C-DEBI Newsletter – October 2, 2017
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Message from the Director:

Our annual call for research and fellowship proposals is posted! We continue to support research grants and graduate student and postdoctoral fellowships that will significantly advance C-DEBI’s central research agenda to investigate the subseafloor biosphere deep in marine sediment and oceanic crust, including on “expeditions of opportunity.” C-DEBI welcomes proposals from applicants who would enhance diversity in C-DEBI and STEM fields. The deadline for this call is December 1, 2017. Note, there is no call for education grants this year. I look forward to continued, strong engagement by the community through our many C-DEBI programs and activities.

As the culminating program for the North Pond field program – a major field site within the C-DEBI portfolio – a team of scientists is heading back to the subseafloor “CORK” observatory network in October to assess the deep biosphere living in young, cool, and oxic basaltic oceanic crust. This observatory network was installed in 2011 during IODP Expedition 336 led by former C-DEBI Director Katrina Edwards. C-DEBI scientists led by Executive Committee member Dr. Geoff Wheat will be visiting the observatories with the ROV Jason to collect pristine subsurface fluid samples and finally recover the sensors and incubation experiments that have been cooking in the subsurface for the past 6 years. This return mission is funded by the National Science Foundation, with add-on funding for fluid sampling to look at microbe-carbon and virus interactions. Cruise participants will also be running a ship-to-shore outreach program. Follow #NorthPond2017 on Twitter for the latest updates.

In this summer's Global Environmental Microbiology (GEM) course and Community College Cultivation Cohort (C4) REU, we had another enthusiastic and bright class of undergraduate students that we will be introducing you to in our newsletters, sharing their stories and aspirations. We are proud to have been a step in their scientific pathway. Please keep your eye out for their spotlights!


Jan Amend
C-DEBI Director


Publications & Press

Geophysical Research Letters
Spatially variable geothermal heat flux in West Antarctica: evidence and implications NEW!
Carolyn Branecky Begeman, Slawek M. Tulaczyk, Andrew T. Fisher*
*C-DEBI Contribution 391

Geothermal heat flux (GHF) is an important part of the basal heat budget of continental ice sheets. The difficulty of measuring GHF below ice sheets has directly hindered progress in understanding of ice sheet dynamics. We present a new GHF measurement from below the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, made in subglacial sediment near the grounding zone of the Whillans Ice Stream. The measured GHF is 88 ± 7 mW m-2, a relatively high value compared to other continental settings and to other GHF measurements along the eastern Ross Sea of 55 mW m-2 and 69 ± 21 mW m-2, but within the range of regional values indicated by geophysical estimates. The new GHF measurement was made ~100 km from the only other direct GHF measurement below the ice sheet, which was considerably higher at 285 ± 80 mW m-2, suggesting spatial variability that could be explained by shallow magmatic intrusions or the advection of heat by crustal fluids. Analytical calculations suggest that spatial variability in GHF exceeds spatial variability in the conductive heat flux through ice along the Siple Coast. Accurate GHF measurements and high-resolution GHF models may be necessary to reliably predict ice sheet evolution, including responses to ongoing and future climate change. Examining the lifestyles of microbes NEW!
Microbes are everywhere—in humans they protect us from harmful bacteria and help us digest food; in soils, they provide nutrients and encourage growth of plants. Microbes even live in sediments below the seafloor where they play a key role in the underwater ecosystem. Scientists are identifying and characterizing more microbes each year using DNA sequencing technologies. As each new species is sequenced, scientists add it to the microbial “tree of life,” creating a virtual census of what’s there. Turns out it’s not an easy job. To put things in perspective, scientists aren’t sure how many microbes even exist. Estimates vary widely from millions to trillions. University of Delaware professor Jennifer Biddle and Rosa León-Zayas, who completed post-doctoral work at UD earlier this year, recently described new details about microbes known as Parcubacteria in a paper published in Environmental Microbiology [C-DEBI Contribution 369]. The Parcubacteria were found in sediment samples collected by James Cameron within the Challenger Deep region of the Mariana Trench during the Deepsea Challenge Expedition. León-Zayas’ doctoral advisor, Doug Bartlett at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, was a chief scientist on the expedition.

