C-DEBI Newsletter – October 3, 2016
This newsletter is also accessible via our website.

Message from the Director:

We have many things to celebrate! First, congratulations to USC graduate student Gus Ramirez for successfully defending his Ph.D. thesis; he now embarks on a C-DEBI Postdoctoral Fellowship with Steve D’Hondt at URI. Congratulations also to C-DEBI Senior Scientist Steve Finkel, who will receive the American Society for Microbiology’s 2017 William A. Hinton Research Training Award for outstanding contributions toward fostering the research training of underrepresented minorities in microbiology. Steve’s GGURE undergraduate research internship program is one of C-DEBI’s flagship STEM-retention programs.
We are also extraordinarily proud of C-DEBI Senior Scientist Victoria Orphan, recipient of a 2016 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship*. The 5-year “genius grant” is meant to encourage creative scientists, artists and other thinkers who are pushing the boundaries of their fields. Victoria is certainly doing that for C-DEBI. A true Californian, she spent her childhood in San Diego, received undergraduate and graduate degrees from UC Santa Barbara, did a stint at NASA Ames in Mountain View, and since 2004 has been on the faculty at Caltech—“Victoria, do you realize there are 49 other states and, according to the United Nations, 192 other countries?” She is a role model for all of us who do interdisciplinary science; she brilliantly combines field- and lab-based research with method development and state-of-the-art analytical approaches, inspiring junior scientists and the ‘more experienced’ among us along the way.


Jan Amend
C-DEBI Director

*Press: MacArthur FoundationLA TimesNew York Times, and Washington Post



Scientific Drilling
IODP Expedition 337: Deep Coalbed Biosphere off Shimokita – Microbial processes and hydrocarbon system associated with deeply buried coalbed in the ocean
Fumio Inagaki, Kai-Uwe Hinrichs, Yusuke Kubo, and the IODP Expedition 337 Scientists

The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 337 was the first expedition dedicated to subseafloor microbiology that used riser-drilling technology with the drilling vessel Chikyu. The drilling Site
C0020 is located in a forearc basin formed by the subduction of the Pacific Plate off the Shimokita Peninsula,
Japan, at a water depth of 1180 m. Primary scientific objectives during Expedition 337 were to study the relationship between the deep microbial biosphere and a series of ∼ 2 km deep subseafloor coalbeds and to explore the limits of life in the deepest horizons ever probed by scientific ocean drilling. To address these scientific objectives, we penetrated a 2.466 km deep sedimentary sequence with a series of lignite layers buried around 2 km below the seafloor. The cored sediments, as well as cuttings and logging data, showed a record of dynamically changing depositional environments in the former forearc basin off the Shimokita Peninsula during the late Oligocene and Miocene, ranging from warm-temperate coastal backswamps to a cool water continental shelf. The occurrence of small microbial populations and their methanogenic activity were confirmed down to the bottom of the hole by microbiological and biogeochemical analyses. The factors controlling the size and viability of ultra-deep microbial communities in those warm sedimentary habitats could be the increase in demand of energy and water expended on the enzymatic repair of biomolecules as a function of the burial depth. Expedition 337 provided a test ground for the use of riser-drilling technology to address geobiological and biogeochemical objectives and was therefore a crucial step toward the next phase of deep scientific ocean drilling.


Proposal Calls

C-DEBI: Call for Research Project and Postdoctoral Fellowship Proposals
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 research support is provided to “expeditions of opportunity”, and we’ve created a webpage listing potential options for participation. We welcome you to provide information about other expeditions of opportunity to share with the C-DEBI community! Help us further our mission to explore life beneath the seafloor and make transformative discoveries that advance science, benefit society, and inspire people of all ages and origins. 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. Proposal deadline: December 1, 2016.

