Peter M. Hollingsworth

University of Guelph, XIA, Ontario, Canada

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Publications (129)

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intraspecific variation is a major component of biodiversity, yet it has received relatively little attention from governmental and non-governmental organizations, especially with regard to conservation plans and the management of wild species. This omission is ill-advised because phenotypic and genetic variation within and among populations can have dramatic effects on ecological and evolutionary processes, including responses to environmental change, the maintenance of species diversity, and ecological stability and resilience. At the same time, environmental changes associated with many human activities, such as land-use and climate change, have dramatic and often negative impacts on intraspecific variation. We argue for the need for local, regional, and global programs to monitor intraspecific genetic variation. We suggest that such monitoring should include two main strategies: (1) intensive monitoring of multiple types of genetic variation in selected species; and (2) broad-brush modeling for representative species for predicting changes in variation as a function of changes in population size, range extent, and connectivity. Overall, we call for collaborative efforts to initiate the urgently needed monitoring of intraspecific variation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Article · Oct 2016 · Evolutionary Applications
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    Peter M. Hollingsworth · De-Zhu Li · Michelle van der Bank · Alex D. Twyford
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Land plants underpin a multitude of ecosystem functions, support human livelihoods and represent a critically important component of terrestrial biodiversity—yet many tens of thousands of species await discovery, and plant identification remains a substantial challenge, especially where material is juvenile, fragmented or processed. In this opinion article, we tackle two main topics. Firstly, we provide a short summary of the strengths and limitations of plant DNA barcoding for addressing these issues. Secondly, we discuss options for enhancing current plant barcodes, focusing on increasing discriminatory power via either gene capture of nuclear markers or genome skimming. The former has the advantage of establishing a defined set of target loci maximizing efficiency of sequencing effort, data storage and analysis. The challenge is developing a probe set for large numbers of nuclear markers that works over sufficient phylogenetic breadth. Genome skimming has the advantage of using existing protocols and being backward compatible with existing barcodes; and the depth of sequence coverage can be increased as sequencing costs fall. Its non-targeted nature does, however, present a major informatics challenge for upscaling to large sample sets. This article is part of the themed issue ‘From DNA barcodes to biomes’.
    Full-text available · Article · Sep 2016 · Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences
  • Paul D. N. Hebert · Peter M. Hollingsworth · Mehrdad Hajibabaei
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prologue ‘As the study of natural science advances, the language of scientific description may be greatly simplified and abridged. This has already been done by Linneaus and may be carried still further by other invention. The descriptions of natural orders and genera may be reduced to short definitions, and employment of signs, somewhat in the manner of algebra, instead of long descriptions. It is more easy to conceive this, than it is to conceive with what facility, and in how short a time, a knowledge of all the objects of natural history may ultimately be acquired; and that which is now considered learning and science, and confined to a few specially devoted to it, may at length be universally possessed in every civilized country and in every rank of life’. J. C. Louden 1829. Magazine of natural history, vol. 1. © 2016 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
    Article · Sep 2016 · Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences
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    [Show description] [Hide description] DESCRIPTION: These Guidelines are designed to be applicable to the full spectrum of conservation translocations. They are based on principle rather than example. Throughout the Guidelines there are references to accompanying Annexes that give further detail.
    File available · Research · Jun 2016
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    M. Ruhsam · A. Clark · A. Finger · [...] · P. M. Hollingsworth
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PREMISE OF THE STUDY: Cryptic species represent a conservation challenge, because distributions and threats cannot be accurately assessed until species are recognized and defined. Cryptic species are common in diminutive and morphologically simple organisms, but are rare in charismatic and/or highly visible groups such as conifers. New Caledonia, a small island in the southern Pacific is a hotspot of diversity for the emblematic conifer genus Araucaria (Araucariaceae, Monkey Puzzle trees) where 13 of the 19 recognized species are endemic. METHODS: We sampled across the entire geographical distribution of two closely related species (Araucaria rulei and A. muelleri) and screened them for genetic variation at 12 nuclear and 14 plastid microsatellites and one plastid minisatellite; a subset of the samples was also examined using leaf morphometrics. KEY RESULTS: The genetic data show that populations of the endangered A. muelleri fall into two clearly distinct genetic groups: one corresponding to montane populations, the other corresponding to trees from lower elevation populations from around the Goro plateau. These Goro plateau populations are more closely related to A. rulei, but are sufficiently genetically and morphological distinct to warrant recognition as a new species. CONCLUSIONS: Our study shows the presence of a previously unrecognized species in this flagship group, and that A. muelleri has 30% fewer individuals than previously thought. Combined, this clarification of species diversity and distributions provides important information to aid conservation planning for New Caledonian Araucaria.
