Science Direct: Dr Dan Faith

Dr Dan Faith is a Principal Research Scientist at the Australian Museum. He is one of our featured experts on Climate Change.

Dr Dan Faith

Dr Dan Faith
Photographer: Dan Faith © Australian Museum

General/personal questions:

  1. What did you want to be when you grew up? I had no idea what I wanted to be. That continued for a long time. Then I feared I would continue forever as a student. Then I embraced that idea and became a scientist.
  2. The idea/s that changed my life was/were... pure mathematics did not have to have physics and chemistry as its sole companions - there were odd, fresh, opportunites for links to biology...
  3. I'm always being asked about... how I like my visit to Australia so far. I say that the first 30 years have been quite good.
  4. My worst job has been...perhaps cleaning up fruit fly poo...
  5. I often wonder...what is the mix of gains and losses for biodiversity as a consequence of climate change
  6. I hope that...the faster daily pace of science - more emails, more publications - actually means more answers.
  7. The best thing about my job is... ideas bouncing off each other; people bouncing off each other....
  8. The hardest thing about my job is...going global on a clock filled up locally

Climate change specific questions:

  1. Climate change affects my work by...transforming my models and making it all edgier:
    • characterising the assemblages of species in different places becomes predicting the places that will have brand new assemblages of species;
    • examing patterns of phylogenetic diversity becomes phylogenetic risk analysis building in extinction probabilities
  2. My work may affect how we respond to climate change by...making it possible to consider the possible impacts on all components of biodiversity
  3. What I would say to climate change skeptics is...this scepticism is a shades of gray thing. But my conversations will probably continue to focus on philosophy of science issues raised in these debates - the nature of evidence, corroboration, risk and uncertainty . Does "forecasting" really have to follow some idealised petri dish type science? I doubt it.
  4. What I would say to you about what you can do about climate change is...find a local/regional context where it is going to impact, and tune in; take a scientist to lunch.
  5. What I think Australia can do is...educate children so that they can better educate their children; climate change implications are going to be around for a long time...

Dr Dan Faith , Senior Principal Research Scientist email:danfaith8[at]
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