C-DEBI Newsletter – August 1, 2013
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Dear C-DEBI,
Many thanks to all who submitted proposals for our Special Biomolecular Call; we look forward to reviewing them in the coming weeks and advancing our understanding in the central research themes of C-DEBI! We would also like to congratulate C-DEBI Co-Managing Director Rosalynn Sylvan and C-DEBI Postdoc Jason Sylvan on the birth of their son, Theodore Lee Sylvan, on July 26. All are doing well! And for all you fans of deep subseafloor biosphere research or Men at Work, check out this great parody song created by the crew of the recently returned Atlantis/JASON Expedition to Juan de Fuca Ridge.

Proposal Calls and Competitions

Writing an NSF proposal?  Here are some tips.
The Biological Oceanography Program at the NSF recently provided C-DEBI director Jan Amend with some valuable suggestions to pass along to the C-DEBI community. This discussion was triggered because some of the recent proposal submissions have not been as successful as they could be. Here are some excerpts of the exchange with the NSF:
  1. Some of the proposals are perhaps too focused on exploration and discovery; they would benefit from more probing hypotheses.
  2. Some investigators are submitting 3 or more proposals in the same cycle; this can result in quantity over quality. Investigators should perhaps be more selective in the proposals they submit.
  3. More and more often, post-docs are submitting proposals to the regular programs. Note that these relatively inexperienced proposal writers are competing directly against seasoned veterans. Without considerable mentoring, the post-docs are at a disadvantage.
  4. Expert, US-based reviewers of C-DEBI proposals are becoming more difficult to find. Potential reviewers from our own community often cite a conflict of interest when turning down review requests. The NSF suggests that you contact the program officer when you consider your conflict to be “soft” (e.g. non collaborative co-authors on a multi-author publication).
NSF: Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge
NSF invites entries to the International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge cosponsored by NSF and the journal Science. Categories include photography, illustration, posters and graphics, games and apps, and videos. Winning entries will be published in a February 2014 issue of Science, and posted on and on the NSF website. The spirit of the competition is to communicate science, engineering and technology for education and journalistic purposes. The submission deadline is September 30, 2013.

The workshop submission deadline for this special call is August 15, 2013. (Workshops focusing on any region will still be accepted at the USSSP standing deadline of October 1, 2013.) For more information, please visit
Scientific Activities and Programs

The overall goal of the workshop will be to develop a set of unifying CI requirements of ocean ‘omics scientists, that will integrate their data and scientific efforts, and connect and engage both domain and cyber scientists to pursue cyber solutions for ocean ‘omics analyses. Specific workshop objectives include: 
  1. Identify major scientific challenges for the ocean ‘omics community over the next 5-15 years;
  2. Identify the data and cyber-infrastructure constraints to meeting those challenges;
  3. Identify current community data management, analysis and modeling resources and practices;
  4. Identify the data and cyber-capabilities required to meet current and upcoming challenges, by matching constraints (2) w/ resources (3);
  5. Develop and examine three prominent use-cases with important/transformative science drivers, and identify the overlapping or unique cyber infrastructure needs.
We will achieve our goals through a series of discussions and breakout sessions, and will capture and collate consensus views and syntheses in written form in near-real time. The final deliverable will be a workshop report that maps a clear vision and path forward, to address current and pending ocean ‘omics CI challenges. Many sessions of the meeting will be open to virtual participation via conferencing software. Please feel free to forward this information to any interested party and instruct them to fill out this interest form. Login instructions will be e-mailed prior to the meeting. Conveners K. Edwards, E. DeLong, G. Armbrust and J. Heidelberg