DCO: Open Call for Synthesis Proposals
Throughout the remainder of its decadal program, DCO will focus on synthesis and integration, culminating in a wide range of activities and products by 2019. To encourage innovation and broad, creative thinking, we invite pre-proposals from all DCO Science Network members for projects relating to the synthesis and integration of deep carbon science. DCO aims to arrange for funding of three proposals in this round, with a value of up to $50,000 each. We encourage applicants to look for other sources of leveraged funds to increase the scope of their projects. We will consider a variety of synthesis and integration activities, but they must combine data and knowledge from within communities or across different disciplines to advance understanding of deep carbon in Earth. Synthesis projects might involve, for example, developing a model, analyzing a dataset, bringing together insights from different fields, or producing a multidisciplinary review of a topic. Other synthesis projects might focus on communicating a particular set of results, or a concept, to a particular stakeholder. Examples might include a synthetic workshop, a short video, book, or suite of graphics exploring key deep carbon science concepts to engage the interested public. The deadline for pre-proposal submissions is October 25, 2016.

IODP-USSSP: Schlanger Ocean Drilling Fellowships
The U.S. Science Support Program is currently accepting applications for the 2017-2018 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. The submission deadline is December 2, 2016.

DCO: Deep Energy Community, Third Call for Proposals
The Deep Energy Community (DEC) of the Deep Carbon Observatory invites proposals for short- term funding of projects and/or activities aimed at addressing the DEC’s decadal goals and/or strengthening the international DEC community and its abilities to generate funding for new and ongoing initiatives. The DEC is dedicated to quantifying the environmental conditions and processes from the molecular to the global scale that control the origins, forms, quantities and movements of reduced carbon compounds derived from deep carbon through deep geologic time. The DEC has identified a number of guiding questions and the DEC Steering Committee encourages submission of ideas for modest short-term support that will address these and other relevant / meritorious efforts with high potential to attract new funding. Examples of supported activities include 1) laboratory research, 2) travel to field sites to collect samples of key importance, 3) support of working groups and workshops to synthesize data for publication of Deep Energy research, and/or to develop interdisciplinary collaborations, 4) travel to work with collaborators on the preparation of new proposals, or 5) other activities that would advance Deep Energy Goals. Application deadline: November 20, 2016.

Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative: Request for Proposals VI
The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) is pleased to release the GoMRI Request for Proposals for 2018-2019 to fund research activities for GoMRI Years 9-10 (1 January 2018–31 December 2019). This RFP-VI, will build on previous RFPs, will be the final research competition, and will only fund two-year awards. The Research Board calls for consortia and individual investigators’ proposals at the same time in order to fund the best science that complements the research efforts completed or in progress under RFP- I through RFP-V. To learn more about past and currently funded GoMRI research, please review: The 2018-2019 GoMRI RFP will focus on the five GoMRI Research Themes as well as a call for scientific synthesis. Proposals may address multiple themes. In addition, this RFP calls for submissions that may include:

  • Continuation of previously designated research themes and topics that have emerged;
  • Data integration from various sources;
  • Scientific synthesis across themes and consortia; and/or
  • Other overarching scientific and technological products exploiting the GoMRI scientific legacy.

The awards will be chosen through a competitive peer review of the proposals submitted in response to this RFP. The peer-review process and selection of funded proposals will be carried out under the direction of the GoMRI Research Board. Letter of Intent Deadline: November 14, 2016.

NSF: Call For Nominations for the Alan T. Waterman Award
Complete nomination packages, consisting of nominations and four letters of reference, are due by October 21, 2016.

NSF: Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Program Solicitation
Application deadlines: October 22-28, 2016.

NSF-OCE: Call for expressions of interest regarding provision of marine seismic capabilities to the U.S. research community
Please submit written responses by November 11, 2016.

NSF: Integrated Earth Systems (IES) Program Solicitaiton
Full proposal deadline: November 14, 2016.

NSF: Arctic Sciences Program Solicitation
Proposals accepted anytime.

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).


Education & Outreach

C-DEBI: Call for Education and Outreach Project Proposals
C-DEBI invites proposals to support education and outreach projects, with a budget of up to $50,000 and a project duration of 1 year. The C-DEBI Education & Outreach Grants Program will fund the development of educational opportunities and materials that are pertinent to deep biosphere research in the subseafloor environment in support of our education and outreach goal to create distinctive, targeted education programs and promote increased public awareness about life below the seafloor. Help us further our mission to explore life beneath the seafloor and make transformative discoveries that advance science, benefit society, and inspire people of all ages and origins. C-DEBI welcomes proposals from applicants who would enhance diversity in C-DEBI and STEM fields. Proposal deadline: December 1, 2016.

