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Kelsey Yule

Project Manager
University Staff, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4501

As part of the Biodiversity Knowledge Integration Center (BioKIC), Dr. Kelsey Yule is the project manager for the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) Biorepository at ASU. Here, she conducts and facilitates research using this unique resource to study biological responses to global change on long-term and continental scales.

Before coming to ASU, Dr. Yule was a postdoctoral researcher in Department of Integrative Biology at Michigan State University. There, she worked with Dr. Gideon Bradburd on the development of open source methods for describing the abiotic and biotic drivers of population genomic variation. As a graduate student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, Dr. Yule studied with Dr. Judie Bronstein. During this time, she researched the ecological mechanisms of host-associated genetic differentiation in a parasitic plant and developed mathematical models of the population dynamical and evolutionary consequences of mutualistic and antagonistic species interactions.


PhD, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, 2018

BSc, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Rice University, 2011

ASU to Establish National Biorepository
Research Interests: 

Dr. Yule works to understand the interplay between ecological processes and population genomic patterns. In particular, she is interested in how species interactions mediate gene flow to determine population structure over space and time. Empirically, she has primarily investigated parasitic desert mistletoe (Phoradendron californicum, Santalaceae) and its interactions with host trees, insect pollinators, and bird dispersers. Throughout her work, she has made field observations, conducted molecular studies, analyzed genomic data, developed population biological theory, and implemented novel statistical tools.

With the resources of the NEON Biorepository, her current research is moving towards understanding ecological and genomic responses to global change using archival specimens.


[8] Yule, KM, EE Gilbert, AP Husain, MA Johnston, L Rocha Prado, L Steger, NM Franz. (2020, June 5). Designing Biorepositories to Monitor Ecological and Evolutionary Responses to Change (Version 1). Zenodo.

[7] Yule, KM, CA Johnson, JL Bronstein, and R Ferrière. (2020) Interactions among interactions: The dynamical consequences of antagonism between mutualists, Journal of Theoretical Biology, 501: 110334

[6] Ålund, M, N Emery, BJM Jarrett, KJ MacLeod, HF McCreery, N Mamoozadeh, JG Phillips, J Schossau, AW Thompson, AR Warwick, KM Yule, ER Zylstra, E Gering (2020) Academic ecosystems must evolve to support a sustainable postdoc workforce, Nature Ecology Evolution, 4: 777–781


[5] Yule, KM, and JL Bronstein (2018) Infrapopulation size and mate availability influence reproductive success of a parasitic plant, Journal of Ecology,106(5): 1972-1982

[4] Yule, KM, and JL Bronstein (2018) Reproductive ecology of a parasitic plant differs by host species: vector interactions and the maintenance of host races, Oecologia,186(2): 471-482

[3] Yule, KM, JAH Koop, NM Alexandre, LR Johnston, and NK Whiteman (2016) Population structure of a vector-borne plant parasite, Molecular Ecology,25(14): 3332-3343

[2] Yule, KM, TEX Miller, and JA Rudgers (2013) Costs, benefits, and loss of vertically transmitted symbionts affect host population dynamics, Oikos,122(10): 1393-1400

[1] Yule, KM, JM Wooley, and JA Rudgers (2011) Water availability alters the tri-trophic consequences of plant-fungal symbiosis, Arthropod-Plant Interactions, 5(1): 19-27

Honors / Awards: 

National Science Foundation, Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, 2016-2018

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2012-2017

PEO International, PEO Scholar Award, 2017

American Society of Naturalists, Student Research Award, 2016

Arizona Native Plants Society, Ginny Saylor Research Grant, 2016

Society for the Study of Evolution, Rosemary Grant Award, 2014

Professional Associations: 

American Society of Naturalists

Arizona Native Plants Society

Ecological Society of America

Society for the Study of Evolution

The Next Generation Sonoran Desert Researchers



Dr. Yule has been a board member of the The Friends of Ironwood Forest since 2014. For this group, she has worked on conservation, advocacy, and educational efforts, and she has spoken with national press outlets regarding the value of public lands, such as Ironwood Forest National Monument, for biological research.

Presentations for the Public

[3] Yule, KM (2018) Using desert mistletoe to understand host-parasite interactions. Philanthropic
Education Organization (PEO). SaddleBrooke, AZ, USA.
[2] Yule, KM (2016) Desert mistletoe: A misunderstood, but beneficial native plant. Arizona Native
Plants Society. Tucson, AZ, USA.
[1] Yule, KM (2013) The ecology of desert mistletoe: an emblem of the Sonoran Desert. Arizona
Sonoran Desert Museum. Tucson, AZ, USA.

Publications for the Public

[2] Yule, KM (2016) The evolution of desert mistletoe host races: What we know and what questions
remain. The Plant Press (The Arizona Native Plants Society) 29(1): 7-9.
[1] Yule, KM (2016) Desert mistletoe: A misunderstood native plant. Newsletter of the Friends of
Ironwood Forest Spring 2016: 1-3.