AGU 2013: Submit an abstract to V028: Mineralization Processes in Biological and Inorganic Environments; Sponsored by MSA
Recent research in mineralogy and geochemistry shows that crystal nucleation and growth can occur through processes substantially different from classical, one-ion-at-a-time crystallization. Evidence for amorphous or liquid-like precursors and oriented attachment of mineral particles has challenged our understanding of energy landscapes and solution environments. These processes may alter minor/trace element partitioning and isotope fractionation, providing enormous consequences for interpreting proxy data in the fossil record. We encourage the participation of presenters and attendees interested in microbial or eukaryotic biomineral formation of any kind. Invited authors are Patricia Dove (Virginia Tech), Alexandra Navrotsky (University of California-Davis), James De Yoreo (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory), and Adam Wallace (University of Delaware). We will be accepting oral and poster presentations for this session.  Please share this e-mail with any colleagues or students who might be interested.  Thank you! - Conveners A. Giuffre and P. Gilbert

AGU 2013: Submit an abstract to OS012: Interactions Between Mid-Ocean Ridge Hydrothermal Systems and the Ocean
The extensive multidisciplinary studies on mid-ocean ridge hydrothermal systems over the past two decades have lead to a growing realization of the coupling between hydrothermal systems with both geological and hydrodynamic processes. There has been substantial evidence for the perturbations in hydrothermal-vent outflow properties (i.e. flow rate, temperature, chemical concentration) due to earthquakes and tides. Additionally, ambient deep-ocean currents have significant influence on the mixing and dispersal of vent-generated products and vent-animal larva, while recent evidence extends the source of this influence to the surface ocean and atmospheric forcing. These findings have started to change our traditional view of mid-ocean ridge hydrothermal system as the remote oases located on the otherwise barren seafloor. This session would explore the linkage of mid-ocean ridge hydrothermal systems with geological, oceanic and atmospheric processes, the mechanisms of which are still largely poorly understood. Conveners K. Bemis and G. Xu.

Other C-DEBI Related Meeting Sessions include: B020: Deep biosphere research: presence, diversity and activity of microbes (conveners M. Lever, J. Biddle, J. Fang and M. Rappe), B073: Windows Into to the Deep Subsurface Biosphere: Coupled Geochemical and Biological Investigations of Terrestrial Hot Spring Ecosystems (conveners E. Boyd and E. Shock), B028: Geobiological Perspectives on the Energetic Limits of Life (conveners J. Marlow and S. McGlynn), and B015: Carbon Transformations in Hydrothermal Systems (conveners F. Klein, E. Reeves, F. Schubotz, W. Orsi). Abstracts are due August 6, 2013.

Ready to submit? Some quick tips for authors:
  • Review the Abstract Submission Policies
  • The person submitting the abstract will automatically be the first author.
  • The first author MUST be an AGU member. Non-members are no longer able to submit abstracts with an AGU member sponsor. Join now!
  • Your AGU membership fee for 2013 must be paid for you to be recognized as a member in the abstract submission system. Not sure if you've paid your 2013 dues? Log in as an AGU member to renew.
The past decade of IODP has fostered a significant increase in deep biosphere investigations in the marine sedimentary and crustal environments, and scientists are well poised to continue this momentum into the next phase of scientific ocean drilling. This joint workshop, co-convened by Beth Orcutt (Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences), Heath Mills (University of Houston, Clear Lake), and Jan Amend (University of Southern California) will be held in Florence, Italy on August 25, 2013, in conjunction with the 2013 Goldschmidt Conference. The goals are to evaluate recent findings in a global context, to synthesize available biogeochemical data to foster thermodynamic and metabolic activity modeling, to identify regional targets for future targeted sampling and dedicated expeditions, to foster collaborations, and to highlight the accomplishments of deep biosphere research within IODP. For more information, please email Beth Orcutt.
Early registration opens in August, and more information is available at

If you are interested in participating, please send a brief statement of interest and relevant scientific ocean drilling experience to Debbie Thomas ( by September 23, 2013. For additional information, please visit


Questions should be directed to Dr. Kathleen Ruttenberg, chair of the search committee, at More information about the Department can be found at Review of applications will begin on August 15, 2013.

University of Bremen, MARUM: Marine Geomicrobiology Junior Research Group Leader
Applications are due no later than August 1, 2013. For more details, please see the online job posting.
Review of applications will commence August 1, 2013. To apply, and for more information, please see

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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