C-DEBI Newsletter – February 3, 2014
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Proposal Calls

IODP: Call for Scientific Ocean Drilling Proposals
The International Ocean Discovery Program is accepting proposals that explore the Earth’s history, structure, dynamics, and deep biosphere through seafloor drilling, coring, and downhole measurements. Themes of highest priority are described in the IODP Science Plan ( Three types of drilling platforms permit operations in a variety of environments: (a) the D/V JOIDES Resolution; (b) the riser-equipped (with riserless option) D/V Chikyu; and (c) mission specific platforms (MSP), which provide a range of technologies for drilling and long coring in various types of environments not accessible or suitable to the JOIDES Resolution and Chikyu. The JOIDES Resolution is planned to operate for 8 months or more per year, depending on available levels of support, under a long-term, global circumnavigation plan based on proposal pressure. MSP expeditions are planned to operate once per year on average. Operations of Chikyu will be more project-based. The JOIDES Resolution is expected to operate in the eastern Indian and western and south western Pacific Oceans through 2016 and 2017, followed by a track across the southern Pacific Ocean, with an opportunity for drilling in the Southern and Atlantic Oceans in 2018 and 2019. Although proponents are strongly encouraged to submit drilling proposals for any region, proposals for the Southern Ocean, and the south and central Atlantic Ocean in particular are encouraged at this time. Chikyu drilling proposals concerning any ocean are welcomed. MSP proposals concerning any ocean are also welcomed, but proposals for the Arctic and Southern Oceans are particularly encouraged at this time. The proposal submission deadline is April 1, 2014. For more information and proposal guidance, please visit or contact

IODP-USSSP: Rolling Proposals for Pre-Drilling Activities and Workshops
A reminder to the C-DEBI community that the U.S. Science Support Program (USSSP) accepts proposals on a rolling basis for pre-drilling activity and workshops related to the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP). These proposals are reviewed by the U.S. Advisory Committee for Scientific Ocean Drilling (USAC). 
Moore Foundation: Data-Driven Discovery Initiative
Pre-applications are due Monday, February 24, 2014 by 5 pm Pacific Time. We expect to extend invitations for full applications in April 2014.  Full applications will be due five weeks after the invitation is sent, currently anticipated for mid-May 2014.

DCO: Deep Life Community Call for Proposals
The DLC will accept 3 to 4 page, electronic submissions prior to 31 March 2014, 30 June 2014, 30 September 2014, and 31 December 2014.


Hot Off the Press: Deep-sea hydrothermal vent Epsilonproteobacteria encode a conserved and widespread nitrate reduction pathway (Nap) in ISME Journal, C-DEBI Contribution 198
Despite the frequent isolation of nitrate-respiring Epsilonproteobacteria from deep-sea hydrothermal vents, the genes coding for the nitrate reduction pathway in these organisms have not been investigated in depth. In this study C-DEBI Research Grantee C. Vetriani et al. have shown that the gene cluster coding for the periplasmic nitrate reductase complex (nap) is highly conserved in chemolithoautotrophic, nitrate-reducing Epsilonproteobacteria from deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Furthermore, we have shown that the napA gene is expressed in pure cultures of vent Epsilonproteobacteria and it is highly conserved in microbial communities collected from deep-sea vents characterized by different temperature and redox regimes. The diversity of nitrate-reducing Epsilonproteobacteria was found to be higher in moderate temperature, diffuse flow vents than in high temperature black smokers or in low temperatures, substrate-associated communities. As NapA has a high affinity for nitrate compared with the membrane-bound enzyme, its occurrence in vent Epsilonproteobacteria may represent an adaptation of these organisms to the low nitrate concentrations typically found in vent fluids. Taken together, their findings indicate that nitrate reduction is widespread in vent Epsilonproteobacteria and provide insight on alternative energy metabolism in vent microorganisms. The occurrence of the nap cluster in vent, commensal and pathogenic Epsilonproteobacteria suggests that the ability of these bacteria to respire nitrate is important in habitats as different as the deep-sea vents and the human body.
Summer Courses, Internships and REUs
Wrigley Institute: High School Marine Science Lab at USC's Wrigley Marine Science Center
This week-long program (June 24-30th) provides high school students the opportunity to visit the USC Phillip K. Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island, and other coastal sites. Over the course of a week, students are challenged with amazing opportunities to work with local researchers, conduct team research projects, learn about careers in marine science, build their own ROVs and explore the marine protected areas around the island. Please see the flyer or download the application, due March 31.

