Department of Biology

Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Philip Francis Thomsen

Associate Professor

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Philip Francis Thomsen

Associate Professor

  • Department of Biology - Genetics, Ecology and Evolution
  • Arctic Research Centre - Arctic Research Centre, Ny Munkegade 116
  • Department of Biology - Centre for Ecological Genetics
Postal address:
Ny Munkegade 116
Aarhus C
Postal address:
Ny Munkegade 116
Aarhus C


Phone: +4527142046

Curriculum Vitae




Married. Two children: Adam (2009) and Laura (2012)


environmental DNA, entomology, biodiversity, evolution, ecology, conservation


2017 - pres                 

Associate Professor. Dept. of Bioscience, Univ. of Aarhus.


Assistant Professor. Centre for GeoGenetics, Univ. of Copenhagen.


Postdoctoral researcher. Centre for GeoGenetics, Univ. of Copenhagen.


Research Assistant. Ancient DNA and Evolution, Biological Institute, Univ. of Copenhagen.


Research assistant. Dept. of Evolutionary Biology, Biological Institute, Univ. of Copenhagen.



Ph.D. degree in Biology. Centre for GeoGenetics, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen. Title: Monitoring Biodiversity using Environmental DNA  


M.Sc. degree in Biology. Ancient DNA and Evolution Group, Biological Institute.University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Title: Aspects of modern entomology – from natural history to ancient DNA


B.Sc. degree in Biology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Title: Myxine jespersenaea New Species of Hagfish (Myxiniformes:Myxinidae) from the North Atlantic Ocean


Student, Oxford College of Further Education, Oxford, UK (Subjects, among others: Anthropology, Psychology and English language)


Manuscript reviewer for ScienceNature Communications, Molecular Ecology, Molecular Ecology Resources, PLOS ONE, Biological Conservation, Conservation Genetics Resources, Scientific Reports, ICES Journal of Marine Science, Canadian Journal of Fisheries.


30.                 Nielsen MR, Knudsen SW, Munk P, Thomsen PF, Møller PR (2018). Tracing the critically endangered European eel in the diet of mesopelagic fishes of the Sargasso Sea using DNA from fish stomachs. Marine Biology 165, 130.

29.                 Agersnap S, Larsen WB, Knudsen SW, Strand D, Thomsen PF, Hesselsøe M, Mortensen PB, Vrålstad T, MøllerPR (2017). Environmental DNA (eDNA) detection and quantification of noble, signal and narrow-clawed crayfish (Decapoda – Astacidae). PLOS ONE 12(6), e0179261.

28.                 Torquato F, Jensen HM, Range P, Bach SS, Ben-Hamadou R, Sigsgaard EE, Thomsen PF, Møller PR, Riera R (2017). Vertical zonation and functional diversity of fish assemblages at Arabian Gulf oil platforms revealed by ROV videos. Journal of Fish Biology 91, 947-967.

27.                 Sigsgaard EE, Nielsen IB, CarlH, Krag MA, Knudsen SW, Xing Y, Holm-Hansen TH, Møller PR, Thomsen PF (2017). Seawater environmental DNA reflects seasonality of a coastal fish community. Marine Biology 164, 128.

26.                 Sigsgaard EE, Nielsen IB, Bach SS, Lorenzen ED, Robinson DP, Knudsen SW, Pedersen MW, Al Jaidah M, Orlando L, Willerslev E, Møller PR, Thomsen PF (2016). Population characteristics of a large whale shark (Rhincodon typus) aggregation inferred from seawater environmental DNA. Nature Ecology & Evolution 1, 0004. (Research highlight article in Nature and news article in Science

25.                 Thomsen PF, Møller PR, Sigsgaard EE, Knudsen SW, Jørgensen OA, Willerslev E (2016). Environmental DNA from seawater samples correlate with trawl catches of Sub-Arctic, deepwater fishes. PLOS ONE 11(11), e0165252.

24.                 Flensted KK, Ejrnæs R, Eskildsen A, Bruun HH, Thomsen PF, Heilmann-Clausen J (2016). Red-listed species and forest continuity - A multi-taxon approach to conservation in temperate forests. Forest Ecology and Management 378, 144-159. 

23.                 Goldberg CS, Turner CR, Deiner K, Klymus KE, Thomsen PF, Murphy MA, Spear SF, McKee A, Oyler-McCance SJ, Cornman RS, Laramie MB, Mahon AR, Lance RF, Pilliod DS, Strickler KM, Waits LP, Fremier AF, Takahara T, Herder J, Taberlet P (2016).Critical considerations for the application of environmental DNA methods to detect aquatic species. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 7, 1299–1307.

