Deep Life
We are exploring the frontier of the "deep biosphere" - microbial life in the rocks and sediments that makes up 70% of our planet's surface.
Background: Microbes "rust the crust" at Loihi Seamount (courtesy ROV JASON / WHOI)
Novel Organisms
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.
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).
It's Slow Growing: Novel Approaches
Visualization methods like "BONCAT" reveal important, novel, and basic insights into the unique metabolic features of microbes in the deep biosphere, as in the slow-growing, archaeal-bacterial consortium anaerobically oxidizing methane in deep sea sediments pictured here.
DAPI (DNA)   BONCAT (new proteins)   FISH (16s RNA)   Bar: 10μM
Figure: Hatzenpichler et al. 2016, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Global Implications
About 0.6% of Earth's total living biomass is in subseafloor sediments. This finding updates previous estimates made in 1998.
Figure: Kallmeyer et al. 2012, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Science & Technology
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).
Above: HOV Alvin samples a hydrothermal vent (photo credit: WHOI). Background: Scientific drilling ship JOIDES Resolution (photo credit: IODP).
Training & Outreach
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.
Background: C-DEBI's undergraduate summer GEM course (photo credit: Ann Close, USC).
Please be advised that as the Center is winding down, the website will only receive limited updates. Please subscribe to the newsletter for ongoing deep biosphere news and opportunities.
Announcements
C-DEBI phase down, STC postdoc opportunity
Posted: December 16, 2020

Message from the Director:

C-DEBI 2020 Annual Meeting participants pose for a group screenshot

It’s been 10 amazing years as an NSF Science and Technology Center (STC), and we continue to phase down in the next 2 years under a no-cost extension. We now come to the time to say thank you and goodbye to members of our staff who have supported the C-DEBI community, programs and activities that have been integral to our success: Matt Janicak (Data Manager and Webmaster); Nerissa Rivera-Laux (Administrative Assistant); and Gwen Noda (Education and Diversity Director) who is transitioning into the Wrigley Institute at USC while the undergraduate GGURE and GEM programs finish this coming spring/summer. Rosalynn Sylvan (Managing Director) will continue to manage the administration of C-DEBI, so please keep her listed as your primary contact.

We also share here an STC-only student and postdoc opportunity “Reach Out Science Communication Challenge” hosted by the NSF and the Boston Museum of Science. Current C-DEBI-affiliated undergraduate, graduate student, and postdoctoral researchers are invited to participate in 2 free virtual science communication workshops in January to sharpen their public communication skills with students and postdocs from all 12 STCs ($50 stipends are earned by attending both workshops and responding to follow-up surveys). Competitive “Reach Out Science Slams” in the spring will be nationally live-streamed with additional prizes. More information including eligibility, rules, and guidance at https://www.mos.org/reach-out-challenge.

