We are exploring the frontier of the "deep biosphere" – microbial life in the rocks and sediments below the ocean floor that makes up 70% of our planet’s surface.
Deep Life
Microbes “rust the crust” at Loihi Seamount (courtesy ROV Jason / WHOI)
This previously unknown Bacillus living 342 meters below the ocean floor is one of very few isolated from the subseafloor crust.

Studying these organisms will reveal important, novel, and basic insights into the unique metabolic features of microbes in the deep biosphere.
Novel Organisms
Left: Novel Bacillus cells producing spores and right: actively growing (scanning electron microscope (SEM) image courtesy Lily Momper / USC).

Background: Core samples from IODP Leg 206 (photo credit IODP-USIO).
About 0.6% of the Earth’s total living biomass is in subseafloor sediments. This finding updates previous estimates made in 1998.
Global Implications
Kallmeyer et al. 2012, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
We require specialized technologies to collect and analyze samples from the deep biosphere, including sensors, samplers, and platforms, deep-sea submersibles, scientific drilling research ships, and ROVs (remotely operated vehicles).
Science & Technology
deeplife_CORK_from Science News article.png
JOIDES Resolution scientific driling vessel (credit Arito Sakaguchi, IODP/TAMU)
Left: Science News illustration depicting a CORK deployment (credit Tony Randazzo / AAReps Inc.)

Above: HOV Alvin samples a hydrothermal vent (credit WHOI).
Get involved with our education, outreach, and diversity opportunities for teachers, K-12, undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctorals in our quest to train and foster the next generation of deep biosphere researchers.
Training & Outreach
IMG_1100_Ann Close GEM 2011.JPG
C-DEBI's undergraduate summer GEM course (credit Ann Close, USC)


C-DEBI Contribution 264 in Nature Communications

Vast quantities of ocean water circulate through the seafloor, flowing through the volcanic rock of the upper oceanic crust. A new study by scientists at UC Santa Cruz (including C-DEBI Co-I Andrew Fisher), published in Nature Communications, explains what drives this global process and how the flow is sustained.

For the new study, first authorand C-DEBI Graduate Fellow Dustin Winslow, a UCSC Ph.D. candidate who graduated this month, developed the first three-dimensional computer models showing how the process works. The models reveal a 'hydrothermal siphon' driven by heat loss from deep in the Earth and the flow of cold seawater down into the crust and of warmed water up out of the crust.

Read the full UCSC press release.

Illustration by Nicole Rager (UCSC Science Communications program) showing the concept of the flow-through.

Community Activities and Opportunities

Nature Communications
Sustainability and dynamics of outcrop-to-outcrop hydrothermal circulation
Dustin M. Winslow* and Andrew T. Fisher*
*C-DEBI Contribution 264

[see also the UCSC press release]

Applied and Environmental Microbiology
The proteomic profile of an obligate iron-oxidizing chemolithoautotroph reveals new insight into microbial iron oxidation
Roman A. Barco*, David Emerson*, Jason B. Sylvan*, Beth N. Orcutt*, Myrna E. Jacobson Meyers, Gustavo A. Ramírez*, John D. Zhong and Katrina J. Edwards*
*C-DEBI Contribution 227

Radiation Physics and Chemistry
A quantitative model of water radiolysis and chemical production rates near radionuclide-containing solids
Mary Dzaugis*, Arthur J. Spivack, Steven D'Hondt*
*C-DEBI Contribution 270

The FASEB Journal
New aminopeptidase from “microbial dark matter” archaeon
Karolina Michalska, Andrew D. Steen*, Gekleng Chhor, Michael Endres, Austen T. Webber, Jordan Bird, Karen G. Lloyd*, Andrzej Joachimiak
*C-DEBI Contribution 268

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Dissolved amino acids in oceanic basaltic basement fluids
Huei-Ting Lin*, Jan P. Amend*, Douglas E. LaRowe*, Jon-Paul Bingham, James P. Cowen*
*C-DEBI Contribution 262

Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Cellular maintenance processes that potentially underpin the survival of subseafloor fungi over geological timescales
William D. Orsi*, Thomas A. Richards, Alyson E. Santoro
*C-DEBI Contribution 261

Chemical Geology
Subsurface hydrothermal processes and the bioenergetics of chemolithoautotrophy at the shallow-sea vents off Panarea Island (Italy)
Roy E. Price*, Douglas E. LaRowe*, Francesco Italiano, Ivan Savov, Thomas Pichler, Jan P. Amend*
*C-DEBI Contribution 266

See our complete list of publications.