    Full-text available · Article · May 2016 · American Journal of Botany
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    Maren Flagmeier · Peter M. Hollingsworth · David R. Genney · [...] · Sarah J. Woodin
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Translocating plants for conservation purposes can be a useful tool to enhance existing populations, restore lost populations, or create new ones, but has rarely been done for bryophytes, especially liverworts. Aims: Here, the leafy liverwort Herbertus hutchinsiae, a representative species of oceanic-montane liverwort-rich heath, was translocated to unoccupied habitat within its current range, to establish whether its restricted distribution is due to habitat- or dispersal limitation. Methods: Feasibility of establishing new populations outside the current distribution range was assessed, to test the suitability of the species for assisted colonisation. Furthermore, transplants were grown at degraded sites where the species had declined to assess potential for restoration. Results: Although maximal growth rates occurred within-range, transplants grew at all sites, indicating that the species could be dispersal limited; a conclusion supported by distribution modelling. Conclusions: Assisted colonisation is thus an option for this species to overcome dispersal limitation and to track future climate space. Reinforcement of populations at degraded sites is only recommended if the pressure causing the degradation has been removed. These findings provide an evidence base for practical conservation management
    Full-text available · Article · Apr 2016 · Plant Ecology & Diversity
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    Full-text available · Article · Apr 2016
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    Roseli Pellens · Antje Ahrends · Peter M. Hollingsworth · Philippe Grandcolas
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The great bulk of the present knowledge of the Tree of Life comes from many phylogenies, each with relatively few tips, but with lots of diversity concerning taxa and characters sampled and methods of analysis used. For several biodiversity hotspots this is the kind of data available and ready to be used to have a better understanding on the evolutionary patterns and to identify areas with remarkable evolutionary history. But relying on data coming from independent studies raises some methodological challenges of standardization, comparability and assessments of bias to make the best use of the currently available information. To bring light to this subject here we analyzed the distribution of phylogenetic diversity in New Caledonia, a biodiversity hotspot characterized by strong rates of regional and internal endemicity. We used a dataset with 18 phylogenies distributed in 16 study sites, and based our analysis on the measure Ws sum. Our study comprises the analysis of (1) the role of the number of phylogenies on site’ scores and a strategy of standardization of the dataset by the number of phylogenies; (2) the influence of species richness on site scores and the design of the measure Ws ranks to focus on the most divergent species of each phylogeny; (3) an assessment of the influence of individual phylogenies; (4) a resampling strategy using multiple phylogenies to verify the results’ stability.
    Full-text available · Chapter · Feb 2016
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    Full-text available · Article · Feb 2016 · Conservation Genetics Resources
  • Eric Coissac · Peter M Hollingsworth · Sébastien Lavergne · Pierre Taberlet
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DNA barcoding has had a major impact on biodiversity science. The elegant simplicity of establishing massive scale databases for a few barcode loci is continuing to change our understanding of species diversity patterns, and continues to enhance human abilities to distinguish among species. Capitalising on the developments of next generation sequencing technologies and decreasing costs of genome sequencing, there is now the opportunity for the DNA barcoding concept to be extended to new kinds of genomic data. We illustrate the benefits and capacity to do this, and also note the constraints and barriers to overcome before it is truly scalable. We advocate a twin track approach: (i) continuation and acceleration of global efforts to build the DNA barcode reference library of life on earth using standard DNA barcodes, and (ii) active development and application of extended DNA barcodes using genome skimming to augment the standard barcoding approach. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Article · Jan 2016 · Molecular Ecology
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    Rhiannon J. Crichton · Sarah E. Dalrymple · Sarah J. Woodin · Peter M. Hollingsworth
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Melampyrum sylvaticum is an endangered annual hemiparasitic plant that is found in only 19 small and isolated populations in the United Kingdom (UK). To evaluate the genetic consequences of this patchy distribution we compared levels of diversity, inbreeding and differentiation from ten populations from the UK with eight relatively large populations from Sweden and Norway where the species is more continuously distributed. We demonstrate that in both the UK and Scandinavia, the species is highly inbreeding (global F IS = 0.899). Levels of population differentiation were high (F’ST = 0.892) and significantly higher amongst UK populations (F’ST = 0.949) than Scandinavian populations (F’ST = 0.762; P < 0.01). The isolated populations in the UK have, on average, lower genetic diversity (allelic richness, proportion of loci that are polymorphic, gene diversity) than Scandinavian populations, and this diversity difference is associated with the smaller census size and population area of UK populations. From a conservation perspective, the naturally inbreeding nature of the species may buffer the species against immediate effects of inbreeding depression, but the markedly lower levels of genetic diversity in UK populations may represent a genetic constraint to evolutionary change. In addition, the high levels of population differentiation suggest that gene flow among populations will not be effective at replenishing lost variation. We thus recommend supporting in situ conservation management with ex situ populations and human-mediated seed dispersal among selected populations in the UK.
