C-DEBI Newsletter – August 1, 2018
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Frontiers in Microbiology
Low Energy Subsurface Environments as Extraterrestrial Analogs  - NEW!
Rose M. Jones, Jacqueline Goordial*, Beth N. Orcutt*
*C-DEBI Contribution 431

Earth’s subsurface is often isolated from phototrophic energy sources and characterized by chemotrophic modes of life. These environments are often oligotrophic and limited in electron donors or electron acceptors, and include continental crust, subseafloor oceanic crust, and marine sediment as well as subglacial lakes and the subsurface of polar desert soils. These low energy subsurface environments are therefore uniquely positioned for examining minimum energetic requirements and adaptations for chemotrophic life. Current targets for astrobiology investigations of extant life are planetary bodies with largely inhospitable surfaces, such as Mars, Europa, and Enceladus. Subsurface environments on Earth thus serve as analogs to explore possibilities of subsurface life on extraterrestrial bodies. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of subsurface environments as potential analogs, and the features of microbial communities existing in these low energy environments, with particular emphasis on how they inform the study of energetic limits required for life. The thermodynamic energetic calculations presented here suggest that free energy yields of reactions and energy density of some metabolic redox reactions on Mars, Europa, Enceladus, and Titan could be comparable to analog environments in Earth’s low energy subsurface habitats.

Do you 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. If your publication is accepted, but not yet online with a DOI, contact us for more information.


Education & Outreach

C-DEBI: Next Professional Development Webinar: August 31, 12pm PT - NEW!
Drew Steen (C-DEBI Assistant Professor of Environmental Geology, University of Tennessee) leads the next C-DEBI Professional Development Webinar on “Work-life Balance is Essential and also it can’t Possibly Exist.” The access URL for the webinar is Missed the most recent C-DEBI Professional Development Webinar on “What I wish I knew before I knew it: Surviving the early years of tenure-track faculty” with Brandi Kiel Reese (TAMU)? Watch it on YouTube.

ICDP: Training Course on Continental Scientific Drilling - NEW!
The International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) invites scientists from upcoming scientific drilling projects to apply for the ICDP Training Course on Continental Scientific Drilling to be held from November 18-23, 2018 at the Geocenter KTB in Windischeschenbach (Germany). This training course will touch upon all relevant aspects of continental scientific drilling, including project planning and management, pre-site surveys, drilling engineering, sample handling and storage, on-site studies, downhole logging and monitoring, data management, and post-drilling measures. The training course is recommended for masters students, doctorate students, and post-docs involved in scientific drilling. Preference will be given to applicants involved in ICDP drilling projects, applicants from ICDP member countries, developing countries, and those from countries considering ICDP membership. For the successful candidates, expenses including those for traveling, visa, meals, and accommodation will be covered by ICDP. The deadline for applications is September 14, 2018.

IODP: How to bring the new JOIDES Resolution Traveling Exhibit to your community

Proposal Calls

NSF: Biological Oceanography - NEW!
The Biological Oceanography Program supports research in marine ecology broadly defined: relationships among aquatic organisms and their interactions with the environments of the oceans or Great Lakes. Projects submitted to the program for consideration are often interdisciplinary efforts that may include participation by other OCE Programs. Full Proposal Target Date: August 15, 2018.

NSF: Chemical Oceanography - NEW!
The Chemical Oceanography Program supports research into the chemistry of the oceans and the role of the oceans in global geochemical cycles. Areas of interest include chemical composition, speciation, and transformation; chemical exchanges between the oceans and other components of the Earth system; internal cycling in oceans, seas, and estuaries; and the use of measured chemical distributions as indicators of physical, biological, and geological processes. Full Proposal Target Date: August 15, 2018.

NSF: Physical Oceanography - NEW!
The Physical Oceanography Program supports research on a wide range of topics associated with the structure and movement of the ocean, with the way in which it transports various quantities, with the way the ocean’s physical structure interacts with the biological and chemical processes within it, and with interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere, solid earth and ice that surround it. Full Proposal Target Date: August 15, 2018.

NSF: Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) - NEW!
The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program. This solicitation features two mechanisms for support of student research: (1) REU Sites are based on independent proposals to initiate and conduct projects that engage a number of students in research. REU Sites may be based in a single discipline or academic department or may offer interdisciplinary or multi-department research opportunities with a coherent intellectual theme. Proposals with an international dimension are welcome. (2) REU Supplements may be included as a component of proposals for new or renewal NSF grants or cooperative agreements or may be requested for ongoing NSF-funded research projects. Undergraduate student participants in either REU Sites or REU Supplements must be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or permanent residents of the United States. Students do not apply to NSF to participate in REU activities. Students apply directly to REU Sites or to NSF-funded investigators who receive REU Supplements. Full Proposal Deadline: August 22, 2018.

NSF: Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) - NEW!
The purpose of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is to help ensure the vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing full-time research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) or in STEM education. The GRFP provides three years of support for the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant research achievements in STEM or STEM education. NSF especially encourages women, members of underrepresented minority groups, persons with disabilities, veterans, and undergraduate seniors to apply. Application deadlines: October 22-26, 2018.

NSF: Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) - Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP)
GRIP applications are due December 4, 2018.