UNOLS White Paper on Operating in Foreign Ports and Foreign Waters NEW!
After recent difficulties working in foreign ports, the funding agencies felt it important for scientists and operators within the U.S. Academic Research Fleet (ARF) to work together to take a closer look at these complex operations. The UNOLS Logistics Working Group, comprised of scientists, operators and funding agency representatives, reviewed current policies and sticking points around working in foreign ports and obtaining marine research clearances (MRC). The summary of their findings and their recommendations can be found in the UNOLS White Paper on Proposing, Planning, and Executing Logistics involved in Oceanographic Field Operations in Foreign Waters and Ports along with its Appendix 1-Detailed Recommendations and Considerations for Working in Foreign Ports and Obtaining Marine Science Research Clearances. These are must-reads for anyone planning to work in a foreign port or apply for an MRC. This includes seasoned PIs, new PIs, future PIs, lab technicians, vessel technicians, schedulers and operators alike. The documents help to outline the issues, responsibilities and key topics to consider when planning these complicated cruises. Please pass this email along. It is important that this information is disseminated throughout the community!


Meetings & Activities

JpGU: Propose a session for the JpGU-AGU Joint Meeting 2018 (May 20-24, 2018; Makuhari Messe, Chiba, Japan) NEW!
Deadline to propose sessions: October 12, 2017.

Goldschmidt2018: Calls for Sessions and Workshops NEW!
Goldschmidt is the foremost annual, international conference on geochemistry and related subjects, organised by the Geochemical Society and the European Association of Geochemistry. Session and workshop proposals are due November 1, 2017.

C-DEBI: Networked Speaker Series: Thursday, November 2, 12:30pm PT

NSF: Dear Colleague Letter: Advancing Frontiers in Seafloor Science and Engineering Research NEW!

The oceans cover over 70% of the planet, and despite relevance to geohazards, mineral resources, and biological diversity, the seafloor and sub-seafloor remain largely unexplored and poorly understood. The seafloor environment is a harsh and dynamic place where the deep ocean presents barriers to most electromagnetic radiation including light and radio communication because of its high pressure, its corrosive composition, cold temperature, and opaqueness. These conditions make it challenging to obtain data to characterize geological, physical, chemical, and biological processes. Most data transmitting systems, autonomous instrumentation, and communication technologies used on land are not possible in the deep ocean and this compounds the problems of obtaining data in real-time. Existing sensors that work under normal terrestrial conditions need to be re-engineered or re-imagined for the deep-sea environment. Building new technology to overcome the conditions found within and beneath the oceans will be an engineering grand challenge and will drive engineering innovation. Enhanced partnerships between the Engineering and the Marine Geology and Geophysics (MG&G) research communities are needed to advance sensing capabilities. To stimulate these partnerships, NSF requests proposals to support conferences that focus on appropriate engineering and marine science challenges and stimulate debate, discussion, visioning, and collaboration between the two research communities. Workshops typically support 20-80 attendees. The budget of a workshop proposal is generally limited to $50,000 but under exceptional circumstances may be supported up to $100,000. Workshop proposals must be submitted by November 15, 2017 for consideration.

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, related to the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP). Next workshop submission deadline: December 1, 2017.

C-DEBI: Group Page
To help preserve deep biosphere methods for use in future projects, the Center strongly encourages you to describe your lab and software-based methods using, and to link them to our group page at The website provides an easy-to-use platform to share reproducible, step-by-step scientific methods. 

C-DEBI: Rolling call for Community Workshop support
The NSF Science and Technology Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI) invites proposals for $15,000 on average (and up to $20,000) in direct funds for community workshops that will help to advance C-DEBI’s central research agenda: to investigate the subseafloor biosphere deep in marine sediment and oceanic crust, and to conduct multi-disciplinary studies to develop an integrated understanding of subseafloor microbial life at the molecular, cellular, and ecosystem scales.


C-DEBI Spotlight

Each newsletter, we’ll be featuring two, early-career, deep biosphere all-stars from our summer undergraduate programs. Meet the rest of our 2017 Global Enviromental Microbiology students and Community College Cultivation Cohort (C4) REU participants, or learn more about our undergraduate programs!


Education & Outreach

The Data Incubator: Data Science Fellowship
Early deadline: October 9, 2017; regular deadline: October 16, 2017.

