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Dr. Peter Moonlight
Assistant Professor, Botany


Peter is a botanist with a specialism in tropical plants and plant identification. Like many budding biologists, he suffered from "plant blindness" as a child but during his time at University came to appreciate the vast diversity of plants on our planet and the incalculable ways they influence everything that happens around us. Peter joined Trinity College Dublin as Assistant Professor in Botany and Assistant Herbarium Curator in November 2022.

Peter began to specialise on the genus Begonia during his masters and continued to work on the genus during PhD. He now focusses on the taxonomy and systematics of Andean Begonia species and the adaption of several Andean Begonias to specialist pollination syndromes, including hummingbird and buzz pollination. His two major postdoctoral positions focussed on developing methods and building networks for monitoring Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests with permanent monitoring plots, which are fundamental to our understanding of how these underappreciated ecosystems react to and influence global climate. His experience in taxonomy and forest monitoring give him a unique perspective on how systematists and forest ecologists could work together to improve the quality and quantity of tropical tree identifications available to both fields. He is currently applying for funding to build a "next generation" pipeline for tree identification in the tropics.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

P.W. Moonlight & D.B.O.S. Cardoso, A taxonomic revision of Keraunea, including three new species and its phylogenetic realignment within Ehretiaceae (Boraginales), Phytokeys, 219, 2023, p145 - 170 Journal Article, 2023 DOI

P.W. Moonlight, O.A. Jara-Muñoz, D.A. Purvis, J. Delves, J.P. Allen, C. Reynel, The Genus Begonia in peru, European Journal of Taxonomy, 881, 2023, p1 - 334 Journal Article, 2023 URL DOI

Silva M.C., Moonlight P.W., Oliveira R.S., Pennington R.T., Rowland L., Toward diverse seed sourcing to upscale ecological restoration in the Brazilian Cerrado, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 10, 2023, p1045591 Journal Article, 2023 DOI

Silva T.H., Lima R.B.d., Souza R.L.F.d., Moonlight P.W., Cardoso D., Santos H.K.V., Oliveira C.P.d., Veenendaal E., Queiroz L.P.d., Rodrigues P.M.S., Santos R.M.d., Sarkinen T.E., Paula A.d., Barreto-Garcia P.A.B., Pennington R.T., Phillips O.L., Mapping wood volume in seasonally dry vegetation of Caatinga in Bahia State, Brazil, Scientia Agricola, 80, 2023, pe20220161 Journal Article, 2023 DOI

Héveli Kalini Viana Santos, Robson Borges de Lima, Rafael L Figueiredo de Souza, Domingos Cardoso, Peter W Moonlight, Thaine Teixeira Silva, Cinthia Pereira de Oliveira, Francisco Tarcísio Alves Júnior, Elmar Veenendaal, Luciano Paganucci de Queiroz, Priscyla MS Rodrigues, Rubens Manoel dos Santos, Tiina Sarkinen, Alessandro de Paula, Patrícia Anjos Bittencourt Barreto-Garcia, Toby Pennington, Oliver L Phillips, Spatial distribution of aboveground biomass stock in tropical dry forest in Brazil, i F o r e s t Biogeosciences and Forestry, 16, 2023, p116 - 126 Journal Article, 2023 DOI

Peter Moonlight, Álvaro J. Pérez, A NEW SPECIES OF BEGONIA SECT. RUIZOPAVONIA FROM COLOMBIA AND ECUADOR, Edinburgh Journal of Botany, 2022 Journal Article, 2022

Peter Moonlight, Alfredo F. Fuentes, An updated checklist and key to the species of Bolivian Begonia, including one new species, Edinburgh Journal of Botany, 79, 2022, p1 - 66 Journal Article, 2022 DOI

Kennedy Lewis, Fernanda de V. Barros, Peter W. Moonlight, Timothy C. Hill, Rafael S. Oliveira, Isabel B. Schmidt, Alexandre B. Sampaio, R. Toby Pennington and Lucy Rowland, Identifying hotspots for ecosystem restoration across heterogeneous tropical savannah-dominated regions, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 387, (1867), 2022, p20210075 Journal Article, 2022 DOI

Begonia Phylogeny Group , Wisnu Handoyo Ardi, Lucia Campos-Dominguez, Kuo-Fang Chung, W.-K. Dong, Eleanor Drinkwater, Danny Fuller, Janet Gagul, George J. L. Garnett, Deden Girmansyah, Will Goodall-Copestake, Mark Hughes, E.L. Jacques, Orlando Adolfo Jara-Muñoz, Julia Sang, Catherine Kidner, Ruth Kiew, Nikhil Krishna, Ruihui Li, Lakmini Marasinghe, Mya Bhone Maw, Che Wei Lin, Peter Moonlight, Hieu Quang Nguyen, Hieu Nguyen, Thamarat Phutthai, AK PRADEEP ., Sangeeta Rajbhandary, Rosario Rubite, David Scherberich, Keooudone Souvannakhoummane, Madhavi Sreenath, Mark Tebbitt, Daniel Caspar Thomas, "" ", Yu-Hsin Tseng, Hannah Wilson, Resolving phylogenetic and taxonomic conflict in Begonia, Edinburgh Journal of Botany, 2022 Journal Article, 2022

Yu-Hsin Tseng, Chia-Lun Hsieh, Lucia Campos-Dominguez, Ai-Qun Hu, Chiung-Chih Chang, Yu Hsu, Catherine Kidner, Mark Hughes, Peter Moonlight, Cheng-Hsiang Hung, Yen-Chiao Wang, Yi-Tse Wang, Shih-Hui Liu, Deden Girmansyah, Kuo-Fang Chung, INSIGHTS INTO THE EVOLUTION OF THE CHLOROPLAST GENOME AND THE PHYLOGENY OF BEGONIA, Edinburgh Journal of Botany, 2022 Journal Article, 2022

