Seth Magle, Ph.D.

Conservation & Science
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
  • Headshot

    Areas of Expertise

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


    Seth first became interested in conservation and ecology as a college student while observing black-tailed prairie dogs living in sidewalk median strips near his home in Boulder, Colorado. Daily interactions with these fascinating animals made him wonder what allowed these small, seemingly helpless mammals to survive in such a highly urban habitat. 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 (from the University of Wisconsin) and a doctorate (from Colorado State University).

    However, Seth’s interests go far beyond prairie dogs to encompass all wildlife species impacted by urbanization and human development. He has researched urban wildlife species for more than 20 years and published nearly 50 research articles. He is now the director of the Urban Wildlife Institute and the executive director of the Urban Wildlife Information Network, an alliance of urban wildlife researchers spanning 23 cities.

    His vision is to help create a world where urban ecosystems represent an important component of the worldwide conservation of biodiversity.


    • 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. 
    • Hursh, S. H., Bauder, J. M., Fidino, M., and Drake, D. (2022). An urban cast of characters: Landscape use and cover influencing mammal occupancy in an american midwestern city. Landscape and Urban Planning. 
    • Leinwand, J. G., Fidino, M., Ross, S. R., and Hopper, L. M. (2022). Familiarity mediates apes’ attentional biases towards human faces. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 
    • Bates, J. M., Fidino, M., Nowak-Boyd, L., Strausberger, B. M., Schmidt, K. A., and Whelan, C. J. (2022). Climate change affects bird nesting phenology: comparing contemporary field and historical museum nesting records. Journal of Animal Ecology. 
    • 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. 
    • Lehrer, E. W., Gallo, T., Fidino, M., Kilgour, R. J., Wolff, P., and Magle, S. B. (2021). Urban bat occupancy is highly influenced by noise and the location of water: considerations for nature-based urban planning. Landscape and Urban Planning, 210:104063. 
    • 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. 
    • 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. 
    • 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. 
    • 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., Limbrick, K., Bender, J., Gallo, T., and Magle, S. B. (2021). Strolling through a century: recreating historical bird surveys to explore 100 years of change in an urban bird community. American Naturalist. 
    • Zellmer, A. J., Wood, E., Surasinghe, T., Putman, B. J., Pauly, G., Magle, S. B., Lewis, J., Kay, C., and Fidino, M. (2020). What can we learn from wildlife sightings during the covid-19 global shutdown? Ecosphere, 11(8):e03215 
    • 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. 
    • Gallo*, T., Fidino*, M., Lehrer, E. W., and Magle, S. B. (2019). Urbanization alters predator avoidance behaviors. Journal of Animal Ecology, 88(5):793–803. 
    • Fidino, M., Simonis, J. L., and Magle, S. B. (2019). 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, 10(2):233–244 
    • 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.
    • Magle, S. B., & Fidino, M. 2018. Long-term declines of a highly interactive urban species. Biodiversity and Conservation.
    • 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.
    • Fidino, M., Herr, S. W., & Magle, S. B. 2018. Assessing online opinions of wildlife through social media. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, Early View.
    • 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.
    • 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..
    • 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., 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.