C-DEBI Newsletter – April 1, 2019
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Publications & Press

IODP Advances in the Understanding of Subseafloor Life - NEW!
Steven L. D’Hondt*, Fumio Inagaki, Beth Orcutt*, Kai-Uwe Hinrichs
*C-DEBI Contribution 461

The most recent decadal phase of scientific ocean drilling through the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) has resulted in paradigm-​shifting understanding of life below the seafloor. Enabled by new drilling and coring approaches, cutting-edge methodologies, and novel observatory science, IODP expeditions have significantly advanced understanding of the amount and diversity of subseafloor life, the metabolic strategies that this life uses to survive under extreme energy limitation, and consequences of this life for the Earth system. Here, we summarize highlights from recent IODP expeditions focused on life beneath the seafloor and emphasize remaining major science challenges in investigating the form and function of life in this environment.

See more deep biosphere-related articles in the recent Oceanography Special Issue on Scientific Ocean Drilling: Looking to the Future, including Introduction to Theme 4: Microbial Life Deep Beneath the Seafloor (Inagaki), The Limits of Life and the Biosphere in Earth’s Interior (Verena B. Heuer, Mark A. Lever, Yuki Morono, Andreas Teske) and Future Opportunities in Scientific Ocean Drilling: Illuminating Planetary Habitability (Fumio Inagaki, Asahiko Taira).

Characterization of Carbonate Crust from a Recently Discovered Methane Seep on the North Atlantic Continental Margin of the USA - NEW!
Rinat Gabitov,* Chiara Borrelli, Jacob Buettner, Brenda Kirkland, Adam Skarke, Dustin Trail, Brittany Garner, Maurice Testa, Mahnaz Wahidi, Christopher Hoff, Salavat Khasanov, Giuliana Panieri, Roobanvenkatesh Thirumalai, Jay Thomas, Jeremy Weremeichik, Irina Zverkova
*C-DEBI Contribution 466

This study is focused on mineralogical and chemical characterization of an authigenic carbonate rock (crust) collected at a recently discovered cold seep on the US North Atlantic continental margin. X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) indicate that the carbonate rock is composed of microcrystalline aragonite cement, white acicular aragonite crystals (AcAr), equant quartz crystals, small microcrystalline aluminosilicates, and trace amounts of iron sulfide microcrystals. Element/calcium ratios were measured with laser ablation inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) using a calcite standard, which was prepared by annealing USGS certified carbonate powder (MACS-3). The occurrence of microscopic, non-carbonate inclusions precluded evaluation of trace elements in the aragonite cement, but allowed for in situ analysis of AcAr crystals. Carbon and oxygen isotopes were analyzed via isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) and expressed as δ13C and δ18O. Low δ13C values suggest that aragonite grew as a result of anaerobic oxidation of methane and observed δ18O values indicate that the temperature of aragonite crystallization was 1.7–1.9 °C.

Frontiers in Earth Science
Elemental Uptake by Calcite Slowly Grown From Seawater Solution: An in-situ Study via Depth Profiling - NEW!
Rinat Gabitov*, Chiara Borrelli, Jacob Buettner, Brenda Kirkland, Adam Skarke, Dustin Trail, Brittany Garner, Maurice Testa, Mahnaz Wahidi, Christopher Hoff, Salavat Khasanov, Giuliana Panieri, Roobanvenkatesh Thirumalai, Jay Thomas, Jeremy Weremeichik, Irina Zverkova
*C-DEBI Contribution 469

Crystal growth rate has not been sufficiently explored to understand element partitioning between calcite and seawater solutions. We investigated the uptake of Li, B, Mg, Sr, and Ba by Mg-bearing calcite slowly grown on a calcite cleavage fragment. Experiments were conducted by elevating the alkalinity of an artificial seawater solution. Growth rates were evaluated by addition of lanthanum spike. At the end of each experiment, cleavage fragments were extracted and examined with micro-Raman spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD), and laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) using depth profiling technique. Distribution of Li, B, Mg, Sr, and Ba in calcite overgrowth as well as partition coefficients of those elements were evaluated.

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: Aquifer Microbes Survive on Hydrogen and Carbon Dioxide Diet - NEW!
Bacteria living on the surface of the mineral olivine inside a deep, subseafloor aquifer rely on the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway, an ancient type of metabolism that uses hydrogen and carbon dioxide to yield energy and organic compounds. Featuring the recent ISME Journal publication and C-DEBI Contribution 467Carbon fixation and energy metabolisms of a subseafloor olivine biofilm (Smith, et al.).

Texas A&M Oceanographers On Pacific Expedition Featured On BBC Blue Planet Live - NEW!
Visually magnificent and biologically significant, ocean-floor hydrothermal vents were completely unknown to scientists until 1977. Today oceanographers are still working to understand the ecosystems around live and inactive vents, and the implications for deep-ocean science and ocean exploration policy. To get those answers, an expedition funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) is sailing next week, led by cruise Chief Scientist Dr. Jason B. Sylvan, assistant professor in the Department of Oceanography in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University. The science team will study vents on the East Pacific Rise using Alvin, a three-person human occupied vehicle (HOV) submarine. BBC-One will also be on board and broadcasting live from the first leg of the expedition. BBC-One’s Blue Planet Live program aired footage from the R/V Atlantis on March 27 and March 28, and that footage will be available online (in the UK).


Meetings & Activities

C-DEBI: Nominations Now Open For The 2019 Networked Speaker Series
C-DEBI seeks nominations for three speakers for the 2019 program. C-DEBI is continuing the Networked Speaker 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.

AGU: Propose a session, town hall, or workshop for the 2019 Fall Meeting, December 9-13, San Francisco
Proposal deadline: April 17, 2019.