Ocean Leadership: Undergraduate School or Rock (for Undergraduates and Teachers)
Ocean Leadership and Indiana University of Pennsylvania are offering a unique immersive course focused on how IODP collects and analyzes seafloor sediments and rocks to understand important Earth history questions. The course will include field trips to investigate land-based sediments and labortory work with IODP cores that inform about sedimentation, global change, and geological hazards. Participants will use a range of techniques, practice spatial learning, and connect basic scientific concepts to societal interests. This School of Rock is open to undergraduate earth science students, as well as pre-service and in-service science teachers, and will take place June 8-14, 2014 in Indiana, Pennsylvania. The application deadline is February 7, 2014.

C-DEBI: Global Environmental Microbiology (GEM) Summer Course for Undergraduates, July 7 - August 1, 2014
Applications are due February 7, 2014. Please contact Cindy Joseph with any questions.

Wrigley Institute: GeoBiology 2014: An International Training course in a Rapidly Evolving Field for Students and Researchers of Any Level, June 8 - July 10
Applications due February 15, 2014.

Wrigley Institute: 2014 Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU): Coastal Ocean Systems and Sustainability program, June 16- August 8
Application deadline: February 17, 2014.

MBARI: 2014 EARTH Workshop for Educators, July 27 - August 1, 2014
Applications due February 28, 2014. Test drive one of our published activities, or one of the many developed during previous workshops.

C-DEBI: Community College Research Internship for Scientific Engagement (CC-RISE), June 16 - August 8, 2014
Applications are due March 1, 2014.

