UC SPARK - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Dr Pieter Pelser

Biological Sciences

Fields of Research

  • Plant systematics
  • Studying and documenting plant diversity

Researcher Summary

The evolutionary history of Tribe Senecioneae:
Senecioneae is one of the largest tribes in the Asteraceae (ca. 3,100 species and 155 genera), has a nearly cosmopolitan distribution, and shows remarkable morphological and ecological diversity. To better understand the evolutionary success of Senecioneae and similarly large plant groups, we are taking a molecular phylogenetics approach to study the evolutionary relationships and mode and tempo of diversification of the Senecioneae

The biodiversity and conservation of Philippine Rafflesia:
The genus Rafflesia (Rafflesiaceae) is one of the few parasitic plants that are entirely contained within the tissue of their host plants. Rafflesia only emerges to produce its spectacular flowers, which are the largest of all flowering plants. Our studies of Philippine Rafflesia aim to make this charismatic genus an icon of conservation by demonstrating how knowledge of the taxonomic diversity, ecology, and evolutionary history of Rafflesia contributes to its conservation.

Co’s Digital Flora of the Philippines:
On November 15, 2010, esteemed Philippine botanist Leonardo L. Co was shot and killed during fieldwork on the island of Leyte. Co left behind a checklist of all Philippine flowering plants and thousands of plant photographs. These will be presented on a freely accessible website that will form the most comprehensive overview of the Philippine flora thus far.

