evolutionary biologist +

behavioral endocrinologist +

urban ecologist

C.J. Schell near the red wolf exhibit at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, IL.  Schell worked as a graduate student and resident researcher at the University of Chicago and Lincoln Park Zoo for 6 years (2009-15).

Animal personality has become a major avenue of research in the last few decades, with some incredible advances demonstrating the wide array of variation among individuals, populations, and species. My research aims to understand the underlying physiological and genetic mechanisms of personality that not only coincide with behavioral variation over various timescales, but may also be key factors in adaptive processes that allow organisms to rapidly and effectively respond to what is an increasingly changing world. As an evolutionary biologist, behavioral endocrinologist, and urban ecologist, I focus my research efforts on understanding how personality and its associated proximate factors facilitate colonization and persistence of wildlife (particular coyotes and other carnivores) to urban and suburban environments. The hope is that providing detailed information on the personality-hormonal-genetic matrix of a population, we can begin to understand how species are diverging - and evolving - as a result of human influence and urbanization.