Consortium for Ocean Leadership: Request for Proposals - Pop-Up/Drill Down Science 
COL requests proposals for the design/build of a set of eight (8) Exhibit Kiosks and a Portable Immersive Experience (PIE), which together serve as the centerpiece of the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded project, Pop-Up/Drill Down Science. The kiosks and associated staff/programming will travel around the country throughought the year to be deployed at festivals, weekend fairs, mall parking lots, and other venues both indoors and outside in a variety of communities, including those that are rural, and underserved by science resources. Letter of Intent due: October 14, 2016.

The Data Incubator: 8-week fellowship
The Data Incubator is a Cornell-funded data science training organization. We run an advanced 8-week fellowship 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 City, Washington DC, the San Francisco Bay Area, or online. Application deadline: November 17, 2016.

ASLO: Call for Nominations for the Ramón Margalef Award for Excellence in Education
Nominations must be received by October 14, 2016 to be considered.

The Hydrographic Society Of America: Student Scholarships
Application deadlines: November 15, 2016.

NSF: ADVANCE: Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers (ADVANCE) Program Solicitation
Letter of intent due date: December 14, 2016.


Meetings & Activities

IODP Workshop: Demystifying the IODP Proposal Process for Early Career Scientists, January 23-25, 2017, Austin, Texas
Scientific ocean drilling is central to the study of Earth’s climate history, tectonic evolution, and deep biosphere. A large, dynamic, and diverse community is vital to the health of the program; engaging early career scientists in expedition planning and leadership is critical to the future of IODP. For early career scientists who are new to the community, developing an IODP proposal from conception to drilling is a daunting task that can appear insurmountable. The goals of this workshop are to (1) provide early career scientists with direct experience in the IODP proposal process, (2) build an interdisciplinary community of early career researchers that will be able to develop active research programs in coordination with the evolving landscape of ocean drilling research, and (3) develop drilling proposal ideas to investigate the North Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, where the JOIDES Resolution is expected to be drilling in FY20-21. Participation support is available for a limited number of graduate students and early career researchers (i.e., completed their PhD within the past 10 years) from U.S. institutions and organizations. The application deadline is November 11, 2016.


NASA: Geo-microbiologist and/or Astro-biologist Specialist
Due to an administrative glitch, the Astromaterials Acquisition and Curation Office at the NASA Johnson Space Center is reposting a position opening for a specialist in the field of geomicrobiology or astrobiology. Qualified candidates who applied previously are encouraged to re-apply. The successful candidate will serve NASA as curator for biological components in astromaterials. Specifically, we seek an individual with current expertise in at least one of the following areas: (1) biological cleanliness and quantitative biological contaminant characterization; (2) chemical, mineralogical, or petrological consequences of microbial interaction with astromaterials, astromaterials simulants, and terrestrial analogs of astromaterials; (3) sample collection and handling (including transport, containment, preservation, and curation) of geological materials that contain microbial matter. The successful candidate should have a Ph.D. and at least 2 years of relevant post-graduate experience, and a demonstrated record of contributions to the field. The candidate shall develop an externally funded research program in the area of geomicrobiology and/or astrobiology. Additional duties include development and implementation of curation plans for astromaterials returned from future missions with possible extraterrestrial biological components; conducting advanced curation research to prevent biological contamination of NASA’s past, present, and future astromaterials collections. Furthermore, he or she will be expected to develop methods of monitoring for biological contamination within curation facilities and in NASA’s astromaterials collections. This individual will also provide expertise in the area of contamination knowledge as it relates to biological cleanliness of NASA spacecraft at all stages of a mission. The position closes October 5, 2016.