Subject Area: Disciplines

Research Projects

Research Groups

Affiliations

Research/Scholarly/Creative Works

Journal Articles
  • Pyšek P., Pergl J., Essl F., Lenzner B., Dawson W., Kreft H., Weigelt P., Winter M., Kartesz J. and Nishino M. (2017) Naturalized alien flora of the world: species diversity, taxonomic and phylogenetic patterns, geographic distribution and global hotspots of plant invasion. Preslia 89: 203-274. http://dx.doi.org/10.23855/preslia.2017.203.
  • Pelser PB., Doble KJS., O Byrne P., Ormerod P. and Barcelona JF. (2016) Gastrodia cajanoae (Orchidaceae: Epidendroideae: Gastrodieae), a new species from the Philippines. Phytotaxa 266(1): 53-56. http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.266.1.9.
  • Pelser PB., Nickrent DL. and Barcelona JF. (2016) Untangling a vine and its parasite: Host specificity of philippine rafflesia (rafflesiaceae). Taxon 65(4): 739-758. http://dx.doi.org/10.12705/654.4.
  • Pelser PB., Nickrent DL., Reintar ART. and Barcelona JF. (2016) Lepeostegeres cebuensis (Loranthaceae), a new mistletoe species from Cebu, Philippines. Phytotaxa 266(1): 48-52. http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.266.1.8.
  • Arnet M., Santos B., Brockerhoff EG., Pelser PB., Ecroyd C. and Clemens J. (2015) Importance of arboreta for ex situ conservation of threatened trees. Biodiversity and Conservation 24(14): 3601-3620. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10531-015-1024-3.
  • de Lange PJ., Liew CS., Rolfe JR. and Pelser PB. (2015) Senecio esperensis (Asteraceae: Senecioneae) - a new combination for the L'Esperance Rock groundsel, Kermadec Islands. New Zealand Journal of Botany 53(3): 131-138. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0028825X.2015.1039552.
  • van Kleunen M., Dawson W., Essl F., Pergl J., Winter M., Weber E., Kreft H., Weigelt P., Kartesz J. and Nishino M. (2015) Global exchange and accumulation of non-native plants. Nature 525(7567): 100-103. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature14910.
  • Barcelona JF., Manting MME., Arbolonio RB., Caballero RB. and Pelser PB. (2014) Rafflesia mixta (Rafflesiaceae), a new species from Surigao del Norte, Mindanao, Philippines. Phytotaxa 174(5): 272-278. http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.174.5.3.
  • de Lange PJ., Rolfe JR., Liew CS. and Pelser PB. (2014) Senecio australis Willd. (Asteraceae: Senecioneae) - a new and uncommon addition to the indigenous vascular flora of New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 52(4): 417-428. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0028825X.2014.973421.
  • Journé V., Barcelona JF., Lafrankie JV. and Pelser PB. (2014) Stylidium javanicum (Stylidiaceae), a new triggerplant record for the Philippines. Phytotaxa 186(2): 113-116. http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.186.2.6.
  • Molina J., Hazzouri KM., Nickrent DL., Geisler M., Meyer RS., Pentony MM., Flowers JM., Pelser PB., Barcelona J. and Inovejas SA. (2014) Possible loss of the chloroplast genome in the parasitic flowering plant Rafflesia lagascae (Rafflesiaceae). Molecular Biology and Evolution 31: 793-803. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msu051.
  • Barcelona JF., Nickrent DL., LaFrankie JV., Callado JRC. and Pelser PB. (2013) Co's Digital Flora of the Philippines: plant identification and conservation through cybertaxonomy. Philippine Journal of Science 142(Special Issue): 57-67.
  • Pelser PB. and Barcelona JF. (2013) Discovery through photography: Amyema nickrentii, a new species of Loranthaceae from Aurora Province, Philippines. Phytotaxa 125(1): 47-52. http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.125.1.7.
  • Pelser PB., Nickrent DL., Callado JRC. and Barcelona JF. (2013) Mt. Banahaw reveals: The resurrection and neotypification of the name Rafflesia lagascae (Rafflesiaceae) and clues to the dispersal of Rafflesia seeds. Phytotaxa 131(1): 35-40. http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.131.1.6.
