk.


  • Faust, L.J. 2023. Puerto Rican Parrot (Amazona vittata) Population Viability Analysis Report. Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago.
  • Miller, P.S., A. Parsons, L. Faust, and A. Franklin. 2023. Population viability analysis of the red wolf (Canis rufus): Integrated management of in situ and ex situ populations in support of species recovery in a mixed canid landscape. Final report – 22 August 2023. Apple Valley, MN: IUCN SSC Conservation Planning Specialist Group.
  • Gray, S. M., Parsons, A. W., Andrews, J. E., Schad Eebes, K., Faust, L. J., & Che-Castaldo, J. (2023). Institutional networks in cooperative population management: Exploring patterns in transfer fulfillment. Zoo Biology, Early View.
  • Parsons, A.W., Kellner, K.F., Rota, C.T, Millspaugh, J.J., & Kays, R. (2022). The effect of urbanization on spatiotemporal interactions between gray foxes and coyotes. Ecosphere, 13(3), e3993.
  • Kellner, K.F., Parsons, A.W., Kays, R., Millspaugh, J.J., & Rota, C.T. (2022). A two-species occupancy model with a continuous-time detection process reveals spatial and temporal interactions. Journal of Agricultural, Biological and Environmental Statistics, 27(2), 321-338.
  • Kays, R.W., Lasky, M., Pease, B., Parsons, A.W., & Pacifici, K. (2021). Evaluation of the spatial biases and sample size of a statewide citizen science project. Citizen Science: Theory and Practice, 6(1), 34.
  • Kays, R.W., Hody, A., Jachowski, D.S., & Parsons, A.W. (2021). Empirical evaluation of the spatial scale and detection process of camera trap surveys. Movement Ecology, 9(41), 1-13.
  • Cove, M.V., Kays, R., Bontrager, H., Bersnan, C., Lasky, M., Frerichs, T., … Parsons, A.W. … & McShea, W.J. (2021). SNAPSHOT USA 2019: A coordinated national camera trap survey of the United States. Ecology, 102(6), e03353.
  • Suraci, J.P., Gaynor, K.M., Allen, M.L., Alexander, P., Brashares, J.S., … Parsons, A.W., … & Wilmers, C.C. (2021). Disturbance type and species life history predict mammal responses to humans. Global Change Biology, 27(16), 3718-3731.
  • Lasky, M., Parsons, A.W., Schuttler, S., Hess, G., Sutherland, R., Kalies, L., … & Kays, R. (2021). Carolina critters: A collection of camera trap data from wildlife surveys across North Carolina, Ecology 102(7), e03372.
  • Lasky, M., Parsons, A.W., Schuttler, S., Mash, A., Larson, L., Norton, B., Pease, B.S., Boone, H., Gatens, L., & Kays, R. (2021). Candid critters: Challenges and solutions in a large-scale citizen science camera trap project. Citizen Science: Theory and Practice. 6(1), 4.
  • Hansen, C.P., Parsons, A.W., Kays, R., & Millspaugh, J.J. (2020). Does use of backyard resources explain the abundance of urban wildlife? Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 8, 570771.
  • Kays, R., Arbogast, B., Baker-Whatton, M., Beirne, C., Boone, H., Bowler, M., … Parsons, A.W., … & Spironello, W. (2020). An empirical evaluation of camera trap study design: How many, how long, and when? Methods in Ecology and Evolution 11(6), 700-713.
  • Kays, R., Dunn, R.R., Parsons, A.W., Mcdonald, B., Perkins, T., Powers, S., … & Roetman, P. (2020). The small home ranges and large local ecological impacts of pet cats. Animal Conservation, 23(5), 516-523.
  • Parsons, C., Niedermeyer, J., Gould, N., Brown, P., Strules, J., Parsons, A.W., … & Kathariou, S. (2019). Listeria monocytogenes at the human-wildlife interface: Black bears (Ursus americanus) as novel vehicles for Listeria. Microbial Biotechnology, 13(3), 706-721.
  • Parsons, A.W., Rota, C.T., Forrester, T., Baker‐Whatton, M.C., McShea, W.J., Schuttler, S.G., Millspaugh, J.J. & Kays, R. (2019). Urbanization focuses carnivore activity in remaining natural habitats, increasing species interactions. Journal of Applied Ecology, 56(8), 1894-1904.
  • Parsons, A.W., Forrester, T., Baker-Whatton, M.C., McShea, W.J., Rota, C., Schuttler, S., Millspaugh, J.J., & Kays, R. (2018). Mammal communities are larger and more diverse in moderately developed areas. eLife 7, e38012.
  • Parsons, A.W., Goforth, C.L., Costello, R., & Kays, R.W. (2018). The value of citizen science for ecological monitoring of mammals. PeerJ, 6, e4536.
