Associate ProfessorPieter Pelser

Plant systematics & Director of UC Herbarium
Julius von Haast 530
Internal Phone: 95228
Through my research, teaching and outreach, I aim to improve our understanding of botanical biodiversity and promote its appreciation and conservation


Research Interests

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:
Co’s Digital Flora of the Philippines (CDFP; www.philippineplants.org) is an online checklist of Philippine vascular plants that aims to present a continuously updated account of all native and naturalized species of vascular plants in the Philippines with diagnostic photographs for each taxon. It is the only publicly available overview of the vascular plants of the Philippines.

Recent Publications

  • Agcaoili JM., Barcelona JF. and Pelser PB. (2020) Melastoma malabituin (Melastomataceae): a new species from northern Luzon, Philippines. Phytotaxa 435(1): 25-32. http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.435.1.3.
  • Argent G., Pelser P. and Barcelona JF. (2019) Two enigmatic Philippine rhododendrons rediscovered. The Rhododendron 58: 27-37.
  • Pelser PB., Nickrent DL., van Ee BW. and Barcelona JF. (2019) A phylogenetic and biogeographic study of Rafflesia (Rafflesiaceae) in the Philippines: Limited dispersal and high island endemism. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 139 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2019.106555.
  • Pelser PB., Salares VB. and Barcelona JF. (2019) Gymnosiphon philippinensis, a new species of Burmanniaceae from Cebu, Philippines. Phytotaxa 402(1): 68-72. http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.402.1.10.
  • van Kleunen M., Pyšek P., Dawson W., Essl F., Kreft H., Pergl J., Weigelt P., Stein A., Dullinger S. and König C. (2019) The Global Naturalized Alien Flora (GloNAF) database. Ecology 100(1) http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ecy.2542.

Lab webpage: www.ucconsert.org