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Dr. Perfit is Professor of Geological Sciences at the University of Florida where he has worked since 1982. He has authored or co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed technical papers and articles in professional scientific publications and 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, and oceanic spreading centers. He has taken more than 35 dives to depths up to 12,000 feet in the deep-sea submersible ALVIN during his research. He has participated on over 20 oceanographic research cruises and served as co-chief scientist on several more.

He has been a member of the United States Science Advisory Committee (USSAC), the Lithosphere Panel of the Joint Oceanographic Institutes and a 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). More recently he served on the Executive Committee and as Chair of the Education and Outreach Committee of the RIDGE2000 program that serves to direct, organize and support mid-ocean ridge scientific exploration, research and education. While at the University of Florida he has received several awards for excellence in teaching at the University of Florida and was the Flint Term Professor in 1999-2000. He has also enjoyed adjunct academic appointments at the Australian National University, Cornell University, University of Tasmania, and the Institut du Physique du Globe, Paris.