  • Parsons, A.W., Forrester, T., McShea, W.J., Baker-Whatton, M.C., Millspaugh, J.J., & Kays, R. (2017). Do occupancy or detection rates from camera traps reflect deer density? Journal of Mammalogy, 98(6), 1547-1557.
  • Rodrigues, T.F., Kays, R., Parsons, A., Versiani, N.F., Paolino, R.M., Pasqualotto, N., Krepschi, V.G. & Chiarello, A.G. (2017). Managed forest as habitat for gray brocket deer (Mazama gouazoubira) in agricultural landscapes of southeastern Brazil. Journal of Mammalogy, 98(5), 1301-1309.
  • Stocking, J.J., Simons, T.R., Parsons, A.W., & O’Connell, A.F. (2017). Managing native predators: Evidence from a partial removal of raccoons (Procyon lotor) on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, USA. Waterbirds, 40(sp1), 10-19.
  • Costello, R., McShea, W., Forrester, T.D., Parsons, A.W., Schuttler, S., Baker-Whatton, M., & Kays, R. (2017). Citizen science in biophilic cities, the great experiment. Biophilic Cities 1(1), 22-27.
  • Schuttler, S.G., Parsons, A.W., Forrester, T.D., Baker, M.C., McShea, W.J., Costello, R., & Kays, R. (2016). Deer on the lookout: How hunting, hiking, and coyotes affect white-tailed deer vigilance. Journal of Zoology, 301(4), 320-327.
  • Parsons, A.W., Bland, C., Forrester, T.D., Baker-Whatton, M.C., Schuttler, S.G., McShea, W.J., Costello, R., & Kays, R. (2016). The ecological impact of humans and dogs on wildlife in protected areas in eastern North America. Biological Conservation, 203, 75-88.
  • Forrester, T.D., Baker, M., Costello, R., Kays, R., Parsons, A.W., & McShea, W.J. (2016). Creating advocates for mammal conservation through citizen science. Biological Conservation, 208, 98-105.
  • Kays, R., Parsons, A.W., Baker-Whatton, M., Kalies, E.L., Forrester, T.D., Costello, R., Rota, C.T., Millspaugh, J.J., & McShea, W.J. (2016). Does hunting or hiking affect wildlife communities in protected areas? Journal of Applied Ecology, 54(1), 242-252.
  • Rota, C.T., Ferreira, M.A., Kays, R., Forrester, T.D., Kalies, E.L., McShea, W.J., Parsons, A.W., & Millspaugh, J.J. (2016). A multi-species occupancy model for two or more interacting species. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 7(10), 1164-1173.
  • Rota, C.T., Wilke, C.K., Kays, R., Forrester, T.D., McShea, W.J., Parsons, A.W., & Millspaugh, J.J. (2016). A two-species occupancy model accommodating simultaneous spatial and interspecific dependence. Ecology 97(1), 48-53.
  • Parsons, A.W., Simons, T.R., Pollock, K.H., Stoskopf, M.K., Stocking, J.J., & O’Connell, A.F. (2015). Camera traps and mark-resight models: The value of ancillary data for evaluating assumptions. Journal of Wildlife Management 79(7), 1163-1172.
  • Kays, R.W., Costello, R., Forrester, T., Baker, M.C., Parsons, A.W., Kalies, E.L., Hess, G., Millspaugh, J.J., & McShea, W. (2015). Cats are rare where coyotes roam. Journal of Mammalogy, 96(5), 981-987.
  • Kays, R.W & Parsons, A.W. (2014). Mammals in and around backyards and the attraction of chicken coops. Urban Ecosystems, 17, 691-705.
  • Sollmann, R., Gardner, B., Parsons, A.W., Stocking, J.J., McClintock, B.T., Simons, T.R., Pollock, K.H., & O’Connell, A.F. (2013). A spatial mark-resight model augmented with telemetry data. Ecology, 94(3), 553-559.
  • Parsons, A.W., Simons, T.R., O’Connell, A.F., & Stoskopf, M.K. (2012). Demographics, diet, movements, and survival of an isolated, unmanaged raccoon Procyon lotor (Procyonidae, Carnivora) population on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Mammalia, 77(1), 21-30.
  • Stringer, E.M., Stoskopf, M.K., Simons, T.R., O’Connell, A.F., & Waldstein, A.H. (2010). Ultrasonic measurement of body fat as a means of assessing body condition in free-ranging raccoons (Procyon lotor). International Journal of Zoology, 2010(1), 1-6.
  • Martin, J., O’Connell Jr., A.F., Kendall, W.L., Runge, M.C., Simons, T.R., Waldstein, A.H., … & Zipkin, E.F. (2010). Optimal control of native predators. Biological Conservation, 143(2010), 1751-1758.
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