Charlie Cornwallis

Senior Lecturer

Senior lecturer


I studied Zoology at Sheffield where I continued to do a PhD on mechanisms of sexual selection, which I obtained in 2005. During this time I also ran field expeditions and worked on projects encompassing a variety of topics from sea bird ecology in Northern Canada to conservation of giant otters in Bolivia. Following my PhD I moved to Oxford University to take up a Research Fellow in Ornithology and subsequently a Browne Research Fellowship at The Queen’s College, Oxford. During this time I started working on social evolution, which is the focus of my current research. In 2011 I moved to Lund to take up an assistant professorship (VR).

Some of the topics I work on are (see project pages for more information):

  1. Promiscuity and the evolution of cooperation
  2. Sexual cooperation and harm
  3. Reproductive isolation and genetic mate compatibility


I use a combination of comparative analyses and experimental and genetic analyses on ostriches.

Ostriches provide an ideal study system for examining social evolution because they have a very flexible and complex social life that involves synchronized courtship, communal nesting, kidnapping, chick creching and group defence. There are also four subspecies of ostriches that are separated by a gradient of genetic differentiation making them an ideal system for studying reproductive isolation and mate compatibility.

Recent research outputs

Mads Schou, Maud Bonato, Anel Engelbrecht, Zanell Brand, Erik Svensson, Julian Melgar, Pfunzo T. Muvhali, Schalk WP Cloete & Charlie Cornwallis, 2021 Feb 2, In: Nature Communications. 12, 10 p., 666 (2021) .

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hanna M. Bensch, Emily A. O’connor & Charlie Kinahan Cornwallis, 2021, In: eLife. 10, e66649.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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