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 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).
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)


C-DEBI Renewed for Phase Two!

I have exciting news to report. C-DEBI has just been renewed by the National Science Foundation for another five years! Phase One started in 2010 with the exploration of the deep subseafloor biosphere, especially at three sites — the South Pacific Gyre, the Juan de Fuca Ridge flank, and ‘North Pond’ in the North Atlantic. In Phase Two our research, education, and outreach activities will combine further field exploration with laboratory experiments and modeling. Thank you all for your continued interest in and support of this Center. And keep checking our website and reading our newsletter about ways to get or stay involved with C-DEBI.

- Jan Amend

C-DEBI Contribution 264 in Nature Communications

Vast quantities of ocean water circulate through the seafloor, flowing through the volcanic rock of the upper oceanic crust. A new study by scientists at UC Santa Cruz (including C-DEBI Co-I Andrew Fisher), published in Nature Communications, explains what drives this global process and how the flow is sustained.

For the new study, first authorand C-DEBI Graduate Fellow Dustin Winslow, a UCSC Ph.D. candidate who graduated this month, developed the first three-dimensional computer models showing how the process works. The models reveal a 'hydrothermal siphon' driven by heat loss from deep in the Earth and the flow of cold seawater down into the crust and of warmed water up out of the crust.

Read the full UCSC press release.

Community Activities and Opportunities

Frontiers in Microbiology
Abundant Atribacteria in deep marine sediment from the Adélie Basin, Antarctica
Stephanie A. Carr*,  Beth N. Orcutt*, Kevin W. Mandernack and John R. Spear*
*C-DEBI Contribution 275

International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 357 Scientific Prospectus
Atlantis Massif Serpentinization and Life: Microbiological, alteration, and tectono-magmatic processes in young mafic and ultramafic seafloor
Gretchen L. Früh-Green, Co-Chief Scientist; Beth N. Orcutt, Co-Chief Scientist; Sophie Green, ESO Expedition Project Manager

Aquatic Microbial Ecology
Substrate specificity of aquatic extracellular peptidases assessed by competitive inhibition assays using synthetic substrates
A.D. Steen*, J.P. Vazin, S.M. Hagen, K.H. Mulligan, S.W. Wilhelm
*C-DEBI Contribution 261

Environmental Microbiology Reports
Viral activities and life cycles in deep subseafloor sediments
T. Engelhardt, W.D. Orsi*, B.B. Jørgensen
*C-DEBI Contribution 271

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Geomorphic regime modulates hydrologic control of chemical weathering in the Andes–Amazon
M.A. Torres*, J. West, K.E. Clark
*C-DEBI Contribution 273

Frontiers in Microbiology
Power limits for microbial life
D.E. LaRowe*, J.P. Amend*
*C-DEBI Contribution 274

Science: Report
Exploring deep microbial life in coal-bearing sediment down to ~2.5 km below the ocean floor
F. Inagaki, K.-U. Hinrichs, Y. Kubo, M.W. Bowles, V.B. Heuer, W.-L. Hong, T. Hoshino, A. Ijiri, H. Imachi, M. Ito, M. Kaneko, M.A. Lever, Y.-S. Lin, B.A. Methe, S. Morita, Y. Morono, W. Tanikawa, M. Bihan, S.A. Bowden, M. Elvert, C. Glombitza, D. Gross, G.J. Harrington, T. Hori, K. Li, D. Limmer, C.-H. Liu, M. Murayama, N. Ohkouchi, S. Ono, Y.-S. Park, S C. Phillips, X. Prieto-Mollar, M. Purkey, N. Riedinger, Y. Sanada, J. Sauvage, G. Snyder, R. Susilawati, Y. Takano, E. Tasumi, T. Terada, H. Tomaru, E. Trembath-Reichert, D.T. Wang, Y. Yamada

Science: Perspective: Microbial Ecology
Making methane down deep
J.A. Huber

Science Advances
High geothermal heat flux measured below the West Antarctic Ice Sheet
Andrew T. Fisher*, Kenneth D. Mankoff, Slawek M.Tulaczyk, Scott W.Tyler, Neil Foley, and the WISSARD Science Team
*C-DEBI Contribution 265

Nature Communications
Sustainability and dynamics of outcrop-to-outcrop hydrothermal circulation
Dustin M. Winslow* and Andrew T. Fisher*
*C-DEBI Contribution 264

[see also the UCSC press release]

Applied and Environmental Microbiology
The proteomic profile of an obligate iron-oxidizing chemolithoautotroph reveals new insight into microbial iron oxidation
Roman A. Barco*, David Emerson*, Jason B. Sylvan*, Beth N. Orcutt*, Myrna E. Jacobson Meyers, Gustavo A. Ramírez*, John D. Zhong and Katrina J. Edwards*
*C-DEBI Contribution 227

See our complete list of publications.

2016-2017 U.S. Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program
There is still time to apply for an exciting 2016-2017 U.S. Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award in arctic affairs! Opportunities are available for teaching and/or research in nearly every discipline, from engineering to political science, anthropology, communications and more!

NSF: Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER)
See also the FAQ. Full proposal deadlines: July 21-23, 2015.

Simons Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: 2016 Faculty Scholars Competition
Application deadline: July 28, 2015.

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

IODP: Apply to Sail on Expedition 363 Western Pacific Warm Pool, Expedition 366 Mariana Convergent Margin and Expedition 365 NanTroSEIZE Shallow Megasplay Long-Term Borehole Monitoring System 
The deadline to apply for Expeditions 363 and 366 is August 15, 2015. The Expedition 365 deadline is August 31, 2015

NSF: Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM)
Full proposal deadline: September 22, 2015.

