Staff profile: Dr Dan Faith

Position title:
Principal Research Scientist
Contact Dr Dan Faith using the form below
Blogs by this author


see "Pages" at bottom for descriptions of current research themes

My research at the Australian Museum integrates biodiversity and systematics, including "biodiversity informatics". Much of my research is concerned with theory and applications of quantitative biodiversity assessment. This work extends from the scale of genes to whole countries. Special emphasis has been given to the best-possible use of Museum collections in regional biodiversity assessment, and to the links from biodiversity assessment to ecosystem services, sustainability, and economics. Applied biodiversity research also includes work on methods for detecting environmental impacts.

A phylogenetic component of my biodiversity research arises through investigations of "phylogenetic diversity" and conservation. Other work in phylogenetics involves development and application of phylogenetic methods, philosophy of science, and editorial work for Systematic Biology.

I serve on the editorial board of the journal, Methods in Ecology and Evolution. I also serve on the editorial board of Global Environmental Change: Human and Policy Dimensions, a journal covering biodiversity and other aspects of global change over multiple spatial, temporal and socio-political scales.I have served as a Coordinating Lead Author for biodiversity for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.
I co-lead the scientific committee of a core program in DIVERSITAS, an international program for biodiversity science. This program, called bioGENESIS, promotes the role of evolutionary biology in biodiversity conservation. See
I am a member of the international steering committee for GEO BON (a global biodiversity monitoring network), and co-lead a working group on genetic/phylogenetic diversity.

My external institutional positions include:

Adjunct associate professor, Sydney University
Adjunct associate professor, University of New England

Recent activities, symposia

  • "Phylogeny, extinction risks and conservation", a scientific discussion meeting organised by Dr Felix Forest, Professor Mark Chase FRS, Professor Keith Crandall and Dr Daniel P Faith at The Royal Society, London.
  • Meeting of the Scientific Committee of bioGENESIS, London, Kew Gardens 
  • Workshop on the Genetic Diversity Report, Fukuoka Japan
  • Symposium and workshop for the Dimensions of Biodiversity, Atlantic Forest Project, Sao Paolo, Brazil.
  • Meeting of the Future Earth global environmental change projects, Washington (representing bioGENESIS)
  • The Second Plenary Meeting of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES-2), Antalya, Turkey, December 2013. I represented bioGENESIS, which had “Observer” status, and I also was part of the The International Biogeography Society special committee on IPBES.
  • Key Biodiversity Areas Thresholds Workshop, Sapienza University of Rome & Fondazione Bioparco di Roma, December 2013, Rome. my talk: "Key Biodiversity Areas: some considerations in developing thresholds of applicability and thresholds of significance".
  • Commemorative symposium for the 29th International Prize for Biology: “Influences and impacts of evolutionary biology” November, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan. my talk: "Monitoring within-species genetic diversity within the GEO BON Biodiversity Observation Network: can we make inferences about the loss of genetic diversity from observations on the loss of species range extent?"
  • Scientific Committee meeting of DIVERSITAS, Paris. my talk: "bioGENESIS presentation for SC DIVERSITAS meeting" 
  • Presentation at "Dangerous Ideas in Zoology" Forum, Australian Museum,  November,
  • Talk: "Using databases of observed traits to infer more general trait patterns and produce useful indices based on functional trait diversity" The 11th INTECOL Congress. Ecology: Into the next 100 years. London, August 2013. pdf of talk
  • Workshop: "Conserving the stage..conservation planning for a changing climate" July 2013. Baltimore. my talk: "Problems & prospects for the environmental diversity (ED) framework"
  • The National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), Climate Adaptation Conference,
    June 2013, Sydney
  • Panel member for South Africa's National Research Foundation (NRF), Foundational Biodiversity Knowledge and Information funding programme.
  • The annual Scientific Committee meeting of DIVERSITAS,  March 2013, Paris
  • Meeting of the Scientific Committee of bioGENESIS, a core project of DIVERSITAS, Banda Aceh, Sumatra, March 2013; also our workshop, "Evolutionary approaches to biodiversity science", organised by Susanna Magallón (UNAM, México) & Lúcia Lohmann (USP, Brazil), for 25 graduate students, post-docs 
  • Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) 2013 Symposium, Canberra, February, 2013 
  • Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON) All-Hands Meeting, December 2012, Asilomar, California. My day1 talk and my final-day talk. see also Statement to GEO BON by the executive secreatrary of the CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY (CBD)
  • Future Earth consultations - Workshop of GEC programmes and their core projects.  Paris (UNESCO) (representing the bioGENESIS core project ). Future Earth is a new 10-year interdisciplinary initiative on research for global sustainability.
  • The 14th Workshop of the Genomic Standards Consortium (GSC), Theme: Genomics Enabled Place Based Research. Oxford University UK.
  • The Global Biodiversity Informatics Conference (GBIC) July, 2012, Copenhagen, Denmark, plus meeting of GEO BON Scientific Committee.
  • Keynote speaker at the 49th Annual Meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC), Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, 18-22 June, 2012. The ATBC2012 meeting's theme is "Ecology, Evolution and Sustainable use of Tropical Biodiversity". My talk, "Phylogeny and the sustainable use of biodiversity" (view slides). We also had an ATBC workshop, "Evolutionary approaches to biodiversity science", organised by Susanna Magallón (UNAM, México) & Lúcia Lohmann (USP, Brazil), for 50 graduate students, post-docs and early career professors, 16-18th June at UFMS (view my lecture slides on phylogenetic diversity and conservation). Also, we held a meeting of the Scientific Committee of bioGENESIS, a core project of DIVERSITAS, prior to the conference.
  • Meeting of the working group "Integrating measures of phylogenetic and taxonomic diversity and endemism into national conservation assessment", The Australian Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (ACEAS), May 2012.
  • Talk at Melbourne University, "Tipping points, risk analyses, evosystem (not ecosystem) services...", April 2012
  • The annual Scientific Committee meeting of DIVERSITAS, 22-25 March 2012, and  the "Planet Under Pressure" Conference, 26-29 March, London. My talk. See also Science centres and museums call for UN partnership to bolster public engagement for sustainability
  • The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) Conference 2012 "Mainstreaming the Economics of Nature:Challenges for Science and Implementaion" March 19-­-22, 2012, Leipzig, Germany. My talk: "Systematic conservation planning and CBD targets: conservation of ecosystem services may be accompanied by collapse in capacity for biodiversity conservation"
  • Workshop for initiating a global genetic diversity assessment, Fukuoka, Japan, 2012.
  • The Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON) Workshop on Essential Biodiversity Variables, February 2012, European Space Agency, Frascati, Italy.
  • International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB), Aukland, New Zealand, Dec 2011. "Estimating the turnover of Hemipteran assemblages from the phylogeny of their host plants: a tool for conservation planning?" Nipperess, DA; Beattie, AJ; Faith, DP; Kitching, RL; Hughes, L
  • International workshop on global diversity assessment. Kyushu University, Japan Aug 2011.
  • Invited talk "A range of phylogenetic tools and methods based on the PD measure" at Hennig XXX - the 2011 Meeting of the Willi Hennig Society, São José do Rio Preto, Brazil, August 2011. Symposium "Phylogenetics as a tool for Conservation"  view talk
