C-DEBI Newsletter – October 16, 2013
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Proposal Calls

IODP: Apply to Sail: IODP Expedition 348
The International Ocean Discovery Program seeks researchers with expertise in geochemistry, microbiology, and observatories, specifically with experience using CORK, osmosampler data, and sample recovery, to participate in a contingency GeniusPlug recovery operation aboard the Chikyu during Expedition 348: NanTroSEIZE Plate Boundary Deep Riser. A SmartPlug system was recovered and replaced with the GeniusPlug system during Expedition 332, which includes a set of geochemical and biological experiments, in addition to pressure and temperature sensors.  If time allows during Expedition 348, this temporary instrument will be recovered and replaced with a new GeniusPlug.  Expedition 348 is currently underway, scheduled to remain at sea until 20 January 2014.  The exact timing of the launch of the contingency plan will be announced any time between 1 month and 2 weeks prior to operations; therefore applicants must have a flexible boarding window in order to participate.  CDEX will ensure that selected participants are kept informed of the schedules changes and operation details as they become available. The full scientific plan for this expedition is presented in the Scientific Prospectus - available at: The application deadline closes on Wednesday, October 23.  U.S. affiliated scientists interested in participating on this expedition should apply to sail through the U.S. Science Support Program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership. To apply, please visit:

IODP: Apply to Sail: Two Indian Ocean Expeditions
The International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) has begun accepting applications for two expeditions aboard the JOIDES Resolution: Indian Monsoon Rainfall and Bengal Fan. 
  • Indian Monsoon Rainfall (29 November 2014 - 29 January 2015) seeks to obtain sediment sections from within the core region of Indian monsoon precipitation.  Four sites in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea will target Late Cretaceous to Holocene sediments to better understand the physical and climatological mechanisms underlying changes in monsoonal precipitation, erosion, and run-off across multiple timescales.
  • Bengal Fan (29 January 2015 – 31 March 2015) seeks to drill a transect of sites across the middle Bengal Fan to obtain a Neogene and Late Paleogene record of Himalayan orogeny and climate.  The objectives are to investigate interactions among the growth of the Himalaya and Tibet, the development of the Asian monsoon, and processes affecting the carbon cycle and global climate.
U.S.-affiliated scientists interested in participating in this expedition should apply to sail through the U.S. Science Support Program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership; please visit: The deadline to apply is 15 January 2014.

IODP: Apply Today: Schlanger Ocean Drilling Fellowship
The Schlanger Ocean Drilling Fellowship program offers merit-based awards for outstanding graduate students to conduct research related to the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program and/or its successor, the International Ocean Discovery Program. The application deadline is November 15, 2013.

NSF: Ocean Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowships (OCE-PRF)
The Division of Ocean Sciences (OCE) offers postdoctoral research fellowships to provide opportunities for scientists early in their careers to work within and across traditional disciplinary lines, develop partnerships, and avail themselves of unique resources, sites and facilities. Full proposal target date: January 13, 2014.

NSF: Discovery Research K-12 (DRK-12)
The Discovery Research K-12 program (DRK-12) seeks to significantly enhance the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by preK-12 students and teachers, through research and development of innovative resources, models and tools (RMTs). Full proposal deadline: December 06, 2013.

