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).
Announcements
Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations
Annual Meeting Postponed to 2021
Posted: July 15, 2020

Message from the Director:

Due to the lingering challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to postpone this fall’s C-DEBI annual meeting to 2021. However, to maintain a connection with members of the C-DEBI community to present active research projects and support integrated discussions, we are considering a virtual meeting in November and will invite your ideas / suggestions / interest in the coming weeks.

Cheers and be safe,

Jan Amend
C-DEBI Director

Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations
Letter to the editor about recent New Yorker Article
Posted: July 1, 2020
Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations
#Strike4BlackLives
Posted: June 15, 2020
Education and Outreach
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
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
Senior Research ScientistsNEW!
Expires: September 15, 2020
NC State University
Assistant Professor - Chemical Oceanography
Posted: July 1, 2020
Montana State University
Postdoctoral Researcher position on Asgard archaea ecophysiology
Posted: June 1, 2020
Meetings and Activities
SoCal Geobiology Symposium
17th Annual Symposium rescheduled to Spring 2021 @ USCNEW!
Posted: August 2, 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
Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations
C-DEBI Protocols.io Group
Posted: July 24, 2017
Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations
Rolling call for community workshop support
Posted: November 15, 2016
Press
Various
Scientists revive 100-million-year-old microbesNEW!
Posted: August 2, 2020
Gizmodo
‘It Really Is Otherworldly’: What It’s Like to Visit the Hot Springs of the Deep SeaNEW!
Posted: August 2, 2020
Quanta Magazine
Inside Deep Undersea Rocks, Life Thrives Without the Sun
Posted: June 1, 2020
The Cosmic Companion
Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion April 28, 2020 - Interview with Steven DHondt URI
Posted: April 28, 2020
California Institute of Technology
Caltech Trustee and Professor Named Members of American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Posted: April 24, 2020
Proposal Calls
National Science Foundation
Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)NEW!
Expires: August 27, 2020
National Science Foundation
Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)NEW!
Expires: October 22, 2020
National Science Foundation
Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Pathways into the Earth, Ocean, Polar and Atmospheric & Geospace Sciences (IUSE:GEOPAths)
Expires: November 17, 2020
National Science Foundation
National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) Program
Expires: February 6, 2021
National Science Foundation
Biological Oceanography
Expires: February 15, 2021
National Science Foundation
Physical Oceanography
Expires: February 15, 2021
National Science Foundation
Chemical Oceanography
Expires: February 15, 2021
National Science Foundation
DCL: Collaborative Proposals under NSF and US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) Collaborative Research Opportunities
Posted: June 14, 2020
National Science Foundation
Antarctic Research Program Solicitation
Posted: May 15, 2020
National Science Foundation
Update from NSF OCE re: COVID-19 Impacts
Posted: April 1, 2020
National Science Foundation
Dear Colleague Letter: Poorly Sampled and Unknown Taxa (PurSUiT)
Posted: April 1, 2020
National Science Foundation
Enabling Discovery through GEnomic Tools (EDGE)
Posted: January 1, 2020
National Science Foundation
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
Queen Mary University of London
PhD Project: Microbial life and activity on glaciers and in Arctic soils
Posted: August 1, 2019
Queen Mary University of London
PhD Project: Microbial survival in the energy-limited deep biosphere
Posted: August 1, 2019
UNOLS
Cruise Opportunity Program
Posted: June 27, 2019
National Science Foundation
Infrastructure Innovation for Biological Research (IIBR)
Posted: October 1, 2018
National Science Foundation
Instrument Capacity for Biological Research (ICBR)
Posted: September 17, 2018
National Science Foundation
Division of Environmental Biology (core programs) (DEB)
Posted: September 4, 2018
National Science Foundation
Research Experience for Teachers (RET): Funding Opportunity in the Biological Sciences
Posted: July 16, 2018
National Science Foundation
Research Assistantships for High School Students (RAHSS): Funding to Broaden Participation in the Biological Sciences
Posted: July 16, 2018
National Science Foundation
Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP)
Posted: May 7, 2018
Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations
Rolling call for research exchange proposals
Posted: December 1, 2016
National Science Foundation
Arctic Sciences Program Solicitation
Posted: September 15, 2016
IODP U.S. Science Support Program
Proposals for Pre-Drilling Activities
Posted: January 27, 2016
Publications
Nature Communications
Aerobic microbial life persists in oxic marine sediment as old as 101.5 million yearsNEW!
Published: July 28, 2020
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Organic carbon and microbial activity in marine sediments on a global scale throughout the QuaternaryNEW!
Published: July 28, 2020
Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Evidence for a growth zone for deep subsurface microbial clades in near-surface anoxic sedimentsNEW!
Published: July 24, 2020
Crystal Growth & Design
Mainly on the Plane: Deep Subsurface Bacterial Proteins Bind and Alter Clathrate StructureNEW!
Published: July 23, 2020
Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Mantle degassing of primordial helium through submarine ridge flank basaltic basement
Published: July 15, 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
2017 C4 REU All-Stars
Posted: September 29, 2017
2017 GEM Course All-Stars
Posted: September 21, 2017

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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