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Kelsey Yule

Project Manager
University Staff
TEMPE Campus


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

Google Scholar

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.


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.