To find out what kinds of microbes live in the nooks and crannies of the ocean crust, researchers dropped sterilized rocks into plugged drill holes. The biofilms that grew on the rocks were somewhat different from organisms that swim in the fluids, showing that both communities are important to our understanding of this giant subsurface ecosystem. Featuring the recent paper Ecology of Subseafloor Crustal Biofilms (Frontiers in Microbiology, C-DEBI Contribution 391).
Eight members of the DCO science network volunteered to become Wikipedia Fellows and to improve the content of science material on the free online encyclopedia. Through their efforts, they improved 23 articles and contributed more that 13,000 words to this widely read resource.
A new initiative entitled The Ocean Floor – Earth’s Uncharted Interface, is receiving more than $8 million annually for seven years to investigate the interactions among biological, geological, and chemical processes at the ocean floor.
Anaerobic methanotrophs are a group of microbes that consume methane and live a low-energy lifestyle in oxygen-free environments. A new study shows that measuring the ratio of rare isotopes of methane from marine sediments is a useful tool for tracking their activities, which previously have been hard to distinguish from those of microbes that make methane. Featuring our most recent Network Speaker Series speaker, Jeanine Ash (watch the seminar on “Making and breaking Molecules,” now on YouTube).
Bacteria living on the surface of the mineral olivine inside a deep, subseafloor aquifer rely on the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway, an ancient type of metabolism that uses hydrogen and carbon dioxide to yield energy and organic compounds. Featuring the recent ISME Journal publication and C-DEBI Contribution 467, Carbon fixation and energy metabolisms of a subseafloor olivine biofilm (Smith, et al.).
In the carbon-rich sediments of the Baltic Sea, microbes use a variety of strategies to make a living from different types of organic material that have settled there, including making and consuming alcohol and breaking down proteins from dead cells. Featuring Zinke, et al. in Applied and Environmental Microbiology (C-DEBI Contribution 448).
The sampling expedition Biology Meets Subduction: A Collaborative and Multidisciplinary Deep Carbon Field Initiative was designed to develop novel connections between microbiology, volcanic systems, and the cycling of living and dead (biotic and abiotic) carbon as Earth’s plates move and subduct past each other. With the fieldwork complete, the team, led by DCO early career scientists has started to publish their findings. Join Peter Barry (University of Oxford, UK), Karen Lloyd (University of Tennessee Knoxville, USA), and Donato Giovannelli (CNR-IRBIM, Italy and Rutgers University, USA) as they discuss their fieldwork in Costa Rica and Panama and share the value added and problems created by conducting a multidisciplinary scientific investigation in the field. The live webinar will be held January 23, 2019 at 11am PT / 2pm ET.
Researchers aboard IODP Expedition 357 collected cores from across the Atlantis Massif, a mountain of mantle material uplifted to the seafloor near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. They are using these samples to investigate the link between the geochemical and microbiological processes occurring in the massif.
Featuring C-DEBI researcher Beth Orcutt.
Featuring C-DEBI Researchers James Bradley, Jan Amend and Doug LaRowe about their recent publication in Geobiology (C-DEBI Contribution 438). A new model that probes the limits of microbial life finds that microorganisms in South Pacific Gyre sediments persist for millions of years in a dormant state, consuming the scraps of organic compounds buried with them.
Since 2011, the Deep Carbon Observatory’s (DCO; http://deepcarbon.net/) Deep Life Community has sponsored the Census of Deep Life (CoDL) that has supported surveys of the diversity of microbes present in several deep continental and subseafloor environments. The first surveys (2011-2012) were conducted using 454 pyrosequencing and subsequently (2013) Illumina sequencing strategies were adopted. Through this initiative, the Deep Life Community has allowed the characterization of diversity of subsurface microbial communities at numerous sites worldwide including the subseafloor and deep continental locations from a range of geologic settings (e.g., large igneous provinces, subglacial lakes, methane hydrate-rich sediments, cratons). The Illumina platform provides increased numbers of reads for more samples at reduced cost. For DNA samples submitted to the CoDL for sequencing, proponents have the option of obtaining 400-450 nt sequences that span the V4V5 region of Bacterial and Archaeal rRNA coding regions or a greater number of reads for V6 regions that through complete overlap of forward and reverse reads allows detection of lower abundance taxa with reduced stochastic error rates. Shotgun metagenomic DNA sequencing for key samples can also be performed. This call for proposals aims to support sequencing that represents expanded analyses from ongoing Deep Life Community projects or projects that represent sites and investigators new to the DCO’s Deep Life Community. The proposal deadline is July 15, 2018.
