|C-DEBI Newsletter – October 16, 2017
This newsletter is also accessible via our website.
Methyl-compound use and slow growth characterize microbial life in 2-km-deep subseafloor coal and shale beds – NEW!
Elizabeth Trembath-Reichert*, Yuki Morono, Akira Ijiri, Tatsuhiko Hoshino, Katherine S. Dawson, Fumio Inagaki, and Victoria J. Orphan*
*C-DEBI Contribution 389
The past decade of scientific ocean drilling has revealed seemingly ubiquitous, slow-growing microbial life within a range of deep biosphere habitats. Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 337 expanded these studies by successfully coring Miocene-aged coal beds 2 km below the seafloor hypothesized to be “hot spots” for microbial life. To characterize the activity of coal-associated microorganisms from this site, a series of stable isotope probing (SIP) experiments were conducted using intact pieces of coal and overlying shale incubated at in situ temperatures (45 °C). The 30-month SIP incubations were amended with deuterated water as a passive tracer for growth and different combinations of 13C- or 15N-labeled methanol, methylamine, and ammonium added at low (micromolar) concentrations to investigate methylotrophy in the deep subseafloor biosphere. Although the cell densities were low (50–2,000 cells per cubic centimeter), bulk geochemical measurements and single-cell–targeted nanometer-scale secondary ion mass spectrometry demonstrated active metabolism of methylated substrates by the thermally adapted microbial assemblage, with differing substrate utilization profiles between coal and shale incubations. The conversion of labeled methylamine and methanol was predominantly through heterotrophic processes, with only minor stimulation of methanogenesis. These findings were consistent with in situ and incubation 16S rRNA gene surveys. Microbial growth estimates in the incubations ranged from several months to over 100 y, representing some of the slowest direct measurements of environmental microbial biosynthesis rates. Collectively, these data highlight a small, but viable, deep coal bed biosphere characterized by extremely slow-growing heterotrophs that can utilize a diverse range of carbon and nitrogen substrates.
Meetings & Activities
Goldschmidt2018: Calls for Sessions and Workshops
Session and workshop proposals are due November 1, 2017.
C-DEBI: Networked Speaker Series #17
Dr. Emily Estes (University of Delaware) will give the next Networked Speaker Series Seminar on “Organic carbon utilization and preservation in a carbon desert,” Thursday, November 2, 2017, 12:30pm PT. Missed the last seminar on “Microbial Neter-Khertet: Life and death post-entombment” with Dr. Gus Ramirez? Watch it on YouTube.
NSF: Fall 2017 Grants Virtual Conference – Registration Open – NEW!
Experience the Fall 2017 National Science Foundation (NSF) Grants Conference virtually. We are pleased to announce that the upcoming conference in Phoenix, AZ on November 13-14, 2017, will be webcast live to the research community. View the plenary sessions to gain key insights into a wide range of current issues at NSF including: the state of current funding, new and current policies and procedures, and pertinent administrative issues. Please click here to register. Check out the webcast agenda for more information on the sessions that will be covered. These sessions will be recorded for on-demand viewing once the conference has concluded. Presentations will also be available on the conference website.
NSF: Dear Colleague Letter: Advancing Frontiers in Seafloor Science and Engineering Research
Workshop proposals must be submitted by November 15, 2017 for consideration.
IODP-USSSP: Proposals for Pre-Drilling Activities and Workshops
The U.S. Science Support Program (USSSP) accepts proposals on a rolling basis for pre-drilling activities and semi-annually for workshops, related to the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP). Next workshop submission deadline: December 1, 2017.
EGU: Deep biosphere session – call for abstracts – NEW!
From the convenors: we are organizing a session at EGU General Assembly in Vienna in early April 2018 called: “Linking microbial communities and climatic archives: the influence of the subsurface biosphere on terrestrial and marine sediments.” We are particularly interested in involving people from the deep biosphere, and would like to strengthen the links between scientists of the paleoclimate study domains (whom are coming in large numbers at EGU) and the deep-life community (continuously growing in number). Please consider submitting an abstract to our session, due January 10, 2018.
C-DEBI: Protocols.io Group Page
To help preserve deep biosphere methods for use in future projects, the Center strongly encourages you to describe your lab and software-based methods using protocols.io, and to link them to our group page at https://www.protocols.io/groups/center-for-dark-energy-biosphere-investigations. The protocols.io website provides an easy-to-use platform to share reproducible, step-by-step scientific methods.
