C-DEBI Newsletter – September 16, 2013
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Proposal Calls

C-DEBI Fall 2013 Proposal Calls for Deep Biosphere Research Grants
We are pleased to announce our current call for proposals for deep biosphere research grants, research and travel exchanges, and postdoctoral and graduate student fellowships! 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 encourages women and members of underrepresented groups to apply. Funding is only available to individuals sponsored in US institutions. The next deadline for these semiannual calls is October 1, 2013Please forward as appropriate!
C-DEBI K-12 Teacher Small Grants
C-DEBI invites K-12 teachers who have who have attended a C-DEBI teacher-training program to submit proposals for support up to $2,500 to incorporate C-DEBI content into their classrooms or share with their colleagues. Please see the PDF for qualifying training programs and further details.  For additional questions, contact Diversity Director, Cynthia Joseph at We look forward to your proposals! Fall Call: due October 15th.

IODP: Call for Scientific Ocean Drilling Proposals
The International Ocean Discovery Program starts October 2013. Drilling proposals for this new program are now being solicited by the current IODP (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program). The use of three types of drilling platforms is planned for the new IODP: (a) The riserless D/V JOIDES Resolution; (b) the riser (with riserless option) D/V Chikyu; and (c) Mission Specific Platforms (MSP) which provide a wide range of technologies for drilling and coring in various types of environments not accessible to JOIDES Resolution and ChikyuJOIDES Resolution is planned to operate for 8 months or more per year, depending on available levels of support, under a long-term, global circumnavigation plan based on proposal pressure. MSP expeditions are planned to operate once per year on average. Operations of Chikyu will be more project-based. JOIDES Resolution is expected to operate in the eastern Indian and western and south western Pacific oceans through 2016 and 2017, followed by a track across the southern Pacific Ocean, with an opportunity for drilling in the southern and Atlantic Ocean in 2018 and 2019. Although proponents are strongly encouraged to submit drilling proposals for any region, proposals for the southern ocean, and the south and central Atlantic in particular are encouraged at this time. Chikyu drilling proposals concerning any ocean are welcomed. MSP proposals concerning any ocean are also welcomed, but proposals for the Arctic are particularly encouraged at this time. The science plan for the new IODP defines the themes of highest programmatic priority and can be found at on already planned drilling activities, proposal guidance at www.iodp.orgQuestions: Next Proposal Submission Deadline: October 1st, 2013.

NSF: Ocean Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowships (OCE-PRF)
The Division of Ocean Sciences (OCE) offers postdoctoral research fellowships to provide opportunities for scientists early in their careers to work within and across traditional disciplinary lines, develop partnerships, and avail themselves of unique resources, sites and facilities. The fellowship program is intended to recognize beginning investigators of significant potential, and provide them with experience that will establish them in positions of leadership in the scientific community. During tenure, fellows will affiliate with an appropriate research institution(s) and conduct research on topics supported by OCE. The OCE fellowship program has two tracks: 1) Track 1 (Broadening Participation) and 2) Track 2 (International). Fellowships are awards to individuals, not organizations, and are administered by the fellows. Full proposal target date: January 13, 2014.

NSF: Discovery Research K-12 (DRK-12)
The Discovery Research K-12 program (DRK-12) seeks to significantly enhance the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by preK-12 students and teachers, through research and development of innovative resources, models and tools (RMTs). Projects in the DRK-12 program build on fundamental research in STEM education and prior research and development efforts that provide theoretical and empirical justification for proposed projects. Teachers and students who participate in DRK-12 studies are expected to enhance their understanding and use of STEM content, practices and skills. DRK-12 invites proposals that address immediate challenges that are facing preK-12 STEM education as well as those that anticipate radically different structures and functions of pre-K 12 teaching and learning. The program supports three types of projects: (1) Exploratory, (2) Full Design and Development, and (3) Conferences, Workshops, and Syntheses. All three types of projects apply to each of the four DRK-12 strands. Full proposal deadline: December 06, 2013.

