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.
- 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.
- 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...
- 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.
- My worst job has been...perhaps cleaning up fruit fly poo...
- I often wonder...what is the mix of gains and losses for biodiversity as a consequence of climate change
- I hope that...the faster daily pace of science - more emails, more publications - actually means more answers.
- The best thing about my job is... ideas bouncing off each other; people bouncing off each other....
- The hardest thing about my job is...going global on a clock filled up locally
Climate change specific questions:
- 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
- My work may affect how we respond to climate change by...making it possible to consider the possible impacts on all components of biodiversity
- 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.
- 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.
- 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]yahoo.com.au