To advance our understanding of microbial processes in the
deep subsurface, a coordinated effort of theoretical, field,
and laboratory investigations is required. Herein we will
hold annual, theme-based meetings to address the research
and coordination efforts of this growing community. These
meetings will enable scientists and students to exchange ideas
in deep biosphere studies, to learn about practical developments
and study opportunities in the field, and to coordinate research
and education activities. Each meeting will be part scientific
conference and part training workshop,
both parts focused on a specific theme within deep biosphere
research. The conference portion provides a forum to present
research activities and findings to a broadly trained, but
scientifically focused audience. A balance will be struck
between review/synthesis talks and those where the newest,
perhaps untested results can be presented, encouraging participants
to push the limits of interpretation. The training workshop
serves as a means to further educate scientists and students
in the specific theme. The aim is to present objectively the
key research techniques and methods commonly employed, to
discuss the pros and cons for specific applications, to produce
consensus recommendations, and to make available detailed
lab and field protocols.
Our intention is to cover the fundamentals, and build on
key concepts and knowledge through this 5-year program. The
years and topics selected were in part built around "what
we know now" and "where we think we will be"
in the future, and built around drilling programs that we
presently know of, and know when they will be occurring (approximately).
The meetings will be 3 days, with equal time for the science
conference and the training workshop. A summary report that
highlights key findings and method protocols will be generated
after each meeting and made available on the website. We will
also publish reports from the meetings in a theme-appropriate
manner. For some meetings, review or data synthesis articles
may be more appropriate.
Future meetings as part of this RCN will focus on key themes
of deep biosphere research and education, including microbiology
in sediments and basement rock, organic geochemistry and biosignatures,
bioenergetics, hydrogeology, and drilling and sampling technology.
The meetings will be chaired by steering committee members
from the University of Hawaii (2009), University of North
Carolina (2011), MARUM, University of Bremen (2012), and to
be determined (2013) and held in proximity.
Catalina Island, California