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June 5, 2009
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SBI Research Feature: Dorthe Wildenschild Plans for a Sabbatical in Denmark and Australia

dortheThis next year, Dorthe Wildenschild's subsurface research will take her around the world to Denmark and Australia. The newly tenured faculty member in environmental engineering is an expert in the micro-scale processes that control how water and pollution move through soil and aquifers. During her sabbatical, Dorthe will work on projects related to colloidal transport, biofilms and the geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide – link to a short Web interview where Dorthe explains these terms and describes more about her sabbatical plans. Dorthe’s position at OSU has been partially funded by the Subsurface Biosphere Initiative.


SBI Internship Program Grows to Host 30 Undergrads

This summer the SBI will host its largest number of undergraduate interns ever. There will be around 30 students working with research groups in four colleges. The students' backgrounds are diverse with majors from zoology to environmental engineering. Welcome interns!


Upcoming Events

Sunday, June 7 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Stops along Oak Creek ending at Reser Stadium, Corvallis. Oak Creek: Forests, Farms and Football - Tour and Festival. This is the 2nd annual Urban Creek Tour. Last year, over 70 people attended the tour featuring Dixon Creek. This year, participants will visit selected sites along Oak Creek from near headwaters in the McDonald Forest to mouth at Marys River. New this year - a "Water Festival" will provide interactive activities to raise awareness about the impact of humans on urban creeks. Please RSVP to Teresa and let her know whether you will join the bike group or carpool. FMI: Taylor Bortz, Benton Soil and Water Conservation District, 541-753-7208,

Monday, June 8 - Tuesday, June 9, LaSells Stewart Center, OSU. 2009 Isotope Hydrology and Bio-Geochemistry Workshop. This short course will focus on the teaching the fundamentals of isotope hydrology and biogeochemistry, providing case studies from local researchers, instrument demonstrations, and an optional hands-on computer modeling opportunity. The workshop is jointly sponsored by the USGS, Oregon State University Water Resources Graduate Program, and the CUAHSI-Hydrologic Measurement Facility.

Monday, June 15, noon, Gilmore 234. Volume Change in Soils: Lessons Across Scales Speaker: Majdi R. Abou Najm, Research Associate, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue University. Abstract: The evolution of soil's internal stress due to shrinkage and its effect on volume change is explored at the laboratory scale. Then, the evolution of the PFPs volume at different soil depths and moisture conditions is assessed by a new methodology to visualize preferential paths at the field. Results from different soil types (the Savage soil and the Chalmers soil) and different land uses (corn/tilled field vs. soy bean no-till fields in the Chalmers soil) are presented. Finally, the preliminary results of two related case studies are shared: (1) the effect of volume change (shrinkage) on TDR estimates of water contents; and (2) the effect of introducing scaling concepts to the hydrology curriculum on enhancing students' learning and decision making skills. FMI: John Selker

July 23-24, LaSells Stewart Center, OSU. SBI Summer Workshop. As in past years the workshop will include speakers and a poster session. The speaker list is growing and includes:

  • Julie Pett-Ridge, presently NERC Research Fellow, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford and future Assistant Professor, Crop and Soil Science, Oregon State University (July 2009). She will speak on impacts of eolian dust deposition on terrestrial nutrient cycling.
  • Brad Tebo, Professor and Division Head, Division of Environmental and Biomolecular Systems, Oregon Health and Science University; Affiliate Scientist, Center for Coastal Margin Observation and Prediction.
  • Karmen Fore, District Director, Congressman Peter DeFazio, Eugene, Oregon.
  • Rich Phillips, Assistant Professor, Indiana University. His research emphasis is on ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry: consequences of human-accelerated environmental change on plant-soil-microbial interactions and carbon and nutrient dynamics. His research themes include coupling of plant and microbial productivity and species effects on nutrient cycling.


Upcoming Abstract Deadlines

Friday, July 24, 2009. Abstracts due for the 5th ASM Conference on Biofilms. The meeting will be held November 15 - 19, 2009 in Cancun, Mexico, and will have sessions on biofilm evolution and communication, biofilm growth in many different environments and more. 40 travel grants of $500 each are available for predoctoral students who present at the meeting.

Friday, July 31, 2009. Abstracts due for the Seventh International Conference on Remediation of Chlorinated and Recalcitrant Compounds, to be held in May 24-27, 2010 in Monterey, California. The program will emphasize field applications and case studies, but many presentations will address laboratory, pilot, and modeling studies of innovative remediation and rational site-closure approaches. Students can submit papers by November 30, 2009 to the meeting's student paper competition.

Link to a calendar of other related events...


Opportunities for Students

NSF Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowships (EAR-PF). These fellowships are awarded to highly qualified investigators within 3 years of obtaining their PhD to carry out an integrated program of independent research and education. The program supports researchers for a period of up to 2 years with fellowships that can be taken to the institution or national facility of their choice. The program is intended to recognize beginning investigators of significant potential, and provide them with experience in research and education that will establish them in leadership positions in the Earth Sciences community. Because the fellowships are offered only to postdoctoral scientists early in their career, doctoral advisors are encouraged to discuss the availability of EAR fellowships with their graduate students early in their doctoral programs. Fellowships are awards to individuals, not institutions, and are administered by the Fellows. Proposals due July 1, 2009.

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, 2009.

The National Academies Research Associateship Program. The Research Associateship awards are open to doctoral level scientists and engineers (U.S and Foreign Nationals) who can apply their special knowledge and talents to research areas that are of interest to them and to the participating host laboratories and centers. Awards are available for Postdoctoral Associates (within 5 years of the doctorate) and Senior Associates (normally 5 years or more beyond the doctorate). Associates conduct research in residence at the participating host laboratory they have chosen. Applications due: August 1, 2009.

Opportunities for Faculty

(listed by due date)

Preproposal due: 30 June 2009. NASA NSPIRES ROSES New Investigator Program in Earth Science (Full Proposal due: 31 August 2009).

Description: All NIP proposals must contain both a research element that addresses one of the topical areas identified below, as well as a significant program of education and public outreach (E/PO) activities and/or interdisciplinary endeavors from which the community of practitioners in Earth, space, and environmental sciences can benefit. The research Focus Areas appropriate for the NIP are: Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems, Climate Variability and Change, Water and Energy Cycle, Atmospheric Composition, Weather, and Earth Surface and Interior.
Funding Details: $80-$120K per year for a period of up to three years.

9 July 2009. NSF Biological Sciences - Ecosystem Science Cluster - Ecosystem Studies Program.

Description: 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.

9 July 2009. Long Term Research in Environmental Biology (LTREB).

Description: 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. Questions or hypotheses outlined in this conceptual framework must guide an initial 5-year proposal as well as a subsequent, abbreviated renewal. Together, these will constitute a decadal research plan appropriate to begin to address critical and novel long-term questions in environmental biology. 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.

9 July 2009. NSF Opportunities for Promoting Understanding through Synthesis (OPUS) .

Description: Three clusters within the Division of Environmental Biology (the Ecological Biology, Ecosystem Science, and the Population and Evolutionary Processes clusters) 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.

16 July 2009. NSF Division of Earth Sciences - Geobiology and Low-Temperature Geochemistry Program.

Description: 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.

30 September 2009 (deadline extended). DOE Science Financial Assistance Program, Biological and Environmental Research Program.

Description: All grant applications should address one or more of these measures: Life Sciences: Provide the fundamental scientific understanding of plants and microbes necessary to develop new robust and transformational basic research strategies for producing biofuels, cleaning up waste, and sequestering carbon. Environmental Remediation: Provide sufficient scientific understanding such that DOE sites would be able to incorporate coupled physical, chemical and biological processes into decision making for environmental remediation and long-term stewardship. Climate Change Research: Deliver improved scientific data and models about the potential response of the Earth's climate and terrestrial biosphere to increased greenhouse gas levels for policy makers to determine safe levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This program received supplemental funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Preproposal due: 3 August 2009. NASA NSPIRES ROSES Astrobiology: Exobiology and Evolutionary Biology Solicitation: NNH09ZDA001N (Full Proposal due: 25 September 2009).

Description: Research 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. This research is conducted in the context of NASA’s ongoing exploration of our stellar neighborhood and the identification of biosignatures for in situ and remote sensing applications. The areas of research emphasis in this solicitation are as follows: Planetary Conditions for Life; Prebiotic Evolution; Early Evolution of Life and the Biosphere; Evolution of Advanced Life
Funding Details: Total program funds $2.5M; 15 four year new awards expected.

15 August 2009. NSF Biological Oceanography.

Description: The Biological Oceanography Program supports research in marine ecology broadly defined: relationships among aquatic organisms and their interactions with the environments of the oceans or Great Lakes.

The SBI has funding available for proposal development and maintains a list of external grant opportunities related to the subsurface biosphere.

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