C-DEBI Newsletter – December 15, 2016
This newsletter is also accessible via our website.

Message from the Director

There are plans afoot to create a new federal 10-year ocean research plan ( to replace the plan created in 2007 and updated in 2013. This new plan will guide future federal funding, so it is vital that the science that we think is important is considered in the plan. To refresh your memory, C-DEBI scientists provided numerous comments on the 2013 update, and the impacts were undeniable in the resulting document. Now is the time to do that again! The public comment period on the draft societal themes and research goals is open until January 1, so there is not much time. It is only 7 pages, so take 10 minutes to read it.

We appreciate your commitment to C-DEBI and all its science, education, and outreach efforts. We are stronger together, evidenced again by the great interest in the latest call for research and education grants (13 graduate fellowship, 15 postdoc fellowship, 9 research, 3 education), which are currently being reviewed by C-DEBI Leadership and our E&O Steering Committee.

Happy holidays and best wishes for the new year!

Jan Amend
C-DEBI Director



Genome Announcements
Draft Genome Sequence of Antarctic Methanogen Enriched from Dry Valley Permafrost
Joy Buongiorno, Jordan T. Bird, Kirill Krivushin, Victoria Oshurkova, Victoria Shcherbakova, Elizaveta M. Rivkina, Karen G. Lloyd*, Tatiana A. Vishnivetskaya
*C-DEBI Contribution 339

A genomic reconstruction belonging to the genus Methanosarcina was assembled from metagenomic data from a methane-producing enrichment of Antarctic permafrost. This is the first methanogen genome reported from permafrost of the Dry Valleys and can help shed light on future climate-affected methane dynamics.

Proposal Calls

L'Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellowships
The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship program awards five women postdoctoral scientists annually with grants of $60,000 each for their contributions in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields and commitment to serving as role models for younger generations. The program is the U.S. component of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Fellowships program. Celebrating its thirteenth year in the U.S., the For Women in Science program has awarded 65 postdoctoral women scientists over $3 million in grants. L’Oréal USA partners with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to manage the program’s application and peer-review process. Each year, the program attracts talented applicants from diverse STEM fields, representing some of the nation’s leading academic institutions and laboratories. The 2017 L’Oréal USA for Women in Science application period is now open and will close on February 3, 2017.

The National Academies: Gulf Research Program Early-Career Research Fellowships
The early-career research fellowship supports emerging scientists as they take risks on research ideas not yet tested, pursue unique collaborations, and build a network of colleagues who share their interest in preventing oil spills and in the well-being of coastal communities and ecosystems. These two-year fellowships are awarded to tenure-track faculty (or equivalent) at colleges, universities, and research institutions. Because the pretenure phase of a researcher’s career is a critical time, the unrestricted funds and mentoring this fellowship provides help recipients navigate this period with independence, flexibility, and a built-in support network. Fellows will receive an award of $76,000 paid to their institution in the form of a two-year grant. Applications due February 22, 2017.

NSF: Data Infrastructure Building Blocks (DIBBs) Program Solicitation
The DIBBs program encourages development of robust and shared data-centric cyberinfrastructure capabilities, to accelerate interdisciplinary and collaborative research in areas of inquiry stimulated by data. DIBBs investments enable new data-focused services, capabilities, and resources to advance scientific discoveries, collaborations, and innovations. The investments are expected to build upon, integrate with, and contribute to existing community cyberinfrastructure, serving as evaluative resources while developments in national-scale access, policy, interoperability and sustainability continue to evolve. Effective solutions will bring together cyberinfrastructure expertise and domain researchers, to ensure that the resulting cyberinfrastructure address researchers’ data needs. The activities should address the data challenges arising in a disciplinary or cross-disciplinary context. (Throughout this solicitation, ‘community’ refers to a group of researchers interested in solving one or more linked scientific questions, while ‘domains’ and ‘disciplines’ refer to areas of expertise or application.) The projects should stimulate data-driven scientific discoveries and innovations, and address broad community needs, nationally and internationally. Full proposal deadline January 3, 2017.

NSF: Division of Environmental Biology (core programs) (DEB) Program Solicitation
Preliminary proposal due date: January 23, 2017.

NSF: Long Term Research in Environmental Biology (LTREB) Program Solicitation
Preliminary proposal due date: January 23, 2017.

NSF: Arctic Sciences Program Solicitation
Proposals accepted anytime.

NSF: Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP) Program Solicitation
Preparing for TCUP Implementation 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).

C-DEBI: Rolling call for Research Exchange proposals

Education & Outreach

C-DEBI: Applications Now Open for the NSF REU: Community College Cultivation Cohort (C4)
C-DEBI’s NSF REU, C4, is a 9-week research internship targeting community college students nationwide. Students will spend their summer doing cutting edge research as they help grow, isolate, and describe previously unknown microorganisms. C4 students will work in teams in laboratories at USC, learning state-of-the-art techniques ranging from DNA sequencing to microscopy and sterile techniques to analytical chemistry. Applications due February 1, 2017.

C-DEBI: Applications Now Open for the 2017 Summer Undergraduate GEM Course
The GEM Course is an all-expenses paid, three-week intensive introductory course in Global Environmental Microbiology (GEM) geared for early career undergraduates from 2 and 4 year institutions. Note: First generation college, women, and under-represented students encouraged to apply. The course focuses on microbes found in aquatic environments investigated through authentic research experiences (students collect, process & interpret data). This residential course includes lectures, labs and fieldwork at USC and on Santa Catalina Island. Applications due February 1, 2017.

Searching for Life in the Mariana Back-arc: cruise log and live video from ROV SuBastian
Home of the deepest spot on the planet, the Mariana subduction system serves as a valuable natural laboratory for testing ideas about what governs the distribution of animals at hydrothermal vent systems. The deep trench, shallow to mid-depth volcanic arc, and mid-depth to deep spreading back-arc, provide a wide variety of habitats for research. Of these, more than 600 km of the back-arc has remained relatively unexplored. This December, the science team will follow up from a discovery cruise that occurred on Falkor last winter. During the previous visit, three new hydrothermal vents were discovered; one of them being among the deepest vents in the world.  This time, the team will return with our brand-new 4,500 m capable ROV SuBastian to explore the life and activity at the vent sites. Links: #HydrothermalHunt livestreamCruise Log.

Follow the 2016 Guaymas Basin cruise via twitter and blog!
Follow and circulate the unfolding Guaymas Basin cruise under hashtag #GuaymasBasin and So far the cruise has started in a very eventful manner which defies easy summary. The blog is bilingual, thanks to Tito Montenegro, a columbian student on the boat who translates everything. If all goes well, we will also visit some of the proposed IODP drilling sites with Sentry and Alvin!

MARUM: ECORD Training Course 2017, March 6-10, 2017, Bremen, Germany
The application deadline is January 9, 2017.


Meetings & Activities

C-DEBI: Networked Speaker Series 2016-2017: Call for nominations
C-DEBI seeks nominations for three speakers for the 2016-2017 program. C-DEBI is continuing the NetworkedSpeaker Series (begun in Fall 2011) as a means to enhance communication and the exchange of ideas among our spatially distributed community. 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. Nominated C-DEBI Networked Speakers should be capable of combining compelling visual materials with the ability to communicate effectively to a broad audience. We are particularly enthusiastic about giving young researchers a chance to present work to the C-DEBI community. Being selected to be a C-DEBI Networked Speaker is an honor. For more information about the Speaker Series and nomination request, please see:–speaker–series/.

Community Webinars: Searching for Rock Hosted Life on Mars
Motivated by the suite of habitable environments available to Mars-2020 for in situ exploration and sample collection, we are convening a set of 4 web-hosted telecons, open to the community. The first two telecons are:

  • Telecon 1: Martian Environment: Evidence for Rock-Hosted Waters
    What is the evidence for ancient Mars environmental conditions? What is the likelihood of habitats for rock-hosted life?
    December 19, 8:30AM PST // facilitated by Bethany Ehlmann, Paul Niles
  • Telecon 2: Metabolisms and Niches for Terrestrial Rock-Hosted Life
    Where rock-hosted life found on earth today? What are its metabolisms and products?
    December 20, 8:30AM PST // facilitated by Tullis Onstott, Jeff Marlow

The URL for the meeting is: Select “Enter as a Guest”, type in your name and click the “Enter Room” button. The telecon line is 844-467-6272, passcode 250961. For further schedule and information about the working group, see:

Community Survey: Help Support JOIDES Resolution Facility Renewal
In preparation for the 2018 NSF presentation to the National Science Board seeking renewal of the JOIDES Resolution facility (JR), the U.S. IODP scientific community will convene a workshop on September 26-28, 2017 to review and assess the role of the JR in meeting the challenges of the 2013-2023 IODP Science Plan, Illuminating Earth’s Past, Present and Future. This assessment will cover the period beginning with the start of the International Ocean Discovery Program (Expedition 349 in 2014) and include both an inventory of facility accomplishments and an identification of specific Science Plan challenges that require the continued use of the JR to meet. Your input is critical to this effort. If you have sailed on the JR, plan to in the future, or use data acquired on JR expeditions, we ask that you take the time to complete the survey to let us know your experiences, opinions and priorities for the facility. Your candid responses will provide the foundation upon which we can prepare for the 2017 workshop and build a successful case for renewal of the JR facility. Although the final decision on renewal will be made by the U.S. National Science Foundation, we seek input from all users of the JR and its data, both within and outside of the U.S. We anticipate that completing this survey will take 15-30 minutes, depending on the level of detail you wish to provide. To complete the survey, please visit

ISSM 2017: Conference Announcement
Abstract submissions open TODAY, December 15, 2016.

C-DEBI: Rolling call for Community Workshop support


Bigelow: Postdoctoral Research Scientist in Microbial Single Cell Genomics and Horizontal Gene Transfer
Two postdoctoral positions are available in Dr. Stepanauskas’ research group. Hired scientists will be engaged in a major effort to improve our understanding of the composition, functional capacity and microevolution of the marine microbiome, by taking advantage of the recent advances in single cell genomics, metagenomics and other cutting-edge technologies. One of the key goals is a quantitative analysis of horizontal gene transfer – a major evolutionary process that is expected to be important in ocean’s response to environmental changes but remains poorly understood. Candidates must have a PhD degree in a relevant field and significant experience in microbiology, evolution and bioinformatics. Excellent written and verbal communication skills and ability to work harmoniously in a collaborative research team are crucial. Anticipated employment duration: 2 years, with potential extension. Bigelow Laboratory’s new campus is located in scenic, coastal Maine with abundant opportunities for outdoor and cultural activities. It is about an hour drive from Portland and a 3-hour drive from Boston. For full consideration, the application should be received by January 15, 2017.

UCLA: Tenure track Assistant Professor Position In Quantitative Ecology or Evolution of Microbes
The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the new Institute for Quantitative and Computational Biosciences (QCBio) at the University of California, Los Angeles are searching for a joint faculty appointment at the level of Assistant Professor. Candidates must have a PhD within the field of Biology, Microbiology and/or Computational Sciences. Quantitative and computational biologists working on the ecology or evolution of terrestrial or aquatic (including marine) microbiomes, microbial symbionts, and/or pathogens, at the level of populations or communities, are invited to apply. The competitive applicant will conduct conceptually oriented research that uses quantitative or computational approaches such as mathematical modeling, genomics/metagenomics, or network science. Research on naturally-occurring or laboratory systems will be considered, and experimental approaches and use of emerging technologies are encouraged. Review of applications will begin on January 15, 2017.

Princeton: Hess Postdoctoral Research Fellows Program, Geosciences
Applications are due by January 1, 2017, but evaluation of applications and interviews of candidates will begin immediately.

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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