University of Calgary

Shelley Alexander

  • Professor
  • +1 (403) 220-5597

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.


Shelley Alexander is an international canid specialist and the founder of the Canid Conservation Science Lab at UCalgary. She has conducted field-based and geospatial (GIS, Remote Sensing, statistics) analysis of carnivore ecology, specializing in wolves and coyotes, and has studied human-wildlife relationships in the southern AB region since 1990. Since 2001, Shelley has worked as a faculty member for the Department of Geography. In 2005, she launched the Calgary Coyote Project, studying urban and rural coyote ecology and human-coyote conflicts across Canada. During that time she spearheaded Living with Coyotes, which was the first on-line educational and citizen-science monitoring tool developed for coyotes in Canada. In 2015, she founded the Foothills Coyote Initiative (funded by SSHRC), which encompases Calgary and the surrounding foothills parklands, and continues to discover new insights about human-coyote relationships by deploying mixed analytical methods (i.e. qualitative and quantitative approaches). In 2018, Shelley expanded her research program to evaluate socio-spatial intelligence and ethnographies of coyote families living in varying levels of human disturbance. The latter is integral to the UCalgary Living with Wildlife program (31st Emerald Award finalist, 2022). Shelley also has been a Principal Investigator or Collaborator on other conservation initiatives, including: the Raincoast Wolf Project, the Swift Fox Critical Habitat Project, the Calakmul Road Effects Project  in Yucatan, MX, and Painted Dog Trust in Zimbabwe. Recently completing a term as BOD member for the Society for Conservation Biology North America, she currently volunteers as Science Advisor for Coyote Watch Canada. and is a member of the Executive Council for the Calgary Institute for Humanities (UofC) and UCalgary Senate. Shelley also is highly engaged mobilizing science to community, regularly reporting research results through weekend/evening nature hikes, lectures to community groups and media.


Recent Publications

Papers in Refereed Journals (26) 

1. Plotsky, K., S.M. Alexander, D. Draper, and M. Musiani. 2022. "A comparison of canid depredation research published in journal and gray literature." Human Dimensions of Wildlife. doi:10.1080/10871209.2022.2043492.

2. Plotsky, K., S.M. Alexander, M. Musiani, and D. Draper. 2022. "Incorporating geographic context into coyote and wolf livestock depredation research." The Canadian Geographer 66: 450–461. doi:10.1111/cag.12765.

3. Boesel, A. and S.M. Alexander. 2020. "Aligning human and coyote welfare". Canadian Wildlife, Biology & Management. 9(2):152-158.

4. Wallach, A.D., Batavia, C. Bekoff, M. Alexander, S., Baker, et al. 2020. "Recognizing animal personhood in compassionate conservation." Conservation Biology. 34(5):1097-1106.

5. Alexander, S.M.  2019. "Reconciling just preservation." Animal Sentience. 27(6):1-3.

6.  Ryshyk, M.H.C. and S.M. Alexander. 2019. "Web-GIS, citizen science, and human-coyote encounters in Calgary (2010-2012)."  Canadian Wildlife, Biology & Management.  8(1):17-35.    

7.  Alexander, S.M. and D.L. Draper. 2019. "The rules we make that coyotes break." Journal of Contemporary Social Sciences, Special Edition. pp 1-13. To link to this article:

8.  Alexander, S.M. and V.M. Lukasik. 2017.  "Re-placing coyotes."  Lo Squaderno-Explorations in Space and Society. 42:37-41.

9.  Watts, A., V.M. Lukasik, M.J. Fortin, and S.M. Alexander. 2015. “Urbanization, grassland, and diet influence coyote (Canis latrans) parasitism structure.” EcoHealth. 12(4):645-659

10.  van Rheenen, S., T.W.J. Watson, S.M. Alexander, and M.D. Hill. 2015. “An analysis of spatial clustering of stroke in Alberta, Canada, using GIS.” The Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences 16:1-11.

11.  Alexander, S.M. and M.S. Quinn. 2012. “Portrayal of interactions between humans and coyotes (Canis latrans): Content analysis of Canadian print media (1998-2010).” Cities and the Environment (CATE) - Special Topic Issue: Urban Predators 4(11): Article 9. 

12.  Lukasik, V.M. and S.M. Alexander. 2012. “Spatial and temporal variation of coyote (Canis latrans) diet in Calgary, Alberta.” Cities and the Environment (CATE). Special Topic Issue: Urban Predators 4(11): Article 8. 

13.  Watts, A. and S.M. Alexander. 2012. “Community variation of gastrointestinal parasites found in urban and rural coyotes (Canis latrans).” Cities and the Environment (CATE) - Special Topic Issue: Urban Predators 4(11): Article 11.

14.  Alexander, S.M. and M.S. Quinn. 2011.” Coyote (Canis latrans) interactions with humans and pets reported in the Canadian print media (1995–2010).” Human Dimensions of Wildlife 16:345-359.