The Deep Life Modeling and Visualization (DLMV) network of the Deep Life community of the Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) is looking to fund postdoctoral fellows to develop interdisciplinary models that produce fundamental new insights or hypotheses regarding the carbon cycle on Earth. Themes may include but are not limited to (1) biosphere-geosphere coupling in the deep carbon cycle, (2) integration of microbiological data and data on (bio)geochemical rates, processes, or fluxes, (3) integration of quantitative microbiological data with physical and geochemical data to identify the limits of life and distribution of microbial biomass throughout the biosphere, and/or (4) modeling of interactions between deep life and continental evolution. Proposals may involve the (1) synthesis of insights and data produced by members of the Deep Life community, and (2) integration of these insights and data with insights and data produced by other communities within and outside the DCO. Ideal candidates will have a proven track record in interdisciplinary and quantitative biological, geochemical, and/or geological sciences that includes modeling and visualization, and demonstrated ability to work in a team of multi-disciplinary scientists. Proposal submission deadline: January 20, 2018.
The Baltic Sea has had a dramatic geologic past, complete with advancing and retreating glaciers and shifting inputs of fresh and salt water. All of these changes are recorded in the layers of sediments that collect at the seafloor—layers that were buried along with the microbes colonizing them. Scientists have long debated whether these organisms beneath the Baltic Sea, as well as other bodies of water, are thriving and dividing or just barely surviving.
A new paper in Environmental Microbiology Reports suggests that deep microbes are doing just fine. Deep Life Community members Laura Zinke, Jan Amend (both at University of Southern California, USA), Jordan Bird, Karen Lloyd (both at University of Tennessee, USA), Bo Barker Jørgensen (Aarhus University, Denmark), and Brandi Kiel Reese (Texas A&M University, USA), along with Ian Marshall (Aarhus University, Denmark) and Megan Mullis (Texas A&M University, USA), analyzed Baltic Sea sediments to see what kinds of microbial activities occur at depths down to 42 meters below the seafloor. The researchers found that resident microbes are surprisingly active in this high-carbon, low-energy environment.
A new series of DCO webinars focusing on big data modeling and visualization will launch Wednesday, 17 May 2017 at 2 pm EDT. Called “DCO Webinar Wednesdays,” this webinar series builds on the successful workshop program at the Third DCO International Science Meeting and will take place monthly over the summer. We hope you join in to learn from DCO experts in data science, modeling, and data visualization, who will guide you through a series of available modeling tools and software packages that you can integrate into your research now. Synthesis Group 2019 and the DCO Engagement Team are hosting this series. You can join the webinars live, and follow along on Twitter on the hashtag #DCOWebWed. All webinars will begin with a 30-minute presentation, followed by 15 minutes for open discussion and Q&A. We will archive the webinars as they happen, so don’t worry if you miss one! The final webinar of this series on 12 October 2017 will bring together the presenters for a live Q&A, giving you plenty of opportunity to view the archive and have your questions answered by our panel of experts. Contact Katie Pratt (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Darlene Trew Crist (email@example.com) with any questions about the webinar series, or if you would like to propose a future series.
