Meet the Denver Urban Coyote Project team!

Dr. Stewart Breck

Dr. Stewart Breck is a researcher for the USDA-National Wildlife Research Center and his research is focused on carnivore ecology and behavior and minimizing conflict between carnivores and people. Studies include testing nonlethal methods for preventing conflict, measuring the impact of carnivores on livestock, influence of urban environments on carnivore ecology, and population biology and behavioral ecology of carnivores. For more information on his research and NWRC, please visit here.


Dr. Christopher J. Schell

Dr. Chris Schell is a NSF postdoctoral fellow working alongside Drs. Stewart Breck, Lisa Angeloni, and Toni Piaggio. Graduating from the University of Chicago in 2015 with his Ph.D in Evolutionary Biology, Chris' focused his work on coyote behavior and hormones (i.e. endocrinology). More specifically, Chris' work centered on how coyote parents influence pup personality and hormones non-genetically. Moreover, these parents are able to influence their pups within 1-2 generations, highlighting the importance of parents in building successful coyote populations. His research interests in coyotes are broad, covering behavioral endocrinology, genetics, and genomic techniques to understand the factors facilitating coyote adaptation in cities. For more detailed information on his research interests, outreach goals, and resume, please visit here.


Mary Ann Bonnell

Ms. Bonnell joined Jeffco Open Space in 2014 and is the Visitor Services Supervisor and Canyons Regional Supervisor for Jeffco Open Space. She supervises the Park Ranger program and is on patrol in the parks at least one day a week. Ms. Bonnell’s first job with Jeffco Open Space was as a Seasonal Naturalist in 1994. After gathering nearly 20 years of Ranger and Naturalist experience working for four agencies and organizations including Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the City of Aurora, Plains Conservation Center and the Catalina Island Marine Institute, she returned to Jeffco Open Space in April of 2014 to serve in her current position. She has a degree in Biology from CU Boulder, was a co-lead investigator for the original Denver Metro Area Coyote Study, and a pivotal partner and contributor for the DUCP study version 2.0.


Dr. Toni Piaggio

Dr Antoinette J. Piaggio is employed by the USDA APHIS Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) in Fort Collins, CO. Her research studies focus on developing genetic approaches to inform wildlife damage management efforts. Population-level investigations can determine geographical boundaries of populations, gene flow between populations (population connectivity), and genetic diversity within populations. Phylogenetic studies can test hypotheses of taxonomic definitions and evolutionary relationships. Research data gathered in any of these areas can enhance effectiveness of management efforts. Because wildlife genetics data can elucidate population dynamics in host populations. Dr. Piaggio is the primary genetic consult and expert on coyote genetics.


Dr. Lisa Angeloni

Dr. Angeloni uses behavioral observations and experimental manipulations to investigate the evolutionary basis for animal behavior. Her research focuses on how behavioral traits depend on environmental influences within the lifetime of the individual and the evolutionary history of the population, particularly in freshwater fishes like Trinidadian guppies, smallmouth bass, and rainbow trout. My research also attempts to apply behavioral knowledge to conservation issues by studying the behavior of species of conservation concern (e.g., black-footed ferrets, Island Scrub-Jays) and by studying the effects of human disturbance, noise, and recreational activities on the behavior of wildlife (e.g., ungulates and prairie dogs). Consequently, her theoretical and applied knowledge of urban wildlife, behavior, and conservation issues make her an ideal expert and partner on the project.