|C-DEBI Newsletter – March 1, 2017
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Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta
The relative abundances of resolved l2CH2D2 and 13CH3D and mechanisms controlling isotopic bond ordering in abiotic and biotic methane gases – NEW!
E.D. Young, I.E. Kohl, Barbara Sherwood Lollar, G. Etiope, D. Rumble, S. Li, M.A. Haghnegahdar, E.A. Schauble, K.A. McCain, Dionysis I. Foustoukos, C. Sutclife, O. Warr, C.J. Ballentine, Tullis C. Onstott, H. Hosgormez, A. Neubeck, J.M. Marques, Ileana Pérez-Rodríguez*, Annette R. Rowe, Douglas E. LaRowe*, Cara Magnabosco, L.Y. Yeung, J.L. Ash, L.T. Bryndzia
*C-DEBI Contribution 362
We report measurements of resolved 12CH2D2 and 13CH3D at natural abundances in a variety of methane gases produced naturally and in the laboratory. The ability to resolve 12CH2D2 from 13CH3D provides unprecedented insights into the origin and evolution of CH4. The results identify conditions under which either isotopic bond order disequilibrium or equilibrium are expected. Where equilibrium obtains, concordant Δ12CH2D2 and Δ13CH3D temperatures can be used reliably for thermometry. We find that concordant temperatures do not always match previous hypotheses based on indirect estimates of temperature of formation nor temperatures derived from CH4/H2 D/H exchange, underscoring the importance of reliable thermometry based on the CH4 molecules themselves. Where Δ12CH2D2 and Δ13CH3D values are inconsistent with thermodynamic equilibrium, temperatures of formation derived from these species are spurious. In such situations, while formation temperatures are unavailable, disequilibrium isotopologue ratios nonetheless provide novel information about the formation mechanism of the gas and the presence or absence of multiple sources or sinks. In particular, disequilibrium isotopologue ratios may provide the means for differentiating between methane produced by abiotic synthesis vs. biological processes. Deficits in 12CH2D2 compared with equilibrium values in CH4 gas made by surface-catalyzed abiotic reactions are so large as to point towards a quantum tunneling origin. Tunneling also accounts for the more moderate depletions in 13CH3D that accompany the low 12CH2D2 abundances produced by abiotic reactions. The tunneling signature may prove to be an important tracer of abiotic methane formation, especially where it is preserved by dissolution of gas in cool hydrothermal systems (e.g., Mars). Isotopologue signatures of abiotic methane production can be erased by infiltration of microbial communities, and Δ12CH2D2 values are a key tracer of microbial recycling.
Frontiers in Microbiology
Mineralizing Filamentous Bacteria from the Prony Bay Hydrothermal Field Give New Insights into the Functioning of Serpentinization-Based Subseafloor Ecosystems – NEW!
Céline Pisapia, Emmanuelle Gérard, Martine Gérard, Léna Lecourt, Susan Q. Lang, Bernard Pelletier, Claude E. Payri, Christophe Monnin, Linda Guentas, Anne Postec, Marianne Quéméneur, Gaël Erauso and Bénédicte Ménez
Despite their potential importance as analogs of primitive microbial metabolisms, the knowledge of the structure and functioning of the deep ecosystems associated with serpentinizing environments is hampered by the lack of accessibility to relevant systems. These hyperalkaline environments are depleted in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), making the carbon sources and assimilation pathways in the associated ecosystems highly enigmatic. The Prony Bay Hydrothermal Field (PHF) is an active serpentinization site where, similar to Lost City (Mid-Atlantic Ridge), high-pH fluids rich in H2 and CH4 are discharged from carbonate chimneys at the seafloor, but in a shallower lagoonal environment. This study aimed to characterize the subsurface microbial ecology of this environment by focusing on the earliest stages of chimney construction, dominated by the discharge of hydrothermal fluids of subseafloor origin. By jointly examining the mineralogy and the microbial diversity of the conduits of juvenile edifices at the micrometric scale, we find a central role of uncultivated bacteria belonging to the Firmicutes in the ecology of the PHF. These bacteria, along with members of the phyla Acetothermia and Omnitrophica, are identified as the first chimneys inhabitants before archaeal Methanosarcinales. They are involved in the construction and early consolidation of the carbonate structures via organomineralization processes. Their predominance in the most juvenile and nascent hydrothermal chimneys, and their affiliation with environmental subsurface microorganisms, indicate that they are likely discharged with hydrothermal fluids from the subseafloor. They may thus be representative of endolithic serpentinization-based ecosystems, in an environment where DIC is limited. In contrast, heterotrophic and fermentative microorganisms may consume organic compounds from the abiotic by-products of serpentinization processes and/or from life in the deeper subsurface. We thus propose that the Firmicutes identified at PHF may have a versatile metabolism with the capability to use diverse organic compounds from biological or abiotic origin. From that perspective, this study sheds new light on the structure of deep microbial communities living at the energetic edge in serpentinites and may provide an alternative model of the earliest metabolisms.
Journal of Geoscience Education
Curriculum and Instruction: Putting the Deep Biosphere and Gas Hydrates on the Map – NEW!
Janelle J. Sikorski and Brandon R. Briggs
Microbial processes in the deep biosphere affect marine sediments, such as the formation of gas hydrate deposits. Gas hydrate deposits offer a large source of natural gas with the potential to augment energy reserves and affect climate and seafloor stability. Despite the significant interdependence between life and geology in the ocean, coverage of the deep biosphere is generally missing in most introductory oceanography textbooks, so there is a need for instructional materials on this important topic. In response to this need, a course module on the deep biosphere with a focus on gas hydrate deposits was created. The module uses Google Earth (Google, Mountain View, CA) to support inquiry-based activities that demonstrate the interaction of the deep biosphere with geology. The module was tried as both a series of in-class exercises and as an out-of-class assignment in an introductory, undergraduate oceanography course. The students took short, preactivity and postactivity quizzes to determine the effectiveness of the module in improving student knowledge about gas hydrates. The module was effective at increasing student knowledge about the basic environmental and biological controls on the formation of gas hydrates on the seafloor. Students showed a consistently low initial comprehension of the content related to gas hydrates, but most (>80%) of the students increased their quiz scores for all module activities. This module on gas hydrate deposits increases the available teaching resources focused on the deep biosphere for geoscience educators.
IODP: Apply to Sail: Expedition 381 Corinth Active Rift Development
The U.S. deadline to apply is March 3, 2017.
NSF: EarthCube Program Solicitation – NEW!
EarthCube is a community-driven activity sponsored through a partnership between the NSF Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) and the Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering’s (CISE) Division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (ACI) to transform research in the academic geosciences community. EarthCube aims to create a well-connected and facile environment to share data and knowledge in an open, transparent, and inclusive manner, thus accelerating our ability to understand and predict the Earth system. EarthCube Integration projects must demonstrate two essential components, 1.) implementation of a technical capability across resources that improves interoperability, and 2.) innovative, cross-disciplinary geosciences research outcomes. EarthCube RCNs are intended to advance geosciences cyberinfrastructure through interaction, discussion and planning between geoscientists and cyberinfrastructure experts. RCNs provide opportunities for academic geosciences communities to organize, seek input, come to consensus and prioritize data, modeling, and technology needs, as well as standards and interoperability within and across domains. Proposal deadline: March 14, 2017.
AGU: Nominate an individual for the Asahiko Taira International Scientific Ocean Drilling Research Prize
Nominations due March 15, 2017.
IODP: Apply to Sail on IODP Expedition 376
The deadline to apply is April 1, 2017.
IODP: Submit an IODP Drilling Proposal
Next Proposal Submission Deadline: April 3, 2017.
NSF: Arctic Sciences Program Solicitation
Proposals accepted anytime.
NSF: Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP) Program Solicitation
Preparing for TCUP Implementation 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).
Education & Outreach
IODP-USSSP: U.S. Travel Support for Petrophysics Summer School – NEW!
