C-DEBI Newsletter – September 15, 2017
This newsletter is also accessible via our website.

Message from the Director:

After an exciting 10-year run, the Center for Geomicrobiology at Aarhus University in Denmark officially closes its doors at the end of this month. Under the leadership of Bo Barker Jørgensen, this center made exciting discoveries on microbial life in the seabed, including in the sediment sulfur cycle, life at the energetic limits, and electromicrobiology, to name but a few. The center may be sunsetting, but we look forward to many future collaborations with our friends from across the Atlantic.

And remember to tune in to our webinars this season! Emily Estes is our next Networked Speaker on November 2 (Organic carbon utilization and preservation in a carbon desert), and Andy Fisher is our next Professional Development speaker on October 24 (Title TBD). If you missed the latest ones, please check out the fantastic talks by Gus Ramirez (Microbial Neter-Khertet: Life and death post-entombment) and Karen Lloyd (How to Negotiate in Academia) archived on the website.

Finally, congratulations to Heather Fullerton starting this fall as an Assistant Professor in Biology at the College of Charleston. We are enthusiastic for the group of C-DEBIers starting new positions this fall, and look forward to continuing to share their and others’ good news.


Jan Amend
C-DEBI Director



Hydrothermal circulation and the thermal structure of shallow subduction zones NEW!
Robert N. Harris, Glenn. A. Spinelli, Andrew T. Fisher*
*C-DEBI Contribution 373

Hydrothermal circulation within oceanic basement can have a profound influence on temperatures in the upper crust, including those close to the subduction thrust and in the overlying plate. Heat flow evidence for hydrothermal circulation in the volcanic basement of incoming plates includes: (1) values that are well below conductive predictions due to the advection of heat into the ocean, and (2) variability about conductive predictions that cannot be explained by variations in seafloor relief or thermal conductivity. In this review we summarize evidence for hydrothermal circulation in subducting oceanic basement from the Nankai, Costa Rica, south-central Chile, Haida Gwaii, and Cascadia margins and explore its influence on plate boundary temperatures. Models of these systems using a high Nusselt number proxy for hydrothermal circulation are used to illustrate the influence of this process on seafloor observations and thermal conditions at depth. We show that at these subduction zones, patterns of seafloor heat flow are best explained by thermal models that include the influence of hydrothermal circulation.

Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Cool seafloor hydrothermal springs reveal global geochemical fluxes NEW!
Charles Geoffrey Wheat*, Andrew T. Fisher*, James McManus, Samuel M. Hulme, Beth N. Orcutt*
*C-DEBI Contribution 377

We present geochemical data from the first samples of spring fluids from Dorado Outcrop, a basaltic edifice on 23 M.y. old seafloor of the Cocos Plate, eastern Pacific Ocean. These samples were collected from the discharge of a cool hydrothermal system (CHS) on a ridge flank, where typical reaction temperatures in the volcanic crust are low (2–20 °C) and fluid residence times are short. Ridge-flank hydrothermal systems extract 25% of Earth's lithospheric heat, with a global discharge rate equivalent to that of Earth's river discharge to the ocean; CHSs comprise a significant fraction of this global flow. Upper crustal temperatures around Dorado Outcrop are ∼15 °C, the calculated residence time is <3 y, and the composition of discharging fluids is only slightly altered from bottom seawater. Many of the major ions concentrations in spring fluids are indistinguishable from those of bottom seawater; however, concentrations of Rb, Mo, V, U, Mg, phosphate, Si and Li are different. Applying these observed differences to calculated global CHS fluxes results in chemical fluxes for these ions that are ≥15% of riverine fluxes. Fluxes of K and B also may be significant, but better analytical resolution is required to confirm this result. Spring fluids also have ∼50% less dissolved oxygen (DO) than bottom seawater. Calculations of an analytical model suggest that the loss of DO occurs primarily (>80%) within the upper basaltic crust by biotic and/or abiotic consumption. This calculation demonstrates that permeable pathways within the upper crust can support oxic water–rock interactions for millions of years.


Meetings & Activities

C-DEBI: Networked Speaker Series: Thursday, November 2, 12:30pm PT NEW!
Dr. Emily Estes (University of Delaware) will give the next Networked Speaker Series Seminar on "Organic carbon utilization and preservation in a carbon desert." Abstract: Organic carbon (OC) preserved in marine sediments acts as a reduced carbon sink that balances the global carbon cycle. Understanding the biogeochemical mechanisms underpinning the balance between OC preservation and degradation is thus critical both to quantifying this carbon reservoir and to estimating the extent of life in the deep biosphere. This work examines the content and composition of OC in oxic pelagic sediments from the North Atlantic and South Pacific gyres in order to evaluate preservation mechanisms operating on million-year time scales and to gage heterotrophic activity in these OC-limited environments. We utilize a combination of elemental analysis/isotope ratio mass spectrometry and novel synchrotron-based X-ray absorption spectroscopy. These techniques interrogate the entire particulate organic carbon pool in contrast to more commonly applied techniques that require chemical extractions or demineralization. OC and nitrogen concentrations decrease exponentially from the sediment-water interface to values <0.1% in the deep subsurface and, to a first order, scale with sediment oxygenation. In the deep subsurface, however, molecular recalcitrance becomes more important than oxygen exposure time in protecting OC against remineralization. Deep OC consists of primarily amide and carboxylic carbon in a scaffolding of aliphatic and O-alkyl moieties, corroborating the extremely low C/N values observed. These findings suggest that microbes in oxic pelagic sediments are carbon-limited and may preferentially remove carbon relative to nitrogen from the organic matter pool.