15.  Quinn, M.S., S.M. Alexander, N. Heck, and G. Chernoff. 2011. “Bird collision hotspots on transmission power lines in Alberta: an expert-based Geographic Information System (GIS) approach.” Environmental Informatics 18(1):12-21.

16.  Lukasik, V. and S.M. Alexander. 2011. “Human-coyote interactions in Calgary, Alberta.” Human Dimensions of Wildlife 16(2):114-127.

17.  Kang, H. and S.M. Alexander. 2009. “Relative accuracy of spatial predictive models for lynx (Lynx Canadensis) derived using logistic regression-AIC, multiple criteria evaluation and Bayesian approaches.” Current Zoology 55(1): 28-40.

18.  Alexander, S.M. 2008. “Snow-tracking and GIS: using multiple species-environment models to determine optimal wildlife crossing sites and evaluate highway mitigation plans on the Trans-Canada highway.” Canadian Geographer 52(2): 169-187.

19.  Etherington, T.R. and S.M. Alexander. 2008. “Identifying radio-telemetry sampling bias using Geographic Information System viewsheds.” Journal of Wildlife Management 72(4):1043-1046.

20.  Alexander, S.M., T.B. Logan, and P.C. Paquet. 2006. “Spatio-temporal co-occurrence of cougars (Felis concolor), wolves (Canis lupus) and their prey during winter: a comparison of two analytical methods.” Journal of Biogeography 33:2001-2012.

21.  Alexander, S.M. and D. Duro. 2006. “Habitat fragmentation and water quality in the Candelaria Watershed, Mexico.” Jaina en linea Volume especial: 34-36.

22.  Alexander, S.M., P.C. Paquet, T.B. Logan, and D.J. Saher. 2005. “Snow-tracking versus radio-telemetry for predicting wolf–environment relationships in the Rocky Mountains of Canada.” Wildlife Society Bulletin 33(4):1-9.

23.  Alexander, S.M., N.M. Waters, and P.C. Paquet. 2005. “Traffic volume and highway permeability for a mammalian community in the Canadian Rocky Mountains,” Canadian Geographer 49(4):321-331.

24.  Paquet, P.C. and S.M. Alexander. 2005. “Banff National Park: how helpful is highway mitigation.” Wild Earth Fall/Winter: 70-71.

25.  Wilkie, K.J., M.E. Tyler, and S.M. Alexander. 2003. “Conserving Habitat and Biodiversity in Urban Landscapes.” Environmental Informatics Archives 1:190-196.

26.  Alexander, S.M. and N.M. Waters. 2000. “The effects of transportation corridors on wildlife: a case study of Banff National Park.” Transportation Research, Part C: Emerging Technologies 8(2000):307-320.

Chapters in refereed/edited books (21) 

1.  Benitez, J.A., S.M. Alexander, G. Pozo-Montuy, and M. Sanches-Acuna. 2021. “Vias de comuicacion Terrestre vs. fauna: la experienca global.” In J.A. Benitez, Vehicular Impact on Wildlife in the Yucatan, MX, pp 23-60. El Colegio de la Frontera Sur. 

2.  Benitez, J.A., S.M. Alexander, G. Pozo-Montuy, and G. Tellez Torez. 2021. “Factores que modifican el nivel de impacto de la vias de comunicacion Terrestre sobre la fauna.” In J.A. Benitez, Vehicular Impact on Wildlife in the Yucatan, MX, pp 61-93. El Colegio de la Frontera Sur.

3.  Brichieri-Colombi, T. A., and S.M. Alexander. 2021. “Distribucion de especies en la zona de efecto de la Carretera 186, en la region de Calakmul.” In J.A. Benitez, Vehicular Impact on Wildlife in the Yucatan, MX, pp 253-272. El Colegio de la Frontera Sur.

4.  Benitez, J.A., and S.M. Alexander. 2021. “Elementos de evaluacion Ambiental estrategica para el proyecto Tren Maya.” In J.A. Benitez, Vehicular Impact on Wildlife in the Yucatan, MX, pp 532-575. El Colegio de la Frontera Sur.

5.  Benitez, J.A., G. Pozo-Montuy, S.M. Alexander, J.A. Vargas-Contreras, et al. 2021. “Impacto de la via ferrea y del crecemiento turistico asociado al Tren Maya: medidas de mitigacion y cambios al diseno para las reservas de Calakmul y Balam-ku.” In J.A. Benitez, Vehicular Impact on Wildlife in the Yucatan, MX, pp 576-634. El Colegio de la Frontera Sur.

6.  Benitez, J.A., C.J. Pacheco, G. Enscalona-Segura, G. Pozo-Montuy, S.M. Alexander, et al. G. Escalona-Segura, et al. 2021. “Tendencias del impacto de las vias de comunicacion sobre la fauna silvestre: conclusions para las ANP del sureste de Mexico y previsions ante el Tren Maya.” In J.A. Benitez, Vehicular Impact on Wildlife in the Yucatan, MX, pp 653-. El Colegio de la Frontera Sur.

