Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Dr. Stephen DeStefano

Dave Wattles and Steve DeStefano placing GPS collar on bull moose


  • Oregon State University 1994
  • Ph D University of Idaho 1989
  • MS University of Wisconson 1982
  • BS University of Massachusetts 1978


I have been associated with the Cooperative Research Unit program in some way since 1974, including Units in Massachusetts (1974-78, field assistant on projects as an undergraduate), Wisconsin (1978-84, MS and post-MS), Idaho (1984-89, PhD), Oregon (1990-94, post-Doc), Arizona (1994-99, Assistant Leader), and Massachusetts (1999-present, leader).

Research Interests

I have a broad base of research experience on population ecology and habitat relationships of terrestrial and semi-aquatic wildlife, including birds (waterfowl and other waterbirds such as rails and loons, gallinaceous birds, raptors, corvids) and mammals (beavers, carnivores, ungulates), ranging from threatened and endangered species to abundant and overabundant species. I have focused on issues related to urban/suburban wildlife, forest wildlife, and human-wildlife interactions. Conservation of large landscapes as informed by the spatial requirements of large animals such as moose, bears, and bobcats is a major goal of my current research program.

Teaching Interests

For the past 10+ years I have been teaching Research Concepts to all incoming MS students (and a few PhD candidates) in the Department of Environmental Conservation. We discuss the history and philosophy of science, setting up research questions and hypotheses, and basic research concepts and study design. Throughout the semester the students work on a draft proposal for their graduate research.

Professional Society Service

  • The Wildlife Society - Board Member, Urban Wildlife Working Group (September 2005 - December 2008)
  • Society of American Foresters - Member (January 2002 - December 2008)
  • Society for Conservation Biology - Member (January 1990 - December 2008)
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Research Publications

  • Zeller, K.A., Wattles, D.W., Conlee, L., DeStefano, S.2019. American black bears (Ursus americanus) alter movements in response to anthropogenic features with time of day and season. Movement Ecology.
  • LeFlore, E.G., T.K. Fuller, J.T. Finn, S. DeStefano, and J.F. Organ. 2019. Wild canid distribution and co-existence during Fall in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts. Northeastern Naturalist 26:325-342.
  • Schlossberg, S., D. I. King, S. DeStefano, and M. J. Hartley. 2018. Effects of early-successional shrubland management on breeding wood thrush populations. Journal of Wildlife Management 82.
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Current Projects

Completed Projects


  • Research Concepts (2018)
  • Conservation in Practice (2017)
  • Research Concepts (2016)
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Massachusetts University Committees and Workgroups

  • Stephen DeStefanoSearch Committee for Population Ecologist/Biostatistician (January 2015 - April 2015)

Technical Publications

  • DeStefano, S., E. Faison, J. Compton, and D. Wattles. 2010. Forest exclosures: an experimental approach to understanding browsing by moose and deer. Massachusetts Wildlife 60:14-23.
  • DeStefano, S., and D. Wattles. 2009. Tracking the Commonwealth's moose. Massachusetts Wildlife 59:12-25.
  • DeStefano, S., D. Wattles, and R. Packard. 2006. Coyotes in the northeastern U. S.: interactions with white-tailed deer and humans along an urban-rural gradient. USGS Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Amherst, MA and Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Westborough, MA. 82pp
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Current Staff

Federal Staff: 2

Masters Students: 6

Phd Students: 12

Post Docs: 1

University Staff: 1

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 64

Scientific Publications: 36

Presentations: 132

Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
  2. Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
  3. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  4. U.S. Geological Survey
  5. University of Massachusetts
  6. Wildlife Management Institute