Brian Griffiths


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    George Mason University

  • Role
    Scientist Mentor: I will mentor teams of students online

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    My research interests (broadly) are based on conservation biology. My dissertation research will focus on the impacts of climate change or conservation practices on local communities in tropical rainforest ecosystems. I'm interested in a huge range of topics though, and have studied everything from ethnobotany and anthropology (how indigenous communities use plants and animals as medicine and materials), wildlife and tourism (specifically with leopards), hydroponics and sustainable agriculture, and marine science (especially invasive species, seagrass, and mangrove ecosystems).

  • Profile Question 1
    What is your favorite plant? Why?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    This is my favorite question. My favorite plant is the Ginkgo biloba tree. This tree is unique in its genus and is thought to be extinct in the wild, while it is frequently cultivated in gardens. It is a beautiful tree with unique, fan shaped leaves that turn a brilliant yellow in the fall. The leaves also have medicinal properties, their extract being shown to reduce mental illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer's. The tree is also a living fossil, having survived for millions of years. The female trees have a distinct foul odor, which is thought to arise from prehistoric times where seeds that smelled of rotting meat may have attracted scavengers that then spread the seeds after eating them. All in all, it's a fantastic and beautiful tree!

  • Profile Question 2
    What lessons have you learned in your career about how science works?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    The best lesson to learn about science is that there will always be another question, and that no answer is actually an answer. No matter how many questions you solve, your solutions will always raise more questions. Sometimes, you will do an entire experiment and do everything right and the data will show no result and your predictions will be completely wrong. You've still answered the question you asked, and shown that the answer is definitely not what you have predicted. Time to move on and answer another!

  • Profile Question 3
    When and why did you decide to go into a science career?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    I decided early, probably in middle school, that I wanted to go into science. I was always fascinated by the natural environment and everything in it - the plants, the animals, the microbes, everything. It was something that I always thought of as an unrealistic goal actually, and I would have dreams of traveling through and studying the rainforests and the oceans of the world, solving the mysteries surrounding nature. It wasn't until my last year of high school that I realized that those dreams were attainable and I began to gather my experiences and learn to apply them to my goals.

  • Help represent the outreach efforts of your societies. Please click all those organizations you are a member of:
    (not set)

  • Availability
    I am NOT available, please temporarily remove me from the available mentor list

  • In addition to English, I am comfortable communicating with students in the following languages:
    (not set)

  • Capacity: How many teams at a time are you comfortable working with?

Recent Posts

IDEAL Team C Brian Griffiths

Hi team,

Are we able to do a Google Hangout session at 2:15pm today? I have a prior engagement I need to leave for around 2:30pm, but 2:15pm works!


IDEAL Team C Brian Griffiths
commented on a blog post

Hi Rachel,

Sorry for the delay, I had class until 10pm Friday and I am traveling this weekend. Typically Wednesdays and Thursdays work for me, I apologize for missing this week! 

Please let me know when next I can call in or answer…

IDEAL Team C Brian Griffiths
commented on a blog post

Hi Rebecca!

Sorry for the late notice, I am just getting around to catching up on emails. I have been quite sick and I don't think I'm in shape to even get out of bed. I had to cancel a talk today as well - I think the weather change up…


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