7.  Alexander, S.M. and D.L. Draper. 2019.Worldviews and Coexistence with Coyotes.”  In B. Frank et. al, Ed. Rethinking Co-existence, pp. 313-341. Oxford Press.

8.  Paquet, P.C. and S.M. Alexander. 2018. Habitat loss: Changing what animals think?  In A. Butterworth ed, Animal Welfare in a Changing World. pp. 4-13.  Oxfordshire: CABI Press.

9.  Alexander, S.M. 2017. “Silence of the Song Dogs”.  In J. Ellis, ed, Calgary-City of Animals. University of Calgary Press, Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 22-31.

10. Quinn, M.S., S.M. Alexander, S. Kennett, B. Stelfox, and M.E. Tyler. 2016. “Consequence and management of Alberta’s energy infrastructure.” In L. Adkin, ed, Political Ecology in Alberta.  Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

11. Alexander, S.M. 2015. “Carnivore conflict, management, and conservation GIS in Canada.” In B. Mitchell, ed., Resources and Environmental Management in Canada. Ontario: Oxford University Press, 293-317.

12. Blue, G, and S.M. Alexander. 2015. “Coyotes in the city: gastro-ethical encounters in a more-than-human world.” In R. Collard and K. Gillespie, eds, Critical Animal Geographies: Politics, Intersections and Hierarchies in a Multispecies World. New York: Routledge, 149-163.

13. Alexander, S. M., and N.M. Waters. 2014. “Road Ecology” In M. Garret, and J. G. Golson, eds, The Encyclopedia of Transportation: Social Science and Policy. Thousand Oaks, CA. SAGE Publications Inc,1162-1165.

14. Alexander, S.M. 2012. “Coexisting with coyotes in Canada: lessons from the Calgary coyote project.” In Udo Gansloßer, ed, Hund, Wolf & Co. Germany: Filander Verlag, 53-70.

15. Paquet, P.C., S.M. Alexander, and S. Donelon. 2010. “Influence of anthropogenically modified snow conditions on movements and predatory behaviour of gray wolves.” In M. Musiani, L. Boitani, and P.C. Paquet, eds, The World of Wolves and People: New Perspectives on Ecology, Behavior and Management. Calgary: University of Calgary Press.157-173.

16. Quinn, M.S., and S.M. Alexander. 2007. “Information technology and the protection of biodiversity in protected areas.” In K. Hanna, D. Clark, and S. Slocombe, eds, Transforming Parks: Protected Areas Policy and Governance in a Changing World. New York: Taylor & Francis Books Ltd. 62-84.

17. Alexander, S.M., M.S.M. Pavelka, and N.H. Bywater. 2006. “Quantifying fragmentation of black howler (Alouatta pigra) habitat after hurricane Iris (2001), Southern Belize.”  In A. Estrada, P. Garber, M. Pavelka, and L. Luecke, eds, New Perspectives in the Study of Mesoamerican Primates: Distribution, Ecology, Behavior and Conservation. New York: Kluwer Academic Press, 539-559.

18. Paquet, P.C., S.M. Alexander, P.L. Swan, and C.T. Darimont. 2006. “The influence of natural landscape fragmentation and resource availability on connectivity and distribution of marine gray wolf (Canis lupus) populations on Central Coast, BC.” In K. Crooks and M.A. Sanjayan, eds, Connectivity Conservation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 130-156.

19. Benitez, J.A., and S.M. Alexander. 2006. “A GIS analysis of watershed change in the Candelaria River Basin, Mexico.” In Highlighting the impacts of North-South research collaboration among Canadian and southern higher education partners. Ottawa: The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada,107-116.

20. Alexander, S.M., N.M. Waters, and P.C. Paquet. 2004. “A probability-based GIS model for identifying focal species linkage zones across highways in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.” In G. Clarke and J. Stillwell, eds, Applied GIS and Spatial Modelling. UK: University of Leeds, 233-255.

21. Alexander, S.M. and N.M. Waters. 2000. “GIS-T and the effects of highway transportation corridors on wildlife.”  In J.C. Thill, ed, GIS and Environmental Modelling. UK: Elsevier Science Ltd, 307-320.

Current and Recent Research

Foothills Coyote Initiative: Initiated in 2015, this is a mixed methods study of human-coyote relationships in the foothills parklands of Alberta, integrating qualitative and quantitiative analytical methods.  This project was expanded in 2018 to explore socio-spatial intelligence and ethnographies of coyotes in varying levels of human distrubance (urban, peri-urban, rural), using non-invasive methods (i.e., wildlife cameras, tracking and observation). The latter is an integral compoent of the evidence based coexistence UCalgary Living with Wildlife program that enages monitoring, education, enforcement and active mitigation (i.e.,implementation and evalutation) to prevent human-coyote conflict.



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