The 2nd Petrophysics Summer School will provide a unique workshop that will bring together experts from both academia and industry to give training in the theory and practice of petrophysics and, notably its applications across both IODP and industry. It will include lectures, discussion groups, and practical exercises on the different elements and data types used in petrophysical analysis. In addition, basic training in an industry-standard software package, Schlumberger’s Techlog, will form a core part of the school. The European Petrophysics Consortium and its collaborators offer this unique training opportunity for a summer school through the provision of technical and scientific expertise in the fields of downhole logging and core petrophysics. The course is open to applicants from the international community, but applications from early career researchers (including PhD students) are particularly encouraged. For more information and to apply to participate, visit the Petrophysics Summer School webpage. U.S.-affiliated students and researchers may apply for partial travel support through the U.S. Science Support Program. A limited number of travel grants are available. To apply for U.S. travel support, visit the USSSP webpage to submit an online application. Note: Applicants must be accepted to participate in the course itself to receive travel support from USSSP. The deadline to apply for travel support and for the course is March 3, 2017.
RGNO Ocean Discovery Camp – Namibia, April 12-May 12, 2017
Application deadline: March 10, 2017.
C-DEBI: Community College Research Internship for Scientific Engagement (CC-RISE)
CC-RISE is an eight-week, paid, summer research internship program for community college students run by the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations. Students will gain firsthand exposure to the scientific process by working in a faculty-led research lab at the University of California Santa Cruz or at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, MA. In addition to research, students will participate in activities focusing on how to transition from a two-year college to a university and information on graduate school. At the end of the program, students will present their results to an audience of peers and mentors. Applications are due March 20, 2017 for UCSC and March 24, 2017 for WHOI.
NSF Advanced Training Program in Antarctica for Early-Career Scientists: Biological Adaptations to Environmental Change
Deadline for receipt of completed applications is April 17, 2017.
MARUM: ECORD Summer School: Current-Controlled Sea Floor Archives: Coral Mounds and Contourites, August 28 – September 1, 2017 – NEW!
The major goal is to bring PhD students and young Postdocs in touch with IODP at an early stage of their career, inform them about the exciting research within IODP as (I)ODP and DSDP have been proven to be the most successful internationally collaborative research programs in the history of Earth sciences, and and to prepare them for future participation in IODP expeditions. Such training will be achieved by taking the summer school participants on a “virtual ship” where they get familiarized with a wide spectrum of state-of-the-art analytical technologies and core description and scanning methods according to the high standards of IODP expeditions. In addition, the thematic topic of the summer school will be reviewed by various scientific lectures by the leading experts in the field. The application deadline is May 5, 2017.
Meetings & Activities
Register and submit abstracts for the 2017 SoCal Geobiology Symposium
Abstract submission is due March 3, 2017.
C-DEBI Networked Speaker Series #14: Annie Rowe; next Thursday, March 9, 12:30pm PT, online – NEW!
Our 2017 Networked Speaker Series speakers have been selected! Please mark your calendars for this online seminar series to connect all of us interested “deeply” or broadly in the deep biosphere. Next week’s talk is by Dr. Annie Rowe at the University of Southern California, who will present “Eating rocks! Investigating microbial energy conservation with microbes that utilize solid mineral electron donors” on March 9, 2017 at 9:30AM Hawaii Time/12:30PM PST/3:30PM EST.
Abstract deadline: March 15, 2017.
6th International Symposium on Chemosynthesis-Based Ecosystems (CBE6), Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA, August 27 – September 1, 2017
Abstract submission deadline March 17, 2017.
The 4th International Conference of Geobiology — Rocks, life and climate, June 24-26, 2017, Wuhan, China
The deadline for abstract submission is April 1, 2017.
Call for Abstracts: Goldschmidt 2017, Paris, August 13-18 – NEW!
