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Fellows Directory

Donald Canfield

Donald Canfield

Professor Donald Canfield ForMemRS

Foreign Member

Elected: 2022


Don Canfield received his Bachelor's degree in chemistry (1979) from Miami University, Ohio, and a PhD in Geology from Yale (1988). For his PhD, Canfield unraveled the coupling between the iron, sulfur and carbon cycles in modern marine sediments, while developing an interest in the evolution of atmospheric and ocean chemistry. Thus, Canfield developed his basic approach of exploring modern ecosystems and organisms to interpret geochemical signals from the geologic record.

With 3-years at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Canfield further developed his microbiological interests. From Bremen, Canfield moved to the University of Southern Denmark (1996), where he continues to explore the physiology of modern organisms to reveal the interplay between life’s evolution and the evolution of Earth’s surface environments through time.

Canfield is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Societies of Denmark and Sweden. He has received the Vladimir Vernadsky Award, the Urey Prize, has an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Poitiér and is Knight of the Order of the Dannebrog.

Professional positions

Professor, Department of Biology, University of Southern Denmark

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Earth and environmental sciences
    • Chemical oceanography, Geochemistry
  • Anatomy, physiology and neurosciences
    • Experimental psychology
  • Organismal biology, evolution and ecology
    • Ecology (incl behavioural ecology), Evolution


Geobiology, evolution, oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, microbial ecology, oxygen minimum zones, atmospheric oxygen, biogeochemistry, elemental cycling, oceanography, Earth history

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