Domingos Cardoso and Peter W. Moonlight and Gustavo Ramos and Graeme Oatley and Christopher Dudley and Edeline Gagnon and Luciano Paganucci de Queiroz and R. Toby Pennington and Tiina E. Särkinen, Defining Biologically Meaningful Biomes Through Floristic, Functional, and Phylogenetic Data, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 9, 2021 Journal Article, 2021 DOI

Peter W. Moonlight, Pedro Luiz Silva de Miranda, Domingos Cardoso, Kyle G. Dexter, Ary T. Oliveira"Filho, R. Toby Pennington, Gustavo Ramos, Tiina E. Särkinen, Antoine Guisan, The strengths and weaknesses of species distribution models in biome delimitation, Global Ecology and Biogeography, 29, (10), 2020, p1770--1784 Journal Article, 2020 DOI

P. W. Moonlight and R. Hollands and A. Cano and D. A. Purvis, A NEW SPECIES OF TUBEROUS BEGONIA (BEGONIACEAE) FROM ANDEAN PERU, Edinburgh Journal of Botany, 77, (1), 2019, p145--159 Journal Article, 2019 DOI

J. L. Clark and P. W. Moonlight, A new species of Diastema (Gesneriaceae) from the Eastern Andean Slopes of Peru, Edinburgh Journal of Botany, 77, (1), 2019, p89 - 97 Journal Article, 2019 DOI

P.W. MOONLIGHT and C. REYNEL, Two new species of Begonia from Andean Peru, Phytotaxa, 381, (1), 2018, p116 Journal Article, 2018 DOI

M. C. Tebbitt and A. R. Andrada and L. J. C. Kollmann and P. W. Moonlight, TAXONOMY OF BEGONIA WOLLNYI HERZOG AND BEGONIA ARROGANS IRMSCH., Edinburgh Journal of Botany, 75, (2), 2018, p215--226 Journal Article, 2018 DOI

Peter W. Moonlight and Wisnu H. Ardi and Luzmila Arroyo Padilla and Kuo-Fang Chung and Daniel Fuller and Deden Girmansyah and Ruth Hollands and Adolfo Jara-Mu{\~{n, Dividing and conquering the fastest-growing genus: Towards a natural sectional classification of the mega-diverse genus Begonia (Begoniaceae), Taxon, 67, (2), 2018, p267--323 Journal Article, 2018 DOI

P. W. Moonlight and M. Hughes and M. C. Tebbitt, TAXONOMY OF BEGONIA ALBOMACULATA AND DESCRIPTION OF TWO NEW SPECIES ENDEMIC TO PERU, Edinburgh Journal of Botany, 74, (2), 2017, p179--198 Journal Article, 2017 DOI

Peter Watson Moonlight and Carlos Reynel and Mark Tebbitt, Begonia elachista Moonlight & Tebbitt sp. nov., an enigmatic new species and a new section of Begonia (Begoniaceae) from Peru, European Journal of Taxonomy, (281), 2017 Journal Article, 2017 DOI

Domingos Cardoso and Tiina Särkinen and Sara Alexander and André, Amazon plant diversity revealed by a taxonomically verified species list, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114, (40), 2017, p10695--10700 Journal Article, 2017 DOI

P. W. MOONLIGHT and A. JARA-MU{\~{N, A revision and recircumscription of Begonia Section Pilderia including one new species, Phytotaxa, 307, (1), 2017, p1 Journal Article, 2017 DOI

M. C. Tebbitt and M. Hughes and {\'{A, TAXONOMY OF THE BEGONIA TILIIFOLIA GROUP, INCLUDING DESCRIPTIONS OF TWO NEW SPECIES, Edinburgh Journal of Botany, 74, (2), 2017, p199--215 Journal Article, 2017 DOI

P. W. Moonlight and M. C. Tebbitt, TWO NEW PERUVIAN SPECIES OF BEGONIA (BEGONIACEAE) AND AN AMENDED DESCRIPTION OF BEGONIA THYRSOIDEA, Edinburgh Journal of Botany, 74, (2), 2016, p111--122 Journal Article, 2016 DOI

R. Toby Pennington and Mark Hughes and Peter W. Moonlight, The Origins of Tropical Rainforest Hyperdiversity, Trends in Plant Science, 20, (11), 2015, p693--695 Journal Article, 2015 DOI

Peter W. Moonlight and James E. Richardson and Mark C. Tebbitt and Daniel C. Thomas and Ruth Hollands and Ching-I Peng and Mark Hughes, Continental-scale diversification patterns in a megadiverse genus: the biogeography of NeotropicalBegonia, Journal of Biogeography, 42, (6), 2015, p1137--1149 Journal Article, 2015 DOI

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

A.P. Courtenay, P.W. Moonlight, R.T. Pennington & C.E.R. Lehmann, Underground trees inhabit varied environmental extremes across the Afrotropics, Annals of Botany, mcad124, 2023 Journal Article, 2023 DOI

Hughes M., Moonlight P.W., Jara-Muñoz A., Tebbitt M.C., Wilson H.P., Zhong K. & Pullan M., Begonia Resource Centre, 2015 (Continuously Updated), Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, 2023 Dataset, 2023 URL

World Flora Online, World Flora Online, December 2022, World Flora Online, 2022 Dataset, 2022 URL



Fellow of the Linnean Society Present – 2020