Please consider submitting your abstract to Goldschmidt Session 15b: Hydrothermal Biogeochemistry and Geobiology Convenors: Christopher German, Wolfgang Bach, Costantino Vetriani, Donato Giovannelli. Keynote: Ken Takai (JAMSTEC). Abstract: Hydrothermal systems are increasingly recognized to involve biological, particularly microbial, aspects to their geochemical cycles – whether in the case of subseafloor water-rock interactions or in terms of the fate of their export products released into the overlying water column. Both the depth of hydrothermal systems and their geologic setting can play an important role in the nature of the systems that arise and their impact on the oceans – up to and including the photic zone. In the limit, such systems can also provide new insights to the origins of life on Earth and the potential for life-hosting habitats on other Ocean Worlds. This session will seek to bring together researchers interested in sharing their newest findings from a wide range of seafloor hydrothermal settings, from understudied shallow hydrothermal vents and other previously under-represented settings – ranging from the ultra-slow spreading Arctic ridges to subduction-related venting in the SW Pacific and from intra-plate volcanic hotspots to tectonically controlled fracturing of the ocean crust. We welcome contributions on the biogeochemistry and geobiology of hydrothermal systems throughout Earth’s oceans, as well as comparative studies ranging from continental geothermal studies to putative submarine venting beyond Earth. Abstract submissions are due April 1, 2017.
Aarhus University: International Workshop on “Marine Geomicrobiology” in Denmark
Deadline for applications is April 1, 2017.
IODP: Workshop Announcement: Australasian Regional Planning Workshop, June 13-16, 2017, Sydney, Australia – NEW!
In conjunction with a team of international colleagues, the ANZIC members have proposed a major regional IODP workshop (SW Pacific, Southern and eastern Indian Oceans) to be held in Sydney in June 2017. The goal of the workshop is to trigger development of new IODP proposals and reinvigorate existing, compelling proposals. The workshop will be an opportunity to entrain a new generation of young scientists to work collaboratively to plan a new phase of ocean drilling in the Australasian region. The workshop will cover all possible IODP platforms, not just the JOIDES Resolution. European-funded alternative platforms are suitable for work in shallow-water reefal areas and on the Antarctic continental shelf. There is considerable optimism that IODP Proposal 871, for the use of the Chikyu to drill deep into the Cretaceous on the Lord Howe Rise, will soon come to fruition and provide strong encouragement for those hoping to use the Chikyu elsewhere in the Australasian region. Support is available for a limited number of participants from IODP Program Member Offices (PMOs), including: the Australia-New Zealand IODP Consortium (ANZIC); the U.S. Science Support Program (USSSP); the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling (ECORD); IODP India; and Japan Drilling Earth Science Consortium (J-DESC). Support from these programs will be made directly to qualified participants from the PMOs. Students and early career researchers are strongly encouraged to apply. Applications due April 3, 2017.
IODP-USSSP: Call for IODP-ICDP Session Conveners at AGU 2017 Fall Meeting
The provisional dates of the call for session proposal are February 15th – April 19th, 2017.
ISSM 2017: Call for Abstracts
Abstracts due April 24, 2017.
TAMU / IODP: Research Specialist III / Curator – NEW!
The International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) at Texas A&M University is seeking a qualified individual to oversee curation efforts in support of JOIDES Resolution expeditions and the IODP Gulf Coast Core Repository. The Curator is responsible for oversight of the IODP core and sample collections at the Gulf Coast Repository (GCR) and on JOIDES Resolution expeditions, conservation of the core collection for future use, and supervision of all personnel and activities in the Gulf Coast Repository. The Curator is also expected to develop innovative uses of the core collection and repository. The ideal candidate will have demonstrated experience in a supervisory/management position, including experience with financial, programmatic, reporting, and personnel management. We prefer a background in project management, curation, and familiarity with IODP core curation policies. In addition, the Curator may sail on IODP expeditions if curation support is required. Although the Curator is not expected to sail routinely, the ability to sail is mandatory. At sea, the Curator will be responsible for creating a sampling plan for each site, processing cores as they are received, and training and supervision of the science party in IODP curatorial practice. We will begin reviewing applications on April 1, 2017, but will continue to accept applications until candidates are selected for interviews.
Rutgers: Assistant Professor – AY (TenureTrack) – NEW!
The Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology and the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University invites applications for a full time, tenure track faculty position at the rank of Assistant Professor. We seek a highly creative, productive and collaborative scientist whose work addresses fundamental topics in the areas of marine microbial dynamics and the biogeochemical cycling of nutrients (e.g. nitrogen, carbon, phosphorous, silicon), the physiological ecology of microbes in their natural environment, viral/microbe dynamics, microbial evolution, and/or the microbial production of biomaterials.
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