    Full-text available · Article · Jan 2016 · Conservation Genetics
  • Rhiannon J. Crichton · Sarah E. Dalrymple · Sarah J. Woodin · Peter M. Hollingsworth
    Dataset · Jan 2016
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Threatened species often have small and isolated populations where mating among relatives can result in inbreeding depression increasing extinction risk. Effective management is hampered by a lack of syntheses summarising the magnitude of, and variation in inbreeding depression. Here we describe the nature and scope of the literature examining phenotypic/fitness consequences of inbreeding, to provide a foundation for future syntheses and management. We searched the literature for articles documenting the impact of inbreeding in natural populations. Article titles, abstracts and full-texts were assessed against a priori defined criteria, and information relating to study design, quality and other factors that may influence inbreeding responses (e.g. population size) was extracted from relevant articles. The searches identified 11457 articles, of which 614 were assessed as relevant and included in the systematic map (corresponding to 703 distinct studies). Most studies (663) assessed within-population inbreeding resulting from self-fertilisation or consanguineous pairings, while 118 studies assessed among-population inbreeding due to drift load. Plants were the most studied taxon (469 studies) followed by insects (52 studies) and birds (43 studies). Most studies investigated the effects of inbreeding on components of fitness (e.g. survival or fecundity; 648 studies) but measurements were typically under laboratory/greenhouse conditions (486 studies). Observations were also often restricted to the first inbred generation (607 studies) and studies frequently lacked contextual information (e.g. population size). Our systematic map describes the scope and quality of the evidence describing the phenotypic consequences of inbreeding. The map reveals substantial evidence relating to inbreeding responses exists, but highlights information is still limited for some aspects, including the effects of multiple generations of inbreeding. The systematic map allowed us to define several conservation-relevant questions, where sufficient data exists to support systematic reviews, e.g. How do inbreeding responses vary with population size? However, we found that such syntheses are likely to be constrained by incomplete reporting of critical contextual information. Our systematic map employed the same rigorous literature assessment methods as systematic review, including a novel survey of study quality and thus provides a robust foundation to guide future research and syntheses seeking to inform conservation decision-making.
    Full-text available · Article · Dec 2015
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    Antje Ahrends · Peter M. Hollingsworth · Alan D. Ziegler · [...] · Jianchu Xu
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The first decade of the new millennium saw a boom in rubber prices. This led to rapid and widespread land conversion to monoculture rubber plantations in continental SE Asia, where natural rubber production has increased >50% since 2000. Here, we analyze the subsequent spread of rubber between 2005 and 2010 in combination with environmental data and reports on rubber plantation performance. We show that rubber has been planted into increasingly sub-optimal environments. Currently, 72% of plantation area is in environmentally marginal zones where reduced yields are likely. An estimated 57% of the area is susceptible to insufficient water availability, erosion, frost, or wind damage, all of which may make long-term rubber production unsustainable. In 2013 typhoons destroyed plantations worth US$ >250 million in Vietnam alone, and future climate change is likely to lead to a net exacerbation of environmental marginality for both current and predicted future rubber plantation area. New rubber plantations are also frequently placed on lands that are important for biodiversity conservation and ecological functions. For example, between 2005 and 2010 >2500 km2 of natural tree cover and 610 km2 of protected areas were converted to plantations. Overall, expansion into marginal areas creates potential for loss-loss scenarios: clearing of high-biodiversity value land for economically unsustainable plantations that are poorly adapted to local conditions and alter landscape functions (e.g. hydrology, erosion) - ultimately compromising livelihoods, particularly when rubber prices fall.
    Full-text available · Article · Sep 2015 · Global Environmental Change
  • Peter Hollingsworth
    Article · May 2015 · Genome
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    File available · Dataset · Feb 2015
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    File available · Dataset · Feb 2015
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    File available · Dataset · Feb 2015
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    File available · Dataset · Feb 2015
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    File available · Dataset · Feb 2015

Publication Stats

6k Citations


  • 2010
    • University of Guelph
      • Department of Integrative Biology
      XIA, Ontario, Canada
  • 1998-2001
    • Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
      Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
    • University of Leicester
      • Department of Biology
      Leiscester, England, United Kingdom
  • 1996-1998
    • University of Glasgow
      Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom