C-DEBI Newsletter – January 2, 2019
This newsletter is also accessible via our website.


Publications & Press

Experimental Constraints on Abiotic Formation of Tubules and Other Proposed Biological Structures in Subsurface Volcanic Glass - NEW!
Thomas M. McCollom*, Christopher Donaldson
*C-DEBI Contribution 422

Formation of microtubules in volcanic glass from subsurface environments has been widely attributed to in situ activity of micro-organisms, but evidence directly linking those structures to biological processes remains lacking. Investigations into the alternative possibility of abiotic tubule formation have been limited. A laboratory experiment was conducted to examine whether moderate-temperature hydrothermal alteration of basaltic glass by seawater would produce structures similar to those ascribed to biological processes. Shards of glass were reacted with artificial seawater at 150°C for 48 days. Following reaction, the shards were uniformly covered with a brick-red alteration rind 10–30 μm thick composed primarily of phyllosilicates. Inspection of the margins of reacted shards with light microscopy did not reveal any tubule structures. However, the alteration products did include features containing micron-sized spheroidal structures that resemble granular alteration textures, which some investigators have attributed to biological activity. This result suggests that the granular textures may be at least partially abiotic, and that biological activity may make a smaller contribution to alteration of the oceanic crust than has been previously proposed. Also, while the experimental results do not exclude the possibility that tubules form abiotically, they do place limitations on the conditions under which this may occur.

Have an upcoming manuscript about the deep subseafloor biosphere and want to increase your press coverage? NSF's Office of Legislative and Public Affairs is looking to coordinate press releases between your home institution and the NSF to coincide with the date of publication. Please contact us as soon as your publication is accepted!

DCO: Deep Baltic Microbes Have a Taste for Alcohol and Cannibalism - NEW!
In the carbon-rich sediments of the Baltic Sea, microbes use a variety of strategies to make a living from different types of organic material that have settled there, including making and consuming alcohol and breaking down proteins from dead cells. Featuring Zinke, et al. in Applied and Environmental Microbiology (C-DEBI Contribution 448).


Meetings & Activities

C-DEBI now has a company page on LinkedIn - join us!
Use LinkedIn for professional networking or job discovery? Add our job announcements and other relevant news to your feed by “following” C-DEBI’s company page, and link your profile via the Work Experience section (e.g., “Postdoctoral Fellow at C-DEBI: Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations”).

EGU: General Assembly 2019: IODP Session - NEW!
Scientific drilling through the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) and the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) continues to provide unique opportunities to investigate the workings of the interior of our planet, Earth’s cycles, natural hazards and the distribution of subsurface microbial life. The past and current scientific drilling programs have brought major advances in many multidisciplinary fields of socio-economic relevance, such as climate and ecosystem evolution, palaeoceanography, the deep biosphere, deep crustal and tectonic processes, geodynamics and geohazards. This session invites contributions that present and/or review recent scientific results from deep Earth sampling and monitoring through ocean and continental drilling projects. Furthermore, we encourage contributions that outline perspectives and visions for future drilling projects, in particular projects using a multi-platform approach. The abstract submission deadline is January 10, 2019.

EGU: General Assembly 2019: Session BG4.2
The abstract submission deadline is January 10, 2019.

DCO Webinar: Breaking the mold of the traditional field expedition: Biology Meets Subduction
The live webinar with Peter Barry (University of Oxford, UK), Karen Lloyd (University of Tennessee Knoxville, USA), and Donato Giovannelli (CNR-IRBIM, Italy and Rutgers University, USA) will be held January 23, 2019 at 11am PT / 2pm ET.

Goldschmidt: Session 09c: Biogeochemical Cycling in Changing Glacial Habitats and Downstream Ecosystems - NEW!
Attending Goldschmidt 2019 in Barcelona? Consider submitting your abstracts to Session 09c: Biogeochemical Cycling in Changing Glacial Habitats and Downstream Ecosystems (conveners: Alexander Michaud and Trista Vick-Majors). Glaciers and ice sheets, as major drivers of weathering and erosion, are important features within the critical zone. As the size, distribution, and melt patterns associated with glaciers continue to change, so too will their impacts to downstream ecosystems. Habitats beneath and downstream of glaciers will contend with hydrologic changes leading to altered nutrient and sediment regimes. The microorganisms that catalyze the transformation of elements within glacial habitats and downstream environments will respond to these changes in unknown ways. This session seeks to synthesize knowledge on the impacts of changing hydrology and sediment transport on the biogeochemistry of glaciated systems, the microbial life in those systems, and the downstream consequences of change. We invite abstracts that address biogeochemical linkages within or among components of glaciated systems, or how microbial or biogeochemical processes are affected by changes in glacier movement, hydrology, or extent. Habitats downstream of glaciers are numerous, so we encourage abstracts from studies conducted in fjords, terrestrial glacial forefields, proglacial lakes, supraglacial, and subglacial habitats. The session aims to contextualize how glacial changes will regulate future biogeochemical processes. Abstract submission opens January 15, 2019, and closes March 29, 2019.