C-DEBI: Next Professional Development Webinar: October 24, 11am PT NEW!
Andrew Fisher (C-DEBI Co-PI, University of California Santa Cruz) leads the next C-DEBI Professional Development Webinar on “Speaking as a Scientist with Press, Politicians, and the Public.” Missed the last webinar on “How to Negotiate in Academia”? Watch it on YouTube.

Cards Against Humanity: Science Ambassador Scholarship NEW!
A full–tuition scholarship for a woman in science, technology, engineering, or math. Funded by Cards Against Humanity. Film a three–minute video of yourself explaining a topic in STEM you are passionate about. You must be a high school senior or an undergraduate college student to apply. To view examples of previous application videos, click here. Applications close on December 11, 2017.

NOAA: Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship NEW!
The Hollings Scholarship Program provides successful undergraduate applicants with awards that include academic assistance (up to $9,500 per year) for two years of full-time study and a 10-week, full-time paid ($700/week) internship at a NOAA facility during the summer. The internship between the first and second years of the award provides the scholars with hands-on, practical experience in NOAA-related science, research, technology, policy, management, and education activities. Awards also include travel funds to attend a mandatory NOAA Scholarship Program orientation and the annual Science & Education Symposium, scientific conferences where students present their research, and a housing subsidy for scholars who do not reside at home during the summer internship. Application deadline: January 31, 2018.

Mentoring365: Become an Earth and Space Science Mentor or Mentee NEW!
Mentoring365 is a program developed among Earth and space science organizations to facilitate sharing professional knowledge, expertise, skills, insights, and experiences through dialogue and collaborative learning. The program provides mentors and mentees with structured, relationship-building tools to develop and attain focused career goals. Mentors: must be current members in one of the program sponsors, AGU, AWG, or SEG. Mentors range in career stage from post docs to senior scientists. The most important requirements are that the Mentoring365 mentor is dedicated to providing guidance and has knowledge and experience that will be useful to the mentee. By serving as a Mentoring365 mentor, you’re giving back to the community and helping to support the next generation of Earth and space scientists. Mentees: All current undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral students that are current members in one of the program sponsors (AGU, AWG, or SEG) are eligible. Before being accepted into the Mentoring365 program, mentees must fill out a one-page online application.

NOAA: Graduate Research & Training Scholarship Program NEW!
The NOAA Graduate Research and Training Scholarship Program (GRTSP) leverages the initial investment made by the agency in the NOAA EPP/MSI Cooperative Science Centers (CSC). GRTSP helps establish a pipeline of well trained and educated individuals who attend Minority Serving Institutions and earn degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines that support NOAA’s mission. Scholars are offered the following for one year based on the degree being pursued. For PhD. Degree candidates: $45,000 stipend to support tuition and fees and other costs associated with opportunities for professional development; $10,000 (maximum) travel cost to support research travel and to present findings at conferences; and, Funding for a second year of training if a renewal application is successful and approved by NOAA EPP/MSI. For Masters Degree candidates: $36,000 to support tuition and fees as well as other costs associated with opportunities for professional development; and, $7,000 (maximum) travel cost to support research travel and to present findings at conferences. Applications may be obtained from the NOAA Cooperative Science Center Director and are submitted through the CSC Director directly to NOAA EPP/MSI.

Proposal Calls

NSF: Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Pathways into Geoscience (IUSE: GEOPATHS) - NEW!
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). Full proposal deadline: October 10, 2017.

IODP: Special Call: Exp. 381 Corinth Active Rift Development NEW!
The International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) is issuing a special call for experienced scientists to apply for IODP Expedition 381 Corinth Rift Development aboard a Mission Specific Platform provided by the ECORD Science Operator in the following specialty: inorganic geochemistry with expertise in pore water geochemistry. The call is for scientists able to participate during the Onshore Science Party only (scheduled to start on 31 January 2018 and last for a maximum of 4 weeks, dependent on core recovery). U.S.-affiliated scientists interested in participating on this expedition should apply to sail through the U.S. Science Support Program (USSSP); please visit The U.S. deadline for this special call is October 13, 2017.

IODP: Apply to Sail: Expedition 379: Amundsen Sea West Antarctic Ice Sheet History
The deadline to apply is October 15, 2017.

