Congratulations are due to astrobiologists Donald E. Canfield and Paul G. Falkowski for their election to the distinguished ranks of membership in the National Academy of Sciences.
Canfield, a professor of ecology with the Institute of Biology and director of the Nordic Center for Earth Evolution at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, is a member of the NASA Astrobiology Institute’s NASA Ames Research Center team and a past postdoctoral fellow in exobiology research at Ames.
Falkowski, a professor with the Department of Geological Sciences and the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey in New Brunswick, is a Principal Investigator in NASA’s Astrobiology: Exobiology and Evolutionary Biology Program.
Canfield and Falkowski are among 72 new members elected to the National Academy of Sciences this year, the Academy announced May 1. http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=05012007
As a member of the NAI’s Ames team, which is dedicated to the study of the context for life, the origin and early evolution of life, and the future of life both on Earth and in the environment of space, Canfield is contributing to team research on biosignatures in chemosynthetic and photosynthetic systems.
Falkowski’s Exobiology and Evolutionary Biology research project focuses on biosignatures in evolving planetary atmospheres. Falkowski is investigating how the atmospheric composition of a planet – in particular, concentrations of potential biosignature gases such as oxygen – evolve during the transition from anaerobic to aerobic conditions.
Other members of the NASA astrobiology community who previously have been elected to membership in the Academy include Nobel Prize winner Baruch (Barry) Blumberg (elected 1975) of the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, served as the first director of the NAI; evolutionary biologist Lynn Margulis (1983) of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, a Principal Investigator in the Astrobiology: Exobiology and Evolutionary Biology Program; and microbiologist Norman Pace (1991) of the University of Colorado-Boulder, a member of the NAI’s University of Colorado research team.