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

  • Cai L., Kreft H., Taylor A., Denelle P., Schrader J., Essl F., van Kleunen M., Pergl J., Pyšek P. and Stein A. (2023) Global models and predictions of plant diversity based on advanced machine learning techniques. New Phytologist 237(4): 1432-1445. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/nph.18533.
  • Holmes R., Pelser P., Barcelona J., Tjitrosoedirdjo SS., Wahyuni I., van Kleunen M., Pyšek P., Essl F., Kreft H. and Dawson W. (2023) The naturalized vascular flora of Malesia. Biological Invasions http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10530-022-02989-y.
  • Bustamante RAA. and Pelser PB. (2022) A new Philippine species of Ridsdalea (Rubiaceae, Ixoroideae) from karst vegetation in Palawan. Blumea: Journal of Plant Taxonomy and Plant Geography 67(1): 15-19. http://dx.doi.org/10.3767/blumea.2022.67.01.04.
  • de Lange PJ., Pelser P., Liew C-S. and Marshall AJ. (2022) Senecio pokohinuensis (Asteraceae), a new combination for an endemic species of Mokohinau Islands, Hauraki Gulf (Tikapa Moana o Hauraki), northern Te Ika a Maui / North Island, Aotearoa / New Zealand. Ukrainian Botanical Journal 79(3): 125-129. http://dx.doi.org/10.15407/ukrbotj79.125.
  • Eastman-Densem R. and Pelser PB. (2022) It’s complicated: A brief overview of the taxonomy of the New Zealand Brachyglottis rotundifolia species complex (Senecioneae). Capitulum 1: 81-88. http://dx.doi.org/10.53875/capitulum.01.2.07.

Lab webpage: www.ucconsert.org