Dr Pieter Pelser - People - Biological Sciences - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Dr Pieter Pelser

Dr Pieter PelserPosition

Lecturer in Plant Systematics and Director of the University of Canterbury Herbarium (CANU)

Qualifications

  • PhD, Leiden University, Netherland

Room

Biology 530

Contact Details

Phone: International +64 +3 Local 364 2987 ext. 45605
Fax: +64 3 364 2590
Email: pieter.pelser@canterbury.ac.nz

Postal address: School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch 8020, New Zealand

Teaching

Research and Publications

Pieter's UC Research Profile

Research interests: diversity, evolution, ecology, conservation, biogeography, molecular phylogenetics and taxonomy of plants.

Ongoing projects:

  1. Evolution and taxonomy of the Senecioneae. Tribe Senecioneae in the Sunflower family is exceptionally large (c. 3,000 species) and diverse. How, why, when and where did this diversity originate? I’m studying Senecioneae species in New Zealand and abroad to find an answer to these questions.
  2. Diversity and evolution of Philippine Rafflesia, the largest flowers of the world. Rafflesia is a small genus of parasitic plants with spectacularly large flowers. These plants grow in the tropical rain forests of Southeast Asia and are among the rarest species of plants. Through fieldwork and molecular phylogenetic studies, I’m trying to find out how these species and their intimate relationship with their host plants evolved.
  3. On November 15, 2010, esteemed Philippine botanist and friend, Leonardo L. Co was shot and killed by the Philippine army during fieldwork on the island of Leyte. Leonard left behind an unpublished manuscript presenting an updated version of Merrill's Enumeration of Philippine Flowering Plants (1923) and thousands of photographs of Philippine plants. Together with Daniel Nickrent (Southern Illinois University) and Julie Barcelona (University of Canterbury), I am working on Co's Digital Flora of the Philippines: a website where we present Leonard's updated checklist and plant photographs taken by him and others. This website will be freely accessible and the most comprehensive overview of the Philippine flora thus far.

Personal website

Possible postgraduate research projects

  • Evolution and taxonomy of the Senecioneae. Tribe Senecioneae in the Sunflower family is exceptionally large (c. 3,000 species) and diverse. How, why, when, and where did this diversity originate?
  • Diversity and evolution of Philippine Rafflesia, the largest flowers of the world. Rafflesia is a small genus of parasitic plants with spectacularly large flowers. These plants grow in the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia and are among the rarest species of plants. How did these species and their intimate relationship with their host plants evolve?
  • Other projects can be considered too!