  • Roda F., Ambrose L., Walter GM., Liu HL., Schaul A., Lowe A., Pelser PB., Prentis P., Rieseberg LH. and Ortiz-Barrientos D. (2013) Genomic evidence for the parallel evolution of coastal forms in the Senecio lautus complex. Molecular Ecology 22(11): 2941-2952. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mec.12311.
  • Kirk H., Vrieling K., Pelser PB. and Schaffner U. (2012) Can plant resistance to specialist herbivores be explained by plant chemistry or resource use strategy? Oecologia 168(4): 1043-1055. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00442-011-2179-6.
  • Mennes CB., Smissen RD. and Pelser PB. (2012) AFLP analyses do not provide support for recognizing Brachyglottis saxifragoides as a species distinct from B. lagopus (Asteraceae; Senecioneae). New Zealand Journal of Botany 50(4): 489-495. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0028825X.2012.727441.
  • Nordenstam B. and Pelser PB. (2012) Caputia, a new genus to accommodate four succulent South African Senecioneae (Compositae) species. Compositae Newsletter 50: 56-69.
  • Pelser PB., Abbott RJ., Comes HP., Milton JJ., Möller M., Looseley ME., Cron GV., Barcelona JF., Kennedy AH. and Watson LE. (2011) The genetic ghost of an invasion past: colonization and extinction revealed by historical hybridization in Senecio. Molecular Ecology 21(2): 369-387. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-294X.2011.05399.x.
  • Balete DS., Pelser PB., Nickrent DL. and Barcelona JF. (2010) Rafflesia verrucosa (Rafflesiaceae), a new species of small-flowered Rafflesia from eastern Mindanao, Philippines. Phytotaxa 10: 49-57.
  • Pelser PB., Kennedy AH., Tepe EJ., Shidler JB., Nordenstam B., Kadereit JW. and Watson LE. (2010) Patterns and causes of incongruence between plastid and nuclear Senecioneae (Asteraceae) phylogenies. American Journal of Botany 97(5): 856-873. http://dx.doi.org/10.3732/ajb.0900287.
  • Pelser PB., Tepe EJ., Kennedy AH. and Watson LE. (2010) The fate of Robinsonia (Asteraceae): sunk in Senecio, but still monophyletic? Phytotaxa 5: 31-46.
  • Nordenstam B., Pelser PB. and Watson LE. (2009) Lomanthus, a new genus of the Compositae-Senecioneae from Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. Compositae Newsletter 47: 33-40.
  • Nordenstam B., Pelser PB. and Watson LE. (2009) The South African aquatic genus Cadiscus (Compositae-Senecioneae) sunk in Senecio. Compositae Newsletter 47: 28-32.
  • Pelser PB. (2009) Het belang van moleculaire kenmerken voor de plantensystematiek. Gorteria 33(4/6): 133-139.
  • Pelser PB. (2009) The importance of molecular characters for plant systematics. Gorteria 33(4-6): 133-139.
  • Wang LY., Pelser PB., Nordenstam B. and Liu JQ. (2009) Strong incongruence between the ITS phylogeny and generic delimitation in the Nemosenecio-Sinosenecio-Tephroseris assemblage (Asteraceae: Senecioneae). Botanical Studies 50(4): 435-442.
  • Barcelona JF., Pelser PB., Canutaje EM. and Bartolome NA. (2008) Another new species of Rafflesia (Rafflesiaceae) from Luzon, Philippines: R. leonardi. Blumea 53(1): 223-228.
  • Barcelona JF., Pelser PB., Tagtag AM. and Lilangan AP. (2008) The rediscovery of Rafflesia schadenbergiana (Rafflesiaceae). Flora Malesiana Bulletin 14(3): 162-165.
  • Hegt E. and Pelser PB. (2007) Voorkomen is beter dan bestrijden. Paard en Sport 2007(6): 70-71.
  • Pelser PB., Nordenstam B., Kadereit JW. and Watson LE. (2007) An ITS phylogeny of tribe Senecioneae (Asteraceae) and a new delimitation of Senecio L. Taxon 56(4): 1077-1104.
  • Nordenstam B. and Pelser PB. (2005) Dauresia and Mesogramma: one new and one resurrected genus of the Asteraceae-Senecioneae from Southern Africa. Compositae Newsletter 42: 74-88.
  • Pelser PB., De Vos H., Theuring C., Vrieling K. and Hartmann T. (2005) Frequent gain and loss of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in the evolution of Senecio section Jacobaea (Asteraceae). Phytochemistry 66: 1285-1295.
  • Pelser PB. and Houchin R. (2004) Taxonomic studies on Senecio aquaticus (Asteraceae). A recommendation for the taxonomic status of Aquaticus and Barbareifolius. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 145: 489-498.
