Research Goals

Research Themes

Major Programs

Expedition Schedule

Research Support
- Research Grants
- Exchanges
- Postdoctoral Scholars
- Graduate Fellows
- Funded Projects


Funded Research and Travel Exchanges

We are proud to support the following C-DEBI projects.

Elizabeth Trembath-Reichert (California Institute of Technology)
Determination of deep biosphere cell activity and identity utilizing the state of the art low-biomass, single cell techniques developed at JAMSTEC in their class 10,000 clean room
3/17/15 - 4/10/15
$1375.00 matched by Post Expedition Award from IODP Expedition 337

IODP Expedition 337 set the record for deepest marine scientific drilling down to 2.4 kmbsf. This cruise also had the unique opportunity to retrieve deep cores from the Shimokita coal bed system in Japan with the aseptic and anaerobic conditions necessary to look for deep life. Onboard scientists prepared nearly 1,700 microbiology samples shared among five different countries to study life in the deep biosphere. Samples spanned over 1 km in sampling depths and include representatives of shale, sandstone, and coal lithologies. Findings from previous IODP and deep mine expeditions suggest the genetic potential for methylotrophy in the deep subsurface, but it has yet to be observed in incubations. A subset of Expedition 337 anoxic incubations were prepared with a range of 13C-methyl substrates (methane, methylamine, and methanol) and maintained near in situ temperatures. To observe 13C methyl compound metabolism over time, we monitored the δ13C of the dissolved inorganic carbon and methane (by-products of methyl compound metabolism) over a period of 1.5 years. Our geochemical evidence suggests that the coal horizon incubated with 13C-methylamine showed the highest activity of all methyl incubations. Therefore, there are not only cells in the deeply buried terrigenous coal bed at Shimokita, but a microbial community that can be activated by methylotrophic compounds.

Incubations showing the highest geochemical activity were prepared at the JAMSTEC Kochi Core Center for nanoSIMS analysis in March of 2015, and will be analyzed at Caltech in the coming months. This will allow us to observe if cells also incorporated the labeled methyl compounds into their body mass and provide another line of evidence that these substrates were used by the deep coalbed microbial community.

[Elizabeth Trembath-Reichert's C-DEBI contributed publications]

Brian Glazer (University of Hawaii)
Participation in 2014 Eifuku and NW Rota expedition "Ecology of microbial mats at seamount associated Fe-rich hydrothermal vent systems"
11/24/14 - 11/29/14
$2050.49 matched by Brian Glazer Laboratory, UH

Glazer was invited to participate on the expedition to perform three primary objectives: (i) provide in situ electrochemical surveying and profiling, (ii) deploy and recover temperature loggers at diffuse flow sites of interest, (iii) collaboratively work with Sean McAllister and Dave Emerson on shipboard iron oxidation rate experiments that had been pioneered during the 2013 Loihi expedition. As a result of the in situ electrochemical analyzer (ISEA) being damaged during shipping to Guam, the ISEA was nonfunctioning during the first few days of setting up on board. Glazer worked to diagnose the problem and discovered two independent issues: (i) the two pin power bulkhead connector had been damaged in transit, thus providing only intermittent power to the CPU board upon initialization, and (ii) the RAM on the CPU board was damaged, preventing a successful boot sequence of the instrument. Glazer rewired the instrument endcap to supply power to the instrument through spare pins on an alternate bulkhead connector, but unfortunately, no spare RAM was available on Guam, or possible to receive via shipping in time for the expedition. Subsequently, Glazer and chief scientist, Craig Moyer agreed that staying on the expedition wouldn't have been the most productive use of Glazer's time. Glazer reviewed the temperature loggers use with Moyer and Emerson, and reviewed the procedures for the iron oxidation experiments with McAllister prior to departure to salvage as many objectives as possible.

[Brian Glazer's C-DEBI contributed publications]

NEW! Rinat Gabitov (Mississippi State University)
Biologically induced methane oxidation and precipitation of carbonate minerals: An experimental study
5/15/14 - 9/15/14, Karyn Rogers Laboratory (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
$2500 matched by Rinat Gabitov, MSU

Biologically-mediated CaCO3 precipitation widely occurs in aquatic systems and is often directly linked to the metabolic activity of microorganisms, which could significantly affect the local environment. An example is oxidation of methane and reduction of sulfate mediated by a consortium of Bacteria and Archaea. In order to investigate geochemistry of CaCO3 precipitated abiotically and under microbial activity experimental work was initiated.  The abiotic experiments were performed at different temperatures and pressures (nitrogen and nitrogen-methane mixture).  Further geochemical analyses will allow evaluating of the effect of total pressure and methane partial pressure on the geochemistry of CaCO3 . Sulfate reducing bacterial (Desulfovibrio salexigens) was successfully cultured and precipitation experiments on microbially mediated CaCO3 are in progress. This work is relevant to C-DEBI Research Theme I (Activity in the Deep Subseafloor Biosphere: function & rates of global biogeochemical processes) because carbonate growth rate is linked to microbial activity and the rate of methane oxidation.

[Rinat Gabitov's C-DEBI contributed publications]

Caroline Fortunato (Julie Huber Laboratory, Marine Biological Laboratory)
Participation at 2014 International Symposium on Microbial Ecology
8/24/14 - 8/29/14
$2598 matched by Julie Huber, MBL

In August 2014, I gave an oral presentation at the International Society for Microbial Ecology (ISME) 15th International Symposium in Seoul, South Korea highlighting interesting findings from work looking at the active autotrophic community of the subseafloor. My talk was part of the session entitled “Microbiomes of marine ecosystems: key functions from the cryosphere to the deep biosphere” which hosted an array of talks discussing various aspects of extreme life. Subseafloor communities have the potential to influence ocean biogeochemistry and, in particular, the chemolithoautotrophic populations could potentially provide a large amount of new production to the deep sea. Yet the contribution of and the mechanisms behind the different redox-driven autotrophic metabolisms and the extent of the carbon produced from these metabolic reactions have not been well described. Our findings, using both ‘omics and RNA-SIP techniques, show the presence of an active and metabolically diverse subseafloor chemolithoautotrophic community. Our RNA-SIP results also show there are specific taxonomic groups and autrophic metabolisms that dominate at the different temperatures of the subseafloor. Thanks to the support of C-DEBI, I was able to present this work at the high profile international ISME conference and as a result was also able to learn about other exciting new research scientists are doing to further explore subseafloor life.

[Caroline Fortunato's C-DEBI contributed publications]

William Orsi (Alyson Santoro Laboratory, University of Maryland)
Present keynote at 2014 Goldschmidt Conference
6/10/14 - 6/14/14
$750 matched by Marco Coolen, WHOI

My experience at the 2014 Goldschmidt Conference in Sacramento was very positive. I presented the Keynote lecture in the session 18f: “Life and Death: Molecular Biomarkers to Study Current and Past Ecosystems”, which was well received by many colleagues whom I spoke with after the talk who clearly had strong interest in the work. The presentation that I gave was also highlighted by the Goldschmidt conference in a press release, and was highlighted by several news agencies. Following the publication of the Goldschmidt press release, I was interviewed by a science reporter from Science Now at the LA Times, who published another research highlight on my work in the LA Times. Since being published in the LA Times, this story has been published on numerous other science websites including Geochemical News, ScienceDaily, and Science World Report. By taking part in the session, I was also able to network with several other presenters and organizers of the session and discuss ideas for future collaborative work and proposals. Establishing these connections will hopefully lead to successful proposals that I will write together with new collaborators. I am very grateful for the support from C-DEBI that allowed me to attend the Goldschmidt Conference, and I am excited about new products that will result from future C-DEBI supported research.

[William Orsi's C-DEBI contributed publications]

Megumi Shimizu (Cindy Lee Van Dover Laboratory, Duke University)
Analysis of microbial lipids in sediment cores from the Weddell Sea: Towards the understanding of microbial communities changes following the ice-shelf collapse and exploration of microbial communities in dark, sub-ice shelf environment

1/1/14 - 4/1/14, Kai-Uwe Hinrichs (University of Bremen)
$1,500 DEBI RCN matched by Cindy Lee Van Dover Laboratory (Duke University)

The immediate objective is to learn techniques of intact polar and apolar lipid analysis (IPL and AL, respectively) in the Hinrichs Lab (MARUM, Bremen, Germany). Analysis will be conducted in several sections from five sediment cores collected in a cross-shelf transect during the LARISSA 2012 research expedition in the Weddell Sea. This work would be undertaken in a three-month graduate student research exchange. The overarching research objective is to assess the changes in sedimentary microbial community structure and the input of organic matter as the Larsen A embayment (Weddell Sea) transitioned from an oligotrophic sub-ice shelf, dark system to a photosynthetic open ocean system. These changes will be verified and related to the ice shelf collapse in space and time. The results will be merged with geochemical (concentrations of methane, sulfate, sulfide, dissolved inorganic carbon, and nutrients), geological (Lead 210 dating, diatom counts and chlorophyll concentration) and genetic profiles (i.e. bacterial and archaeal 16S rDNA sequencing and metageomics data) generated by collaborators in the NSF-funded LARISSA Program.

[Megumi Shimizu's C-DEBI contributed publications]

Stephanie Carr (John Spear Laboratory, Colorado School of Mines)
Participation in 2013 Dorado Outcrop expedition
12/5/13 - 12/23/13
$743 matched by Beth Orcutt Laboratory

A cruise is scheduled for December 5-23, 2013 to visit the Dorado Outcrop, a new Major Program focus site of C-DEBI, with Geoff Wheat from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks as Chief Scienctist. I have been given the opportunity to participate aboard this expedition as a shipboard microbiologist. In collaboration with the microbiology team (lead by Dr. B. Orcutt), I will part take in routine microbial and geochemical analyses, which will contribute to the following primary expedition objectives: To determine the ecological and biogeochemical nature of microbial communities in cool crustal fluids from the Dorado Outcrop, and determine the degree to which the communities and chemistry vary by comparison to ridge axis systems; and to determine the influence of cool crustal fluid circulation on sediment and hard-rock microbial ecology and biogeochemistry. These objectives will be further fulfilled post-expedition by various shore-based scientists, using samples that I will help to collect and preserve onboard. As a shipboard scientist, I am also entitled to, and responsible for, contributing to post-expedition research. My specific research plan is to employ single cell genomic techniques to identify the biogeochemical potential of uncultivable heterotrophic organisms present within aerobic marine sediment of the Dorado Outcrop. Revealing the potential functions and life requirements of uncultured organisms will greatly benefit our understanding of elemental cycling in the marine subsurface biosphere.

[Stephanie Carr's C-DEBI contributed publications]

Mark Friedman (Animo Charter High School)
2013 Animo Marine Biology Club Catalina Science Trip (21 students)
6/8/13 - 6/10/13
$735 matched by fundraising

[Mark Friedman's C-DEBI contributed publications]

Leah Brandt (Chris House Laboratory, Pennsylvania State University)
Learn new RNA extraction techniques
5/15/13 - 6/3/13, Jennifer Biddle Laboratory (University of Delaware)
$923 matched by NAI Travel Award

[Leah Brandt's C-DEBI contributed publications]

Esther Singer (Katrina Edwards Laboratory, University of Southern California)
Attendance at 2012 ISME Conference
8/19/12 - 8/24/12, International Society for Microbial Ecology
$1,494 matched by USC Fischer Travel Grant and USC Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) Travel Grant

[Esther Singer's C-DEBI contributed publications]

Loïs Maignien (Sheri Simmons Laboratory, Marine Biological Laboratory)
Microbial life in a deep-sea extreme hypersaline methane seep
8/19/12 - 8/24/12, International Society for Microbial Ecology
$1,920 matched by Sheri Simmons Laboratory

The Anaerobic Oxidation of Methane (AOM) is a central microbial activity in marine sediment experiencing upward migration of this potent greenhouse gas. In the Gulf of Cadiz (East Atlantic margin), over 30 mud volcanoes act as important methane escape pathways from deep-rooted hydrocarbon reservoirs toward sediment surface, and fuel active AOM microbial communities. These mud volcanoes span a wide range of water depths (300 to 2300 m deep), temperatures (4 to 13 °C), salinities (brackish to saturated brines), methane fluxes, geofluid composition and sediment depths. They hence constitute an ideal natural laboratory to study shifts in microbial community structure, functional gene repertoires and expression along these natural gradients. In a recent study (Maignien et al., in press), we have examined how AOM-mediating microorganisms can thrive up to saturated salinity in the center and rim of the Mercator mud volcano. This study raised numerous hypothesis regarding functioning of anaerobic methanotroph Archaea, and electron transfer during methane oxidation. Thanks to the support of C-DEBI, the results of this study could be presented in the 14th meeting of the International Society for Microbial Ecology (ISME14, August 19-14 2012), in Copenhagen. The talk, which was part of the “Microbial Life in Extreme Environments” session, sparked some interesting discussions that were a great incentive to continue the work!

[Loïs Maignien's C-DEBI contributed publications]

Patricia Harcourt (Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence, COSEE-West)
Extreme ocean life: Microbes beneath the sea floor
6/24/12 - 6/28/12, National Marine Educators Association Conference
$497 matched by the Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE-West)

Pat Harcourt and Mark Friedman presented a session on the C DEBI project and subseafloor microbes for teachers in grades 7 – 12 at the National Marine Educators Association annual conference held in Anchorage, Alaska in June 2012. The C-DEBI research and technology served as an engaging and exciting focal area for teachers who want to incorporate marine science into their curricula. Pat worked with C DEBI education specialist Cindy Joseph to develop lessons and activities that integrated marine biology, geology, technology, and the process of science. This session highlighted three classroom lessons. In an activity on the discovery of microbes below the sea floor, participants were required to construct a timeline of events based on reading excerpts from “Is Life Thriving Deep Beneath the Seafloor?” (Carl Wirsen, Oceanus, 2004) and track the evidence for microbial life in extreme marine environments. A size and scale activity required participants to place images of familiar objects along a greatly magnified size scale, then add images of newly discovered marine microbes to the scale to provide a sense of their sizes. A demonstration activity was presented to illustrate the work of microbiologist Richard Lenski on bacterial evolution and use of resources, and participants discussed how microbes could evolve to exploit new and extreme environments. Participants shared teaching ideas and strategies for using these lessons as well as resources from the C-DEBI web site.

[Patricia Harcourt's C-DEBI contributed publications]

Katrina Twing (Matt Schrenk Laboratory, East Carolina University)
Biogeography of functional genes in serpentinization-driven ecosystems
6/24/12 - 6/29/12, Gordon Research Conference and Seminar on Marine Microbes
$1,500 matched by Carnegie NASA Astrobiology Institute

My attendance at the Gordon Research Seminar and Conference on Marine Microbes, which had a focus of metagenomic analysis of microbial communities, allowed me to learn more about how next generation sequencing techniques and data analysis is being used in the field of marine microbiology so that I may apply it to the subsurface serpentinite environment. At both the seminar and the conference, I presented a poster entitled “Biogeography of Functional Genes in Serpentinization-Driven Ecosystems,” in which I outlined the analysis methods used to identify and compare functional genes necessary for the metabolism of volatiles produced during the geochemical process of serpentinization. The conference was incredibly informative and allowed me to make contacts for potential future collaborations.

[Katrina Twing's C-DEBI contributed publications]

William Brazelton (Matt Schrenk Laboratory, East Carolina University)
Metagenomic evidence for primary production fueled by serpentinization
6/24/12 - 6/29/12, Gordon Research Conference and Seminar on Marine Microbes
$1,500 matched by GRC and Carnegie NASA Astrobiology Institute

I presented a poster at the GRS and GRC titled “Metagenomic evidence for primary production fueled by serpentinization” that summarizes my ongoing work to identify autotrophic organisms in serpentinite-hosted subsurface ecosystems. The particular focus of this poster was to identify intriguing connections between several marine and continental sites of serpentinization in order to gain greater insight into biogeochemical process in ultramafic subseafloor habitats, which are currently inaccessible to the large-scale metagenomic techniques we are employing. This conference represented an opportunity to share my research with a community of researchers who are mostly unaware of our work but share common interests. In addition to the many techniques that we have in common, the questions of microbial biogeography that are inherent to our research direction also drive the work by many other marine microbial ecologists who do not necessarily study the subseafloor.

[William Brazelton's C-DEBI contributed publications]

Karyn Rogers (Carnegie Institution of Science)
A high-pressure, high temperature growth system
6/11/12 - 6/15/12, Jens Kallmeyer Laboratory (University of Potsdam)
$1,516 matched by Carnegie Institution of Science and Deep Carbon Observatory

I am requesting funds to visit the laboratory of Dr. Kallmeyer at the University of Potsdam and to work with him and his graduate student, Patrick Sauer, to adapt his high-temperature, high-pressure system to high-temperature, high-pressure deep-sea microbes, and extend the pressure limit to shallow crustal pressure regimes (~100 MPa). The goals of this visit are to (1) test the current high-pressure, high-temperature equipment with a known deep-sea thermophile, Archaeoglobus fulgidus; (2) develop an improved design that increases working pressures to ~100 MPa and includes the addition of fixative to subsamples prior to decompression; and (3) outline future research collaborations between Dr. Kallmeyer, Dr. Rogers and Mr. Sauer. The requested travel funds will solidify a collaboration between two C- DEBI affiliates, including a predoctoral student, and jumpstart a number of future deep biosphere research projects. The transfer of knowledge regarding the high-temperature, high-pressure growth system will greatly expand our ability to investigate the limits of microbial life in the subsurface, and sharing equipment design is one of the key motivations of the C-DEBI community.

[Karyn Rogers' C-DEBI contributed publications]

Mark Friedman (Animo Charter High School)
Animo High School Marine Biology Club Monterey Bay marine science trip
6/9/12 - 6/11/12, Monterey Bay Marine Science Trip
$1,000 matched by C-DEBI Animo High School Marine Biology Club Students

This appeal is for financial support for the 20 selected Animo High School students who are part of the C-DEBI collaborative. These students, chosen on their merits and determination to pursue a career in science, have been afforded considerable opportunities thru this collaboration. They are part of and lead the QuikSCience and National Ocean Science Bowl team, five have attended the Coastal School for Girls in Maine, and four have participated in USC internships with Dr. Caron (Young Researchers) and in Dr. Edwards’ lab. They regularly attend out-of-school lectures presented by First Fridays, COSEE-West and the Long Beach and Cabrillo Aquaria. A highlight of their continued enrichment in marine science is their organization of a three day marine science trip to a venue in California to visit among other locations Montana del Oro Tide pools, Monterey Bay Aquarium, MBARI, Elkhorn Slough, UCSC Wheat/Fisher Laboratories, J. Pfeiffer campground, and Elephant Seal rookery.

[Mark Friedman's C-DEBI contributed publications]

Beth Orcutt (Aarhus University)
Servicing CORK observatory systems in the 'North Pond' location of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge
4/11/12 - 5/10/12, North Pond Merian Expedition
$1,023 matched by Katrina Edwards Laboratory (University of Southern California)

I have been invited to sail as a microbiologist and observatory scientist on the 2012 RV Merian cruise with ROV Jason-II to visit the North Pond subsurface observatories installed during IODP Expedition 336 (see letters of support from Dr. Katrina Edwards and Dr. Wolfgang Bach). The purpose of this expedition is to service CORK observatory systems in the ‘North Pond’ location of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge for coupled hydrogeological, geochemical and microbiological analysis. I sailed as a microbiologist and observatory scientist on IODP Expedition 336 and was responsible for assembling the subsurface and seafloor microbial colonization experiments that were a central feature of the observatories. During the 2012 RV Merian cruise, I will be integrally involved in the assembly and installation of seafloor microbial observatory components for these CORKs and also with the collection and processing of sediments and rocks sampled during the cruise. I was chosen for this position based on my previous history of designing the observatory components and participation in 7 research expeditions to deploy, recover, service and analyses these instruments.

[Beth Orcutt's C-DEBI contributed publications]

Beth Orcutt (Bigelow Laboratory) and Everett Salas (Photon Systems)
Evaluating the use of common fluorophore-oligonucleotide probes and stains for identifying specific groups of microorganisms with deep UV-induced fluorescence

3/1/12 - 2/28/13, Katrina Edwards Laboratory (USC) and Everett Salas (Photon Systems)
$7,536 matched by Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and Photon Systems

This exchange is for travel and research support for a new collaborative project aiming to expand the utility of deep UV fluorescence microscopy techniques for working with environmental samples. Specifically, we propose to test the applicability of common fluorophore-labeled oligonucleotides, often used in environmental microbiology studies to determine the abundance of particular microbial groups, to sample scanning with current deep UV microscopes. We predict that some fluorophores should generate unique spectral signatures with deep UV excitation, and that these signatures could be utilized for mapping the distribution of specific microbial groups targeted with oligonucleotide-fluorophore probes. If successful, the combination of group-specific labeling of cells with deep UV fluorescence scanning will provide a powerful new tool for the C-DEBI community.

[Beth Orcutt's C-DEBI contributed publications]

Cassandre Lazar (Andreas Teske Laboratory, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill)
Enumeration of microbial cells in sediments from the Mediterranean Sea
2/12/12 - 3/2/12, Fumio Inagaki Laboratory (Kochi Institute for Core Sample Research, JAMSTEC)
$4,000 DEBI RCN matched by Fumio Inagaki Laboratory (Kochi Institute for Core Sample Research, JAMSTEC)

Enumeration of microbial cells in subsurface samples is an important baseline approach in our understanding of microbial life and ecosystems. This method has proven a challenge as non-specific fluorescent signals due to sediment particles impede efficient detection and counting of microbial cells. Therefore, the proposed travel exchange took place at Fumio Inagaki's laboratory (JAMSTEC) in Kochi (Japan) in order to carry out computer-based automatic cell counting for gravity core sediments fixed on board during the DARCSEAS cruise in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. This method is based on washing sediments with hydrofluoric acid, and staining with SYBR Green I in order to eliminate fluorescence of non-biological background while discriminating at the same time against background fluorescence of unspecifically stained organic material whose emission wavelengths are slightly offset from the peak of the SYBR Green I fluorescence emission window (Morono, 2009). This innovative technique will allow processing the large number of cell count samples generated during the cruise. This will in turn enable robust statistical comparison between samples as it will eliminate the bias of human counting. This information will prove useful in quantifying the microbial population in the sediment samples of the Mediterranean Sea. This travel exchange will also be very beneficial for learning this new method and training with the leading experts on this field of research.

[Cassandre Lazar's C-DEBI contributed publications]

Doug LaRowe (Jan Amend Laboratory, University of Southern California)
Environmental energy availability for sulfate-reducing microorganisms in deep subseafloor basaltic fluids
2/13/12 - 2/25/12, Alberto Robador and Tina Lin (University of Hawaii)
$1,242 DEBI RCN matched by James Cowen Laboratory (University of Hawaii)

Sulfate reducing microorganisms (SRM) may play a significant role altering upper oceanic crustal fluids when suitable electron donors, such as hydrogen or organic matter, are available. The habitability of such an environment with respect to sulfate reduction depends on the competition of microbial communities for substrates, which is largely dictated by the energetics of catabolic and anabolic processes. Although sulfate reduction has been observed in fluids taken from the upper ocean crust in Juan de Fuca Ridge flanks, the electron donors (EDs) used by SRM have not been identified, nor has the energy required for organic synthesis been determined. As a result, a collaboration is underway to characterize the EDs that are plausible candidates for the SRM in the Juan de Fuca system and to quantify the amount of energy these microorganisms require to synthesize biomolecules. This is accomplished by carrying out thermodynamic calculations that take into account the physicochemical properties of the resident fluids. Specifically, the Gibbs energy of reactions describing the reduction of sulfate by various EDs and the synthesis of amino acids from inorganic precursors is being calculated at the temperature, pressure and compositional conditions prevailing in particular Juan de Fuca sample site locations.

[Doug LaRowe's C-DEBI contributed publications]

Jennifer Biddle (University of Delaware)
C-DEBI postdoctoral program advising at AGU
12/5/11 - 12/9/11, American Geophysical Union (AGU) Meeting
$1,520 matched by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership

As the postdoctoral program advisor, I would like to be able to network with our existing postdoctorals and make sure they are meeting members of CDEBI. Additionally, I have offered to host a CDEBI get together so that the community can network.

[Jennifer Biddle's C-DEBI contributed publications]

Mark Friedman (Animo Leadership Charter High School)
Teach marine biology Instead of biology to all state standards, and achieving high biology test scores and motivation in urban high schools
10/12/11 - 10/15/11, National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) conference
10/21/11 - 10/23/11, California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) convention
$300 matched by Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE)

As part of my presentations at 2 different workshops (Teach Marine Biology Instead of Biology to all State Standards, and Achieving High Biology Test Scores and Motivation in Urban High Schools, I spent about 10 minutes discussing C-DEBI, Adopt a Microbe, Joides Resolution cruise and Skype opportunities. A total of 163 teachers heard the prsentations and saw the Powerpoint presentation which included C-DEBI. At the CSTA conference workshop co-sponsored by COSEE, Teach Marine Biology Instead of Biology to all State Standards DK assisted, as did Gwen Noda and Linda Chilton. I further explained to the primarily high school and some middle school teachers present the availability of Lesson Plans linked to C-DEBI mission and goals in the content subject areas of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and research for/by an Honors Marine Biology Class.

[Mark Friedman's C-DEBI contributed publications]

Beth Orcutt (Aarhus University)
Installation of CORK observatory systems in the 'North Pond' location of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge
9/16/11 - 11/17/11, North Pond IODP Expedition 336
$1,461 matched by Aarhus University

I have been invited to sail as a Microbiologist on IODP Expedition 336 (X336). The purpose of this expedition is to install CORK observatory systems in the ‘North Pond’ location of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge for coupled hydrogeological, geochemical and microbiological analysis. This expedition is one of the three current focus sites of C-DEBI for deep biosphere research. During this cruise, I will be integrally involved in the assembly and installation of the microbial observatory components for these CORKs – a critical component of these experiments. I was chosen for this position based on my previous history of designing the observatory components and participation in 6 research expeditions to deploy, recover, service and analyses these instruments. I have hands-on experience with microbiology experiments in CORKs based on my participation in the recent IODP Expedition 327 to the Juan de Fuca Ridge flank.

[Beth Orcutt's C-DEBI contributed publications]

Brian Glazer (University of Hawaii)
Geochemistry and microbiology of subsurface fluids obtained from CORK observatories
6/28/11 - 7/14/11, AT18-07 Juan de Fuca Ridge Expedition
$589 matched by Brian Glazer Laboratory (University of Hawaii)

Glazer’s participation on the AT18-07 expedition to the Juan de Fuca Ridge Flank was part of a collaborative effort researching geochemistry and microbiology of subsurface fluids obtained from CORK observatories. During this cruise Glazer’s primary goals were to conduct in situ electrochemical and optical oxygen measurements during real-time fluid sampling on ROV Jason-II, and to recover and redeploy an in situ electrochemical analyzer on a time-series instrument sled (GeoMICROBE) deployed to 1301A in 2010. In combination with temperature and optical oxygen measurements, in situ voltammetry was a useful real-time diagnostic indicator of successful connection to the CORK Fluid Delivery System. Preliminary results suggest delivery of fluids to seafloor samplers during AT18-07, especially at 1362B and 1362A, were highest integrity, lowest oxygen, formation fluids collected to date.

[Brian Glazer's C-DEBI contributed publications]

Brandon Briggs (Rick Colwell Laboratory, Oregon State University)
The effect of methane on microbial community distributions in the Ulleung Basin
6/27/11 - 7/1/11, Eoin Brodie Laboratory (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)
$4,539 DEBI RCN matched by National Energy Technology Laboratory (DOE-NETL)

The DEBI/C-DEBI research exchange gave me the opportunity to travel to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) to work with Dr. Eoin Brodie. While at LBNL, I was able to learn and adopt a new microarray technology for subseafloor microbial ecology investigations. The PhyloChip is a microarray that contains probes for Bacterial and Archaeal 16s rRNA genes and uses parallel hybridization to minimizes the influence of dominant organisms; therefore, it is highly sensitive to rare microbes. In addition, to this data the research exchange provided necessary funding for me to finish my dissertation. The research exchange funds allowed two sites in the Ulleung Basin to be fully analyzed and incorporated into my dissertation “Geomicrobiology of sediment containing methane”.

This collaboration also introduced me to how research is conducted at a national laboratory. This information is valuable in deciding my future career path. Whatever that path may be the collaboration and techniques that I learned will continue beyond graduate school, as we are planning future studies using the PhyloChip.