C-DEBI: Rolling call for Research Exchange proposals

DCO: Deep Life Cultivation Internship Program

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).

NSF: Arctic Sciences Program Solicitation
Proposals accepted anytime.

NSF: Research Assistantships for High School Students (RAHSS): Funding to Broaden Participation in the Biological Sciences

NSF: Research Experience for Teachers (RET): Funding Opportunity in the Biological Sciences

NSF: Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP)


Meetings & Activities

AGU: 2018 Fall Meeting, submit your abstracts to a deep biosphere-related session
Abstracts due TODAY, August 1, 2018.

C-DEBI: C4 Undergraduate Research Poster Symposium @ USC, Thursday, August 9, 1-3pm - NEW!
You are cordially invited to the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations’ Community College Cultivation Cohort (C4) summer presentation symposium. Students from the C-DEBI NSF REU: C4 program will share their results from the summer. The C4 students will also present their findings at the Undergraduate Research Poster Symposium on August 10. Please see the flyer for details. Students-friends & family are welcome. Mentors/PIs-please share with other members of your lab. Light refreshments will be served at both events.

NSTC: Public Comment Period Now Open for Science and Technology for America’s Oceans: A Decadal Vision
Public comment period for the document is open now until August 27, 2018.

C-DEBI: Rolling call for Community Workshop support

C-DEBI: Group Page

C-DEBI: Subseafloor Cultures Database



U Southern Mississippi: Three Positions (Postdoctoral Researcher, Graduate Student, Research Technician) in Marine Microbial Ecology - NEW!
The Hamdan Lab in the School of Ocean Science and Engineering at the University of Southern Mississippi is hiring three new positions to support two projects that begin in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019. Both projects address the impact of the built environment in the deep-sea. We are seeking a Research Technician to begin in Fall 2018, and a Postdoctoral Researcher and Graduate Student to begin in Spring 2019.

Bigelow: Postdoctoral Research Scientist - NEW!
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences is seeking a qualified and highly motivated individual for a postdoctoral research scientist position in the laboratory of Dr. Beth Orcutt. The research will involve study of the marine deep biosphere, focusing on the use of subseafloor observatories to study microbial processes in the subsurface oceanic crust on the eastern flank of the Juan de Fuca Ridge. The project will involve the possibility to be involved in single-cell based analytical techniques and/or poised potential experiments to examine microbial diversity and activity in the crustal subsurface. Highly successful candidates would have experience with environmental science, microbiology, or biogeochemistry, with working knowledge of molecular biology techniques (such as DNA extraction, amplification, sequencing, and/or bioinformatics), microscopy, or electrochemistry techniques considered as highly desirable. Applicants must have at least a Ph.D. in marine sciences, oceanography, environmental microbiology or similar field with a proven publication record. Experience with project management or fieldwork also desired. Research will be conducted primarily at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, Maine. At least one opportunity for ocean-going field work is expected in Spring 2019, and other opportunities may be available. The position is offered for a period of two years. The position has an expected start date of January 1, 2019, but this may be negotiated. Application deadline: September 1, 2018.

U Waterloo (Canada): Assistant/Associate Professor Position in Geomicrobiology - NEW!
The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) in the Faculty of Science at the University of Waterloo invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track position at the Assistant or Associate Professor rank in the area of Geomicrobiology. The start date for the appointment can be as early as January 1, 2019. Applicants must have a PhD in a relevant field and a strong track record of scientific achievements, as demonstrated by publications in leading journals and a proven aptitude for interdisciplinary research. The successful candidate will be expected to establish an internationally recognized, and independently funded, research program that will enhance and complement the research and education activities of EES. Applicants should have excellent communication skills and a strong commitment to teaching at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels. Application deadline: October  1, 2018.

Rice: Wiess and Pan Post-Doctoral Research Fellowships - NEW!
The Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences at Rice University is inviting applications for the Wiess and Pan Postdoctoral Research Fellowships. We are seeking candidates with independent research interests that intersect with one or more faculty within our department. Both domestic and international applicants are welcome, but applicants must have a Ph.D. awarded within three years of the time of appointment. Each research fellowship will be supported for two years, pending satisfactory progress during the first year, and covers an annual stipend of $60,000 with a benefits package and an additional annual discretionary research allowance of $3,500. Applicants are requested to develop a proposal of research to be undertaken during the fellowship period. The principal selection criteria are scientific excellence, a clearly expressed research plan to address questions at the forefront of their field of study, and research synergies with at least one faculty. The proposed research should, however, encompass independent research ideas and explore new directions beyond the applicant’s Ph.D. Preference will be given to applicants whose proposals demonstrate independence and originality, and also the potential for collaboration with one or more faculty in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences. The applications are due on November 1, 2018.

U South Florida: Two Tenure-Track Faculty Positions in Chemical and Geological Oceanography
The positions are open until filled, however, priority review of applications will begin by August 1, 2018.

U Hawaii: Postdoctoral Fellowship in Molecular biogeochemistry of dissolved organic phosphorus production, composition, and bioavailability

UTK: Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Center for Environmental Biotechnology

U Lyon: Postdoctoral research associate in environmental microbiology – biogeochemistry

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology: Ph.D. and Postdoc position available

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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