We are exploring the frontier of the "deep biosphere" – microbial life in the rocks and sediments below the ocean floor that makes up 70% of our planet’s surface.
Deep Life
Microbes “rust the crust” at Loihi Seamount (courtesy ROV Jason / WHOI)
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.
Novel Organisms
Left: Novel Bacillus cells actively growing and right: producing spores (scanning electron microscope (SEM) image courtesy Lily Momper / USC).

Background: Core samples from IODP Leg 206 (photo credit IODP-USIO).
About 0.6% of the Earth’s total living biomass is in subseafloor sediments. This finding updates previous estimates made in 1998.
Global Implications
Kallmeyer et al. 2012, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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).
Science & Technology
deeplife_CORK_from Science News article.png
JOIDES Resolution scientific driling vessel (credit Arito Sakaguchi, IODP/TAMU)
Left: Science News illustration depicting a CORK deployment (credit Tony Randazzo / AAReps Inc.)

Above: HOV Alvin samples a hydrothermal vent (credit WHOI).
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.
Training & Outreach
IMG_1100_Ann Close GEM 2011.JPG
C-DEBI's undergraduate summer GEM course (credit Ann Close, USC)


Recent LA Times Article

A hearty congratulations to USC postdoctoral researcher Alberto Robador, for being featured in the LA Times for his collaborative C-DEBI research (see the Frontiers paper, C-DEBI Contribution 249, as well as the USC press release, and infographic)!

Apply for Teacher Small Grants

Awards of up to $2500 are available for incorporating C-DEBI content into K-16 classrooms.

Application Deadline: February 16, 2015

Apply for the Summer Undergraduate Course

C-DEBI's Global Environmental Microbiology (GEM) program is an all-expenses paid, four-week, residential course at USC and Catalina Island focusing on microbes found in aquatic environments designed for early-career undergraduates from 2 and 4-year colleges and universities.

Application Deadline: February 3, 2015

Recent Community Activity

DCO: Deep Life Community (DLC) Call for Proposals
Submissions due February 5, 2015.

National Academies Research Associateships for Graduate, Postdoctoral and Senior Researchers
There are four annual review cycles and the next closes February 01, 2015.

NSF: Genealogy of Life (GoLife) program solicitation
Full proposal deadline: March 25, 2015.

ECORD: Research Grants for Graduate Students and Postdocs at ECORD Country Institutions
Deadline: March 31, 2015.

NSF: Dimensions of Biodiversity Program Solicitation
Full proposal deadline: April 09, 2015.

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, next submission deadline May 15, 2015.

IODP: Workshop for Scientific Drilling in the Indian Ocean Crust and Mantle

IODP: Investigating Cascadia Subduction Zone Geodynamics Through Scientific Ocean Drilling; April 29 - May 1, 2015; Seattle, Washington
The deadline to register is March 15, 2015. Applications for travel funding for U.S. participants is due January 31, 2015.

See our calendar for upcoming events throughout the year.

Bigelow: Two Postdoctoral Research Scientists in Microbial Evolution and Ecology
For full consideration, the application should be received by February 1, 2015.

Moore Foundation: Program Officer, Marine Microbiology Initiative

New Mexico State University:  Environmental Science/Environmental Chemistry Postdoctoral Position
Application closing date: January 30, 2015.

University of Nevada, Las Vegas: Postdoctoral Fellow in microbiology (“microbial dark matter” biology)
The review of materials will begin December 01, 2014, and will continue until the position is filled.

Skidaway Institute of Oceanography: Two Tenure Track Faculty Positions in Oceanography
The committee will begin to review applications on October 24, 2014 and will continue until the positions are filled.