Hot Off the Press: Modeling Microbial Reaction Rates in a Submarine Hydrothermal Vent Chimney Wall (C-DEBI Contribution 178) in Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
The fluids emanating from active submarine hydrothermal vent chimneys provide a window into subseafloor processes and, through mixing with seawater, are responsible for steep thermal and compositional gradients that provide the energetic basis for diverse biological communities. Although several models have been developed to better understand the dynamic interplay of seawater, hydrothermal fluid, minerals and microorganisms inside chimney walls, none provide a fully integrated approach to quantifying the biogeochemistry of these hydrothermal systems. In an effort to remedy this, a fully coupled biogeochemical reaction-transport model of a hydrothermal vent chimney has been developed that explicitly quantifies the rates of microbial catalysis while taking into account geochemical processes such as fluid flow, solute transport and oxidation-reduction reactions associated with fluid mixing as a function of temperature. The metabolisms included in the reaction network are methanogenesis, aerobic oxidation of hydrogen, sulfide and methane and sulfate reduction by hydrogen and methane. Model results indicate that microbial catalysis is generally fastest in the hottest habitable portion of the vent chimney (77-102oC), and methane and sulfide oxidation peak near the seawater-side of the chimney. The fastest metabolisms are aerobic oxidation of H2 and sulfide and reduction of sulfate by H2 with maximum rates of 140, 900 and 800 pmol cm-3 d-1, respectively. The maximum rate of hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis is just under 0.03 pmol cm-3 d-1, the slowest of the metabolisms considered. Due to thermodynamic inhibition, there is no anaerobic oxidation of methane by sulfate (AOM). These simulations are consistent with vent chimney metabolic activity inferred from phylogenetic data reported in the literature. The model developed here by C-DEBI Postdoctoral Fellow D. LaRowe et al. provides a quantitative approach to describing the rates of biogeochemical transformations in hydrothermal systems and can be used to constrain the role of microbial activity in the deep subsurface.

Genetic and Functional Properties of Uncultivated MCG Archaea Assessed by Metagenome and Gene Expression Analyses in The ISME Journal
The Miscellaneous Crenarchaeota group (MCG) Archaea is one of the predominant archaeal groups in anoxic environments and may have significant roles in the global biogeochemical cycles. However, no isolate of MCG has been cultivated or characterized to date. In this study, Meng et al. investigated the genetic organization, ecophysiological properties and evolutionary relationships of MCG archaea with other archaeal members using metagenome information and the result of gene expression experiments. A comparison of the gene organizations and similarities around the 16S rRNA genes from all available MCG fosmid and cosmid clones revealed no significant synteny among genomic fragments, demonstrating that there are large genetic variations within members of the MCG. Phylogenetic analyses of large-subunit+small-subunit rRNA, concatenated ribosomal protein genes and topoisomerases IB gene (TopoIB) all demonstrate that MCG constituted a sister lineage to the newly proposed archaeal phylum Aigarchaeota and Thaumarchaeota. Genes involved in protocatechuate degradation and chemotaxis were found in a MCG fosmid 75G8 genome fragment, suggesting that this MCG member may have a role in the degradation of aromatic compounds. Moreover, the expression of a putative 4-carboxymuconolactone decarboxylase was observed when the sediment was supplemented with protocatechuate, further supporting the hypothesis that this MCG member degrades aromatic compounds.

Activities and Workshops

C-DEBI and the College of Exploration: "Microbes down below! Exploring life beneath the ocean floor." FREE on-line workshop designed for community college instructors and high school teachers. Open to all.
Monday, November 4 – Friday, November 15, 2013
Registration and more information at:

COSEE: Professional Development Workshop for Early Career Scientists
Scientists are increasingly being asked to communicate the “broader impacts” of their work. With the threat of a decline in both the scientific workforce and the public’s literacy on ocean and environmental science issues, the time is now for stepping up our efforts to promote ocean literacy. Although there is no single approach for a successful integrated research and education plan, this workshop will build the foundation for attendees to think creatively about how their research will impact their education goals and, conversely, how their education activities will feed back into their research. When research and education are effectively interconnected, the process of discovery can help stimulate learning and the resulting research can be communicated to a broader audience. The workshop takes place February 23, 2014 at the Ocean Sciences Meeting in Honolulu, HI.
Fill out our pre-registration form to reserve your spot now. For additional information, please contact Dr. Carrie Ferraro or Janice McDonnell.

IODP: Education & Outreach Opportunities
Deep Earth Academy is compiling a list of enthusiastic IODP scientists and graduate students interested in sharing their science and career history with audiences of all kinds at one of the many events in which we participate or host. Opportunities may include:
  • Working at booths and co-facilitating teacher workshops at conferences, such as the National Science Teacher’s Association annual events (,
  • Engaging families in interactive activities at the USA Science & Engineering Festival (,
  • Submitting a workshop proposal to present at the National Marine Educators Association Meeting (,
  • Serving as an instructor for one of our professional development programs such as the School of Rock ( or Regional Rocks,
  • Helping out at our informal events at museums, and
  • More!
Please email a CV to Jennifer Collins ( if you would like to join the team or if you have questions. We will let you know when there is an opportunity in your region. Thank you in advance for your time and commitment!