IODP: Apply to Sail: Expedition 382: Iceberg Alley Paleoceanography and South Falkland Slope Drift
The deadline to apply is October 15, 2017.

NSF: National Oceanographic Partnership Program announcement regarding Ocean Sensors, Cubesats, and GHRSST Data
Letters of Intent are required by October, 16 2017.

NSF: Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) NEW!
The purpose of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is to help ensure the vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) or in STEM education. The GRFP provides three years of support for the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant research achievements in STEM or STEM education. NSF especially encourages women, members of underrepresented minority groups, persons with disabilities, veterans, and undergraduate seniors to apply. Life Sciences and Geosciences application deadline: October 23, 2017.

NSF: Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowships (EAR-PF)
Full Proposal Deadline: October 25, 2017.

NSF: Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) Program
Full Proposal Deadline: October 25, 2017.

NSF: Management and Operation of the Ocean Bottom Seismometer Instrument Center (OBSIC)
Full Proposal Deadline: October 25, 2017.

The Hertz Foundation: Graduate Fellowship Award
Application deadline: October 27, 2017.

Simons Foundation: Early Career Investigator in Marine Microbial Ecology and Evolution Awards
The deadline for receipt of letters of intent (LOI) is November 6, 2017.

C-DEBI: Call for Research and Fellowship Proposals NEW!
The NSF Science and Technology Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI) invites proposals for 1-year research projects (in the anticipated range of $50,000-$80,000) and 1-2 year graduate student and postdoctoral fellowships that will significantly advance C-DEBI’s central research agenda: to investigate the subseafloor biosphere deep in marine sediment and oceanic crust, and to conduct multi-disciplinary studies to develop an integrated understanding of subseafloor microbial life at the molecular, cellular, and ecosystem scales. C-DEBI’s research agenda balances exploration-based discovery, hypothesis testing, data integration and synthesis, and systems-based modeling. C-DEBI welcomes proposals from applicants who would enhance diversity in C-DEBI and STEM fields. This request for proposals is open to all interested researchers at US institutions able to receive NSF funding as a subaward. The deadline for this call is December 1, 2017.

UNOLS: Cruise Opportunities on R/V Sally Ride
Applications for a cruise April 20 – May 22, 2018 are due December 1, 2017.

IODP-USSSP: Apply for a Schlanger Ocean Drilling Fellowship NEW!
The U.S. Science Support Program is currently accepting applications for the 2018-2019 Schlanger Ocean Drilling Fellowship Program. The Schlanger Fellowship Program offers merit-based awards for outstanding graduate students to conduct research related to the International Ocean Discovery Program. Research may be related to the objectives of past expeditions or it may address broader science themes. Selected fellows will receive an award of $30,000 for a 12-month period that can be used for research, stipend, tuition, or other approved costs. Schlanger Fellowships are open to all graduate students enrolled at U.S. institutions in full-time M.S. or Ph.D. programs. Applications require reference material from two referees, one of which must be the student’s faculty advisor. All application materials, including reference material, must be submitted by December 15, 2017.

NSF: Using JOIDES Resolution to Collect Cores with Advanced Piston Coring (APC) System

DCO: Deep Life Cultivation Internship Program

NSF: Arctic Sciences Program Solicitation
Proposals accepted anytime.

NSF: Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP) Program Solicitation
Preparing for TCUP Implementation proposals accepted anytime.

C-DEBI: Rolling call for Research Exchange proposals
C-DEBI facilitates scientific coordination and collaborations by supporting student, postdoctoral, and faculty exchanges to build, educate and train the deep subseafloor biosphere community. We award small research exchange grants for Center participants. These grants may be used to support research, travel for presenting C-DEBI research at meetings, or travel exchanges to other partner institutions or institutions that have new tools and techniques that can be applied to C-DEBI research. We anticipate ~10 awards of $500-5000 with additional matched funds to be granted annually.



