Maureen Murray, Ph.D.

Conservation & Science
Urban Wildlife Institute
Wildlife Disease Ecologist
  • Ph.D. – Ecology, University of Alberta
  • B.S. – Biology and Music, Dalhousie University

Areas of Expertise

  • Wildlife disease
  • Urban wildlife ecology
  • Movement ecology
  • Animal behavior
  • Stable isotope analysis


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., Buckley, J.Y., Byers, K.A., Fake, K., Lehrer, E.W., Magle, S.B., Stone, C., Tuten, H., and Schell, C.J., 2022. One Health for All: Advancing human and ecosystem health in cities by integrating an environmental justice lens. Annual Reviews in Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics. 53:18.1–18.24 
  • Murray, M. H., Buckley, J., Lehrer, E. W., Kay, C., Fidino, M., Magle, S. B., and German, D. (2022). Public perception of urban wildlife during a covid-19 stay-at-home quarantine order in Chicago. Urban Ecosystems. 
  • Fidino, M., Lehrer, E. W., Kay, C. A. M., Yarmey, N., Murray, M. H., Fake, K., Adams, H. C., and Magle, S. B. (2022). Integrated species distribution models reveal spatiotemporal patterns of human-wildlife conflict. Ecological Applications. 
  • Gallo, T., Fidino, M., Gerber, B., Ahlers, A. A., Angstmann, J. L., Amaya, M., Concilio, A. L., Drake, D., Gray, D., Lehrer, E. W., Murray, M. H., Ryan, T. J., Cassady St. Clair, C., Salsbury, C. M., Sander, H. A., Stankowich, T., Williamson, J., Belaire, J. A., Simon, K., and Magle, S. B. (2022). Mammals adjust diel activity across gradients of urbanization. ELife. 
  • Murray*, M. H., Fidino*, M., Lehrer, E. W., Simonis, J. L., and Magle, S. B. (2021). An multi-state occupancy model to non-invasively monitor visible signs of wildlife health with camera traps that accounts for image quality. Journal of Animal Ecology, 90(8):1973-1984. 
  • Murray, M.H. and Sánchez, C.A., 2021. Urban rat exposure to anticoagulant rodenticides and zoonotic infection risk. Biology Letters, 17(8), p.20210311. 
  • Sugden, S., Murray, M., Edwards, M.A. and St. Clair, C.C., 2021. Inter-population differences in coyote diet and niche width along an urban–suburban–rural gradient. Journal of Urban Ecology, 7(1), p.juab034. 
  • Murray, M.H., Hernandez, S.M., Rozier, R.S., Kidd, A.D., Hepinstall-Cymerman, J., Curry, S.E., Yabsley, M.J., Adams, H., Ellison, T., Welch, C.N., Lipp, E.K., 2021. Site fidelity is associated with food provisioning and Salmonella in an urban wading bird. Ecohealth, pp.1-14. 
  • Sánchez, C.A., Rios, M.J., Murray, M.H., 2021. Social and environmental correlates of rat complaints in Chicago. Journal of Urban Ecology, 7(1), p.juab006.
  • Murray, M.H., Byers, K.A., Buckley, J., Magle, S.B., Maffei, D., Waite, P., German, D., 2021. “I don’t feel safe sitting in my own yard”: Chicago resident experiences with urban rats during a COVID-19 stay-at-home order. BMC public health, 21(1), pp.1-14. 
  • Murray, M.H. and Hernandez, S.M. 2021. Land use change and avian disease dynamics. In: Infectious Disease Ecology of Wild Birds, Editors: Owen, Hawley, Huyvaert. Oxford University Press. 
  • Schell, C. J., Stanton, L. A., Young, J. K., Angeloni, L. M., Lambert, J. E., Breck, S. W., and Murray, M.H. 2021. The evolutionary consequences of human–wildlife conflict in cities. Evolutionary Applications, 14(1), 178-197. 
  • Pettengill, J.B., Kase, J.A. and Murray, M.H., 2021. The population genetics, virulence, and public health concerns of Escherichia coli collected from rats within an urban environment. Frontiers in Microbiology, p.3228. 
  • Magle*, S., Fidino*, M., Sander, H., Rohnke, A. T., Larson, K. L., Gallo, T., Kay, C. A. M., Lehrer, E. W., Murray, M. H., Adalsteinsson, S. A., Ahlers, A. A., Anthonysamy, W. J. B., Gramza, A. R., Green, A. M., Jordan, M. J., Lewis, J., Long, R. A., MacDougall, B., Pendergast, M. E., Remine, K., Simon, K. C., Cassady St. Clair, C., Shier, C. J., Stankowich, T., , Stevenson, C. J., Zellmer, A. J., and Schell, C. J. (2021). Wealth and urbanization shape medium and large terrestrial mammal communities. Global Change Biology, 27(21):5446-5459. 
  • Kay, C. A. M., Rohnke, A. T., Sander, H. A., Stankowich, T., Fidino, M., Murray, M. H., Lewis, J. S., Taves, I., Lehrer, E. W., Zellmer, A. J., Schell, C. J., and Magle, S. B. (2021). Barriers to building wildlife-inclusive cities: Insights from a joint summit of urban ecologists, urban planners, and landscape designers. People and Nature. 
  • Fidino, M., Gallo, T., Lehrer, E. W., Murray, M. H., Kay, C., Sander, H. A., MacDougall, B., Salsbury, C. M., Ryan, T. J., Angstmann, J. L., Belaire, J. A., Dugelby, B., Schell, C., Stankowich, T., Amaya, M., Drake, D., Hursh, S. H., Ahlers, A. A., Williamson, J., Hartley, L. M., Zellmer, A. J., Simon, K., and Magle, S. B. (2021). Landscape-scale differences among cities alter common species’ responses to urbanization. Ecological Applications, 31(2):e02253. 
  • Magle, S. B., Kay, C., Fake, K., Fidino, M., Murray, M. H., Buckley, J., and Lehrer, E. W. (2021). Why do animals live in cities? Frontiers for Young Minds, 9:566272. 
  • Murray, M. H., Fidino, M., Fyffe, R., Byers, K. A., Pettengill, J. B., Sondgeroth, K. S., Magle, S. B., Rios, M. J., Ortinau, N., and Santymire, R. M. (2020). City sanitation and socioeconomics predict rat zoonotic infection across diverse neighbourhoods. Zoonoses and Public Health, 67(6):673–683. 
  • Fidino, M., Barnas, G. R., Lehrer, E. W., Murray, M., and Magle, S. B. (2020). The influence of lure on detecting mammals with camera traps. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 44(3):543–552. 
  • 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.
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