C-DEBI: Rolling call for Community Workshop support
The NSF Science and Technology Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI) invites proposals for $15,000 on average (and up to $20,000) in direct funds for community workshops that will help to advance C-DEBI’s central research agenda: to investigate the subseafloor biosphere deep in marine sediment and oceanic crust, and to conduct multi-disciplinary studies to develop an integrated understanding of subseafloor microbial life at the molecular, cellular, and ecosystem scales.
Each newsletter, we’ll be featuring two, early-career, deep biosphere all-stars from our summer undergraduate programs. Meet the rest of our 2017 Global Enviromental Microbiology students and Community College Cultivation Cohort (C4) REU participants, or learn more about our undergraduate programs!
Education & Outreach
C-DEBI: Professional Development Webinar
Andrew Fisher (C-DEBI Co-PI, University of California Santa Cruz) leads the next C-DEBI Professional Development Webinar on “Speaking as a Scientist with Press, Politicians, and the Public,” October 24, 2017, 12pm PT. Missed the last webinar on “How to Negotiate in Academia”? Watch it on YouTube.
IODP: Onboard Outreach Program – NEW!
The USSSP Onboard Outreach Program (formerly known as the Educator Officer Program) gives formal and informal educators, artists, writers, videographers and other participants the opportunity to spend an entire expedition with an IODP shipboard party and translate their experiences for students and the general public via blogs, videos, social networking sites, live ship-to-shore video events and development of educational resources. Onboard Outreach Program participants are selected through a competitive application and interview process. All expenses for Onboard Outreach Program participants, such as travel to and from the ports of call, and a $10,000 stipend, are paid by USSSP. The selected individual(s) will also be flown to a three-day training session prior to their expedition. Non-US applicants will be directed to their country’s IODP Program Member Office but are still encouraged to apply. The application period will close on November 17, 2017.
Cards Against Humanity: Science Ambassador Scholarship
Applications close on December 11, 2017.
NOAA: Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship
Application deadline: January 31, 2018.
NSF: National Oceanographic Partnership Program announcement regarding Ocean Sensors, Cubesats, and GHRSST Data
Letters of Intent are required by October, 23 2017.
NSF: Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)
Life Sciences and Geosciences application deadline: October 23, 2017.
NSF: Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowships (EAR-PF)
Full Proposal Deadline: October 25, 2017.
NSF: Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) Program
Full Proposal Deadline: October 25, 2017.
NSF: Management and Operation of the Ocean Bottom Seismometer Instrument Center (OBSIC)
Full Proposal Deadline: October 25, 2017.
The Hertz Foundation: Graduate Fellowship Award
Application deadline: October 27, 2017.
Simons Foundation: Early Career Investigator in Marine Microbial Ecology and Evolution Awards
The deadline for receipt of letters of intent (LOI) is November 6, 2017.
NSF: Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Biology (PRFB) – NEW!
The Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) awards Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Biology to recent recipients of the doctoral degree for research and training in selected areas supported by BIO and with special goals for human resource development in biology. The fellowships encourage independence at an early stage of the research career to permit Fellows to pursue their research and training goals in the most appropriate research locations regardless of the availability of funding for the Fellows at that site. For FY 2015 and beyond, these BIO programs are (1) Broadening Participation of Groups Under-represented in Biology, (2) Research Using Biological Collections, and (3) National Plant Genome Initiative (NPGI) Postdoctoral Research Fellowships. Full proposal deadline date: November 7, 2017.
C-DEBI: Call for Research and Fellowship Proposals
The NSF Science and Technology Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI) invites proposals for 1-year research projects (in the anticipated range of $50,000-$80,000) and 1-2 year graduate student and postdoctoral fellowships that will significantly advance C-DEBI’s central research agenda: to investigate the subseafloor biosphere deep in marine sediment and oceanic crust, and to conduct multi-disciplinary studies to develop an integrated understanding of subseafloor microbial life at the molecular, cellular, and ecosystem scales. C-DEBI’s research agenda balances exploration-based discovery, hypothesis testing, data integration and synthesis, and systems-based modeling. C-DEBI welcomes proposals from applicants who would enhance diversity in C-DEBI and STEM fields. This request for proposals is open to all interested researchers at US institutions able to receive NSF funding as a subaward. The deadline for this call is December 1, 2017.