  • Pelser PB., Van den Hof K., Gravendeel B. and Van der Meijden R. (2004) The systematic value of morphological characters in Senecio sect. Jacobaea (Asteraceae) as compared to DNA sequences. Systematic Botany 29(3): 790-805.
  • Pelser PB. (2003) De ontmanteling van de Helmkruidfamilie (Scrophulariaceae). Gorteria 29: 117-123.
  • Pelser PB., Gravendeel B. and Van der Meijden R. (2003) Phylogeny reconstruction in the gap between too little and too much divergence: the closest relatives of Senecio jacobaea (Asteraceae) according to DNA sequences and AFLPs. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 29: 613-628.
  • Pelser PPB. (2003) Disassembling the Scrophulariaceae. Gorteria 29(5): 117-124.
  • Pelser PB. (2002) Spoorzoeken in de Orchideeën: naamsveranderingen als consequenties van modern systematisch onderzoek. Gorteria 28: 113-118.
  • Pelser PB. (2002) Waarom classificaties steeds veranderen: voorbeelden uit de Sleutelbloemfamilie (Primulaceae). Gorteria 28: 89-92.
  • Pelser PB., Gravendeel B. and Van der Meijden R. (2002) Tackling speciose genera: species composition and phylogenetic position of Senecio sect. Jacobaea (Asteraceae) based on plastid and nrDNA sequences. American Journal of Botany 89(6): 929-939.
  • Pelser PB., Kruijer H. and Verpoorte R. (2002) What is the function of oil-containing rudimentary branches in the moss Canalohypopterygium tamariscinum? New Zealand Journal of Botany 40: 149-153.
  • Pelser PPB. (2002) Tracking evolutionary relationships in Orchids: Name changes as a consequence of modern systematic research. Gorteria 28(5): 113-118.
  • Pelser PB. (2000) Moleculaire evolutie in de systematiek. Gorteria 26: 249-250.
  • Pelser PB., Gravendeel B. and De Vogel EF. (2000) Revision of Coelogyne section Fuliginosae (Orchidaceae). Blumea 45: 253-273.
Other
  • Pelser PB., Lambert M., Young LM. and Norton DA. (2013) An illustrated checklist of the flora of the University of Canterbury Cass Mountain Research Area. www.biol.canterbury.ac.nz/cmra-checklist/. http://www.biol.canterbury.ac.nz/cmra-checklist/. [Website (2013 onwards)].
  • Funk VA. and Pelser PB. (2012) The Compositae Newsletter reaches its 50th volume and Bertil Nordenstam steps down as editor after 25 years. Compositae Newsletter 50: 4-8. [Editorial].
  • Lee G. (2009) Editorial. Teachers and Curriculum 11: 3-4.
Authored Books
  • Bodegom S., Pelser PB. and Kessler PJA. (1999) Seedlings of secondary forest tree species of East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Amsterdam: Tropenbos Foundation.
Chapters
  • Barcelona JF., Pelser PB., Balete DS. and Co LL. (2011) Conservation status of Philippine Rafflesia and their habitat. In David M; de Jesus AC; Barcelona JF (Ed.), Rafflesia of the Philippines: A story of adventure, appetite, and affinity: 132-133. Manila: Energy Development Corporation.
  • Barcelona JF., Pelser PB., Balete DS. and Co LL. (2011) Introduction to Philippine Rafflesia (Rafflesiaceae). In David M; de Jesus AC; Barcelona JF (Ed.), Rafflesia of the Philippines: A story of adventure, appetite, and affinity: 44-45. Manila: Energy Development Corporation.
  • Barcelona JF., Pelser PB., Balete DS. and Co LL. (2011) Key to Philippine Rafflesia and Taxonomy. In David M; de Jesus AC; Barcelona JF (Ed.), Rafflesia of the Philippines: A story of adventure, appetite, and affinity: 60-119. Manila: Energy Development Corporation.
  • Barcelona JF., Pelser PB., Balete DS. and Co LL. (2011) Remarks on the conservation status of Philippine lowland forests. In David M; de Jesus AC; Barcelona JF (Ed.), Rafflesia of the Philippines: A story of adventure, appetite, and affinity: 146-147. Manila: Energy Development Corporation.
  • Jones C., Montelle C., Pratt A., Pickles K., Rack U., Holdaway RN., Pelser PB. and Sykes WR. (2011) Exploration & Discovery. In Jones C; Matthews B; Clement J (Ed.), Treasures of the University of Canterbury Library Christchurch: Canterbury University Press.
  • Funk VA., Anderberg AA., Baldwin BG., Bayer RJ., Bonifacino JM., Breitwieser I., Brouillet L., Carbajal R., Chan R. and Coutinho AXP. (2009) Compositae Meta-trees: The Next Generation. In Funk VA; Susanna A; Stuessy T; Bayer R (Ed.), Systematics, Evolution & Biogeography of the Compositae: 747-777. Vienna: IAPT.