U Mass Amherst: Tenure Track Position in Aqueous & Environmental Geochemistry, Department of Geosciences
The Department of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts invites applications for a tenure track position in Aqueous and Environmental Geochemistry at the Assistant Professor level starting Fall 2017. We are seeking talented applicants qualified for an assistant professor position. Under exceptional circumstances, highly qualified candidates at other ranks may receive consideration. Research within the Department of Geosciences revolves around four main clusters: Global Change and Surface Processes; Water; Dynamic Earth; and Geography, Society and the Environment. It is expected that successful candidate will develop a rigorous externally funded research program and contribute to one or more of these research themes. Candidates who have experience in integrating geochemical tools with quantitative approaches to solving problems in natural systems are especially encouraged. Field-oriented research that could be incorporated into both undergraduate and graduate courses will be an asset. Teaching will involve participation in a large-enrollment introductory course in addition to appropriate advanced undergraduate and graduate courses. A Ph.D. in Geosciences or related field is required at the time of appointment and post-doctoral experience is preferred. The successful candidate will have research interests within the broad area covered by the position title. These areas might include critical zone and near-surface weathering, processes that occur at solid-water interface, including biological interactions, or chemical, physical and biological processes controlling the transport of dissolved species. It is hoped that the candidate will have interests in isotope or trace element geochemistry and the application of geochemical tools to a broad range of scientific questions. Review of applicants will begin November 1, 2016 and continue until the ideal candidate is identified.

Washington University in St. Louis: Assistant Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences
The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position in the fields of climate, carbon cycling, or paleoclimatology. The ideal candidate will study climate or the effects of climate change in modern systems and/or over Cenozoic Earth history. Areas of interest include but are not limited to: paleoclimatology and records of consequent environmental change; elemental cycling and associated climate feedbacks; the response of terrestrial, marine, and/or freshwater systems to climate change. The candidate is expected to employ quantitative tools and ideally will integrate field observations with laboratory measurements. The successful candidate is also expected to develop a vigorous, externally funded research program, maintain a strong publication record, teach a range of undergraduate and graduate courses, advise students, and be active in university service. We are seeking candidates who will complement our research programs in biogeochemistry and environmental geology as well as foster collaboration with environmental scientists across the Washington University community. Applications should be received by November 1, 2016 to ensure full consideration.

Rice University: Wiess Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship, Department of Earth Science
The Department of Earth Science at Rice University is inviting applications for the Wiess Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in the broad fields of Earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences. Applicants must have a Ph.D. awarded within three years of the time of appointment. The research fellowship will be supported by the Department of Earth Science for two years pending satisfactory progress in their first year. The fellowship 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 and a clearly expressed research plan to address questions at the forefront of Earth science, broadly defined. Applicants are encouraged to explore possible research synergies with faculty in the Department of Earth Science (, but the proposed research should encompass independent research ideas and explore new directions beyond the applicant’s Ph.D. Preference will be given to candidates whose proposals demonstrate independence and originality, but also the potential for collaboration with one or more faculty in the Department of Earth Science. Application deadline: November 15, 2016.

The Ohio State University: Assistant Professor in Earth Sciences
Summary of duties: Teaching duties include delivering approximately 18 credit hours of instruction per year (semester calendar), primarily in lower-level courses. Research duties include conducting research in accordance with the expectations of the School of Earth Sciences. Service duties encompass contributions to the campus, department, university, and communities in the region. Required Qualifications: PhD in earth sciences, a culturally responsive pedagogy appropriate for a racially and ethnically diverse student population, a documented record of excellence in teaching at the undergraduate level, and the ability to produce research publishable in scholarly journals. Ohio State Newark faculty are members of their respective departments headquartered at the Columbus campus. Teaching responsibilities are at the Newark campus and instruction takes place in small classes, which facilitates careful attention to student needs. The Newark campus values outreach to communities in the region.

University of Southern Mississippi: Postdoctoral Research Position in Marine Microbial Ecology
Review of applicants will begin immediately and proceed until the position is filled.

Dartmouth: Tenure-Track Assistant Professorship in Microbial Ecology
Application review will begin on September 15, 2016 and continue until the position is filled.

LUMCON: Faculty Positions
Review of applicants will begin September 15, 2016 and will continue until position is filled.

University of New Hampshire: Associate or Full Professor of Estuarine Science
Review of applications: August 15, 2016 until position filled.

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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