22.                 Thomsen PF*, Jørgensen PS*, Bruun HHK, Pedersen J, Riis-Nielsen T, Jonko K, Słowińska I, Rahbek C, Karsholt O (2016). Resource specialists lead local insect community turnover associated with temperature – analysis of an 18-year full-seasonal record of moths and beetles. Journal of Animal Ecology 85, 251-261.

21.                 Valentini A, Taberlet P, Miaud C, Civade R, Herder J, Thomsen PF, Bellemain E, Besnard A, Coissac E, Boyer F, Gaboriaud C, Jean P, Poulet N, Roset N, Copp GH, Geniez P, Pont D, Argillier C, Baudoin J-M, Peroux T, Crivelli AJ, Olivier A, Acqueberge M, Le Brun M, Møller PR, Willerslev E, Dejeanet T (2016). Next-generation monitoring of aquatic biodiversity using environmental DNA metabarcoding. Molecular Ecology 25, 929-942.

20.                 Thomsen PF, Willerslev E (2015). Environmental DNA – an emerging tool in conservation for monitoring past and present biodiversity. Biological Conservation 183, 4-18.

19.       Sigsgaard EE, Carl H, Møller PR, Thomsen PF† (2015). Monitoring the near-extinct European weather loach Misgurnus fossilis in Denmark by combining traditional fishing surveys and environmental DNA from water samples. Biological Conservation 183, 46-52.

18.                 Pedersen MW, Overballe-Petersen S, Ermini L, Der Sarkissian C, Haile C, Hellstrom M, Spens J, Thomsen PF, Bohmann K, Cappillini E, Scnell IB, Wales NA, Carøe C, Campos P, Torti A, Lever M, Schmidt AZ, Gilbert MTP, Hansen AJ, Orlando L, Willerslev E (2015). Ancient and modern environmental DNA. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 370, 20130383. 

17.                 Kelly RP, Port JA, Yamahara KM, Martone R, Lowell N, Thomsen PF, Mach ME, Bennett M, Prahler E, Caldwell MR, Crowder LB (2014). Harnessing DNA to improve environmental management. Science 344, 1455-1456.

16.                 Bønnelykke K, Sleiman P, Nielsen K,……Thomsen PF…..(36 authors total) (2014). A genome-wide association study identifies CDHR3 as a susceptibility locus for early childhood asthma with severe exacerbations. Nature Genetics 46, 51-55.

15.                 Iversen LL, Rannap R, Thomsen PF, Kielgast J, Sand-Jensen K (2013).How do low dispersal species establish large range sizes? The case of the water beetle Graphoderus bilineatus. Ecography 36, 770–777.

14.                 Thomsen PF*, Kielgast J*, Iversen LL, Møller PR, Rasmussen M, Willerslev E (2012). Detection of a diverse marine fish fauna using environmental DNA from seawater samples. PLOS ONE. 7(8), e41732.

13.                 Foote AD*, Thomsen PF*, Sveegaard S, Wahlberg M, Kielgast J, Kyhn LA, Salling AB, Galatius A, Orlando L, Gilbert MTP (2012). Investigating the potential use of environmental DNA (eDNA) for genetic monitoring of marine mammals. PLOS ONE. 7(8), e41781.

12.                 Thomsen PF*, Kielgast J*, Iversen LL, Wiuf C, Rasmussen M, Gilbert MTP, Orlando L, Willerslev E (2012). Monitoring endangered freshwater biodiversity using environmental DNA. Molecular Ecology 21, 2565-2573. (Front cover, Editors Choice in Science, highlighted in Faculty of 1000, currently 345 citations

11.                 Schnell IB*, Thomsen PF*, Wilkinson N, Rasmussen M, Jensen LR, WillerslevE, Bertelsen MF, Gilbert MTP (2012). Screening mammal biodiversity using DNA from leeches. Current Biology 22, R262-R263.

10.                 Bagge S, Lund M, Rønn R, Thomsen PF, Ekelund F (2012). Significantly higher carabid beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) catch in conventionally than in organically managed Christmas tree plantations. Journal of Entomological Science 47, 110-124.

9.                   Harvey DJ, Gange AC, Hawes CJ, Rink M,…….Thomsen PF….…(48 authors total) (2011) Bionomics and distribution of the stag beetle, Lucanus cervus (L.) across Europe. Insect Conservation and Diversity 4, 23-38.

8.                   Enghoff H, Pedersen J, Thomsen PF, Iversen L (2011) Tusindben, skolopendre og mejere fra Rødbyhavn og omegn – med fem nye arter for den danske fauna (Diplopoda, Chilopoda, Opiliones). Entomologiske Meddelelser 79, 3-12.

7.                   Iversen L, Pedersen J, Thomsen PF (2011) Hydrovatus cuspidatus Kunze 1818 – en næsten ny dansk vandkalv (Coleoptera, Dytiscidae). Entomologiske Meddelelser 79, 39-44.

