Photo of Ashley, Mary

Mary Ashley, PhD


Biological Sciences


1031 SELE


950 S. Halsted St.

Office Phone Voice:

(312) 413-9700


My research program involves using the genetic (DNA) variation found in nature to study ecological and evolutionary processes. The principle underlying my research is that genetic variation found in natural populations provides information for studying ecological, evolutionary, and behavioral processes that are difficult or impossible to observe using more traditional approaches. I am also especially interested in applying ecological genetics to issues in conservation biology and the management of threatened species, including genetic aspects of restorations and reintroductions. The major research efforts in my lab involve using hypervariable DNA markers to study gene flow, mating systems and population genetic structure of a variety of plant and animal species. Specifically, we use DNA microsatellite variation and DNA sequencing combined with extensive field studies of natural populations to understand such phenomenon. Finally, I have a great interest in how organisms evolve and adapt to anthropogenic environmental changes.

Selected Publications

(Complete list of publications on Google Scholar)

  1. Ashley, M. V., S. T. Abraham, J. R. Backs and W. D. Koenig. 2015. Landscape genetics and population structure in valley oak (Quercus lobata Neé). American Journal of Botany 102:2124-2131.
  2. Kim, E. S., D. N. Zaya, J. B. Fant and M. V. Ashley. 2015. Genetic factors accelerate demographic decline in rare Asclepias species. Conservation Genetics 16:359-369. DOI: 10.1007/s10592-014-0663-3.
  3. Zaya, D.N., S. A. Leicht-Young, N. B. Pavlovic, K. A. Feldheim and M. V. Ashley. 2015. Genetic characterization of hybridization between native and invasive bittersweet vines (Celastrus spp.). Biological Invasions 17(10): 2975-2988. DOI: 10.1007/s10530-015-0926-z.
  4. Ozer, F. and M. V. Ashley. 2013. Genetic evaluation of remnant and translocated shiners, Notropis heterodon and Notropis heterolepis. Journal of Fish Biology 82 :1281-1296.
  5. Abraham, S. T., D. N. Zaya, W. D. Koenig and M. V. Ashley. 2011. Inter- and intraspecific pollination patterns of valley oak, Quercus lobata, in a mixed stand in central coastal California. International Journal of Plant Sciences 172: 691-699.
  6. Ashley, M. V. 2010. Plant Parentage, Pollination, and Dispersal: How DNA microsatellites have altered the landscape. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 29:148-161.
  7. Ashley, M. V., I C. Caballero, W. Chaovalitwongse, B. DasGupta, P. Govindan, S. I. Sheikh and T. Y. Berger-Wolf. 2009. KINALYZER, a computer program for reconstructing sibling groups. Molecular Ecology Resources 9:1127-1131.
  8. Kramer, A. T., J. Ison, M. V. Ashley and H. F. Howe. 2008. The paradox of forest fragmentation genetics. Conservation Biology 22:878-885.


PhD, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California, 1986

BA, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio 1981