UC Boulder: Save the Date: Third Annual Rocky Mountain Geobiology Symposium, April 6, 2019 - NEW!
The Rocky Mountain Geobiology Symposium is a one-day conference that brings geobiologists from the Rocky Mountain region together to share their research findings. Oral and poster presentations are open for students and postdocs; faculty are encouraged to attend. Registration is free to attendees. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be provided, as well as limited travel assistance for students and postdocs. Registration will open in January on our website.

Save the Date: 16th SoCal Geobiology Symposium @ CalTech, April 6, 2019
A registration website will be available soon.

Ongoing Activities:


Education & Outreach

SALSA: Follow the Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access Project, December 2018 - January 2019 - NEW!
We know more about Mars than we know about Antarctica’s subglacial environment, but new information about its nature is changing the way we view the continent. The Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access (SALSA) project aims to uncover new knowledge about this newly explored biome through an integrative study of subglacial geobiology, water column and sedimentary organic carbon, and geobiological processes in one of the largest subglacial lakes in West Antarctica. Over December 2018 – January 2019, SALSA will set up a field camp of 50 scientists, drillers, and support staff to drill 4,000 feet into the ice and sample from this scarcely studied environment. Located roughly 500 miles from the South Pole, team members will reach the study site using specialized tractors and ski equipped aircraft. Follow us on our BlogInstagramTwitter, or FacebookClick here to view news stories highlighting SALSA’s work.

UNLV: Graduate Research Assistantships in Deep Biosphere and Cave Research
Open until filled, UNLV application deadline – January 15, 2019.

MARUM: ECORD Training Course, March 25-29, 2019
Application deadline: January 18, 2019.

CalTech: Geobiology 2019: An International Training Course in a Rapidly Evolving Field
Applications are due by February 8, 2019.


Proposal Calls

NOPP: FY2019 Broad Agency Announcement
Proposal deadline January 18, 2019.

NSF: Understanding the Rules of Life (URoL): Epigenetics
Full proposal deadline: February 1, 2019.

IODP-USSSP: Apply to Sail on Expedition 387: Amazon Margin
The deadline to apply is March 1, 2019.

IODP-USSSP: Apply to Sail on Expedition 388: Equatorial Atlantic Gateway
The deadline to apply is April 1, 2019.

NSF: Opportunities for Promoting Understanding through Synthesis (OPUS)
Full proposal deadline: August 5, 2019.

Rolling Calls:




Princeton University: Assistant Professor - NEW!
The Department of Geosciences at Princeton University is seeking applications for a tenure-track assistant professor faculty position in geology, broadly defined. We are particularly interested in interdisciplinary scientists who could interact productively with existing faculty working in geophysics and/or climate. Possible fields of specialty include, but are not limited to, petrology, volcanology, tectonics, glaciology, rock deformation, earth surface processes, and paleontology. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Assistant / Associate Professor of Microbiology
Review of applications will begin on January 10, 2019 and continue until the position is filled.

VIMS: Cluster Hires - Five Assistant/Associate Professors - NEW!
The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), in fulfilling strategic plans for expansion in key areas, is seeking applications for five new faculty positions as part of its three-part mission to conduct interdisciplinary research in coastal ocean and estuarine science, educate students and citizens, and provide advisory service to policy makers, industry, and the public. The School of Marine Science at VIMS is the graduate school in marine science for William & Mary. We invite applications for the following tenure-eligible Assistant/Associate Professor positions in the School of Marine Science: Coastal & Estuarine Ecology, Estuarine/Coastal Physical Oceanography, Marine Chemistry (Two Positions), and Phytoplankton Ecology. For full consideration, application materials are due January 14, 2019.

U Oldenburg: Professorship in Benthic Microbiology
Applications should be submitted by no later than January 15, 2019.

USGS: Mendenhall Research Fellowship Program
The deadline for submission is Friday, January 18, 2019.

MSU: Assistant/Associate Professor of Environmental Microbiology
Screening of applications will begin on February 1, 2019; however, applications will continue to be accepted until an adequate applicant pool has been established.

U Toronto: Postdoctoral Positions in Fluid-Rock Interactions and Deep Subsurface Life

UNC Chapel Hill: Guaymas Basin postdoc opportunity

TAMU: Instructional Assistant Professor

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.

C-DEBI is now on Twitter! Follow and tweet to us @deepbiosphere or tag #CDEBI.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp