Jessica Prebble

Doctor of Philosophy, (Plant Biology)
Study Completed: 2017
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Species delimitation and the population genetics of rare plants: A case study using the New Zealand native pygmy forget-me-not group (Myosotis; Boraginaceae)

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

To explore questions regarding the nature of rarity and contribute to the conservation of threatened species, it is important to delimit the species in question. The New Zealand species of Myosotis L. (Boraginaceae) are a priority for taxonomic revision, as they comprise many threatened species and taxonomically indeterminate entities. Ms Prebble used multiple lines of evidence, including population genetic data from novel microsatellites, morphological data from herbarium and common garden specimens, and ecological niche modelling, to delimit three species of pygmy Myosotis. She found that using this new taxonomic framework to explore genetic variation relative to rarity shows very little difference among the species, most likely due to the confounding effects of self-fertilisation and low levels of dispersal. Her research has implications for conservation in that each population is equally important in terms of contributing to the genetic diversity of each species.

Dr Vaughan Symonds
Dr Heidi Meudt
Associate Professor Jennifer Tate