  • Evaluation of the BIOTA-FAPESP program by the Scientific Advisory Board,
    University of São Paulo, São Carlos, SP. Brazil, July 2011
  • Meeting of the Scientific Committee of bioGENESIS, a core project of DIVERSITAS, New York, June, 2011. blog commentary here 
  • Meeting of the Scientific Committee of DIVERSITAS, Paris, March 2011.
  • International Expert Meeting: Assessment of the Adequacy of Existing Observation Capabilities for the CBD 2020 Targets. Convened by the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON), In cooperation with the European Biodiversity Observation Network (EBONE), the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the United Nations Environment Program’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). March 2011. report pdf
  • INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON BIODIVERSITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE, "Conserving biodiversity amidst climate change" February 1-3, 2011,Philippine International Convention Center. invited talk: "Global perspectives on climate change land/water use, and biodiversity: Strategies to better address overall biodiversity, including evolutionary history" DANIEL P. FAITH & ANNE-HELEN PRIUR-RICHARD (presented by Priur-Richard) Abstract .  Program
  • 2010 Annual Conference of the Ecological Society of Australia" Poster: "Key Biodiversity Area Prioritisation in the New Guinea Wilderness" Kristen J Williams, CSIRO, Randal JL Storey, David K Mitchell, Conservation International, Naamal De Silva, Conservation International, Daniel P Faith, Australian Museum
  • International Conference: Getting Post 2010 Biodiversity Targets Right
    December, 2010, Brazil. Poster: "Steep reductions in biodiversity conservation accompany conservation of ecosystem services"
  • 3rd Symposium on Long-Term Ecological and Biodiversity Research, Institute of Biology, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, November 2010, Philippines.
  • Biodiversity Indicators for Global Biodiversity Models workshop, October 2010, Cambridge, UK. My presentations
  • ANTARCTIC SCIENCE PLANNING WORKSHOPS, at the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), Hobart, Tasmania
  • Annual Meeting of the British Ecological Society, Leeds, U.K., September. Talk: "Indices for phylogenetic ecology based on the PD (phylogenetic diversity) measure". Also, Associate Editor Meeting for Methods in Ecology and Evolution
  • Eco-Evolutionary Approaches to Understanding and Predicting the Response of Species Range to Climate Change, Kyushu University, Japan, August, 2010, talk: "Overview of GEO-BON and AP-BON"
  • 95th Ecological Society of America meeting, Pittsburgh. Aug 2010. Co-organised symposium: "From Microbial to Conservation Biology: Exploring Phylogenetic Beta Diversity as a Theoretical Tool Uniting Disciplines" My talk: "Phylogenetic beta diversity as a tool in biodiversity conservation and monitoring (Daniel Faith, Simon Ferrier, Dan Rosauer)  view ppt view abstract
  • The 2010 International meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation: “Tropical biodiversity: surviving the food, energy and climate crisis”. July 2010; Bali, Indonesia. Our symposium:  “Integrating evolution, ecology and biodiversity science”  My talk: "Phylogenetic diversity and a global scale biodiversity observation network, GEO BON"
  • Invited speaker at the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution Launch Symposium, Charles Darwin House, London, April 2010. Talk cancelled - nice photo of volcano instead 
  • Invited speaker and Panel member at the Convention on Biological Diversity COP10 Pre-conference, Nagoya , Japan, 2010. my talk on Systematic Conservation Planning also slides from Panel discussion on targets. Complete program and talks.                                                                                                                                               Also see the  Recommendations from CBD-COP10 PreConference  which includes my suggested recommendations regarding %targets, take-up of systematic conservation planning, and the need to address still-unknown biodiversity. 
  • Meeting of the Scientific Committee of DIVERSITAS, Nagoya , Japan, 2010
  • Meeting of the GEO BON working group on global monitoring of genetic and phylogenetic diversity, in Asilomar, Monteray, California, USA, 2010. slides for introduction to our genetics working group
  • Advisory and collaborative roles for the Caring for Country project:“Harnessing continent wide biodiversity data sets for prioritising conservation investment” Canberra, during 2009, 2010.
  • Invited speaker at the meeting of the Global Center of Excellence program of Asian Conservation Ecology in Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan in February 2010
  • Invited participant at the International Meeting for Promoting Asia-Pacific Biodiversity Observation Network (AP-BON), held in Tokyo, Japan, in December 2009.
  • Invited speaker at the International Workshop, in São Paulo, Brazil, on Applied Ecology and Human Dimensions in Conservation Biology, organised by the Biota Program of São Paulo Science Foundation (FAPESP). My talk was on Phylogenetic Diversity and Conservation
  • The Australia-Japan Biodiversity Workshop, October 2009, Australian Academy of Science, Canberra.        D P. Faith invited talk on "International collaborations to support a global Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON): research challenges ranging from microbes to a global 2010 biodiversity target"
  • DIVERSITAS Open Science Conference 2, 13 – 16 October 2009, CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA   DIVERSITAS is an international, non-governmental programme, under the auspices of ICSU (International Council for Science), IUBS (International Union of Biological Sciences), SCOPE (Scientific Committee on
    Problems of the Environment), and UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
  • Darwin200: Evolution and Biodiversity. Sept. 2009. Darwin, N.T. Plenary Keynote: New applications of the PD (phylogenetic diversity) measure, inspired by microbial ecology and DNA barcoding 

