SBI Newsletter Header

June 2008

SBI Summer Workshop

The workshop will be held June 15-17 at the Hallmark Resort in Newport, Oregon, and have a format similar to last year with both oral presentations and poster sessions. The meeting agenda is posted on the SBI Web site. For more information, contact Garrett Jones, (541) 737-2751,


Research Feature

OSU's Mass Spectrometry Facility and Microbial Proteomics - Have you thought about including proteomics in your subsurface biosphere research? Learn a little about the capabilities of the OSU mass spectrometry facility by reading this research feature - it gives background information about mass spectrometry and includes comments by chemistry professor Claudia Maier and Molecular and Cellular Biology doctoral student Sarah Sowell. Sarah has used "bottom up" protein mass spectrometry to study protein function in SAR11, the ubiquitous marine microorganism. 


In the News

The 23 May 2008 issue of Science and its online version Science Signaling are a special issue on microbial ecology. From the Web: "In Science, News stories look at the hidden microbial world inside sponges and ongoing efforts to classify microbes with respect to their environments, while Review articles discuss the microbial processes that drive earth's biogeochemical cycles and approaches to understanding the distribution of microbial taxa and their traits. In Science Signaling, Perspectives explore how different plant pathogens use similar signaling molecules in distinct ways, how gut microbes dampen the host immune response, and how mast cells use extracellular traps to kill microbes." There is also an article in this issue about evidence for living prokaryotic cells 1600 meters below the sea floor.


Upcoming Abstract Deadlines

June 16, 2008. Deadline to submit abstracts for the International Symposium for Subsurface Microbiology. The symposium will be held November 16-21, 2008, in Shizuoka, Japan.

June 30, 2008. Deadline to submit abstracts for the Fifth International Conference on Remediation of Contaminated Sediments, to be held in Jacksonville, Florida, February 2-5, 2009. Presentations will cover all current aspects of contaminated sediment characterization and assessment, management, and remediation and restoration.

July 21, 2008. Deadline to submit abstracts for the AGU Chapman Conference on Biogeophysics. The meeting will be held October 13-16 in Portland, Maine. “Biogeophysics” is a rapidly evolving Earth science discipline concerned with the geophysical signatures of (1) microbial cells themselves in the Earth, (2) the interaction between microorganisms and subsurface geologic media, and (3) alteration of the physical properties of geologic media as a result of microbial activity. The objective of the Chapman Conference is to define the current state of the science, identify the critical questions facing the community and to generate a roadmap for firmly establishing biogeophysics as a critical subdiscipline of earth science research.

Link to a calendar of other related events...


Funding Opportunities for Students

OSU Undergraduate Research, Innovation, Scholarship and Creativity Grants for 2008-2009 - The URISC Fund is intended to enable undergraduate students to initiate a scholarly relationship with faculty members early in their academic careers. Awards are made to support scholarly, creative, and research activities and can support student wages, travel and some other expenses. Proposals due June 16, 2008.

Oregon Sea Grant Robert E. Malouf Marine Studies Scholarship - This scholarship awards up to $10,200 for support while working towards a degree in any field of marine studies that is compatible with Oregon Sea Grant’s mandate and areas of interest. Proposals due June 20, 2008..

GE & Science Prize for Young Life Scientists - For applicants who were awarded a PhD in molecular biology during 2007. For the purpose of this prize molecular biology is defined as "that part of biology which attempts to interpret biological events in terms of the physicochemical properties of molecules in a cell" -(McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, 4th Edition). To apply, submit a 1,000 word essay on your work. There will be one grand prize and four regional prize winners. The winners will fly to Stockholm for the award ceremony meet some of the Nobel Prize laureates, have their PhD profiled in the online version of Science, and receive $25,000 or $5,000 for regional winners. Deadline: August 1, 2008.


Funding Opportunities for Faculty

NSF Ecosystem Science - The Ecosystem Science Cluster supports research that advances our understanding of: 1) material and energy transformations within and among ecosystems, 2) the composition and structure of ecological systems, 3) ecosystem dynamics and trajectories of ecosystem development through time, and 4) linkages among ecosystems at different spatial and temporal scales. The 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; 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. Proposals due: July 9, 2008.

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: July 16, 2008.

Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Research Program (YIP) - Proposals addressing the research areas of interest for the Air Force Research Laboratory will be considered, see AFOSR-BAA-2008-1. The Natural Materials and Systems program goals are to study, use, mimic, or alter how natural systems accomplish their tasks. Nature has used evolution to build materials and sensors that outperform current sensors (for example, a spider's haircells can detect air flow at low levels even in a noisy background). The research will encompass four general areas: sensory mimics, natural materials, natural/synthetic interfaces, and physical mechanisms of natural systems under environmental distress. Areas of interest include the mechanisms for survival and protein stability in extremophilic archaea, fundamental studies of bacterial sporulation, and enzymatic engineering for faster catalysis in anti- material designs. AFOSR plans to make approximately 25 $100k/yr 3-yr awards for FY 2009. Proposals due: July 22, 2008.

NASA ROSES Exobiology and Evolutionary Biology Program - Research in this program is centered on the origin and early evolution of life, the potential of life to adapt to different environments, and the implications for life elsewhere. The areas of research emphasis in this solicitation are as follows: Planetary Conditions for Life, Prebiotic Evolution, Early Evolution of Life and the Biosphere, and Evolution of Advanced Life. Notice of intent due July 28, 2008; full proposals due September 19, 2008.

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 members 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