2nd Geobiology Society Conference, June 9-13, 2019, Banff, Canada
Please register to confirm your attendance by April 19, 2019.

IODP Workshop: IBM Arc System & Analogs
Workshop participation is open to U.S. and international researchers and the deadline to apply is May 1, 2019.

ISSM: Submit your abstracts to the 11th ISSM conference, June 14-19, 2020, Utrecht, The Netherlands - NEW!
The International Society for Subsurface Microbiology (ISSM) is made up of microbiologists, ecologists, geoscientists, and other researchers around the world fascinated by the various aspects of subsurface microbiology, a rapidly expanding field that focuses on microbial life below the surface of the earth. ISSM has organized numerous symposiums on subsurface microbiology in locations as diverse as Germany, Japan, New Zealand, USA and the UK. These symposia are meant to showcase the latest technologies and research in subsurface microbiology, including microbial ecology. The International Society of Subsurface Microbiology is honoured to invite you to its 11th international conference in Utrecht (The Netherlands) in June 2020. Abstracts due in September 2019.

Ongoing Activities:


Education & Outreach

C-DEBI: Next Professional Development Webinar: April 17, 12pm PST - NEW!
Pete Girguis (Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University) leads the next C-DEBI Professional Development Webinar on “Broadening your thinking and your impact: Tips on how to develop effective outreach programs.” Missed the last Professional Development Webinar on “Lessons Learned: Adventures in Online Teaching and Trying to Balance Research & Teaching” with Jason Sylvan (Texas A&M)? Watch it on YouTube.

C-DEBI: Call for Nominations: Professional Development Webinar Series
Know someone who can share their knowledge of essential skills not learned in graduate school, like developing a syllabus, how to choose what professional service committees to serve on or how to transition to a career in industry? C-DEBI seeks nominations for its Professional Development Webinar series. In addition to providing training in state-of-the-art technologies and instrumentation for graduate students and beyond, we emphasize professional development training targeting skills needed both in and out of academia. These live interactive webinars provide transferable skills for all early career scientists and will be archived on the website for those unable to “attend” the live events. Potential speakers can be nominated by colleagues, mentors, or those mentored by C-DEBI participants; they can also self-nominate. Selected C-DEBI Professional Development Speakers will make a presentation online, using video conferencing tools, with assistance from the C-DEBI main office at USC. Nominated C-DEBI Professional Development Speakers should be capable of combining compelling visual materials with the ability to communicate effectively to a broad audience. Please send nominee name, contact info/description, and subject topic to Education, Outreach, & Diversity Managing Director, Stephanie Schroeder

IODP-USSSP: U.S. Travel Support for Petrophysics Summer School
The deadline to apply for travel support and for the course is April 22, 2019.

IODP-USSSP: Apply to sail on the JR as an Onboard Outreach Officer - NEW!
The USSSP Onboard Outreach Program gives formal and informal educators, artists, writers, videographers and other participants the opportunity to spend an entire expedition with an IODP shipboard party and translate their experiences for students and the general public via blogs, videos, social networking sites, live ship-to-shore video events and development of educational resources. Onboard Outreach Program participants are selected through a competitive application and interview process. All expenses for Onboard Outreach Program participants, such as travel to and from the ports of call, and a $10,000 stipend, are paid by USSSP. The selected individual(s) will also be flown to a three-day training session prior to their expedition. Non-US applicants will be directed to their country’s IODP Program Member Office but are still encouraged to apply. We are now accepting applications to sail as an Onboard Outreach Officer on Expedition 387: Amazon Margin or Expedition 388: Equatorial Atlantic Gateway. Application period closes April 26, 2019.

IODP-USSSP: Apply to host an Ocean Discovery Lecturer
For the 2018-19 academic year, an exciting lineup of distinguished lecturers is available to speak at your institution, including C-DEBI researchers Ginny Edgcomb and Brandi Kiel Reese. Application deadline to host an Ocean Discovery Lecturer: May 17, 2019.


Proposal Calls

AGU: Submit a nomination for the Taira Prize - deadline extended - UPDATED!
The Asahiko Taira International Scientific Ocean Drilling Research Prize (The Taira Prize) is given annually to one honoree in recognition of “outstanding transdisciplinary research accomplishment in ocean drilling.” Established in 2014, the Taira Prize is a partnership between the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and the Japan Geoscience Union (JpGU), and is made possible through the generous donation from the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Management International (IODP-MI). The prize is given in honor of Dr. Asahiko Taira of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology. Deadline to nominate: April 15, 2019.

Simons Foundation: Postdoctoral Fellowships in Marine Microbial Ecology - NEW!
The Simons Foundation invites applications for postdoctoral fellowships to support research on fundamental problems in marine microbial ecology. The foundation is particularly interested in applicants with training in different fields who want to apply their experience to understanding the role of microorganisms in shaping ocean processes, and vice versa, as well as applicants with experience in modeling or theory development. While these cross-disciplinary applicants will receive particular attention, applicants already involved in ocean research are also encouraged to apply. The foundation anticipates awarding five fellowships in 2019. Application deadline: June 14, 2019.

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

NSF: Biological Oceanography
Full proposal deadline date: August 15, 2019.

NSF: Chemical Oceanography
Full proposal deadline date: August 15, 2019.

NSF: Physical Oceanography
Full proposal deadline date: August 15, 2019.

NSF: Accelerating Research through International Network-to-Network Collaborations (AccelNet)
Letter of intent due date: October 30, 2019.

NSF: Research Traineeship (NRT) Program
Next letter of intent window: November 25, 2019 – December 6, 2019.

Rolling Calls:



TAMU: Instructional Assistant Professor
Application deadline: June 1, 2019.

MSU: Assistant/Associate Professor of Environmental Microbiology

Princeton University: 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

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