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Mads Fristrup Schou


Assistant Professor

Primary affiliation

Mads Fristrup Schou CV

Areas of expertise

  • Adaptation to the environment
  • Genetics and evolution
  • Birds
  • Ostriches
  • Insects

Contact information

Telephone number
Email address


The biosphere contains a remarkable diversity that mostly arose from adaptive evolution. But there are limits to the evolutionary potential of species. Some challenges, such as rapid changes in temperature fluctuations, may be too big to be overcome.

The main topic of my research is to study the genetic constraints of (thermal) adaptation. To do this we work with a range of organisms from fruit flies, cattle, a ton of bird species and ostriches - which are basically dinosaurs.

We build big genomic and phenotypic datasets using a range of methods including:

  • Bio-loggers (body temperature, activity, EKG)
  • Breeding experiments on big animals in the field (South Africa)
  • DNA/RNA-sequencing
  • Thermal imaging
  • Online databases on bird morphology and distributions
  • Laboratory experiments on smaller animals (Denmark)

We then work with this data using bioinformatics, (Bayesian) generalized linear mixed models, or sometimes very simple statistics!

Most current work is done in collaboration with Oudtshoorn Research Farm (South Africa) & Lund University (Sweden).

Opportunities: I have been awarded an ERC-starting grant (2023-2028) and I am therefore hiring PhD/Postdocs in the near future. Reach out to me if any of the above sounds interesting.

For more insight into my research interests, check out my recent research output (Google Scholar profile). This includes work on evolution of trade-offs, evolution of sociality & loss of genetic diversity, all contributing to genetic constraints of adaptation.

Selected publications

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