Selected recent research reports highlight the core research theme of biodiversity informatics:

Neil Davies et al. (2014) The founding charter of the Genomic Observatories Network. GigaScience, 3:2 doi:10.1186/2047-217X-3-2.

Opgenoorth, L and DP Faith (2013) The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), up and walking". Frontiers of Biogeography

R Geeta et al. (in review) Biodiversity only makes sense in the light of evolution. J Biosciences.

Faith, D.P. (in review) "Biodiversity", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Edward N. Zalta (ed.)

Bourlat, SJ et al (2013) Genomics in marine monitoring: new opportunities for assessing marine health status. Marine Pollution Bulletin

Faith, Daniel P, Ben Collen, Arturo H. Ariñno, Patricia Koleff, John Guinotte, Jeremy Kerr and Vishwas Chavan (2013) Bridging the biodiversity data gaps: Recommendations to meet the users’ data needs. Biodiversity Informatics

Ariño, Arturo H., Vishwas Chavan, Daniel P. Faith (2013) Assessment of user needs of primary biodiversity data: Analysis, Concerns, and Challenges. Biodiversity Informatics

Yahara, Tetsukazu, Firouzeh Javadi, Yusuke Onoda, Luciano Paganucci de Queiroz, Daniel P. Faith, et al.(2013) Global legume diversity assessment: concepts, key indicators, and strategies. Taxon 62 (2): 249–266. 

Laity T. and DP Faith (2013) "Phylogenetic Analyses + Conservation Assessment and Planning In Australia – an ACEAS project". 2013 TERN Symposium, Canberra.Abstracts p. 43.

Pereira, H.M., S. Ferrier, M. Walters, G. Geller, R.H.G. Jongman, R.J. Scholes, M. Bruford, N. Brummitt, S.H.M. Butchart, A.C. Cardoso, N.C. Coops, E. Dulloo, D.P. Faith, J. Freyhof, R.D. Gregory, C. Heip, R. Höft, G. Hurtt, W. Jetz, D. Karp, M.A. McGeoch, D. Obura, Y. Onoda, N. Pettorelli, B. Reyers, R. Sayre, J.P.W. Scharlemann, S.N. Stuart, E. Turak, M. Walpole, M. Wegmann (2013) Essential Biodiversity Variables. Science. 339:277-278. authors pdf.   Supplementary Materials:       Images from Science Press Package:

Faith D P  (2013) Biodiversity and evolutionary history: expanding the PD phylogenetic diversity assessment framework. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, "The Year in Evolutionary Biology". in press.

Faith D. P. and Pollack LJ (2013) Phylogenetic diversity and the sustainable use of biodiversity. In: Applied ecology and human dimensions in biological conservation (ed. MC Lyra-Jorge and LM Verdade) Springer. in press.

Faith D P  (2012) Common ground for biodiversity and ecosystem services: the "partial protection" challenge. F1000 Research 2012, 1:30 (doi: 10.12688/f1000research.1-30.v1)

Faith D P and Richards Z T (2012) Climate change impacts on the tree of life: changes in phylogenetic diversity illustrated for Acropora corals. Biology 1(3), 906-932.

Faith D. P. (2012) Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Similar but Different. Bioscience.Vol. 62, No. 9 (September 2012), p. 785

Faith D. P. (2012) Tipping points in systematic conservation planning: conservation of ecosystem services may be accompanied by a collapse in regional capacity for biodiversity conservation Abstract P2.47 in: Planet Under Pressure 2012 Conference information 

Faith, D.P., KÖhler, F., Puslednik, L., & Ballard, J.W.O. (2012) Corroboration assessments and recent progress towards integrative systematics: a reply to Farris and Carpenter. Zootaxa.  3235: 65–68  

S. Díaz et al (2012) Biodiversity and ecosystems for a planet under pressure. Rio+20 Policy Brief #4 see also Planet Under Pressure Policy Brief Addresses Challenges to Biodiversity Protection

Larigauderie A. et al (2012) Biodiversity and ecosystem services science for a sustainable planet: the DIVERSITAS vision for 2012-20. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 2012, 4:101–105.

Scholes. Robert J,  Michele Walters, Eren Turak, Hannu Saarenmaa,Carlo HR Heip, E´amonn O´ Tuama, Daniel P Faith, Harold A Mooney,Simon Ferrier, Rob HG Jongman, Ian J Harrison, Tetsukazu Yahara and Henrique M Pereira (2012) Building a global observing system for biodiversity. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability

Nipperess DA, AJ Beattie, DP Faith, Sg Ginn, RL Kitching, CAM Reid, T Russell, L Hughes (2011) Plant phylogeny as a surrogate for turnover in beetle assemblages Biodiversity and Conservation


PUSLEDNIK, LOUISE, DAVID K YEATES, DANIEL P FAITH and J.W.O. BALLARD (2012) Protein- Protein interactions of the cytochrome c oxidase DNA barcoding region. Systematic Entomology 37:229–236.

GEO BON (2011) Adequacy of Biodiversity Observation Systems to support the CBD 2020 Targets. GEO BON Project Office.

Faith, D.P.(2011) Ecosystem services and biodiversity option values. Science published online, 10 Feb 2011.

