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5 Things About Me: Conservation Ecologist Bradley Cardinale

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AAAS Fellow Bradley Cardinale in his experimental facility at the University of Michigan. (Photo: Bradley Cardinale)

Bradley J. Cardinale, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Conservation Ecology
School of Natural Resources and Environment
University of Michigan
Twitter: CardinaleLab
 
Question 1: Tell us why you chose your particular field of study. Why did it grab your interest and fuel your curiosity?  
Answer: My grandfather was a very poor boy and had to help feed his family by hunting and fishing. When I was young, he would take me to do the things he did growing up, and we spent a lot of time outdoors. His understanding of nature, and being reliant on it for his family's survival, laid the foundation for my interest in conservation and ecology.
 
Question 2: Share a lighthearted story about yourself. 
Answer: When I was an undergrad, I got my first opportunity to do ecological research, traveling around the U.S. to study lakes. During my first outing I nearly sunk a boat. As I swam to shore, I thought, \"This is so cool... I can't believe people get paid to do this."  That was day one of my career.
 
Question 3: What are you most proud of in your work?
Answer: I am most proud of my data syntheses, which summarized results from thousands of studies to help build a consensus about how species diversity impacts the goods and services nature provides humanity. 
 
Question 4: What fuels your passion for your work?
Answer: Urgency. I'm going to live another 30-40 years if I'm lucky. During that time, my 5-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son may well lose all opportunity to see lions and cheetahs in the wild, to scuba in coral reefs, to walk along a free-flowing river, or hike in old growth forest. I want them to be able to see nature and enjoy it as I have.
 
Question 5: If you could have one day in another profession, what would you want to do?
Answer: I like to sing. Once upon a time, I imagined myself as the frontman for a rock band. But a short balding guy doesn't make for a good rock image. Maybe in another life.
 
 
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AAAS Fellow Bradley Cardinale in his experimental facility at the University of Michigan. (Photo: Bradley Cardinale)
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