David J. Patterson

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David Joseph Patterson is a Northern Irish taxonomist specializing in protozoa and the use of taxonomy in biodiversity informatics.

Early life and education[edit]

He was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland on 19 April 1950 to Doris Mary (née Bell) and Samuel Patterson, with one elder brother (Samuel James, a mathematician) and a sister (Frances Mary). He was educated at Belmont Primary, Strandtown and Grosvenor High schools. He obtained his Bachelor of Science with first-class honours at Queen's University Belfast in 1971.


He obtained a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Bristol in 1976, where he was later employed (1977–1993). He obtained his Doctor of Science in 1990 from Queen's University. In 1993 he moved to the University of Sydney in Australia where he became Head of the School of Biological Sciences. In 2004, he moved to the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole (Mass., USA) where he helped to establish the Encyclopedia of Life project with responsibility for the informatics component,[1] basing EOL on the model developed with the micro*scope project. From 2012-2014 he was a Research Professor at Arizona State University; and also was Professor (MBL) at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and Emeritus Professor, School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia. As a taxonomist, his primary interests are in the diversity of protozoa and the evolution of protists. He and his co-workers have described over 250 new taxa. David Patterson has been awarded the Thomas Henry Huxley prize and the Scientific Medal of the Zoological Society of London; has been Secretary of the British Section of the Society of Protozoologists; President of the International Society for Evolutionary Protistology; and Vice-President of the (International) Society of Protozoology. He is a member of the International Commission for Zoological Nomenclature. He has published approximately 170 peer-reviewed papers and several books throughout his career. He was Senior Taxonomist on the Encyclopedia of Life project, adviser to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation,[2] a coPI of the Data Conservancy and of the NSF-funded Global Names project, and member of the Plazi team.[3] Father of Alice Mia Patterson, Daniel Kieran Patterson, and William Zhao Patterson. Currently resident in New South Wales, Australia.