Rice University: Wiess Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship NEW!
The Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences at Rice University is inviting applications for the Wiess Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship. We are seeking candidates with independent research interests that intersect with one or more faculty within our department. Applicants must have a Ph.D. awarded within three years of the time of appointment. The research fellowship will be supported for two years, pending satisfactory progress during the first year, and covers an annual stipend of $60,000 with a benefits package and an additional annual discretionary research allowance of $3,500. Applicants are requested to develop a proposal of research to be undertaken during the fellowship period. The principal selection criteria are scientific excellence, a clearly expressed research plan to address questions at the forefront of their field of study, and research synergies with at least one faculty. The proposed research should, however, encompass independent research ideas and explore new directions beyond the applicant’s Ph.D. Preference will be given to applicants whose proposals demonstrate independence and originality, and also the potential for collaboration with one or more faculty in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences. Applications should be submitted to the chair of the fellowship search committee by November 10, 2017.

CSIRO: Postdoctoral Fellowship in Geomicrobiology NEW!
Postdoctoral Fellowships at CSIRO provide opportunities to scientists and engineers, who have completed their doctorate and have less than three years relevant postdoctoral work experience. These fellowships will help launch their careers, provide experience that will enhance their career prospects, and facilitate the recruitment and development of potential leaders for CSIRO. Postdoctoral Fellows are appointed for up to three years and will work closely with a leading Research Scientist or Engineer in their respective field. Mineral resources contribute significantly to the economic wealth of Australia. However, most of Australia’s easily-found mineral deposits have already been discovered and a dramatic drop in the mineral discovery rate has been observed over the last decade. This sharp decrease in mineral exploration success is related to 80% of the Australian continent being covered by regolith, strongly challenging the use of conventional exploration techniques to identify new exploration targets. In order to minimise the risk, cost and environmental impact of future mineral exploration campaigns, novel biogeochemical tools need to be developed. Subtle concentrations of specific elements present in soils overlying deposits can affect the populations of microbes such as fungi and bacteria that live in the soil. These changes in microbial populations are being investigated as potential surface exploration proxies, but little is known of the link between microbial communities at the surface and the deep biosphere in the subsurface. As the successful candidate, you will seek to provide a greater understanding of the surface and deep biosphere through genomic sequencing of microbial communities found in regolith as well as in fresh drill core material (deep Earth samples) obtained during mining and mineral exploration. You will investigate microbial communities around mineral deposits in order to contribute to the development and use of microbes in future mineral exploration. This project will be undertaken in collaboration with CSIRO Land & Water, Perth and GFZ Potsdam, Germany. Applications close November 12, 2017.

Arizona State University: Assistant Professor (Job #12117) NEW!
The School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) invites applications for an Assistant Professor with expertise in geobiology and/or biogeochemistry. Anticipated start date is August 2018. We desire a candidate who (1) addresses fundamental questions in the interdependence of biological and geochemical processes on Earth and other habitable planets, and (2) can develop collaborations with other closely affiliated research programs in SESE (possibilities include astrobiology, geochemistry, ecosystem dynamics, hydrology, geodynamics, planetary science, and surface processes). We are interested in individuals showing capacities to bridge research in biological and geological processes. Examples include combining the geologic and genomic records to reveal the history of geobiological processes, harnessing molecular methods to track energy and material flows in active ecosystems, and theoretical developments related to the origin and evolution of life. The successful candidate will be expected to conduct research in biological and geochemical processes, teach at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and participate in service activities in the school, college and university. Initial deadline for receipt of complete applications is November 20, 2017.

CIW: 2018 Carnegie Fellowships for the Geophysical Laboratory NEW!
The Geophysical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution of Washington invites applications for postdoctoral fellowships. The Geophysical Laboratory emphasizes interdisciplinary experimental and theoretical research in fields ranging from geoscience, microbiology, chemistry, to physics. The Laboratory supports world-class facilities in high-pressure research; organic, stable isotope and biogeochemistry; mineral physics and petrology; and astrobiology. Carnegie Postdoctoral Fellowships are awarded once a year. The deadline for submitting an application is December 1, 2017 and the position begins the following summer or autumn.

Bigelow: Postdoctoral Research Scientist – Viral Control of Microbial Communities in Antarctic Lakes

University of Delaware: Postdoctoral Researcher

WHOI: Two Postdoctoral Investigator Positions

Don’t forget to email me with any items you'd like to share in future newsletters! We will also broadcast this information on our social media outlets, Twitter and Facebook. 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

Exploring life beneath the seafloor and making transformative discoveries that advance science, benefit society, and inspire people of all ages and origins.

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