  • Nordenstam B., Pelser PB., Kadereit JW. and Watson LE. (2009) Senecioneae. In Funk VA; Susanna A; Stuessy T; Bayer R (Ed.), Systematics, Evolution & Biogeography of the Compositae: 503-525. Vienna: IAPT.
  • Pelser PB. and Watson LE. (2009) Introduction to Asteroideae. In Funk VA; Susanna A; Stuessy T; Bayer R (Ed.), Systematics, Evolution & Biogeography of the Compositae: 495-502. Vienna: IAPT.
Oral Presentations
  • Pelser PB. (2014) Modern plant hunters. Christchurch, New Zealand.
  • Pelser PB. (2013) Co's Digital Flora of the Philippines. University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.
  • Pelser PB. (2011) Botany of the bizarre: untangling a vine and its parasite. University of Canterbury: Christchurch botanic gardens inaugural research colloquium.
  • Pelser PB. (2011) Co's Digital Flora of the Philippines. Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City, Philippines: Invited seminar.
  • Pelser PB. (2011) Co's Digital Flora of the Philippines. Aurora State College of Technology, Baler, Aurora, Philippines: Nature Walk, invited seminar.
  • Pelser PB. (2011) Co's Digital Flora of the Philippines. National Museum of the Philippines, Manila, Philippines: Invited Seminar.
  • Pelser PB. (2010) Why do we need evolutionary trees? Biological applications of phylogenetic systematics. University of the Philippines Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines. University of the Philippines Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines.: Invited seminar in 9th Biodiversity Seminar Series.
  • Pelser PB. and Barcelona JF. (2010) The biodiversity and conservation of Philippine Rafflesia. University of Canterbury: Invited seminar at meeting of the Canterbury Botanical Society.
  • Pelser PB. (2008) Why are there so many Ragworts? The taxonomy and diversification of tribe Senecioneae (Asteraceae). Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, USA: Invited seminar.
  • Pelser PB. (2007) Why are there so many Ragworts? The origin, biogeography, and diversification of tribe Senecioneae (Asteraceae). Miami University, Oxford, USA: Invited Seminar.
  • Pelser PB. (2006) An ITS phylogeny of Tribe Senecioneae and a new delimitation of Senecio. National Herbarium of the Netherlands, Leiden, Netherlands: Invited Seminar.
  • Pelser PB. (2006) DNA and the evolution of Senecioneae (Compositae). National Museum of the Philippines, Manila, Philippines: Invited Seminar.
  • Pelser PB. (2006) Phylogenetic systematics as a tool to study biological patterns and processes. University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines: Invited Seminar.
Conference Contributions - Other
  • Arnet M., Santos B., Clemens J., Pelser PB. and Brockerhoff E. (2015) How could an antipodean network of small arboreta contribute to the conservation of threatened Northern hemisphere trees? Paris, France: Seventh European Botanic Gardens Congress (Eurogard VII), 6-10 Jul 2015
  • Liew CS., Ortiz-Barrientos D., de Lange PJ. and Pelser PB. (2014) Gene tree - species tree conflict: Is hybridization to blame for complex phylogenetic patterns in Lautusoid Senecio (Asteraceae)? Palmerston North, New Zealand: Australasian Systematic Botany Society Conference, 24-28 Nov 2014
  • Wright S., Gemmill C., Kelly D., de Lange PJ., Hutchison M. and Pelser PB. (2014) Connecting the dots: a population genetic study of the disjunctly distributed species Pittosporum obcordatum. Palmerston North, New Zealand: Australasian Systematic Botany Society Conference, 24-28 Nov 2014
  • Barcelona JF., Nickrent DL. and Pelser PB. (2013) Co's Digital Flora of the Philippines: an online photo-illustrated checklist of Philippine vascular plants. Bogor, Indonesia: 9th International Flora Malesiana Symposium, 28-28 Aug 2013
  • Ito Y., Pelser PB. and Tanaka N. (2013) Phylogeny and Biogeography of an Aquatic Genus Potamogeton (Potamogetonaceae). New York, NY, USA: Monocots V. 5th international conference on comparative biology of monocotyledons, 11-11 Jul 2013