DeSSC: Applications for the Student/Early Career Scientist DeSSC Program Now Being Accepted
Applications for travel and lodging support are being accepted through October 13th, 2013.

ISSM 2014: Ninth International Symposium on Subsurface Microbiology
Early registration opens in August, and more information is available at

ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company has an immediate opening for a Postdoctoral Fellow in its Corporate Strategic Research laboratory located in Annandale, NJ. 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. The successful candidate must have a strong background and demonstrated scientific excellence in biochemistry, molecular biology, and/or microbial genetics. Experience with hydrocarbon metabolism and/or subsurface microbiology is desirable. A PhD in microbiology, biochemistry or related field is required. Opportunities exist to participate in other emerging energy research. To view posting and/or apply, go to and search for Microbiology.

The Department of Earth and Space Sciences seeks applications for a tenure-track or tenured faculty appointment in geobiology or paleobiology. Applications for all levels will be considered, but preference will be given for appointment at the assistant professor level. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to, the study of the interrelated evolution of Earth and life; the links between phylogeny and the fossil record; life in extreme environments; controls on biotic activity, diversity, and evolution; biogenic mineralization; astrobiology; and biogeochemical cycling through time. Applicants must have a Ph.D. or equivalent in geobiology, paleobiology, or a related field. Submit a curriculum vitae, list of publications, statement of research and teaching interests, names and contact information of three referees, and a cover letter addressing how your experience fits the job description at: Questions regarding this position can be directed to Review of applications will commence November 15, 2013. The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer, and has a commitment to enhance diversity in the geosciences at UCLA. Women and underrepresented minorities are especially encouraged to apply. For more information about UCLA's policies on hiring and academic diversity see

We seek an internationally competitive researcher with a strong academic track record in Astrobiology. Applicants must be able to document previous cutting edge research, ability to obtain research funding, and teaching/supervision experience. The applicants should present plans for future research and teaching in Astrobiology. The appointee is expected to build up a research group and develop a research program in this interdisciplinary field, to establish collaboration with related research environments at Aarhus University and internationally, and to take a leading role in the integration of Astrobiology in the university curriculum. The appointee will be part of the Section for Microbiology ( The section's research spans the whole field of microbiology from molecular microbiology and physiology to microbial biogeochemistry, ecology, and evolution, with a strong focus on aquatic systems. The appointee will furthermore be associated with the Stellar Astrophysics Center (, a Center of Excellence under the Danish National Research Foundation funded until 2017. The Center studies the stars and their planetary systems based on a comprehensive strategy that seeks to produce a complete picture of the structure, atmosphere and magnetic activity of the stars and the planets in their orbit. In addition, the appointee will have access to, and is expected to engage in, the Interdisciplinary Mars Simulation Laboratory ( Finally, the appointee will have full access to modern laboratories and equipment as well as excellent technical assistance, shared with other members of the Section for Microbiology. The appointee is expected to participate in the teaching of courses on both undergraduate and graduate level and in the supervision of Master’s and Ph.D. students. The application is due December 2, 2013.

University of Exeter: Two Postdoctoral Research Positions: Unculturable Protists & Fungi, Single Cell Genomics
Two postdoctoral research positions are available in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Richards at the University of Exeter, UK. The project focuses on using environmental sequence data, including meta- genomics and transcriptomics, combined with single cell genomic data to investigate the biology and evolutionary significance of unculturable protist and fungal microbes from marine environments including deep-sea sediments. One post is focused entirely on bioinformatic based analysis while the second post can include both bioinformatic and laboratory work. However, both applicants should be interested in working with second-generation sequence datasets and feel confident with post genomic analysis including for example: phylogenetic tree reconstruction and metabolic pathway reconstruction. Applications due November 13, 2013.

University of Delaware, Department of Biological Sciences: Tenure-Track Faculty Position (Assistant Professor) in Prokaryotic Microbiology
Review of applications will begin on receipt with a deadline of November 10th for full consideration.

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences: Two Principal Investigator Positions
For full consideration, the application should be received by 25 October 2013.

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
Administrative Assistant
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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