Call for session suggestions: The Goldschmidt conference is the most important forum for the discussion of recent results in geochemistry and related fields. The theme leaders have now identified 23 themes and the whole geochemistry community is invited to make suggestions for sessions. Now is your chance to make sure that your area of science is represented at the conference. If you have any questions about the science, or if you want advice about your suggestion, please ask the theme leader (whose details are available on the conference website in their theme). The call for sessions is open now until November 1, 2016. Call for workshop proposals: The Goldschmidt2017 conference in Paris will carry on the tradition of running high quality teaching workshops and seminars on the weekend before the conference. Every year, the Goldschmidt conference draws in thousands of delegates from geochemistry and related subjects: the perfect audience for a workshop that teaches the skills, or discusses the topics, of our community. Is there a workshop or Town Hall meeting that you want to lead? If so, please submit your proposal for review before November 1, 2016.
Attending the Goldschmidt 2018 meeting in Boston, August 12-17? Please consider submitting your abstracts, due March 30, 2018, to Session 10a: Geomicrobiology and Microbial Persistence in the Deep Biosphere (conveners Jiasong Fang, Lars Wörmer, Kasper Kjeldsen, Beth Orcutt, Yohey Suzuki): The continental and marine subsurface hosts microbial life that is involved in globally-significant geochemical transformations while existing under energy limitation and other extreme conditions. Recent advances in developing new and improved detection techniques, lowering detection limits, and increasing single cell and molecular-level resolution have uncovered new information about the size and forms of microbial life in this biosphere, physiologies of microbial groups, and possible evolutionary and adaptation mechanisms at play. However, much is still to be learned about the limits, diversity, extent and function of deep biosphere life. This session invites multidisciplinary contributions that present new findings from continental and/or marine subsurface environments, including “windows” into these systems such as deep-sea hydrothermal vents and cold seeps as well as hot springs and mud volcanoes on land and in the ocean. In particular, we welcome contributions that highlight strategies of microbial persistence in the deep biosphere, such as the formation and dispersal of endospores and other persistence forms. See more deep biosphere-related sessions under Theme 10: Geobiology, Organic Tracers, and Biogeochemistry.
Goldschmidt is the foremost annual, international conference on geochemistry and related subjects, organized by the European Association of Geochemistry and the Geochemical Society. Deep biosphere-related themes include: Geobiology of the Modern, Geo-omics Meets Organic Geochemistry, Innovation in Geochemical Methods and Models and Data in Geochemistry. Abstract submissions are due April 1, 2017.
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.
Goldschmidt is the foremost annual, international conference on geochemistry and related subjects, organised by the Geochemical Society and the European Association of Geochemistry. Session and workshop proposals are due November 1, 2017.
Please consider submitting your abstract to Goldschmidt Session 15h: Geobiology of the Modern Convenors: Fumio Inagaki, Kai-Uwe Hinrichs, Chuanlun Zhang, Brian Hedlund, Fengping Wang, Stefan Sievert, Karen Lloyd, Benedicte Menez. Keynote: Victoria Orphan (Caltech). Abstract: The deep ocean and subseafloor biosphere is vast and diverse, harboring many uncultured clades of microorganisms. Energy and nutrients are supplied primarily by transformations of biologically and/or abiotically produced organic matter and the redox chemistry of water-rock interactions. Recent technological breakthroughs in biogeochemistry, geomicrobiology and molecular biology, as well as in obtaining pristine samples from the hadal zone of the ocean and the deep-subsurface biosphere enable us to address essential questions about microbial community composition, biogeochemical contribution, and limits to microbial ecosystems in the deep ocean and subseafloor biosphere. In this session, we would like to highlight studies broadly focusing on the triangular relationship between microbiology, geochemistry, and geophysics in (but not limited to) diverse oceanic and subseafloor biosphere settings. Given the slow pace of deep life activity and the associated challenges for detecting biosignatures in the most extreme sections of the Earth’s microbial ecosystems, we also encourage submissions addressing the exploration of biomarkers. Abstract deadline: April 1, 2017.
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 deadline: April 1, 2017.
Deep biosphere researcher Fumio Inagaki (JAMSTEC) on “Exploring Deep Microbial Life In The Planetary Interior: What Are The Limits of Habitability?”