IODP: Call for IODP-Related Workshop Proposals
The submission deadline is October 1, 2013.  For more information, please visit:

Hot Off the Press: Extracellular Enzymes in Terrestrial, Freshwater, and Marine Environments: Perspectives on System Variability and Common Research Needs (C-DEBI Contribution 175) in Biogeochemistry
Extracellular enzymes produced by heterotrophic microbial communities are major drivers of carbon and nutrient cycling in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine environments. Although carbon and nutrient cycles are coupled on global scales, studies of extracellular enzymes associated with terrestrial, freshwater, and marine microbial communities are not often compared across ecosystems. In part, this disconnect arises because the environmental parameters that control enzyme activities in terrestrial and freshwater systems, such as temperature, pH, and moisture content, have little explanatory power for patterns of enzyme activities in marine systems. Instead, factors such as the functional diversity of microbial communities may explain varying patterns of enzyme activities observed in the ocean to date. In any case, many studies across systems focus on similar issues that highlight the commonalities of microbial community organization. Examples include the effective lifetime of enzymes released into the environment; the extent to which microbial communities coordinate enzyme expression to decompose complex organic substrates; and the influence of microbial community composition on enzyme activities and kinetics. Here C-DEBI research grantee C. Arnosti et al review the often-disparate research foci in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine environments. We consider the extent to which environmental factors may regulate extracellular enzyme activities within each ecosystem, and highlight commonalities and current methodological challenges to identify research questions that may aid in integrating cross-system perspectives in the future.

Predominant Archaea in Marine Sediments Degrade Detrital Proteins (C-DEBI Contribution 177) in Nature
Half of the microbial cells in the Earth’s oceans are found in sediments. Many of these cells are members of the Archaea, single-celled prokaryotes in a domain of life separate from Bacteria and Eukaryota. However, most of these archaea lack cultured representatives, leaving their physiologies and placement on the tree of life uncertain. Here C-DEBI research grantees K.G. Lloyd and A.D. Steen et al show that the uncultured miscellaneous crenarchaeotal group (MCG) and marine benthic group-D (MBG-D) are among the most numerous archaea in the marine sub-sea floor. Single-cell genomic sequencing of one cell of MCG and three cells of MBG-D indicated that they form new branches basal to the archaeal phyla Thaumarchaeota and Aigarchaeota, for MCG, and the order Thermoplasmatales, for MBG-D. All four cells encoded extracellular protein-degrading enzymes such as gingipain and clostripain that are known to be effective in environments chemically similar to marine sediments. Furthermore, we found these two types of peptidase to be abundant and active in marine sediments, indicating that uncultured archaea may have a previously undiscovered role in protein remineralization in anoxic marine sediments.

Scientific Activities and Programs

DeSSC: Applications for the Student/Early Career Scientist DeSSC Program Now Being Accepted
Opportunity: Participate in a workshop tailored to engage students/early career scientists in deep sea research. The workshop is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, December 7-8, 2013 in San Francisco, CA (before the AGU Fall meeting). Applications for travel and lodging support are being accepted through October 13th, 2013
Background: The National Deep Submergence Facility (or NDSF) manages and operates the U.S. submersible Alvin, the remotely operated vehicle Jason/Medea, and the autonomous underwater vehicle Sentry. These deep submergence vehicles are renowned for facilitating and advancing deep-sea research, e.g. the discovery of hydrothermal vents, studying the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, etc. The Deep Submergence Science Committee (DeSSC) is a standing committee of scientists who provide support and advice to the NDSF. The DeSSC fall meeting is an open forum for marine scientists to learn about scientific discoveries and technical advances, as well as to express their opinions about NDSF activities. The DeSSC meeting is held annually on the Sunday before the start of the AGU fall meeting.

ISSM 2014: Ninth International Symposium on Subsurface Microbiology
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


Review of applications will begin on receipt with a deadline of November 10th for full consideration.

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences: Two Principal Investigator Positions
For full consideration, the application should be received by 25 October 2013.

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

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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