For more on this method, see Briggs, Pohlman, Torres, Reidel, Brodie and Colwell's 2011 AEM paper Macroscopic biofilms in fracture-dominated sediment that anaerobically oxidize methane.

[Brandon Briggs' C-DEBI contributed publications]

Beth Orcutt (Bo Barker Jørgensen Laboratory, Aarhus University)
Oceanic subsurface microbial observatory research and the Adopt-A-Microbe education and outreach project

12/13/10 - 12/17/10, American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting
$1,175 matched by Aarhus University

My attendance at this conference promoted oceanic subsurface microbial observatory research in general and also encouraged future collaborations with the terrestrial subsurface research community, as well as promoting the educational goals of C-DEBI. I presented results of the collaborative research in development and use of oceanic subsurface microbial observatories in the AGU Session H52: “Rocks, Fractures, Fluids and Life; Insights from Underground Research Laboratories”. I highlighted the ongoing observatory work being conducted on the Juan de Fuca Ridge flank, a central focus of the C-DEBI program. In addition, I presented information about the “Adopt A Microbe” (AAM) education and outreach project in the AGU Session ED17: “Teacher Professional Development Programs Promoting Authentic Scientific Research in the Classroom”. AAM was a custom internet-based project of IODP Expedition 327 to promote interactive learning about microbial life in the deep biosphere. With encouragement from the Deep Earth Academy, I presented information about how the project was developed and provided user-feedback to help a future generation of expedition educators develop similar programs. I also volunteered at the C-DEBI vendor booth at the AGU conference, to further promote CDEBI to the research and education communities.

[Beth Orcutt's C-DEBI contributed publications]

Mark Friedman (Animo Leadership Charter High School)
Teach marine biology in lieu of biology!

11/3/10 - 11/6/10, National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) conference
$382 matched by Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE)

Mark Friedman presented the workshop "Teach Marine Biology in Lieu of Biology" at the 2010 National Association of Biology Teachers conference in Minneapolis. This comprehensive biology course for high school students focuses on marine life and covers all California State Biology Standards. Developed by Los Angeles area high school teachers who currently teach Biology and Marine Biology with support from COSEE-West, online and sample materials (lesson plans, labs, activities, games, puzzles, web interactives, movies with thought questions, web quests, etc. with many resources available in Spanish for ELL) were introduced. The workshop also introduced educators to the new C-DEBI project including the “Adopt a Microbe” effort, the ability to SKYPE the Joides Resolution from classrooms, and the forthcoming materials like lesson plans and activities that will be developed by teachers and students associated with C-DEBI.

[Mark Friedman's C-DEBI contributed publications]

Brandi Kiel Reese (Heath Mills Laboratory, Texas A&M University)
Bioprospecting novel antimicrobials in the marine deep subsurface biosphere
7/5/10 - 7/28/10, Fumio Inagaki Laboratory (Kochi Institute for Core Sample Research, JAMSTEC)
$2,500 DEBI RCN matched by Heath Mills Laboratory (Texas A&M University)

I was honored to receive a DEBI RCN Graduate Student Education Exchange grant for research at the IODP Kochi Institute for Core Sample Research in Kochi, Japan. During the month of July 2010, I worked with Dr. Fumio Inagaki and other members of his lab group to learn his techniques of cell enumeration and flow cytometry. The experience of working in his lab allowed me to go beyond the typical collaboration based on brief meetings and email exchanges alone. I was able to step outside of my comfort zone and have a research experience in an unfamiliar culture. I learned much more than research techniques including overcoming communication barriers, building collaborations, and cultural exchanges. I discovered that the basic standards of science are global and although communication was difficult with a few lab members, the language of science transcended that and we continued to learn from each other regardless.

The methods I have learned in Japan have given me the ability to expand on my skill set and apply it to various environments. Since working with Dr. Inagaki, the techniques I have learned have allowed me to work on samples collected from research cruises in the Gulf of Mexico and IODP Leg 325 in the Great Barrier Reef. Dr. Inagaki encouraged me to ship and work on my own samples in order to return to my home institution with data that I am able to directly incorporate into my dissertation. We have since discussed other collaboration opportunities and I look forward to what the Research Coordination Network can provide in the future.

[Brandi Kiel Reese's C-DEBI contributed publications]


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