Third Annual Long Island Natural History Conference

















Coyotes on Long Island: a participatory framework for planning ahead

 Mark Weckel, Ph.D., Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History

Long Island, NY is one of last large land masses in the continental U.S. yet to support a breeding population of northeastern coyotes (Canis latrans var.) Recent evidence of dispersing individuals on the island, coupled with the momentum of coyote range expansion across North America, suggests a Long Island coyote population is close at hand. We highlight the fleeting opportunity to take advantage of this natural experiment by developing a multidisciplinary research framework to investigate the ecological and social impacts of the coyote, pre- and post- range expansion. Most importantly we explore how citizen science can help in predicting likely areas for coyote colonization and the central role citizen data can play in tracking the establishment and growth of a Long Island coyote population. We will introduce WildSuburbia Long Island, an web-based tool for recording anecdotal canid observations from NYC & Long Island.

Mark Weckel ( is a conservation scientist whose work has focused on human-wildlife interaction and conflict, particularly of urban and suburban landscapes. Mark received his master’s degree from Fordham University where he studied jaguar feeding ecology, and for his doctoral research, he investigated the management and population biology of suburban white-tailed deer populations. While pursuing his PhD, Mark was employed at the Mianus River Gorge in Westchester County, NY where he developed a research-based mentoring program for high school students interested in ecology. Most recently, Mark completed his postdoctoral research and teaching fellowship with the American Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity & Conservation and Youth Initiatives. Here, he continued to develop research projects, including the Gotham Coyote Project, and opportunities for youth engagement, focused on New York City wildlife. Mark is currently Manager of the Science Research Mentoring Program at the AMNH where NYC high school students have the opportunity to join ongoing research projects lead by AMNH scientists.