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.


Education & Outreach

C-DEBI: K-16 Educator Small Grants NEW!
The K-16 Educator Small Grants program supports K-16 teachers who have attended a C-DEBI educator 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. Applications are due October 2, 2017.

Box: 2017 Diversity Scholarship NEW!
At Box, we believe that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success. We’re not only committed to building an incredibly diverse and inclusive company, but also to using our position as technology leaders to ensure our industry reflects those values. We created the Box Diversity Scholarship to ensure that the perspectives of historically underrepresented people are included in the creation of the future through technology by identifying and financially supporting high-potential individuals, particularly those who identify as people of color, women, LGBTQ+, and/or people with disabilities. Box will award five scholarships to support students with a passion for technology including one $20,000 grand-prize scholarship and four additional $4,000 finalist scholarships. Applicants must be studying in a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) or related major, and enrolled in or transferring into a 4-year accredited degree program by Spring 2018. This includes rising college freshman beginning college in Fall 2017 or Spring 2018, exiting college seniors graduating in/after Spring 2018, and community college students who are transferring to a 4-year school by Spring 2018. Applications are due October 2, 2017.

The Data Incubator: Data Science Fellowship NEW!
The Data Incubator is a Cornell-funded data science training organization. We run a free advanced 8-week fellowship (think data science bootcamp) for PhDs looking to enter industry. A variety of innovative companies partner with The Data Incubator for their hiring and training needs, including LinkedIn, Genentech, Capital One, Pfizer, and many others. The program is free for admitted Fellows. Fellows have the option to participate in the program either in person in New York, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Boston, Washington DC, or online. Early deadline: October 9, 2017; regular deadline: October 16, 2017.

Proposal Calls

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: 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 NEW!
The Simons Foundation is now accepting applications for its Simons Early Career Investigator in Marine Microbial Ecology and Evolution Awards. Microbes inhabit and sustain all habitats on Earth. In the oceans, microbes capture solar energy, catalyze biogeochemical transformations of important elements, produce and consume greenhouse gases, and provide the base of the food web. The purpose of these awards is to help launch the careers of outstanding investigators who will advance our understanding of marine microbial ecology and evolution through experiments, modeling or theory. Projects focusing on the microbiomes of invertebrates or vertebrates or on paleontological records will not be considered this year. Investigators with backgrounds in different fields are encouraged to apply. Applicants must hold a Ph.D. or equivalent degree. She/he must have carried out research in a tenure-track or equivalent independent position for at least one year and no more than eight years (start date between November 2009 and November 2016) and must currently hold a tenure-track, tenured, or equivalent independent position in a U.S. or Canadian institution. She/he must be the principal investigator (PI) or co-PI currently or within the past year on a research grant from a national governmental agency or major foundation. Grants will be for $180,000 USD per year, including indirect costs (limited to 20 percent of modified total direct costs), for a period of three years, subject to annual reviews and continuation of research in areas relevant to the purpose of this program. The deadline for receipt of letters of intent (LOI) is November 6, 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: 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.

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.



CSUMB: Science Education And Outreach Coordinator NEW!
This is a full-time, state funded position that includes a full benefits package and access to affordable campus housing for faculty and staff. The position will support science education, student success, and outreach components of several initiatives within the CSUMB College of Science. The person who holds this position will also serve as the education director for the Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Program ( at CSUMB. This new program serves as an organizational unit for a number of our NSF and NOAA funded ocean science research and education initiatives. The education director will coordinate our Ocean Sciences REU program (, as well as, collaborative education activities for our NOAA Cooperative Science Center ( and our NSF Polar Project ( The individual in this position will also supervise a staff comprised of an administrative and outreach support specialist as well as, two graduate student assistants. Education requirements are a Ph.D. in Science Education or Science (ocean/marine science desirable), or a Masters degree in these areas with at least two years of post-degree work experience. The priority screening deadline for this position is October 2, 2017 with an anticipated start date in early Spring 2018.

Oklahoma State University: Assistant Professor Position in Paleontology/Sedimentary Geology
Screening of candidates will begin on September 15, 2017 and will continue until the position is filled.

University of Delaware: Postdoctoral Researcher 
The position will be open until filled and applications are being reviewed starting August 28, 2017.

Bigelow: Postdoctoral Research Scientist – Viral Control of Microbial Communities in Antarctic Lakes
Review of applicants will begin immediately and proceed until the position is filled.

WHOI: Two Postdoctoral Investigator Positions

Bigelow: Postdoctoral Scientist in Horizontal Gene Transfer in Marine Bacterioplankton

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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