NSF: Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM)
A well-educated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce is essential to maintain the competitiveness of the U.S. in the global economy. Since its establishment, the S-STEM program’s scholarships combined with its curricular and co-curricular activities (e.g., curriculum, professional, and workforce development activities) have been found to positively affect retention, success, and graduation in STEM of academically talented students with demonstrated financial need. To enhance this success and to continue to address the critical need for a quality STEM workforce, the program will support up to $650,000 for Strand 1 - Institutional Capacity Building projects; and up to $1.0 million for Strand 2 - Design and Development Type 1 Single Institution projects. Of the total amount requested, at least 60% of the funds must support scholarships to low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need. Funds must be requested for high quality extant curriculum development and professional and workforce development activities that include the implementation and investigation of project activities and conducting project evaluation. The program also will support Strand 2 - Design and Development Type 2 multi-institutional collaborative efforts up to $5 million to fund scholarships and the implementation and testing of a common set of curricular and co-curricular activities across institutions. The level of funding requested must be based on the focus, scope, and size of the effort. For these types of projects, at least 60% of the funds must support scholarships. Full proposal deadline: September 22, 2015.

NSF: Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER)
See also the FAQ. Full proposal deadlines: July 21-23, 2015.

Simons Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: 2016 Faculty Scholars Competition
Application deadline: July 28, 2015.

National Academies: Research Associateships for Graduate, Postdoctoral and Senior Researchers
There are four annual review cycles and the next closes August 01, 2015.

IODP: Apply to Sail on Expedition 363 Western Pacific Warm Pool and Expedition 366 Mariana Convergent Margin
The deadline to apply is August 15, 2015.

NSF: Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowships (EAR-PF)
Full proposal deadline: January 12, 2016

NSF: Geobiology and Low-Temperature Geochemistry Program Solicitation
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).

USC Graduate Mike Lee on Talk Nerdy Podcast
Cara sits down with USC graduate student Michael Lee to talk about all things astrobiology. What is it? What can it tell us about alien life? And how does studying our own ocean floor help us understand what might be lurking on Jupiter's moon Europa? Follow Michael: @astrobiomike.

IODP-USSP: Nominate an Ocean Discovery Lecturer
The U.S. Science Support Program is seeking dynamic speakers to convey the excitement of the International Ocean Discovery Program to geoscience communities across the United States. Since 1991, more than 750 presentations were made through the Distinguished Lecturer Series program to audiences at U.S. colleges, universities, and organizations. USSSP is continuing this program as the Ocean Discovery Lecturer Series and your help is needed to identify scientists interested in participating as lecturers during the 2016-2017 academic year. Lectures focus on the discoveries and results of ocean drilling programs and are primarily aimed at undergraduate and graduate students, museums, science departments, and the scientifically literate public. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming an Ocean Discovery Lecturer, email their name, institution, and potential lecture topic to Angela Slagle (aslagle@ldeo.columbia.edu) by the nomination deadline of July 31, 2015.

The Rolex Scholarships
Currently there are three Rolex Scholarships: North America, Europe, and Australasia. Each Rolex Scholarship provides a hands-on introduction to underwater and other aquatic-related endeavors for a young person considering a career in an underwater-related discipline. One scholar is selected from each of the three regions and each scholar spends approximately one year working side by side with current leaders in underwater fields. Each scholar travels primarily within his or her region, but may have opportunities throughout the underwater world. The range of experiences may include active participation in field studies, underwater research, scientific expeditions, laboratory assignments, equipment testing and design, photographic instruction, and other specialized assignments. Application deadline: December 15, 2015.

The Data Incubator: Data Science Fellowship Opportunity
The next session will be from 09/08/15 to 10/16/15.