UNOLS: Cruise Opportunities on R/V Sally Ride
Applications for a cruise April 20 – May 22, 2018 are due December 1, 2017.
IODP-USSSP: Apply for a Schlanger Ocean Drilling Fellowship
All application materials, including reference material, must be submitted by December 15, 2017.
NSF: Arctic Sciences Program Solicitation
Proposals accepted anytime.
NSF: Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP) Program Solicitation
Preparing for TCUP Implementation proposals accepted anytime.
C-DEBI: Rolling call for Research Exchange proposals
C-DEBI facilitates scientific coordination and collaborations by supporting student, postdoctoral, and faculty exchanges to build, educate and train the deep subseafloor biosphere community. We award small research exchange grants for Center participants. These grants may be used to support research, travel for presenting C-DEBI research at meetings, or travel exchanges to other partner institutions or institutions that have new tools and techniques that can be applied to C-DEBI research. We anticipate ~10 awards of $500-5000 with additional matched funds to be granted annually.
Rice University: Wiess Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship
Applications should be submitted to the chair of the fellowship search committee by November 10, 2017.
CSIRO: Postdoctoral Fellowship in Geomicrobiology
Applications close November 12, 2017.
University of Wyoming: Assistant Professor – Biogeochemistry – NEW!
The University of Wyoming invites applications for a tenure-track, Assistant Professor position in Biogeochemistry in the Department of Geology & Geophysics and the interdepartmental Program in Ecology Ph.D. The successful candidate is expected to build a strong extramurally funded research program in biogeochemical processes and analyses. We seek applicants who complement existing research strengths at the University and address questions spanning broad scales — e.g., from organisms, molecules, and minerals to landscapes and global dynamics. Competitive candidates will be able to build strong research and teaching roles with regard to biogeochemical processes. The research focus may range broadly including topics such as microbial processes, weathering, ecosystem stoichiometry, organic geochemistry, and global elemental cycles. The University of Wyoming maintains facilities that support cutting-edge research in biogeochemistry, including high-performance computing, stable isotope analyses, scanning electron microscopy, organic geochemical techniques such as biomarker analysis, and new core facilities for DNA extraction and library preparation. This search is one of four in a cluster in the Program in Ecology (aquatic ecosystem ecologist, biogeochemist, computational biologist, and plant-microbe interactions), and candidates may also participate in the interdisciplinary Ph.D. programs in Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences and Hydrologic Science. The cluster hire is supported in part by a new 5-year, $20 million NSF EPSCoR RII Track-1 grant to the University. In this project we will study microbial life and its ecological consequences. Review of applications will begin on November 13, 2017.
Arizona State University: Assistant Professor (Job #12117)
Initial deadline for receipt of complete applications is November 20, 2017.
CIW: 2018 Carnegie Fellowships for the Geophysical Laboratory
The deadline for submitting an application is December 1, 2017.
Oberlin: Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Computational Biology – NEW!
The Goldman lab in the Department of Biology at Oberlin College invites applications for a full-time postdoctoral research position in computational biology. The postdoctoral fellow will work with Dr. Aaron Goldman on a NASA-funded research project investigating the early evolution of metabolism. The research, which will be entirely computational in nature, seeks to identify the earliest metabolic pathways and is part of a larger research collaboration involving origin of life laboratories at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Southern California. The postdoctoral fellow will have the opportunity to mentor Oberlin undergraduates assisting with the research. The position is funded for two years at a starting salary of $48,500 and with a preferred start date between October 15 and November 30, 2017.
MBL: Postdoctoral Scientist – Molecular Microbial Ecology – NEW!
A postdoctoral position in molecular microbial ecology is available at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole. This NSF-funded collaborative project with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution seeks to identify the nature of microbial predator-prey interactions using laboratory chemostats combined with RNA stable isotope probing, sequencing, and trait-based modeling. We are seeking an individual with expertise in molecular microbial ecology, including those with interests in microbial, viral, and eukaryotic dynamics, microbial food webs, and theoretical ecology. While the primary focus of the work will be in research, the postdoctoral investigator will have an opportunity to participate in educational and outreach activities associated with the project.
Don’t forget to email me with any items you’d like to share in future newsletters! We will also broadcast this information on our social media outlets, Twitter and Facebook. You are what makes our deep biosphere community!