6.                   Thomsen PF, Elias S, Gilbert MTP, Haile J, Munch K, Kuzmina S, Froese DG, Holdaway RN, Sher A, Willerslev E (2009). Non-destructive sampling of ancient insect DNA. PLOS ONE 4(4),e5048.

5.                   Møller OS, Olesen J, Avenant-Oldewage A, Thomsen PF, Glenner H  (2008) First maxillae suction discs in Branchiura (Crustacea): development and evolution in light of the first molecular phylogeny of Branchiura, Pentastomida, and other ”Maxillopoda”. Arthropod Structure & Development 37, 333-346.          

4.                   Glenner H, Thomsen PF, Rybakov AV, Galil BS, Hoeg JT (2008) The phylogeny of Rhizocephalan parasites of the Genus Heterosaccus using molecular and larval data (Cirripedia: Rhizocephala; Sacculinidae). Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution 54, 223–238.

3.                   Gilbert MTP, Jenkins DL, Naveran N, Sanchez JJ, Götherstrom A, Hofreiter M, Thomsen PF, Higham T, Binladen J, Willerslev E (2007). Ancient DNA from coprolites reveal pre-Clovis human presence in North America. Science 320, 786-789.

2.                   Glenner H*, Thomsen PF*, Hebsgaard MB, Sørensen MV, Willerslev E (2006). The origin of insects. Science 314, 1883-1884.

1.                   Møller PR, Feld TK, Poulsen IH, Thomsen PF, Thormar JG (2005). Myxine jespersenae, a new species of Hagfish (Myxiniformes:Myxinidae) from the North Atlantic ocean. Copeia 2, 374-385.

*) Authors contributed equally to the work     



Herder JE, Valentini A, Bellemain E, Dejean T, van Delft JJCW, Thomsen PF & Taberlet P (2014). Environmental DNA - a review of the possible applications for the detection of (invasive) species. Stichting RAVON, Nijmegen. Report 2013-104. 

Johannsen, VK, Dippel TM, Møller PF, Heilmann-Clausen J, Ejrnæs R, Larsen JB, Raulund-Rasmussen K, Rojas SK, Jørgensen BB, Riis- Nielsen T, Bruun HHK, Thomsen PF, Eskildsen A, Fredshavn J, Kjær ED, Nord-Larsen T, Caspersen OH, Hansen GK (2013). Evaluering af indsatsen for biodiversiteten i de danske skove 1992 - 2012. 90 s. ill. Rapport publiceret af Center for Skov & Landskab, Københavns Universitet. ISBN 978-87-7903-628-4.

Iversen LL, Thomsen PF, Damm N (2012). Genudsætning af Eghjort (Lucanus cervus) i Danmark: Beskrivelse af muligheder for udsætning af eghjort i Gribskov, Bidstrup Skov, Jægersborg Dyrehave, Livø, Skindbjerglund og Æbelø. Rapport udarbejdet af Amphi Consult Aps for Naturstyrelsen, DK. Tilgængelig: 

Søgaard B, Martin O, Jørum P, Thomsen PF (2012).Overvågning af eremit Osmoderma eremita. Teknisk anvisning til ekstensiv overvågning, TA-A07, v.1. Nationalt Center for Miljø og Energi, Århus Universitet.

Søgaard B, Martin O, Jørum P, Thomsen PF (2012).Overvågning af stellas mosskorpion Anthrenochernes stellae. Teknisk anvisning til ekstensiv overvågning, TA-A08, v.1. Nationalt Center for Miljø og Energi, Århus Universitet.

Thomsen PF, Rasmussen JF, Kavin M (2010). Kapitel 10 - Hvordan går det med Danmarks insekter? I Hans Meltofte (red.) (2010) ”Danmarks natur 2010 – om tabet af biologisk mangfoldighed”. Rapport udgivet af Det Grønne Kontaktudvalg og forfattere. 

Søgaard B, Jørum P, Thomsen PF, Martin, O (2010). Teknisk anvisning til kortlægning af levesteder for eremit Osmoderma eremita. TA-OP-7, v.1.2. DMUs Fagdatacenter for Biodiversitet og terrestrisk natur. Danmarks Miljøundersøgelser, Århus Universitet.

Jørum P, Iversen L, Thomsen PF (2009). Eremitovervågningen 2008. Bladloppen 28, 37-48.

Thomsen PF, Iversen L (2008). Bred vandkalv og Lys Skivevandkalv på Bornholm. Bladloppen 27, 13-20.

Thomsen PF (2007). Træbukke. Natur&Museum, nr. 3, september 2007. 36 pp, illustreret i farver. Naturhistorisk Museum, Århus.

Thomsen PF (2004). Fund af Eghjorte i Danmark. Bladloppen 22, 13-19.