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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 . Please forward as appropriate!
- Research Grants: http://www.darkenergybiosphere.org/research/proposals.html
- Exchanges: http://www.darkenergybiosphere.org/research-activities/research-support/exchange/
- Postdoctoral Fellowships: http://www.darkenergybiosphere.org/education/postdocs.html
Graduate Student Fellowships: http://www.darkenergybiosphere.org/education/graduatefellows.html
Genome Sequencing of a Single Cell of the Widely Distributed Marine Subsurface Dehalococcoidia, Phylum Chloroflexi in The ISME Journal
Bacteria of the class Dehalococcoidia (DEH), phylum Chloroflexi, are widely distributed in the marine subsurface, yet metabolic properties of the many uncultivated lineages are completely unknown. This study by Wasmund et al. therefore analysed genomic content from a single DEH cell designated ‘DEH-J10’ obtained from the sediments of Aarhus Bay, Denmark. Real-time PCR showed the DEH-J10 phylotype was abundant in upper sediments but was absent below 160 cm below sea floor. A 1.44 Mbp assembly was obtained and was estimated to represent up to 60.8% of the full genome. The predicted genome is much larger than genomes of cultivated DEH and appears to confer metabolic versatility. Numerous genes encoding enzymes of core and auxiliary beta-oxidation pathways were identified, suggesting that this organism is capable of oxidising various fatty acids and/or structurally related substrates. Additional substrate versatility was indicated by genes, which may enable the bacterium to oxidise aromatic compounds. Genes encoding enzymes of the reductive acetyl-CoA pathway were identified, which may also enable the fixation of CO2 or oxidation of organics completely to CO2. Genes encoding a putative dimethylsulphoxide reductase were the only evidence for a respiratory terminal reductase. No evidence for reductive dehalogenase genes was found. Genetic evidence also suggests that the organism could synthesise ATP by converting acetyl-CoA to acetate by substrate-level phosphorylation. Other encoded enzymes putatively conferring marine adaptations such as salt tolerance and organo-sulphate sulfohydrolysis were identified. Together, these analyses provide the first insights into the potential metabolic traits that may enable members of the DEH to occupy an ecological niche in marine sediments.
Seafloor Oxygen Consumption Fuelled by Methane from Cold Seeps in Nature Geoscience
The leakage of cold, methane-rich fluids from subsurface reservoirs to the sea floor at specific sites on continental slopes, termed cold seeps, sustains some of the richest ecosystems on the sea bed. These seep-fueled communities utilize around two orders of magnitude more oxygen per unit area than non-seep seafloor communities. Much of the oxygen is consumed by microbes and animal–microbe symbioses that use methane as an energy source. The proportion of methane consumed varies with fluid flow rate, ranging from 80% in seeps with slow fluid flow to less than 20% in seeps where fluid flow is high. Assuming the presence of a few tens of thousands of active cold seep systems on continental slopes worldwide, Boetius and Wenzhöfer estimate that the total efflux of methane to the overlying ocean could reach 0.02 Gt of carbon annually. As much more methane is lost from continental slopes, be it through emission to the hydrosphere or consumption by microbes, than can be produced, they suggest that a substantial fraction of the methane that fuels seep ecosystems is sourced from deep carbon buried kilometres under the sea floor.
Uncovering Earth’s Secrets: An eBook
Children’s Author and Educator Kevin Kurtz has released an eBook, designed for iPads, about the marine research vessel JOIDES Resolution, introducing children to the vessel, how it explores the deep seafloor and what scientists have learned from it. The iPad version allows students to tap some of the more difficult words in the text to see the definitions in pop-ups. This eBook was created through an NSF grant and is available for free from the JOIDES Resolution website in both an iPad and PDF version.
A diverse range of life forms exists deep below Earth’s surface, scientists have concluded, but they survive at an incredibly slow pace. Scientists from the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program have announced the findings at the Goldschmidt conference, a meeting of more than 4,000 geochemists, in Florence, Italy.
Will you be presenting exciting and newsworthy new science at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in San Francisco this December? Are you interested in reaching out to the news media, but are not sure where to get started, or what options are available to you? If you would like more information or need advice, contact Matthew Wright as soon as possible.
The 3rd International Conference of Geobiology, June 8-10, 2014, Wuhan, China
Interdisciplinary geobiology is rapidly growing at the interface between geoscience and bioscience. As seen in elsewhere in the world, geobiology in China received great attention in recent years by both scientists and administrative officials. Some large geobiology programs, including a series of key programs funded by National Natural Science Foundation, the 973 program by Ministry of Science and Technology, and the 111 program by Ministry of Education, have been launched in China to bring the geoscientists and bioscientists to work together. Chinese Academy of Sciences also launched a program to propose the future strategy for the development of geobiology as a scientific discipline. Geobiology is being or was listed in a series of strategy reports on scientific disciplines of China for the coming 10 years. Following the geobiology workshop in 2008, the 1st International Geobiology Conference was held in 2010 at Wuhan, focusing on ancient geobiological processes. The 2nd International Geobiology Conference in 2012 concentrated on modern geobiological processes including the earth’s critical zones. To further bridge the linkage of the ancient records (deep-time geobiology) with the modern day observations, we are going to hold the 3rd International Conference of Geobiology in 2014 at Wuhan, central China. The Chinese Organizing Committee, in collaboration with related national / international organizations and research institutes, is delighted to cordially invite you to the 3rd International Conference of Geobiology. This meeting offers an important forum in which geologists, paleontologists, biologists, microbiologists, biogeochemists and other scientists with diverse approaches and methodologies can meet, and exchange ideas on a wide range of topics related to the coupling system of the biosphere and geosphere. Registration deadline is Feb 28, 2014.
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences: Two Principal Investigator Positions
Bigelow Laboratory invites applications for two Senior Research Scientist positions associated with the three centers of research in the Laboratory’s new Ocean Science and Education Campus. The targeted research areas for these positions are: 1) Blue Biotechnology (e.g. synthetic biology, systems biology, biofuels, marine natural products, marine phycology, marine mycology); 2) Ocean Biogeochemistry and Climate Change (e.g. global scale modeling, ocean observing, controls on the ocean biological pump [past, present and future], stable isotope biogeochemistry, environmental radiochemistry); and 3) Ocean Health (e.g. predator-prey interactions, microbial signaling, quorum sensing, plankton physiology, and chemical ecology of marine microbes). Cross-cutting themes for these positions include human impacts, foundations of marine food webs, and climate change. The research at Bigelow Laboratory has global geographical reach, from the tropics to the poles. For full consideration, the application should be received by .
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!
Exploring life beneath the seafloor and making transformative discoveries that advance science, benefit society, and inspire people of all ages and origins.