The Deep Life Community (DLC) within the Sloan Foundation supported Deep Carbon Observatory realizes that the majority of deep microbial life has been resistant to cultivation in the laboratory, which complicates the characterization of physiological characteristics of deep community members. However, recent studies using bioreactor-cultivation techniques, under high pressure and/or temperature, have resulted in successful enrichment of previously uncultivable archaeal and bacterial components that mediate biogeochemical carbon cycling in deep subsurface (1-7). In order to maintain and strengthen cultivation strategies in future deep life missions, the DLC will support early-carrier researchers to visit some key laboratories (Inagaki – Kochi, Japan, Bartlett – La Jolla, USA, and others) to learn and practice newly developed cultivation and cultivation-dependent molecular/biogeochemical techniques using samples from the DLC’s field missions. Financial support includes $5,400 per person for travel and lodging costs and host lab research supply reimbursement. Interested applicants should send their cv, a brief one page statement of their cultivation plans, and a letter of support from their intended host to Fumio Inagaki (firstname.lastname@example.org ) and Douglas Bartlett (email@example.com).
The Deep Carbon Observatory, in collaboration with the Department of Earth Sciences of Sapienza University (Rome), is hosting its third Early Career Scientist Workshop in Nicolosi (Etna), Italy, 28 August-2 September 2017. This workshop will bring together the next generation of researchers active in deep carbon studies from around the world. Building on the success of the first and second DCO Early Career Scientist Workshops, this third workshop (~50 scientists) of early career researchers will continue to foster collaboration and community within the ever expanding DCO Science Network. The workshop is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and aims to financially support as many participants as possible. There is no registration fee for this workshop (accommodation and meals will be provided). Successful applicants will be eligible for up to 100% reimbursement of travel costs. Senior graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, fellows, and newly appointed assistant professors, are encouraged to apply. The application window is open through April 14, 2017.
Since 2011, the Deep Carbon Observatory’s (DCO) Deep Life Community has sponsored the Census of Deep Life (CoDL) that has supported surveys of the diversity of microbes present in several deep continental and subseafloor environments. The first surveys (2011-2012) were conducted using 454 pyrosequencing and subsequently (2013) Illumina sequencing strategies were adopted. Through this initiative, the Deep Life Community has allowed the characterization of diversity of subsurface microbial communities at numerous sites worldwide including the subseafloor and deep continental locations from a range of geologic settings (e.g., large igneous provinces, subglacial lakes, methane hydrate-rich sediments, cratons). The Illumina platform provides increased numbers of reads for more samples at reduced cost. For DNA samples submitted to the CoDL for sequencing, proponents have the option of obtaining 400-450 nt sequences that span the V4V5 region of Bacterial and Archaeal rRNA coding regions or a greater number of reads for V6 regions that through complete overlap of forward and reverse reads allows detection of lower abundance taxa with reduced stochastic error rates. Shotgun metagenomic DNA sequencing for key samples can also be performed. This call for proposals aims to support sequencing that represents expanded analyses from ongoing Deep Life Community projects or projects that represent sites and investigators new to the DCO’s Deep Life Community. Proposal deadline: April 30, 2017.
The Deep Energy Community (DEC) of the Deep Carbon Observatory invites proposals for short- term funding of projects and/or activities aimed at addressing the DEC’s decadal goals and/or strengthening the international DEC community and its abilities to generate funding for new and ongoing initiatives. The DEC is dedicated to quantifying the environmental conditions and processes from the molecular to the global scale that control the origins, forms, quantities and movements of reduced carbon compounds derived from deep carbon through deep geologic time. The DEC has identified a number of guiding questions and the DEC Steering Committee encourages submission of ideas for modest short-term support that will address these and other relevant / meritorious efforts with high potential to attract new funding. Examples of supported activities include 1) laboratory research, 2) travel to field sites to collect samples of key importance, 3) support of working groups and workshops to synthesize data for publication of Deep Energy research, and/or to develop interdisciplinary collaborations, 4) travel to work with collaborators on the preparation of new proposals, or 5) other activities that would advance Deep Energy Goals. Application deadline: November 20, 2016.