  • Lambert M., Young LM., Norton DA. and Pelser PB. (2013) Significant species and complex communities of the University of Canterbury's Cass Mountain Research Area. Auckland, New Zealand: EcoTas13, 5th joint conference of the New Zealand Ecological Society and Ecological Society of Australia, 24-29 Nov 2013
  • Pelser PB. and Barcelona JF. (2013) Plant exploring in the Philippines: adventures and experiences. Canterbury Horticultural Society, Christchurch: Volunteer Botanic Garden Guides' Conference, 29-29 Oct 2013
  • Pelser PB., Nickrent DL. and Barcelona JF. (2013) Host-specificity in Philippine Rafflesia (Rafflesiaceae). Bogor, Indonesia: 9th International Flora Malesiana Symposium, 27-31 Aug 2013
  • Pelser PB., Barcelona JF. and Nickrent DL. (2012) Co's Digital Flora of the Philippines. Dasmariñas, Philippines: 21st Annual Philippine Biodiversity Symposium, 17-20 Apr 2012
  • Abbott RJ., Pelser PB., Comes HP. and Kadereit JW. (2011) The genetic ghost of an invasion past: Ancient long-distance dispersal, colonization and extinction revealed by historical hybridization in Senecio. London, UK: 2011 meeting of the Ecological Genetics Group, 19-21 Apr 2011
  • Pelser PB., Barcelona JF. and Nickrent DL. (2011) Launching of “Co’s Digital Flora of the Philippines” website. National Museum of the Philippines, Manila, Philippines: PNPCSI Symposium 2011, 19-20 Nov 2011
  • Steeves T., Pelser PB., McKown M., Gangloff B., Bretagnolle V. and Rayner M. (2010) Assessing the taxonomic validity of an enigmatic subgenus, the 'cookilaria' petrels. Victoria, Canada: 1st World Seabird Conference, 10-10 Sep 2010
  • Pelser PB. (2009) Incongruent plastid and ITS/ETS generic-level phylogenies in the Senecioneae (Asteraceae) suggest ancient hybridization. Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand: New Zealand Plant Radiation Network Conference 2009, 17-17 Nov 2009
  • Pelser PB., Kennedy AH., Tepe EJ., Nordenstam B., Kadereit JW. and Watson LE. (2008) Ancient reticulation characterizes the evolutionary history of tribe Senecioneae (Asteraceae). Vancouver, Canada: Botany 2008, 26-30 Jul 2008
  • Watson LE. and Pelser PB. (2008) Origin, migration, and diversification of 'mediterranean-climate' species of Senecio (Asteraceae) in central Chile: A molecular phylogenetic approach. Bethany, OK, USA: 97th Technical Meeting of the Oklahoma Academy of Sciences, 31-31 Oct 2008
  • Pelser PB., Kadereit JW., Nordenstam B. and Watson LE. (2007) Mediterranean diversifications in Tribe Senecioneae (Asteraceae). Pisa, Italy: XII OPTIMA Meeting, 10-16 Sep 2007
  • Pelser PB., Tepe EJ., Kennedy AH., Marticorena A., Arroyo MTK. and Watson LE. (2007) Mediterranean diversifications in Tribe Senecioneae (Asteraceae). Chicago, IL USA: Botany 2007, 7-11 Jul 2007
  • Pelser PB., Tepe EJ., Kennedy AH., Marticorena A., Arroyo MTK. and Watson LE. (2007) Mediterranean diversifications in Tribe Senecioneae (Asteraceae). Zurich, Switzerland: Origin and Evolution of Biota in Mediterranean Climate Zones, 14-15 Jul 2007
  • Schaffner U., Pelser PB. and Vrieling K. (2007) Host-use by the biological control agent Longitarsus jacobaeae among closely related plant species. La Grande Motte, France: XIIth International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds, 22-27 Apr 2007
  • Pelser PB., Kadereit JW., Nordenstam B. and Watson LE. (2006) An ITS phylogeny of Tribe Senecioneae and a new delimitation of Senecio. Barcelona, Spain: The International Compositae Alliance Symposium, 3-10 Jul 2006
  • Pelser PB., Kadereit JW., Nordenstam B. and Watson LE. (2006) An ITS phylogeny of Tribe Senecioneae and a new delimitation of Senecio. Chico, California, USA: Botany 2006, 28 Jul-2 Aug 2006
  • Tepe EJ., Pelser PB. and Watson LE. (2006) Molecular clock dating of the major divergences in Tribe Anthemideae (Asteraceae). Chico, California, USA: Botany 2006, 28 Jul-2 Aug 2006
Theses / Dissertations
  • Pelser PB. (2004) In search of the closest relatives of Senecio jacobaea: systematic studies in Senecio sect. Jacobaea (Asteraceae). Leiden, Netherlands. Leiden University.
Software / Code
  • Bodegom S., Pelser PB. and Kessler PJA. (Ed.) (2003) Tree seedlings of Indonesia: key to secondary forest seedlings of East Kalimantan.