C-DEBI Newsletter – December 15, 2014
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Hot Off the Press: Activity and phylogenetic diversity of sulfate-reducing microorganisms in low-temperature subsurface fluids within the upper oceanic crust (C-DEBI Contribution 249) in Frontiers in Microbiology
The basaltic ocean crust is the largest aquifer system on Earth, yet the rates of biological activity in this environment are unknown. Low-temperature (<100 °C) fluid samples were investigated from two borehole observatories in the Juan de Fuca Ridge flank, representing a range of upper oceanic basement thermal and geochemical properties. Microbial sulfate reduction rates were measured in laboratory incubations with 35S-sulfate over a range of temperatures, with microbial activity limited by the availability of organic electron donors. Thermodynamic calculations indicate energetic constraints for metabolism in the higher temperature, more altered and isolated fluids, which together with relatively higher cell-specific sulfate reduction rates reveal increased maintenance requirements, consistent with novel species-level dsrAB phylotypes of thermophilic sulfate-reducing microorganisms. Our estimates suggest that microbially-mediated sulfate reduction may account for the removal of organic matter in fluids within the upper oceanic crust and underscore the potential quantitative impact of microbial processes in deep subsurface marine crustal fluids on marine and global biogeochemical carbon cycling. Authored by C-DEBI researchers Robador, Jungbluth, LaRowe, Bowers, Rappe, Amend and Cowen.

Education & Outreach

C-DEBI: Application for Teacher Small Grants to open January 5, 2014!
The K-12 Teacher Small Grants program supports K-12 teachers who have attended a C-DEBI teacher-training program and have incorporated C-DEBI content into their classrooms.  These awards up to $2500 support items including but not limited to the following: funds for student field trips, classroom supplies, travel for presenting C-DEBI curriculum at educator meetings, or additional professional development directly related to C-DEBI research. Proposals for funding should indicate how C-DEBI research content is being translated into the classroom and how the proposed activities connect to that content.See the website for a template for the proposal and more detailed information. Deadline for proposals: February 16, 2015. Questions: Cynthia Joseph,

Wrigley Institute: Geobiology 2015: An International Training Course in a Rapidly Evolving Field, June 19-July 21, 2015
Now entering it’s 12th year, the International GeoBiology Course (co-sponsored by C-DEBI)  is an intense, multidisciplinary summer course exploring the coevolution of the Earth and it's biosphere, with an emphasis on how microbial processes affect the environment and leave imprints on the rock record. Participants get hands-on experience in cutting-edge geobiological techniques including molecular biology, bioinformatics, geochemistry, petrology and sedimentology, and work in research groups to solve real research questions. GeoBiology 2015 is open to students and researchers at any level, although we give preference to graduate students in their early to mid years of study. Applications are due February 13, 2015.

Wrigley Institute: 2015 Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU): Coastal Ocean Processes, Jun 15 – Aug 7, 2015
This NSF-funded program will support ten highly motivated and talented undergraduate students to conduct independent but guided research that focuses on Coastal Ocean Processes at the Wrigley Marine Science Center (WMSC) on Catalina Island, CA. What you'll gainstudents will gain hands-on research experience, training in laboratory and field methodologies, introductory lectures and seminars in oceanography and marine science, academic and career advisement, as well as opportunities to explore different parts of Catalina Island. Other benefits include: $500/week stipend, housing at the WMSC, reimbursement for travel from host institution (up to $500), and transportation between the WMSC and the mainland.Eligibility: we welcome applications from students who will have completed at least one year of undergraduate study by the summer of 2015 and plan to be enrolled as an undergraduate during fall of 2015. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals or permanent residents of the U.S. to be eligible for this program. For the 2015 WIES REU program, special consideration will be given to students who attend a university or college in Southern California and/or institutions with limited research training opportunities, but we encourage applications from all students nationwide who meet the NSF REU program's requirements for eligibility (if you do not meet the NSF REU program's requirements for eligibility and are currently an undergraduate student interested in gaining research experience, or engaging with researchers through media, communication, art or other medium as part of this REU program, please contact We especially encourage students from underrepresented groups in STEM fields to apply. This program will be especially beneficial for undergraduate students with a strong interest in pursuing graduate school or a career in marine science and research. Competitive applicants will have at least a 3.25 GPA, one semester of chemistry, one semester of biology, and one semester of calculus or statistics. Contact: Applications due February 16, 2015.

C-DEBI: Now receiving applications for C-DEBI Global Environmental Microbiology (GEM) Summer Course!  
The GEM Course is an all-expenses paid, four-week intensive introductory course in Global Environmental Microbiology (GEM) geared for early career undergraduates from 2 and 4 year colleges/universities that focuses on microbes found in aquatic environments investigated through authentic research experiences (students collect, process & interpret data). This residential course includes lectures, labs and fieldwork at USC, the Eastern Sierra Mountains, and on Santa Catalina Island.