Activities and Workshops

Goldschmidt 2014: Abstracts due February 8
We would like to draw your attention to several, subseafloor biosphere-related sessions at this year’s Goldschmidt geochemistry conference to be held in Sacramento, California (USA) from June 8 to 13. The abstract submission deadline is February 8 at 23:59 GMT. Submission procedures and more information about the conference can be found at
  • Session 19a: Biomodulation: Do Organisms Drive Biogeochemical Cycles or Vice-Versa?Conveners: Hope Jahren, Jen Biddle, Uwe Balthasar, Stephan Hättenschwiler
    Keynote Speaker: Jake Bailey
           Globally cycled elements such as carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous, magnesium, iron (and many others) are also critical to the life processes of organisms. As organisms acquire and metabolize these chemical resources, the biogeochemical cycling of the elements is affected on local-to-regional-to-global scales. At the same time, the relative abundance of these elements is a major driver of biological evolution and is at the origin of much of the global biodiversity. This session is meant to explore feedbacks between biogeochemical cycles and the evolution and alteration of life forms on Planet Earth through time, and within today’s changing environment. We welcome work that highlights the interactive effects of changing biogeochemical cycles and the activity and diversity of evolving living organisms. We are interested in highlighting contributions discussing plants, animals, and microbes; we are also interested in discussing marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Related phenomena within extreme and extraterrestrial environments are also welcome. Specific examples of subjects that could be explored include (but are not limited to) the following: The effect of plants on weathering, the effect of soil animals on nutrient cycling, the effect of anthropogenically-induced changes in elemental cycles upon species distribution and ecosystem functioning, the relationship between geologic cycles and microbial community structure, the role of metabolites in climate, the feedbacks between animals, plants and microbes, the evolution of organism strategies to cope with shortage of elements.
  • Session 18b: Life at Limits
    Conveners: Jan Amend, Dirk de Beer
           Microbial life is found under a remarkably wide range of environmental conditions. Microorganisms can live under energy and nutrient limitations, with extreme pH levels, temperatures, salinities, pressures and radiation conditions, and combinations thereof, where organisms that inhabit more common habitats cannot survive. But eventually all life on Earth (and elsewhere) has its limits. By studying life at the extremes, as well as the geochemical conditions on both sides of the biotic:abiotic divide, we can gain a better understanding of particular adaptations for harsh situations in terrestrial and extraterrestrial environments.  This session will feature recent discoveries in microbiology, geochemistry, and related disciplines that focus on archaea and bacteria that may thrive or merely eke out a living under apparently difficult conditions.  We invite contributions that employ field, laboratory, and/or modeling approaches and encourage the authors to interpret their findings in a global context. In particular, we invite scientists to present data on environments where they found no signs of life or microbial conversions, despite the presence of thermodynamic disequilibria. This is fascinating, as it allows exploring the boundaries beyond which no life is possible. We would like to encourage you to submit an abstract to what promises to be an exciting session.
  • Session 25b: Microbial Signatures in Sedimentary Organic Matter and the Deep Biosphere
     Helen Marie Talbot, Julius Lipp, Kai Hinrichs, and Karen Lloyd
    Keynote Speaker: Ann Pearson
           A vast array of organic geochemical biomarker and isotopic proxies are available to investigate modern and past signatures of microbialy mediated biogeochemical cycles from pigments indicative of bacterial and algal photosynthesis to highly specific lipids indicating processes such as anaerobic ammonium oxidation or methane oxidation, to RNA, extra- and intracellular DNA, and functional protein assays. In this session we will cover signatures from all forms of microbial life (eukaryotes, bacteria and archaea) covering both aerobic and anaerobic processes from shallow, recent sedimentary environments to ancient and deeply buried subseafloor systems. We particularly welcome talks exploring novel applications offering new insights into the complex roles of microorganisms in regulating biogeochemical cycles through geological time in either terrestrial or marine sedimentary environments.
  • Session 18f: Life and Death: Molecular Biomarkers to Study Current and Past Ecosystems
     Marco Coolen, Laura Epp, Jen Biddle, Casey Hubert, Bente Lomstein
    Keynote Speaker: William D. Orsi
           Molecular biomarkers such as RNA, DNA, lipids, and proteins are used to study currently living environmental organisms that have never been cultivated as well as past organismal assemblages. In this session we seek to explore novel methodological developments using molecular biomarkers in both aquatic and terrestrial environments. How can we discriminate molecular signatures of active, dormant and fossil life? How do taphonomical processes after death change these signatures? How do dormant organisms – or spores – help shape biogeography and biogeochemical functions? What novel insights can be achieved by the inclusion of (ancient) DNA into studies of historical biodiversity? In particular, we welcome studies which combine different biomarkers to address methodological questions and to provide a highly detailed picture ecosystem structure and it’s changes with a special focus on the Holocene.
  • Session 05f: Serpentinization Processes: From Mantle to Microbe, Past and Present
    Conveners: Susan Lang, Muriel Andreani, Tom McCollom
    Keynote Speaker: Tori Hoehler
           This session seeks to bring together scientists from a range of backgrounds to discuss the many different aspects of serpentinization and its geophysical, geochemical, and biological consequences. Serpentinites are widespread in both oceanic and continental lithospheres on Earth, and likely occur in a number of other planetary bodies in the solar system as well. The formation of serpentinites through hydration of ultramafic rocks plays a role in many other processes, including the geophysical and geochemical evolution of the ocean crust from ridges to subduction zones, transfer of elements and volatiles to overlying rocks and seawater, production of reduced compounds that support chemosynthetic microbial communities in surface and subsurface settings, sequestration of CO2 in carbonate minerals, and abiotic synthesis of methane and other organic compounds. Serpentinites have contributed to these processes throughout Earth’s history, and perhaps provided a setting for the evolution of the earliest forms of life. We invite contributions concerning these and other topics related to serpentinization, including field, laboratory, and theoretical studies. Contributions that explore links between the geophysical, geochemical, biological, and astrobiological aspects of serpentinization are especially encouraged.
C-DEBI seeks nominations for the next three speakers for this program. Potential speakers can be nominated by colleagues, mentors, or those mentored by C-DEBI participants; they can also self nominate. Selected C-DEBI Networked Speakers will make a presentation online, using video conferencing tools, with assistance from the C-DEBI main office at USC. Presentations are to be about 30 minutes in length, with time allocated for questions and discussion. For more information about the Speaker Series and nomination request, please see:

The 3rd International Conference of Geobiology, June 16-18, 2014, Wuhan, China
Registration deadline is Feb 28, 2014.

ISSM 2014: Call for Abstracts
ISSM 2014 is seeking presentations on the newest developments in subsurface microbiology and microbial ecology. We are calling on microbiologists, ecologists, geoscientists, and others in the field to submit an abstract for an oral or poster presentation. Student oral and poster presentations are also welcome. Abstract Deadline: April 1, 2014.


University of Brest / IFREMER: 3-Year Position in Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry and/or Paleoceanography
The University of Brest and IFREMER solicit application for a fixed term 3 years position in Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry and/or Paleoceanography. The successful candidate is expected to conduct innovative research using stable isotopes to address a range of fundamental questions related to biogeochemical interactions in extreme marine environments, including the subsurface deep biosphere and seafloor hydrothermal systems, as well as climate, environment and oceanographic reconstruction using the marine sedimentary rock. One focus could involve a “source-to-sink” approach that examines the production, transport, deposition, and burial of terrestrial and marine organic materials over a range of spatial and temporal scales. Another focus could be abiotic and biotic carbon cycling in the deep ocean, in particular along mid-oceanic ridges (e.g. serpentinization, magmatic processes), within deep-sea habitats (hydrothermal systems, cold seeps), and within the deep subsurface biosphere in volcanic basement and deep sediments. The successful candidate is expected to develop novel analytical approaches and methodology to investigate the distributions and isotopic compositions of organic biomarker molecules, gases and/or minerals in geological, biological and environmental samples. Active collaboration with biologists, chemists, geochemists, and marine geoscientists in Brest is encouraged. Both sea-going and laboratory-based approaches are expected through either internal or extramural funding.  The LabexMER will provide support for three years, including salary of the Chair and research team (postdoc, students, technician) for a total of 600 kEuros. Funding for three new state-of-the-art stable isotope mass spectrometers have been already acquired by the PSO (“Pôle Spectrométrie Océan”) facility in Brest for a total of about 995 k€. The International Chair and research team will be hosted in one or several Labex Mer laboratories, either in the laboratory of “Domaines Océaniques” or at the Department of “Marine Geosciences” in Ifremer. Teaching will not be compulsory for the candidate but would be welcomed at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Call open until March 15 (or until a suitable candidate is found).

UNC-CH: Tenure-Track Assistant/Associate Professor in Marine Environmental Genomics or Particle Dynamics
The Department of Marine Sciences at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill invites applications for a tenure track position to be filled as an Assistant/Associate Professor in one of two possible focus areas, including Particle Dynamics and Marine Environmental Genomics (the latter now described). The Department of Marine Sciences seek exceptional candidates in the developing field of marine environmental genomics with research and teaching interests focused on marine microorganisms (i.e. viruses, archaea, bacteria and protists). The candidate will have research expertise in the implementation and/or development of bioinformatic tools to analyze large sequence libraries and associated environmental data from marine microbial systems through generating their own datasets, analyzing those obtained by other groups within and outside the University, or both. This position will leverage exceptional facilities on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus for environmental genomics research that include the High-Throughput Sequencing Facility housed within the Carolina Center for Genome Sciences (, the ITS clusters ( and the UNC Bioinformatics Center ( The candidate may also benefit from being affiliated with the Curriculum of Environment and Ecology and/or the Curriculum of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology.
To apply for the position, please follow this link: Applications will be reviewed starting January 15, 2014

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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