November 2006

Research News

Photo of Dorthe.

Dorthe Wildenschild, new SBI faculty member in Environmental Engineering - Since 2002, Dorthe has been a part-time OSU faculty member with a dual appointment in Geosciences and Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering. This Fall, Dorthe became a full-time faculty member in Environmental Engineering – in part through funding from the SBI. Dorthe has expertise in the use of micro-scale imaging technologies to study soil and groundwater systems and she looks forward to interdisciplinary collaborations through the SBI. Read more about Dorthe's background and interests in a short web interview.

NSF Grant Awarded to BEE Team - Professor John Selker and doctoral student Erika Kraft in the Department of Biological and Ecological Engineering were awarded a $240,000 NSF Earth Sciences grant in Hydrologic Sciences for three years of research on colloid transport using the light-transmission system. Erika, a Subsurface Biosphere IGERT student, was largely responsible for writing, submitting, revising, and resubmitting the grant proposal.  The project will involve imaging fluorescent latex microspheres, and potentially gfp microorganisms, as they are transported through a heterogeneous porous media system. Experimental objectives are to determine the effect of transient infiltration, textural heterogeneity, and the capillary fringe on deposition and mobilization of colloids. For more information, contact Erika or John.

Researchers Discover Rich Methane Field off India, But Energy Potential Still Unknown (OSU News Service, 10/18/06) – An international team of scientists looking for gas hydrates off the coast of India has discovered a pair of methane hydrate reservoirs buried in the sediment below the Bay of Bengal, and though the idea of a new energy source is tantalizing, researchers say the technology does not yet exist to make these reservoirs commercially feasible. A similar field of gas hydrates was found off the coast of Oregon a few years ago, said Marta Torres, a marine geochemist at Oregon State University and an investigator on the India and Oregon expeditions. Read more...

Upcoming Events

Thursday, November 9, 4:00 p.m., Portland State, Science Building 2, Rm. 247. Mechanisms of Hydrocarbon Biodegradation in the Absence of Oxygen and the Conversion of Oil to Natural Gas (IGERT Seminar). Dr. Joseph Suflita, MAPCO Professor of Environmental Quality and Director of the Institute for Energy and the Environment, George Lynn Cross Research at the University of Oklahoma. FMI: Julie Cope,, 737-9316.

Thursday, November 16, 4:00 p.m., OSU, Burt 193, Unusual viruses from Yellowstone's high temperature environments: From the environment to atoms, what have we learned? (IGERT Seminar). Dr. Mark Young, Professor of Virology, Department of Microbiology and Plant Sciences at Montana State University. FMI: Julie Cope,, 737-9316.

Monday, November 27 4:00 p.m., OSU, ALS 4000. Interactions Between the Nitrogen Fixing Bacteria Frankia and Mycorrhizal Fungi on Two Casuarinaceae Plant Species (Crop and Soil Science Seminar). Speaker: Side Diedhiou, Crop and Soil Science Ph.D. Candidate. This seminar is a study that focused onthe interactions between nitrogen fixing bacteria Frankia and mycorrhizalfungi on nitrogen fixing trees. FMI: John Baham, 737-5741.

Link to a calendar of other related events...

Funding Opportunities

OSU Institute for Water and Watersheds -USGS 2007 Small Grants - Up to $30K grants available for faculty and, new this year, up to $10K grants available for graduate students. Projects should emphasize long-term water and watershed management issues. Proposals are due November 14.

USDA-CSREES, National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Pgm, Soil Processes - FY2007 Priorities for Research: (1) Interdisciplinary studies of the interrelationships among soil physical, chemical, and biological characteristics and processes related to soil quality and sustainability, especially regarding water and nutrients in relation to agricultural quality and productivity and environmental health. Multi-scale research that can help bridge the gap between molecular and mechanistic process studies and field-landscape- and/or watershed-scale studies is encouraged; and (2) Development and/or application of new or improved technologies, methodologies, tools or strategies to enhance our understanding of biological, biogeochemical and physical processes. In addition, these methods or tools should be used to enhance our understanding of dynamic properties in soils related to agricultural production as well as soil and environmental health, focusing specifically on water, carbon, and nutrient cycles at multiple scales where appropriate. Letter of intent due December 6, 2006; Full proposals due February 14, 2007.

AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships - Provide scientists and engineers with a unique public policy learning experience and an opportunity to apply their knowledge and analytical skills to national and international issues. Career-advancing opportunities are available with Congress and federal agencies, the areas of Congressional; Diplomacy; Energy, Environment, Agriculture & Natural Resources; Global Stewardship; Health, Education & Human Services; and National Defense & Global Security. Fellows represent a spectrum of career stages, from recent PhD graduates to faculty on sabbatical to retired scientists and engineers. The deadline for 2007-2008 Fellowships is December 20, 2006.

Don't forget that the SBI has funding available for proposal development...see

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

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