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November 2007

Research News

Update on the Earth's Subsurface Biosphere IGERT Program - The NSF-funded Integrated Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) program on the Earth’s Subsurface Biosphere (ESB) has entered its final year of funding. Its success motivated a team of multi-disciplinary scientists to submit a pre-proposal to the NSF in February 2007 for a renewal of the ESB-IGERT. This first hurdle was cleared when the team was one of about 100 invited to submit a full proposal. Last month, David Myrold (OSU—Crop and Soil Science), the current ESB-IGERT director, with Rick Colwell (OSU—COAS), Jennifer Field (OSU—Environmental and Molecular Toxicology), Brendan Bohannan (UO-Biology), and Radu Popa (PSU—Biology) submitted the full proposal to extend the ESB-IGERT for an additional five years. Although the basic elements of the ESB-IGERT would remain the same, a renewal would include two additional institutions: the University of Oregon in Eugene and the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. If successful, the second generation ESB-IGERT would continue its close partnership with the SBI at OSU by sharing the seminar series and annual workshop.


IGERT Students Write a Review Paper on Anaerobic Oxidation of Methane - Each year, a cohort of students in the OSU/PSU Earth’s Subsurface Biosphere IGERT program participate in a group research project. By design, all decisions, including the selection of the research topic and product, are left up to the students. The 2006-2007 GPT group chose to write a review paper on the anaerobic oxidation of methane and submit it for publication in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. Read a short Web interview where three students from the group describe their project and reflect on the pros and cons of this type of graduate training exercise.


Upcoming Events

Thursday, November 15, 4:00 p.m. on the PSU campus, Neuberger Hall, Room 375. Earth's Subsurface Biosphere IGERT Seminar. Speaker: Susan Childers, University of Idaho, Department of Geological Sciences. FMI: Julie Cope, 737-9316.

Monday, November 19 4:00 p.m., ALS 4000. Where is All the Water in the Forest Going?(Crop and Soil Science Seminar). Presented by: Melanie Malone, OSU Crop and Soil Science M.S. Candidate.

Monday, November 26, 1:30-2:30 p.m., MU Leadership Center's Journey Room. Microbes to the Rescue: Field, Modeling and Laboratory Studies on the In-Situ Clean-up of Hazardous Waste Sites Contaminated with Chlorinated Solvents (OSU Distinguished Professor Lecture Series). Speaker: Lewis Semprini, OSU Distinguished Professor of Environmental Engineering. There will be time for a question/answer period following Lew's presentation, as well as an opportunity for informal conversation and refreshments.

Thursday, November 29, 4:00 p.m., 193 Burt. Subsurface Biofilm Barriers for the Control of Contaminated Groundwater (ESB IGERT Seminar). Speaker: Robin Gerlach, Associate Professor, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, College of Engineering, Montana State University. FMI: Julie Cope, 737-9316.

Link to a calendar of other related events...


Funding Opportunities for Students

AAAS Science and Technology Fellowships - These paid post-doctoral fellowships "provide the opportunity for accomplished scientists and engineers to participate in and contribute to the federal policymaking process while learning firsthand about the intersection of science and policy". The fellowships are highly competitive including individual interviews in Washington, DC. Applications due: December 20, 2007.

Association for Women in Science Predoctoral Fellowships - About 5-10 AWIS graduate fellowships in the amount of $1,000 are awarded each year. Female students enrolled in a behavioral, life, physical, or social science or engineering program leading to a Ph.D. degree may apply. The award may be used for any aspect of education, including tuition, books, housing, research, travel and meeting registration, or publication costs, for example. Applications due: January 24, 2008.


Funding Opportunities for Faculty

NSF Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH) - "The Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems competition promotes quantitative, interdisciplinary analyses of relevant human and natural system processes and complex interactions among human and natural systems at diverse scales. Projects usually have three components: an integrated, quantitative systems-level method of inquiry, an education component, and a global perspective." Grants are for up to 1.5M. Proposals due: January 8, 2007.

NSF Ecosystem Science Cluster - Ecosystem Studies Program - "This 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; nutrient cycling; energy flow; primary productivity; stoichiometric relationships; climate-ecosystem feedbacks; 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, 2008.

NSF Opportunities for Promoting Understanding through Synthesis (OPUS) - "Three clusters within the Division of Environmental Biology encourage the submission of proposals aimed at synthesizing a body of related research projects conducted by a single individual or group of investigators over an extended period. OPUS proposals will often be appropriately submitted in mid-to-late career, but will also be appropriate early enough in a career to produce unique, integrated insight useful both to the scientific community and to the development of the investigator's future work. In cases where multiple scientists have worked collaboratively, an OPUS award will provide support for collaboration on a synthesis. OPUS awards will facilitate critical synthesis, and do so in a way that will acknowledge the prestige of this important component of scientific scholarship." Proposals due: January 9, 2008.

NSF Long Term Research in Environmental Biology - "Through the LTREB program, the Division of Environmental Biology encourages the submission of proposals aimed at generating extended time series of biological and environmental data that address ecological and evolutionary processes aimed at resolving important issues in environmental biology. Researchers must have collected at least six years of previous data to qualify for funding. The proposal also must present a cohesive conceptual rationale or framework for ten years of research. As part of the requirements for funding, projects must show how collected data will be shared broadly with the scientific community and the interested public." Proposals due: January 9, 2008.

Don't forget that the SBI has funding available for proposal development and maintains a list of external grant opportunities related to the subsurface biosphere.

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 Questions, comments and newsletter topics may be sent to the Newsletters are also available on the Web at