NSF: Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowships (EAR-PF)
Full proposal deadline: January 12, 2016

NSF: Geobiology and Low-Temperature Geochemistry Program Solicitation
Proposals accepted anytime.

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).


Collaborative development of C-DEBI resources for community colleges (Peter Tuddenham, Tina Bishop (The College of Exploration), Lynn Whitley (University of Southern California), Pat Harcourt)
To address the educational objectives of C-DEBI the College of Exploration was funded by C-DEBI’s Education and Outreach Grant Program in 2014 to convene a collaborative team to guide the production of online toolkits of educational materials and resources that community college instructors could use to teach about C-DEBI research and the deep biosphere. The project team consisted of 8 to 10 collaborators, including community college instructors, C-DEBI scientists, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, technology experts, and science education specialists. The project drew from the 2013 C-DEBI online workshop “Microbes down below! Exploring life beneath the ocean floor” offered by the College of Exploration, which was specifically designed for community college instructors (see below). The online toolkits kits were designed to be aligned with specific community college course subjects and include materials and information that instructors can use to make connections between the topics in their curriculum and C-DEBI research, practices, or technology. The aim of this project was to reach a nationwide audience of community college instructors, and through them, hundreds to thousands of community college students, by making C-DEBI resources available free on line. These toolkits are presented at http://www.coexploration.org/C-DEBI for use by all.

Institute for Broadening Participation (IBP): Minorities Striving and Pursuing Higher Degrees of Success in GEO REU (MS PHD’S–GEO REU) Professional Development Program
Application deadline: September 14, 2015.

The Rolex Scholarships
Application deadline: December 15, 2015.

North Pond: The Search for Intraterrestrials: Full-length Feature Now Up at Vimeo
Winner of best documentary at the 2014 Yosemite Film Festival and an honorable mention at BLUE Ocean Film Festival, North Pond chronicles the drilling activities and installation of seafloor observatories (CORKs) at North Pond on IODP Expedition 336 and was completed as a result of this award. This is the only feature film ever made of an ocean drilling expedition and will provide valuable public exposure to the scientific ocean drilling program (IODP) and C-DEBI.


Call for Nominations: BOEM Selects National Academies to Form Environmental Committee on Offshore Energy Resources
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced today an agreement to have the National Academies establish a new standing committee on environmental science and assessment for offshore energy and mineral resources. The committee will provide independent information on issues relevant to BOEM’s environmental studies and assessment activities and support discussions on relevant issues. The committee’s services will be provided under a three-year contract with the National Research Council (NRC), the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). The NRC issued a call for nominations on June 23, 2015, seeking a broad pool of applicants for the standing committee. Nominations will be accepted by the NRC until July 15, 2015. The NRC expects to announce the committee membership  later in the summer, followed by an announcement of its plans for the first meeting in the fall of 2015.

Call for Abstracts: AGU 2015 Fall Meeting
Remember to submit your AGU abstracts by August 5, 2015. Deep biosphere-related sessions include...

See also the AGU 2015 Sessions of Interest to the DCO Community, and please contact me (janicak@usc.edu) if you'd like to advertise additional sessions via the C-DEBI mailing list and website.


University of Leicester: Earth Science Research Associate (IODP & other projects)
The College of Science and Engineering, Department of Geology at the University of Leicester invites applications for a Research Associate (Earth Scientist) to join an established team engaged in the acquisition and analysis of petrophysical core and borehole measurement data for the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) and other drilling/coring research projects. This is an exciting position that will provide the leading edge science needed for a future career in academia or the logging/petrophysical experience for a career in industry. The work is very much part of a team effort, though once an expedition is allocated, there is plenty of scope for independent activity. Applicants should ideally have a research background in at least one of the following areas: petrophysics, marine geology or geophysics. The position will include training as a Petrophysics Staff Scientist and will be responsible for the acquisition and scientific interpretation of core and borehole measurements, the production of scientific and technical reports, and the development of associated research programs. This research is a collaborative venture between the University of Leicester and a number of other universities and organizations in Europe, USA, Japan and other IODP member countries. This position will participate in IODP Mission Specific Platform expeditions, which include on average up to two months at sea and six weeks at the Bremen Core Repository (BCR, Germany) per year, with responsibility for the downhole logging and core physical properties programs for the expedition. The position has a fixed term contract from 1 September 2015 to 31 December 2016. Applications are due July 22, 2015. Click here and search on the reference number SEN00623 for more information and to apply.

Rice University: Wiess Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in Earth and Planetary Science
The Department of Earth Science at Rice University is launching a Wiess Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship competition in the broad fields of Earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences. Interested candidates should have recently completed their PhD or are expected to complete their PhD by September 2016. The appointment of the fellow is expected to begin anytime between July and December 2016. The principal selection criteria for the fellow are scientific excellence and a clearly expressed research plan to address questions at the forefront of Earth science, broadly defined. Applicants are expected to propose their own research ideas, but are encouraged to consider the current spectrum of research activities in the department and to communicate with one or more members of the faculty (http://earthscience.rice.edu/). The research fellowship will be supported by the Department of Earth Science for two years pending satisfactory progress in their first year. The fellowship covers an annual stipend of $60,000 and includes an annual research allowance of $3,500. The application deadline is November 1, 2015.

IODP/Texas A&M: Assistant Research Scientist – Expedition Project Manager/Staff Scientist – Borehole Geophysics
We will begin reviewing applications on September 15, 2015, but will continue to accept applications until candidates are selected for interviews.

Rice University: Faculty Postition in Earth and Planetary Science
All required application materials submitted by September 15, 2015 are ensured full consideration.

Montana State University: PhD Position, Astrobiology
The Priscu Research Group is seeking a motivated Ph.D. Student to work on a recently funded NASA Planetary Science and Technology Through Analog Research (PSTAR) grant.