Cheers,

Jan Amend
C-DEBI Director

Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations
New positions, Networked Speaker Series seminars
Posted: August 17, 2020
Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations
Annual Meeting Postponed to 2021
Posted: July 15, 2020
Education and Outreach
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Recorded Webinar: Navigating Opportunities at the National Science Foundation
Posted: August 17, 2020
Frontiers for Young Minds
Microbial Life Deep Under the Seafloor—A Story of Not Giving Up
Posted: June 1, 2020
IODP U.S. Science Support Program
In Search of Earth's Secrets: Stories from the Cores video game trailer
Posted: December 16, 2019
Employment
University of Southern California
Assistant Professor of Quantitative and Computational Biology
Posted: November 15, 2020
University of Southern California
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
Posted: November 15, 2020
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Research Assistant / Research Associate - MC&G
Posted: November 1, 2020
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Principal Investigator or Principal Engineer (focus on seafloor patterns and processes)
Posted: September 2, 2020
Meetings and Activities
The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine
Seeking Community Input on Advancing a Systems Approach to Studying the Earth
Posted: October 1, 2020
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Recorded Webinar: Navigating Opportunities at the National Science Foundation
Posted: August 17, 2020
Network for Ocean Worlds
Comment and endorse White Paper proposing an Ocean Worlds Exploration Program
Posted: July 15, 2020
Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations
C-DEBI now has a company page on LinkedIn - join us!
Posted: December 13, 2018
Press
Nature
Scientists’ drill accidentally unleashes a flood of icy water — and data
Posted: November 15, 2020
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Microbial diversity below the seafloor is as rich as on Earth's surface
Posted: November 1, 2020
University of Rhode Island
Microbial diversity below seafloor is as rich as on Earth’s surface
Posted: November 1, 2020
Vice
Scientists Found Creatures So Inactive They Expanded Our Idea of Life Itself
Posted: August 17, 2020
Various
Scientists revive 100-million-year-old microbes
Posted: August 2, 2020
Proposal Calls
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
2021 Postdoctoral Fellowship
Expires on: January 21, 2021
National Science Foundation (NSF)
National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) Program
Expires on: February 6, 2021
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Biological Oceanography
Expires on: February 15, 2021
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Physical Oceanography
Expires on: February 15, 2021
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Chemical Oceanography
Expires on: February 15, 2021
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Understanding the Rules of Life: Microbiome Interactions and Mechanisms (URoL:MIM)NEW!
Expires on: February 23, 2021
National Science Foundation (NSF)
EarthCube: Developing a Community-Driven Data and Knowledge Environment for the Geosciences
Expires on: March 3, 2021
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Navigating the New Arctic (NNA)
Expires on: March 5, 2021
IODP
Call for Drilling Proposals
Expires on: April 15, 2021
National Science Foundation (NSF)
International Research Experiences for Students (IRES)
Expires on: September 28, 2021
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Dear Colleague Letter: Career-Life Balance (CLB) Supplemental Funding RequestsNEW!
Posted: November 30, 2020
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Dear Colleague Letter: Non-Academic Research Internships for Graduate Students (INTERN) Supplemental Funding Opportunity
Posted: October 15, 2020
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Dear Colleague Letter: UKRI/BBSRC-NSF/BIO Lead Agency Opportunity in Biological Informatics, Microbes and the Host Immune System, Quantum Biology and Synthetic Cell
Posted: September 14, 2020
National Science Foundation (NSF)
DCL: Collaborative Proposals under NSF and US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) Collaborative Research Opportunities
Posted: June 14, 2020
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Antarctic Research Program Solicitation
Posted: May 15, 2020
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Dear Colleague Letter: Poorly Sampled and Unknown Taxa (PurSUiT)
Posted: April 1, 2020
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Enabling Discovery through GEnomic Tools (EDGE)
Posted: January 1, 2020
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Dear Colleague Letter: An Update to the Approach for the Provision of Marine Seismic Capabilities for the U.S. Research Community
Posted: September 16, 2019
UNOLS
Cruise Opportunity Program
Posted: June 27, 2019
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Infrastructure Innovation for Biological Research (IIBR)
Posted: October 1, 2018
Publications
Environmental Microbiology
Microbe‐mineral biogeography from multi‐year incubations in oceanic crust at North Pond, Mid‐Atlantic Ridge
Published: January 8, 2021
The ISME Journal
Time-series transcriptomics from cold, oxic subseafloor crustal fluids reveals a motile, mixotrophic microbial community
Published: December 3, 2020
Scientific Drilling
A new high-temperature borehole fluid sampler: the Multi-Temperature Fluid Sampler
Published: December 1, 2020
The ISME Journal
Marine Dadabacteria exhibit genome streamlining and phototrophy-driven niche partitioning
Published: November 23, 2020
Geobiology
Electrochemical evidence for in situ microbial activity at the Deep Mine Microbial Observatory (DeMMO), South Dakota, USA
Published: November 14, 2020
Spotlight
2019 GEM Course All-Stars
Posted: August 7, 2019
2018 GEM Course All-Stars
Posted: August 7, 2019
2018 C4 REU All-Stars
Posted: August 7, 2019

Media Highlights

Center Video Overview

C-DEBI is a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center led by Drs. Jan Amend (C-DEBI Director, USC), Julie Huber (Marine Biological Laboratory), Steven D’Hondt (University of Rhode Island), Andrew Fisher (University of California, Santa Cruz), and C. Geoffrey Wheat (University of Alaska, Fairbanks).

C-DEBI/Sea Grant 15-second science videos

In partnership with C-DEBI, Delaware Sea Grant is expanding its collection of 15 Second Science videos and other multimedia to include resources about the deep biosphere and sub-seafloor life.

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