Marcella Kelly

  • Fish and Wildlife Conservation
  • College of Natural Resources and Environment


Dr. Kelly studies population dynamics and behavior of elusive carnivores, including coyotes, bobcats, black bears in the US and she studies jaguars, ocelots, pumas, tigers, and cheetahs abroad., She uses a combination of non-invasive techniques (remote cameras, genetic sampling) along with more traditional techniques like GPS collaring and newly developed camera collars on wildlife.


As the human population continues to grow and threaten carnivore habitats, wildlife scientist Marcella Kelly seeks to understand more about the factors driving carnivore population dynamics, so that efforts can be made to better protect such charismatic species. Her research techniques, which include scat sampling, remotely-triggered cameras, genetic monitoring, traditional radio/GPS collaring, and video camera collars, are used to determine population density and dynamics over time, genetic health and landscape connectivity, spatial and movement ecology, and foraging ecology and diet. For example, in a recent study in Virginia, she and her graduate student found a higher than expected occurrence of deer in the diets of bears and bobcats, indicating that coyotes are not the only species that may target deer, especially during fawning season. Dr. Kelly's international projects, which take place in Belize, Chile, Nepal, Sumatra and , Tanzania, in collaboration with local governments and nonprofits, are funded by many national organizations, including National Geographic, Panthera, Safari Club International and World Wildlife Fund.