Where:  University of Southern California
When:  June 7 – July 2, 2015
Who:  Undergraduates from 2 or 4-year colleges
Cost:  FREE, including travel, room and board plus modest stipend
Application Deadline: February 03, 2015

First generation college, women, and under-represented students are encouraged to apply. For further information, please email Cynthia Joseph, C-DEBI Diversity Director, at

IBP: Are you looking for graduate students or seeking to fill a post-doc position? 
The NSF funded Institute for Broadening Participation (IBP) can help you find a diverse pool of candidates in two ways:
  • Announcement of your postdoc openings on the IBP Pathways to Science website.  Here is a form for posting programs (including postdocs):
  • With lead-time, IBP can compile an undergraduate student list filtered by level of study and discipline from their database for recruitment for application to your graduate programs. Email Cynthia Joseph, for assistance.
IBP hosts an extensive clearinghouse of REU and summer internships for undergraduates and a host of other information including graduate student fellowships and diversity resources. To read a summary of what they post, visit: Email Cynthia Joseph,

Meetings, Workshops and Activities

IODP: Workshop for Scientific Drilling in the Indian Ocean Crust and Mantle
The workshop for scientific drilling in the Indian Ocean Crust and Mantle will bring together scientists to (1) provide an overview of the origin and evolution of the Southwest Indian Ridge including results of recent research, (2) obtain community input into science planning for Expedition 360 (the start of the SloMo Project to drill through the lower crust to Moho in the Indian Ocean), (3) form a proponent group for drilling the tectonic and geologic evolution of the Dragon Flag Hydrothermal Area on the Southwest Indian Ridge, and (4) promote new objectives for a 2nd round of JOIDES Resolution drilling in the Indian Ocean. The workshop will include a wide range of invited talks on tectonics, geochemistry, petrology, and crustal accretion in the Indian Ocean, as well as contributed talks and a poster session. For more information and to register, please visit:

IODP: ECORD Training Course: The Virtual Drillship Experience; March 9-13, 2015; Bremen, Germany
Taking advantage of the unique and integrated facilities offered by the IODP Bremen Core Repository and the MARUM Laboratories, the 2015 ECORD Training Course will introduce participants to life as a shipboard scientist, including shipboard scientific methods and work flow during a simulated drilling cruise. The course will discuss the practical aspects applied on the drilling vessels the JOIDES Resolution, Chikyu, and mission specific platforms (MSP; offshore and onshore). The course is open to students, early career scientists, and established scientists who are working in academia or industry in any country. For more information and to apply to participate, please visit the ECORD Training Course webpage at students and researchers may apply for partial travel support through the U.S. Science Support Program. A limited number of travel grants are available. To apply for U.S. travel support, submit a two-page CV to and complete the online application at The deadline to apply for travel support and to register for the training course is January 5, 2015.
Recent devastating megathrust earthquakes in Sumatra, Chile, and Japan have heightened awareness of the hazard posed by subduction zones and the inevitability of a comparable earthquake along the coast of the Pacific Northwest. At the same time, there have been extensive efforts to expand the infrastructure and funding for scientific studies of the Cascadia subduction zone. However, only very recently have efforts been initiated to extend geodetic observations above the subduction zone offshore, even though such observations are critical for understanding the dynamics and hazards potential of the Cascadia megathrust. Offshore geodetic studies must be conducted on a decadal timescale to fully resolve many interseismic deformation processes and downhole geodetic and hydrogeological observations are some of the most sensitive tools for understanding subduction zone dynamics. The objective of this 2.5-day workshop is to develop the framework for a full IODP proposal to be submitted in 2016 by considering how drilling can best contribute to our scientific understanding of the deformation of the Cascadia subduction zone, the degree of interseismic locking across and along strike, and its seismic and tsunamigenic potential. The workshop is open to U.S. and international participants, and the deadline to register is March 15, 2015. Travel funding is available for U.S. participants, and the deadline to apply for those funds is January 31, 2015.

AGU: Deep biosphere-related sessions
The deadline to apply is December 22, 2014.

Regional Graduate Network in Oceanography: Microbial and Geochemical Oceanography in Upwelling Ecosystems
Application deadline: January 15, 2015.
Proposal Calls

NSF: Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Pathways into Geoscience (IUSE: GEOPATHS)
The Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) contributes to the IUSE initiative through the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Pathways into Geoscience (IUSE: GEOPATHS) funding opportunity. IUSE: GEOPATHS invites proposals that specifically address the current needs and opportunities related to undergraduate education within the geosciences community. The primary goal of the IUSE: GEOPATHS funding opportunity is to increase the number of undergraduate students interested in pursuing undergraduate degrees and/or post-graduate degrees in geoscience through the design and testing of novel approaches for engaging students in authentic, career-relevant experiences in geoscience. In order to broaden participation in the geosciences, engaging undergraduate students from traditionally underrepresented groups or from non-geoscience degree programs is a priority. The IUSE: GEOPATHS solicitation features two funding Tracks: (1) Engaging students in the geosciences through extra-curricular experiences and training activities (GEOPATHS-EXTRA), and (2) Improving pathways into the geosciences through institutional collaborations and transfer (GEOPATHS-IMPACT). Letter of intent due January 05, 2015.

