December 2006

Research News

Photo of Mark Nielsen.

Research Feature: Microbial Experiments 450 Meters Underground - In March 2006, Mark Nielsen, a Subsurface Biosphere IGERT doctoral student, and his faculty advisors, published an article in Geobiology about microbial experiments they carried out 450 meters below ground in the Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory (HRL) in Sweden. Link to a web interview that gives a “behind the scenes” look at Mark’s research and its significance, both as a contribution to subsurface science and as a learning opportunity for Mark.

Multiphase Transport Reading and Conference, Winter Term 2007 - Mark Porter, PhD candidate in Water Resources Engineering, is soliciting interest for students to participate in a remote course with video lectures and Skype calls with the professors Bill Gray and Casey Miller from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Mark writes, "Both Bill and Casey are leading researchers in the areas of pore scale physics and multiphase flow in porous media. The main focus of the course on the Thermodynamically Constrained Averaging Theory (TCAT), which Bill and Casey have developed in the past few years." Dorthe Wildenschild, professor of Environmental Engineering, will offer the course as a reading and conference. Contact Mark for more details.

Upcoming Events

Monday, January 8 - Thursday, January 11. Abstract Submission Deadlines for the American Society for Microbiology General Meeting. The meeting will be held May 21-25, 2007. Held at Toronto, Canada. FMI:

Thursday, January 18, 4:00 p.m., Portland State University Science Building 2, Room 247. Earth's Subsurface Biosphere IGERT Seminar. Speaker: Dr. Grant Ferris, Professor, Department of Geology, Toronto University. FMI: Julie Cope, 737-9316.

Thursday, February 1, 4:00 p.m., Portland State University Science Building 2, Room 247. Earth's Subsurface Biosphere IGERT Seminar. Speaker: Dr. Forest Rohwer, Assistant Professor of Biology, Center for Microbial Sciences, San Diego State University. FMI: Julie Cope 737-9316.

Link to a calendar of other related events...

Funding Opportunities

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Superfund Basic Research and Training Program (SBRP), Innovative Approaches to Remediation of Recalcitrant Hazardous Substances in Sediments - The objective of this program is to encourage research to develop innovative approaches to address the remediation of contaminated sediments, with particular emphasis on in situ remedies. Suggested research approaches appropriate for this initiative include but are not limited to the following: Conducting basic mechanistic research to elucidate the underlying principles of a novel in situ technology; Developing novel agents that can be used to overcome biological, chemical or physical limitations in the treatment of contaminated sediments; Applying knowledge gained from fate and transport models to control movement of sediments during application of a remedy; Engineering effective delivery devices for in situ treatment technologies; Coupling novel remediation approaches to maximize in situ treatment of contaminants; Developing control measures to minimize negative side-effects (e.g. re-suspension) encountered when using in situ technologies in the field. Letters of intent due: December 11, 2006; Full applications due: January 11th, 2007.

DoD Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP), Core Solicitation, Focus Area on Environmental Restoration - Topics identified in the FY2008 Statement of Need include: Improved methods and practices for long-term monitoring of contaminated groundwater;Improved understanding of the biological degradation of nitroamines in the environment; Improved understanding and prediction of plume response to DNAPL source zone architecture and depletion. View details in the Statement of Need documents. Preproposals due: January 4, 2007; Full proposals due: March 8, 2007.

NSF Biological Sciences - Ecosystem Science Cluster - Ecosystem Studies Program - Supports investigations of whole-system ecological processes and relationships in ecosystems across a diversity of spatial and temporal (including paleo) scales. Proposals may focus on areas such as: biogeochemistry; decomposition of organic matter; belowground nutrient cycling and energy flow; primary productivity; radiatively active gas flux; element budgets on watershed, regional, continental, or global scales; relationships between diversity and ecosystem function; ecosystem services; and landscape dynamics. Inter- and multi-disciplinary proposals that fall across traditional programmatic boundaries are welcomed and encouraged. Proposals due: January 9, 2007.

NSF Division of Earth Sciences - Geobiology and Low-Temperature Geochemistry Program - This program encourages studies of 1) the interactions between biological and geological systems at all scales of space and time; 2) geomicrobiology and biomineralization processes; 3) the role of life in the evolution of the Earth’s system; 4) inorganic and organic geochemical processes occurring at or near the earth’s surface now and in the past, and at the broad spectrum of interfaces ranging in scale from planetary and regional to mineral-surface and supramolecular; 5) mineralogy and chemistry of soils and sediments; 6) surficial chemical and biogeochemical systems and cycles and their modification through natural and anthropogenic change; and 7) development of tools, methods, and models for low-temperature geochemistry and geobiological research. GG facilitates cross-disciplinary efforts to harness new bioanalytical tools – such as those emerging from molecular biology – in the study of the terrestrial environment. Proposals due: January 16, 2007.

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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