Dr. Perfit is Distinguished Professor of Geological Sciences at the University of Florida where he has worked since 1982. He has been a principal investigator on numerous research grants from the National Science Foundation and NOAA. His research has focused on the petrogenesis of mid-ocean ridge basalts, island arc lavas, magma genesis of seamounts, and the tectonics of oceanic spreading centers. He has taken more than 40 dives to depths up to 12,000 feet in the deep-sea submersible ALVIN during his research. He has participated on over 25 oceanographic research cruises and served as co-chief scientist on several of these.
Dr. Perfit has published over 130 peer-reviewed articles in highly cited journals -. Google Scholar shows that his publications have been cited over 10,000 times. His most recent publications on the geochemistry, and volcanology of mid-ocean ridges have ushered in a new era of mapping and analyzing the sea floor, the results of which will allow for the development of much more accurate models of how the oceanic crust is formed and on what time scales. He is also a co-author of a book on mid-ocean ridges and oceanic tectonics published in 2015 entitled “Discovering the Deep” that was award the 2016 PROSE Award for Earth Science from the Association of American Publishers, Inc. More recently he co-wrote “Older than Dirt: a wild but true history of Earth” – a children’s book that introduces young readers to Earth history and geologic processes. His first person article about his experienced diving in the submersible Alvin written for The Conversation is available on line at https://theconversation.com/scientist-at-work-im-a-geologist-whos-dived-dozens-of-times-to-explore-submarine-volcanoes-110472
Dr. Perfit has been a very active member of the Department and UF serving on many committees. Over past 6 years he has been a member of the Curriculum Committee, Merit Pay Committee, Marine Sciences Advisory Committee, search and screen committees for the Chair of Physics and CLAS Associate Dean, as well as the Chair of the Visibility Committee and a faculty search committee. He has served the geoscience profession through participation at meetings and conferences, serving on national and international committees (e.g. DeSSC, Ocean Leadership, RIDGE), working groups and panels, and acting as a reviewer for proposals, journal articles and books.
Dr. Perfit is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union. He has been a member of the United States Science Advisory Committee (USSAC), the Lithosphere Panel of the Joint Oceanographic Institutes and a frequent panel member on the Ocean Science Division of the National Science Foundation. He also served as the Chair of the Review Panel of the U.S. Science Support Program for NSF and the Chair of the Deep Submergence Science Committee (DESSC). He has served on the Executive Committee and as Chair of the Education and Outreach Committee of the RIDGE2000 program that directed, organized and supported mid-ocean ridge scientific exploration, research and education. He has also served as the University’s representative to the Consortium for Ocean Leadership in Washington D.C. and as one of the Board of Trustees from 2009 to 2017.
While at the University of Florida he has received several awards for excellence in teaching, was a Flint Term Professor in 1999-2000 and is currently a UF Term Professor (2019-2022). In 2011 he was honored with a University of Florida Research Foundation Professorship. He has also enjoyed adjunct academic appointments at the Australian National University, Cornell University, University of Tasmania, the Institut du Physique du Globe, Paris and was a Tuve Fellow at the Carnegie Institution for Science.