Faith, D.P.(2011) Higher-level targets for ecosystem services and biodiversity should focus on regional capacity for effective trade-offs. Diversity 3,1-7; doi:10.3390/d3010001

Faith, D.P., KÖhler, F., Puslednik, L., & Ballard, J.W.O. (2011) Phylogenies with Corroboration Assessment. Zootaxa 2946: 52-56. preview pdf (first page)

Williams, K.J., Ferrier, S., Rosauer, D., Yeates, D., Manion, G., Harwood, T., Stein, J., Faith, D.P., Laity, T. & Whalen, A. (2011) Harnessing Continent-Wide Biodiversity Datasets for Prioritising National Conservation Investment. A report prepared for the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Canberra . ISBN 978 0 643 10342 9. Available at: 

see also

Williams, K.J., Ferrier, S., Rosauer, D., Yeates, D., Manion, G., Harwood, T., Stein, J., Faith, D.P., Laity, T. & Whalen, A. (2011) Harnessing Continent-Wide Biodiversity Datasets for Prioritising National Conservation Investment: Appendices. A report prepared for the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Canberra . ISBN 978 0 643 10343 6. Available at: 

Faith, D.P. (2011) Attempted tests of the surrogacy value of the ED environmental diversity measures highlight the need for corroboration assessment of surrogacy hypotheses Ecological Indicators 11, 745-748.

Faith, D.P.(2010) Biodiversity Transcends Services. Science 330 (6012), 1744-1745.

Faith, DP (2010) More Benefits from a Barometer of Life. Science Online, 24 Jun 2010

Hendry, A., Lohmann, L., Conti, E., Cracraft, J., Crandall, K., Faith, D.P, Häuser, C., Joly, C., Kogure, K., Larigauderie, A., Magallón, S., Moritz, C., Tillier, S., Zardoya, R., Prieur-Richard, A., Walther, B., Yahara, T., & Donoghue, M. (2010). Evolutionary biology in biodiversity science, conservation, and policy: a call to action Evolution  Volume: 64 Issue: 5 Pages: 1517-1528 DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2010.00947.x abstract

Faith, D.P., S. Magallón, A.P. Hendry, E. Conti, T. Yahara, and M.J. Donoghue. (2010). Evosystem Services: an evolutionary perspective on the links between biodiversity and human-well-being. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability.

Mace, GM, W Cramer, S Diaz, DP Faith, A Larigauderie, P Le Prestre, M Palmer, C Perrings, RJ Scholes, M Walpole, BA Walther, JEM Watson and HA Mooney (2010) Biodiversity targets after 2010 Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 

Yahara T, M Donoghue, R. Zardoya, DP Faith and J. Cracraft (2010) Genetic diversity assessments in the century of genome science, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability.

Ashcroft, M.B., Gollan, J.R., Faith, D.P., Carter, G.A., Lassau, S.A., Ginn, S.G., Bulbert, M.W. & Cassis, G. (2010) Using Generalised Dissimilarity Models and many small samples to improve the efficiency of regional and landscape scale invertebrate sampling. Ecological Informatics, 5: 124-132. ScienceDirect Top 25 in area of Ecological Informatics, during early 2010.

Nipperess, DA., Faith, DP. & Barton, K. (2010) Resemblance in phylogenetic diversity among ecological assemblages. Journal of Vegetation Science 21: 809–820.

Faith D.P., Lozupone C.A., Nipperess D., Knight R. The Cladistic Basis for the Phylogenetic Diversity (PD) Measure Links Evolutionary Features to Environmental Gradients and Supports Broad Applications of Microbial Ecology’s “Phylogenetic Beta Diversity” Framework. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2009; 10(11):4723-4741.

Faith DP (2009) Phylogenetic triage, efficiency, and risk aversion. Trends in Ecology and Evolution

Barton, D.N., Faith, D.P. Rusch, G., Acevedo, H., Paniagua, L., Castro M. (2009) Environmental service payments: Evaluating biodiversity conservation trade-offs and cost efficiency in the Osa Conservation Area, Costa Rica, Journal of Environmental Management, 90: 901-911.

Donoghue, MJ, T Yahara, E Conti, J Cracraft, KA. Crandall, DP. Faith, C Häuser, AP. Hendry, C Joly, K Kogure, LG. Lohmann, SA. Magallón, C Moritz, S Tillier, R Zardoya, A Prieur-Richard, A Larigauderie, and BA. Walther. (2009) bioGENESIS: Providing an Evolutionary Framework for Biodiversity Science. DIVERSITAS Report N°6. 52 pp.

Ferrier S, Faith DP, Arponen, A., Drielsma M. (2009) Chapter 7 - Community-level approaches to spatial conservation prioritisation. Spatial Conservation Prioritisation Oxford University Press.



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