Call for Nominations: BOEM Selects National Academies to Form Environmental Committee on Offshore Energy Resources
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced today an agreement to have the National Academies establish a new standing committee on environmental science and assessment for offshore energy and mineral resources. The committee will provide independent information on issues relevant to BOEM’s environmental studies and assessment activities and support discussions on relevant issues. The committee’s services will be provided under a three-year contract with the National Research Council (NRC), the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). The NRC issued a call for nominations on June 23, 2015, seeking a broad pool of applicants for the standing committee. Nominations will be accepted by the NRC until July 15, 2015. The NRC expects to announce the committee membership  later in the summer, followed by an announcement of its plans for the first meeting in the fall of 2015.

Call for Abstracts: AGU 2015 Fall Meeting
Remember to submit your AGU abstracts by August 5, 2015. Deep biosphere-related sessions include...

See also the AGU 2015 Sessions of Interest to the DCO Community, and please contact me (janicak@usc.edu) if you'd like to advertise additional sessions via the C-DEBI mailing list and website.

University of Leicester: Earth Science Research Associate (IODP & other projects)
The College of Science and Engineering, Department of Geology at the University of Leicester invites applications for a Research Associate (Earth Scientist) to join an established team engaged in the acquisition and analysis of petrophysical core and borehole measurement data for the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) and other drilling/coring research projects. This is an exciting position that will provide the leading edge science needed for a future career in academia or the logging/petrophysical experience for a career in industry. The work is very much part of a team effort, though once an expedition is allocated, there is plenty of scope for independent activity. Applicants should ideally have a research background in at least one of the following areas: petrophysics, marine geology or geophysics. The position will include training as a Petrophysics Staff Scientist and will be responsible for the acquisition and scientific interpretation of core and borehole measurements, the production of scientific and technical reports, and the development of associated research programs. This research is a collaborative venture between the University of Leicester and a number of other universities and organizations in Europe, USA, Japan and other IODP member countries. This position will participate in IODP Mission Specific Platform expeditions, which include on average up to two months at sea and six weeks at the Bremen Core Repository (BCR, Germany) per year, with responsibility for the downhole logging and core physical properties programs for the expedition. The position has a fixed term contract from 1 September 2015 to 31 December 2016. Applications are due July 22, 2015. Click here and search on the reference number SEN00623 for more information and to apply.

Rice University: Wiess Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in Earth and Planetary Science
The Department of Earth Science at Rice University is launching a Wiess Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship competition in the broad fields of Earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences. Interested candidates should have recently completed their PhD or are expected to complete their PhD by September 2016. The appointment of the fellow is expected to begin anytime between July and December 2016. The principal selection criteria for the fellow are scientific excellence and a clearly expressed research plan to address questions at the forefront of Earth science, broadly defined. Applicants are expected to propose their own research ideas, but are encouraged to consider the current spectrum of research activities in the department and to communicate with one or more members of the faculty (http://earthscience.rice.edu/). The research fellowship will be supported by the Department of Earth Science for two years pending satisfactory progress in their first year. The fellowship covers an annual stipend of $60,000 and includes an annual research allowance of $3,500. The application deadline is November 1, 2015.

IODP/Texas A&M: Assistant Research Scientist – Expedition Project Manager/Staff Scientist – Borehole Geophysics
We will begin reviewing applications on September 15, 2015, but will continue to accept applications until candidates are selected for interviews.

IODP-USSSP: Open Call for USAC Chair
The full Terms of Reference for USAC can be found at http://usoceandiscovery.org/terms-of-reference/. Scientists interested in this opportunity should send a cover letter and a two-page CV to usssp@ldeo.columbia.edu by July 15, 2015.

Rice University: Faculty Postition in Earth and Planetary Science
All required application materials submitted by September 15, 2015 are ensured full consideration.

IFREMER: Life at the extremes: microbial EcoGenomics of deep-sea extremophiles
The Lab for Microbiology of Extreme Environments (LM2E) in Brest (France) has an 18-month postdoctoral position available to carry out research in the field of deep-sea microbial ecology. The position will remain open until it is filled.

Montana State University: PhD Position, Astrobiology
The Priscu Research Group is seeking a motivated Ph.D. Student to work on a recently funded NASA Planetary Science and Technology Through Analog Research (PSTAR) grant.