April 4, 2006

Research News

Study of Martian Meteorite Reveals Markings Similar to Bacteria-Etched Rocks on Earth (OSU News Service, 3/23/06) - A new study of a meteorite that originated from Mars has revealed a series of microscopic tunnels that are similar in size, shape and distribution to tracks left on Earth rocks by feeding bacteria. And though researchers were unable to extract DNA from the Martian rocks, the finding nonetheless adds intrigue to the search for life beyond Earth. Results of the study were published in the latest edition of the journal Astrobiology. This story was run by various news outlets, including MSNBC and Mars Today. Read more...

"Push-pull" tests - an innovative ways to study underground microbes (SBI Research Feature, 4/3/06) - Engineers at OSU are developing an inexpensive way to test for and monitor the capabilities of underground microbial communities. Called “push-pull” tests, the technique involves injecting a test solution into a groundwater well and then withdrawing the test solution and groundwater mixture. Comparisons of the “pushed” and “pulled” solutions provide information about the microorganisms living underground and the functions they carry out. Read more...

Do you have an idea for a research project to feature here? Let us know at sbi@oregonstate.edu.

Funding Opportunities for Students

SBI Summer 2006 Undergraduate Internships - SBI will offer paid internships for undergraduates to work on research projects related to the subsurface biosphere. The goal of these internships is to provide undergraduates with rewarding research experiences at OSU that will stimulate their interest in the subsurface biosphere and encourage them to pursue graduate studies. The program will focus on, but is not limited to, under-represented minority and women students. The application deadline is April 15. FMI: http://sbi.oregonstate.edu/education/interns.htm.

University Club Foundation Fellowship - The Graduate School invites nominations for this competition, which recognizes and encourages scholarship, leadership, and potential societal contributions by outstanding graduate students from each of Oregon’s major public universities. Annual awards of up to four graduate fellowships at $5,000 each will be granted. Nominees must be full-time grad students Fall 2006 with at least one year remaining in their advanced degree program. Nominations are solicited from academic department chairs and heads, and/or deans. Departments are asked to submit one nomination each to the Graduate School by Friday, April 14, 2006. FMI: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/grad_school/current/universityclub.html.

Funding Opportunities for Faculty

DOE Office of Biological and Environmental Research of the Office of Science - Environmental Remediation Sciences Program (ERSP) - The goal of the ERSP is to support innovative, fundamental research investigating coupled chemical, biological and physical processes affecting the transport of DOE-relevant contaminants within the subsurface at DOE sites leading to new or improved subsurface remediation techniques and a sound foundation for remedial action decisions important to long-term site stewardship. Proposals should address hypothesis-driven research to define biologically-mediated and/or hydrogeochemical processes influencing the form and mobility of DOE contaminants and provide the basis for development of new remediation concepts or strategies for long term stewardship. Specific Science Elements of interest to this solicitation include: 1) Subsurface Biogeochemistry; 2) Subsurface Microbial Ecology and Community Dynamics; 3) Innovative Field-scale Remediation and Long-Term Stewardship Research; 4) Novel Measurement and Monitoring Concepts, and; 5) Exploratory Research. Deadlines: Preproposals - April 14, 2006; Full proposals - June 15, 2006.

NSF Geosciences - Hydrologic Sciences - This program focuses on terrestrial processes that comprise the hydrologic cycle including evapotranspiration, precipitation, infiltration, overland and streamflow, subsurface percolation and the transport of solutes, nutrients, and particles by these fluxes. This program encourages studies probing the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of water and chemical fluxes and storages from local to global scales – including residence times, interfacial fluxes, pathways among system compartments, and research in geolimnology and hydrologic impacts on microbial communities. HS also supports research in aqueous geochemistry directly connected to hydrologic processes and the physical, chemical, and biological processes taking place as water bodies change. Since the study of hydrologic processes requires expertise from many basic sciences and mathematics, HS encourages interdisciplinary proposals and joint review with related programs. Deadline: June 1, 2006.

For a list of other external grant opportunities related to the subsurface biosphere, click here...

Upcoming Events

Thursday, April 6, 4:00PM. Geochemical controls on microbial Fe(III) oxide reduction: kinetics versus thermodynamics (IGERT Earth's Subsurface Biosphere Seminar Series). Speaker: Dr. Eric Roden, Professor of Geomicrobiology, Biogeochemistry and Microbial Ecology at the University of Wisconsin, Department of Geology and Geophysics. Held on campus at Burt 193. FMI: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/igert/seminars.html and http://www.geology.wisc.edu/~eroden/. If you would like to meet with Dr. Roden or join him for lunch or dinner on Thursday, please contact Rebecca Poulson (rpoulson@coas.oregonstate.edu).

Thursday, April 20th, 4:00PM. - Vailulu'u Seamount: Life and Death at an Active Submarine Volcano (IGERT Earth's Subsurface Biosphere Seminar Series). Speaker: Dr. Hubert Staudigel, Research Geologist, Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Held on campus at Burt 193. FMI: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/igert/seminars.html and http://sio.ucsd.edu/rab/act_detail.cfm?state=%26%28%2EK%2FT%2C%23%5B%0A.

Link to a calendar of other related events...

This newsletter is distributed by OSU's Subsurface Biosphere Initiative - an interdisciplinary consortium of faculty and students who share interests in underground ecosystems. The newsletter is distributed through the SBI email lists. To subscribe or unsubscribe, go to http://sbi.oregonstate.edu/news/listserv.htm. Questions, comments and newsletter topics may be sent to the sbi@oregonstate.edu. Newsletters are also available on the Web at http://sbi.oregonstate.edu/newsletter/.