C-DEBI Special Call for Deep Biosphere Research Proposals
C-DEBI invites proposals for one-year projects that will significantly advance our central research agenda—to investigate the subseafloor biosphere deep in sediments and the crust. C-DEBI intends to fund 2-3 proposals in response to this call, up to $100,000 each. The deadline for this call is January 15, 2015.

IODP: Apply to Sail for Expedition 357 Atlantis Massif Serpentinization and Life
Information on this expedition: U.S.-affiliated scientists should apply at: Application Deadline: January 09, 2015. E-mail co-chief scientist Beth Orcutt ( with any questions. To learn more about the scientific objectives of this expedition, life at sea, and how to apply to sail, please join us for a web-based seminar on Tuesday, January 6th at 12 PM Eastern. To register, please send an email to with your name and your institution, with Expedition 357 Webinar Registration in the subject line.

NSF: Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Biology (PRFB)
Fellowship Competitive Area 1: Broadening Participation in Biology. Proposal deadline: January 08, 2015.
NSF: OCE  Research Initiation Grants
The submission deadline is January 12, 2015.

National Academies Research Associateships for Graduate, Postdoctoral and Senior Researchers
There are four annual review cycles and the next closes February 01, 2015.

NSF: Genealogy of Life (GoLife) program solicitation
Full proposal deadline: March 25, 2015.

IODP-USSSP: Proposals for Pre-Drilling Activities and Workshops
The U.S. Science Support Program (USSSP) accepts proposals on a rolling basis for pre-drilling activities and semi-annually for workshops, next submission deadline May 15, 2015, related to the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP).


Post-doctoral position in marine microbial ecology at the University of Hawaii 
The University of Hawaii is seeking a Postdoctoral Investigator to work with Dr. Matthew Church on a multi-institutional, international program conducting baseline studies of benthic biology in the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone of the North Pacific Ocean. The work is being conducted as part of a contract to the University of Hawaii from UKSRL (UK Seabed Resources, LTD) to provide baseline studies on the diversity of benthic organisms in abyssal polymetallic nodule fields. The successful post-doctoral candidate will focus on assessing microbial diversity associated with the water column, sediments, and nodules in this region of the ocean. The successful candidate must have a Ph.D. in Marine Science, Oceanography, or Microbiology, with preference given to candidates with a background in microbial oceanography and ecology. Must have excellent written and oral communication skills, with demonstrated laboratory experience with methodologies for evaluating microbial diversity, including next generation sequencing and computer-based bioinformatics tools. Must be able to work at sea as a member of a research team. Candidates must be able to participate in a ~40 day research cruise in early 2015. The position will be located at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, working in the laboratories of the Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE). The initial appointment is for one year with re-appointment for subsequent years possible, contingent on satisfactory performance and funding availability. Applications should include a CV, statement of research interests, a one-page summary of research interests and experience, and names/addresses of three references. Postdoctoral stipends will be commensurate with experience and qualifications. Application materials should be submitted to Matthew Church ( Applications will be reviewed beginning December until position is filled, beginning on December 23, 2014. The successful applicant will be expected to start in early 2015. For additional information regarding the position, please contact Dr. Matthew Church (

Moore Foundation: Program Officer, Marine Microbiology Initiative
The Foundation is seeking an accomplished scientist with expertise in a biological, oceanographic or other field relevant to marine microbial ecology, a passion for broad scientific inquiry and advancement, and excitement about MMI’s goals.

Exxon Mobil: Postdoctoral Fellow - Microbiology
We are seeking a candidate to join a team executing programs aimed at understanding and manipulating microbial metabolism related to the oil and gas industry. Experience with hydrocarbon metabolism, community analysis, and metatranscriptomics/metaproteomics is desirable.

New Mexico State University: Assistant Professor / Environmental Soil Microbiology
Application closing date: December 31, 2014.

Aarhus University, Department of Bioscience, Center for Geomicrobiology: Postdoc position in marine biogeochemistry
All applications must be made online and received by January 01, 2015.

UCSC: C-DEBI research opportunities in Marine Hydrogeology and related fields
Andy Fisher anticipates bringing in one new PhD student and a new postdoctoral researcher for Fall 2015 (postdoc might start Winter or Spring 2016). Please contact Fisher ( with questions and/or to express interest in one of these positions. Graduate student applications to UCSC must be completed by January 05, 2015.

Aarhus University: Professor in Geomicrobiology
All applications must be made online and received by January 15, 2015.

New Mexico State University:  Environmental Science/Environmental Chemistry Postdoctoral Position
Application closing date: January 30, 2015

University of Nevada, Las Vegas: Postdoctoral Fellow in microbiology (“microbial dark matter” biology)
The review of materials will begin December 01, 2014, and will continue until the position is filled.

Skidaway Institute of Oceanography: Two Tenure Track Faculty Positions in Oceanography
The committee will begin to review applications on October 24, 014 and will continue until the positions are filled.

Don’t forget to email me with any items you'd like to share in future newsletters! You are what makes our deep biosphere community!
Matthew Janicak
Data Manager
Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI)
University of Southern California
3616 Trousdale Pkwy, AHF 209, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0371
Phone: 708-691-9563, Fax: 213-740-2437

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