AbstractSerpentinization is the process in which ultramafic rocks, characteristic of the upper mantle, react with water liberating mantle carbon and reducing power to potenially support chemosynthetic microbial communities. These communities may be important mediators of carbon and energy exchange between the deep Earth and the surface biosphere. Our work focuses on the Coast Range Ophiolite Microbial Observatory (CROMO) in Northern California where subsurface fluids are accessible through a series of wells. Preliminary analyses indicate that the highly basic fluids (pH 9-12) have low microbial diversity, but there is limited knowledge about the metabolic capabilities of these communties. Metagenomic data from similar serpentine environments  have identified Betaproteobacteria belonging to the order Burkholderiales and Gram-positive bacteria from the phylum Clostridiales, as key components of the serpentine microbiome. In an effort to better characterize the microbial community, metabolism, and geochemistry at CROMO, fluids from two representative wells (N08B and CSWold) were sampled during a recent field campaign. The wells selected can be differentiated in that N08B had cell counts ranging from 105 -106 cells mL-1 of fluid, and abundance of the Betaproteobacterium Hydrogenophaga. In contrast, fluids from CSWold have lower cell counts (~103 cells mL-1 ) and an abundance of Dethiobacter, a taxon within the phylum Clostridiales. Geochemical characterization of the fluids includes measurements of dissolved gases (H2, CO, CH4), dissolved inorganic and organic carbon, volatile fatty acids, and nutrients. Microcosm experiments were conducted with the purpose of monitoring carbon fixation and metabolism of small organic compounds, such as acetate, while tracing changes in fluid chemistry and microbial community composition. These experiments are expected to provide insight into the biogeochemical dynamics of the serpentinite subsurface at CROMO and represent a first step for developing RNA based Stable Isotope Probing (RNA-SIP) experiments to trace microbial activity at this site.
AbstractIn recent years, multiple research groups have tremendously advanced understanding of subseafloor sedimentary life. Microbes in subseafloor sediment are now known to be abundant, diverse and characterized by extraordinarily low mean rates of activity. Some discoveries challenge our sense of what is possible. For example, per-cell energy fluxes are far below the rates believed necessary for reproduction. What mechanisms might allow cells to reproduce at such low rates? Or do many of them live for millions of years without reproducing? Bulk population studies show that a very large fraction of these cells is active. However, we know essentially nothing about cell-to-cell variation in respiration, biomass turnover or reproduction. Furthermore, we do not clearly understand how organic-fueled respiration can persist for tens of myrs at very slow rates. Subseafloor community structure is largely unexplored. We have very limited understanding of the ways in which subseafloor microbes compete and almost no understanding of how they cooperate. Roles of viruses, eukaryotes, resting stages and bacterial spores in subseafloor ecosystems are largely unknown. The proximate causes and ultimate consequences of natural selection in subseafloor communities remain unknown. For the most part, we do not yet know the genetic potential of subseafloor microbes, the extent to which their potential is expressed, or the conditions under which they are expressed. The actual limits to subseafloor life are not yet known. Advancing understanding of these issues will yield fundamental insight into the nature of life.
The Geochemical Society is offering grants to qualifying students to attend the 2019 Goldschmidt Conference, the world’s largest meeting devoted to geochemistry and related fields. These grants are available to students who meet any one of these criteria: 1) Undergraduate or graduate students who are US citizens or permanent residents and who self-identify as members of underrepresented groups in the science and engineering student population, as designated by the NSF, in this case African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders; 2) Undergraduate or graduate students from underrepresented institutions, including Baccalaureate Colleges, M1, M2, M3 universities, tribal colleges or community colleges; 3) Graduate students or postdoctoral scholars working at universities or institutions in the U.S. and its territories on subjects related to planetary science (e.g., planetary geology, cosmochemistry, astrobiology). All applications must be completed by March 15, 2019.
Attending Goldschmidt 2019 in Barcelona? Consider submitting your abstracts to Session 09c: Biogeochemical Cycling in Changing Glacial Habitats and Downstream Ecosystems. Conveners: Alexander Michaud, Trista Vick-Majors. Description: Glaciers and ice sheets, as major drivers of weathering and erosion, are important features within the critical zone. As the size, distribution, and melt patterns associated with glaciers continue to change, so too will their impacts to downstream ecosystems. Habitats beneath and downstream of glaciers will contend with hydrologic changes leading to altered nutrient and sediment regimes. The microorganisms that catalyze the transformation of elements within glacial habitats and downstream environments will respond to these changes in unknown ways. This session seeks to synthesize knowledge on the impacts of changing hydrology and sediment transport on the biogeochemistry of glaciated systems, the microbial life in those systems, and the downstream consequences of change. We invite abstracts that address biogeochemical linkages within or among components of glaciated systems, or how microbial or biogeochemical processes are affected by changes in glacier movement, hydrology, or extent. Habitats downstream of glaciers are numerous, so we encourage abstracts from studies conducted in fjords, terrestrial glacial forefields, proglacial lakes, supraglacial, and subglacial habitats. The session aims to contextualize how glacial changes will regulate future biogeochemical processes. Abstract submission opens January 15, 2019, and closes March 29, 2019.