Philip Francis Thomsen – University of Copenhagen

Geological Museum
Forward this page to a friend Resize Print Bookmark and Share

Geological Museum > Staff

Philip Francis Thomsen

Philip Francis Thomsen


Natural History Museum of Denmark
Øster Voldgade 5-7
1350 København K

Phone: +45 353-21374
Phone (Reception desk): +45 353-22222

My research interests are mainly focused on the applications of DNA from environmental samples, both in freshwater and marine environments as well as several other sources such as terrestrial sediments, human coprolites and leech gut contents. I also work with topics such as animal evolution, ecology and conservation.

Furthermore, I am an active amateur entomologist. My main interest is beetles, especially distribution, ecology and conservation of Danish Coleoptera.

I have a great deal of experience in traditional ecological fieldwork covering national monitoring of endangered insect species on the EU Habitat Directive and has contributed to international and national redlisting of threatened species.

Current research

Environmental DNA from aquatic samples

We work with detection and quantification of selected animal species through DNA in small water samples from both freshwater and marine habitats. Several different animal groups – amphibians, fish, mammals, birds, insects and crustaceans – have shown detectable using eDNA from freshwater samples. In seawater samples we have been working with fish and whales. 

See also:

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.

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.

Foote AD, Thomsen PF, Sveegaard S, Wahlberg M, Kielgast J, Kyhn LA, Salling AB, Galatius A, Orlando L, Willerslev E, Gilbert MTP (2012). Investigating the Potential Use of Environmental DNA(eDNA) for Genetic Monitoring of Marine MammalsPLOS ONE. 7(8), e41781.

DNA from old insects in museum collections

We apply special non-destructive DNA extraction protocols to retrieve DNA from old museum insect specimens. The project investigates the possibilities of retrieving mtDNA from various insect specimens ranging in age back to 200 years.  

See also:

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.