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Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center

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Aerial photograph of Hanalei Bay on the Island of Kauai

Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center Staff

Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center Lead Scientists

Stephanie Yelenik

Title  Research Wildlife Biologist
Phone  (808) 967-7396 ext. 6440
Mailing address  Kilauea Field Station
P.O. Box 44
Hawaii National Park, HI 96718

B.A. 1997: Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley
M.Sc. 2000: Botany, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Ph.D. 2009: Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara

Expertise / Specialty: Native plant restoration; Causes and consequences of exotic plant invasion; Plant-soil interactions.

Research Interests: I am interested in the management of degraded ecosystems, the restoration of which requires a theoretical understanding of how plant composition and ecosystem processes interact. My research integrates ecosystem and plant community ecology theory with a strong field-based experimental approach to evaluate how plant communities are structured, effect and feedback with their physical environments. I tend to integrate my main research focus into restoration and conservation by proposing research in degraded ecosystems, and linking results with management concerns.

Featured Studies: Role of vegetation in erosional processes in Keamuku Military Area. Ecosystem and plant community responses to Koa Looper Moth (Scotorythra paludicola) outbreak. Restoration of mesic and dry forest in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.


  • Post Doctoral Reasearch Associate, Oregon State University, 2008-2010.
  • Post Doctoral Reasearch Associate, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2010-2013.

Select Publications :

  • Yelenik, S.G. and D’Antonio, C.M. Self-reinforcing impacts of plant invasions change over time? Nature, 503: 517–520 doi:10.1038/nature12798 PDF
  • Yelenik, S.G., Perakis, S.S., and Hibbs, D. 2013. Regional constraints to N-fixation in post-fire forest communities. Ecology, 94: 739-750. PDF
  • Yelenik, S.G. and Levine, J.M. 2011. The role of plant-soil feedbacks in driving native species recovery. Ecology, 92: 66-74. PDF
  • Yelenik, S.G. and Levine, J.M. 2010. Processes limiting native shrub recovery in exotic grasslands after non-native herbivore removal. Restoration Ecology, 18: 418- 425. PDF
  • Hille Ris Lambers, J., Yelenik, S.G., Colman, B., and Levine, J.M. 2010. California annual grass invaders: the passengers, not drivers of change. Journal of Ecology 98: 1147-1156. PDF
  • Yelenik, S.G. and Levine, J.M. 2010. Re-establishment of native shrubs into California exotic annual grasslands: are ecosystem services returned? Ecological Applications, 20: 716-727. PDF
  • Yelenik, S.G., Stock, W.D., and Richardson, D.M. 2007. Functional group identity does not predict invader impacts: differential effects of nitrogen fixing exotic plants on ecosystem function. Biological Invasions, 9:117-125. PDF
  • Levine, J.M., Pachepsky, E., Kendall, B., Yelenik, S.G., and Hille Ris Lambers, J. 2006. Plant-soil feedbacks and invasive spread. Ecology Letters, 9: 1005-1015. PDF
  • Levine, J.M., Adler, P.B., and Yelenik, S.G. 2004. A meta-analysis of biotic resistance to exotic plant invasions. Ecology Letters, 7: 975-989. PDF
  • Yelenik, S.G., Stock, W.D., and Richardson, D.M. 2004. Ecosystem-level impacts of invasive Acacia saligna in the South African fynbos. Restoration Ecology, 12: 44-51. PDF

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