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August 6, 2009
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SBI Researchers Gather for Annual Workshop

Photo from the poster session.In late July, about 40 scientists gathered at La Sells Stewart Center for the Subsurface Biosphere Initiative’s fourth annual workshop. The meeting was a chance for faculty and students from four OSU colleges to share their work with each other and meet with invited experts. Link to a short summary of the meeting.


In the News

Geomicrobiology: Low LifeThe boundaries of biology reach farther below Earth’s surface than scientists had thought possible. (Nature, June 11, 2009) ...Now, scientists have come to appreciate these organisms as integral players in global cycles, helping to replenish key minerals in the ocean and even mediating the climate. “As the science matures, there is an ongoing sense of wonder about what’s down there, but we’re also coming to understand how they are involved in the biogeochemical cycling and the health of our planet,” says Rick Colwell, a geomicrobiologist from Oregon State University in Corvallis. The article also mentions research by Martin Fisk.


Upcoming Events

Friday, August 14, noon, 115 Richardson Hall. Special Seminar: The effect of subsurface storage dynamics on the age, origin and flowpath of water at the catchment scale. Speaker: Dr. Taka Sayama, Assistant Professor, Kyoto University. Taka has just completed a 2-year post-doc with Jeff McDonnell in Forest Engineering, Resources and Management. FMI: contact Jeff.

Thursday, September 3, afternoon, 109 Memorial Union. SBI Undergraduate Intern Research Presentations. SBI interns will give short presentations about their summer research experience. FMI: Garrett Jones (737-2751,


Upcoming Abstract Deadlines

August 11, 2009. Abstracts due for the 2009 Geological Society of America Annual Meeting. The meeting will be held October 18-21 in Portland, Oregon. Several sessions may be of interest to the subsurface biosphere research community including:

  • Characterizing, Predicting, and Managing Long-Term Contaminant Flux for Complex Subsurface Environments;
  • Coupled Surface-Subsurface Modeling across a Range of Temporal and Spatial Scales;
  • Fate, Transport, and Effects of Pesticides in the Environment;
  • Diurnal Biogeochemical Processes in Rivers, Lakes, and Shallow Groundwater;
  • Science of Geologic Carbon Sequestration; Sustainability of Water Resources for Energy Needs.

September 15, 2009. Abstracts due for the 3rd International Conference on Environmental, Industrial and Applied Microbiology (BioMicroWorld2009). The meeting will be held in Lisbon (Portugal) from 2 to 4 December 2009 and will provide a multi-disciplinary forum, bringing together those involved in microbiology from both applied and research communities.

Link to a calendar of other related events...


Opportunities for Students

Dissertation Initiative for the Advancement of Climate Change Research Symposium - DISCCRS is designed to catalyze formation of interdisciplinary collegial networks extending across the natural and social sciences, to discuss topics of scientific and societal interest, and to foster early career development in an interdisciplinary context. Recent PhDs come together to share their research and learn from each other. The Symposium will be held March 13 - 20, 2010, Saguaro Lake Ranch, Tonto National Forest, Arizona. Applicants must have completed their PhD between April 1, 2007 - July 31, 2009, in any discipline. Application Deadline: August 31, 2009.

NSF International Research Fellowship Program (IRFP) - The objective of this program is to introduce scientists and engineers in the early stages of their careers to international collaborative research opportunities, thereby furthering their research capacity and global perspective and forging long-term relationships with scientists, technologists and engineers abroad. These awards are available in any field of science and engineering research and education supported by NSF. Priority will be given to those applicants who have not yet secured a tenure-track position and have no previous international experience. Approximately 30-35 fellowships will be offered each year to U.S. investigators for research abroad. Awards in recent years have ranged in size from $57,000 to $200,000, depending on location of host site, cost of research project, duration and number of dependents. NSF International Fellowships will provide support for periods of from nine to 24 months. Proposals due September 8, 2009.

NSF Postdoctoral Fellowships in Biology - For FY 2010, fellowships will be awarded in the areas of (1) Broadening Participation in Biology and (2) Biological Informatics. Through program area (1), BIO seeks to increase the diversity of scientists at the postdoctoral level in biology, and thereby contribute to the future vitality of the nation's scientific enterprise. Program area (2) fellows are expected to address important scientific questions at the intersection of biology and computational, mathematical, or statistical sciences and to apply state-of-the-art informatics tools or approaches to the stated research problems and training needs. The two to three year fellowship includes support for a stipend (up to $50k/year), and a research allowance ($10k/yr) and a fringe benefit allowance. Applicants must be current grad students or have completed their PhD in the previous 12 months. 15 awards will be made. Proposals due: October 14, 2009.


Opportunities for Faculty

(listed by due date)

17 August 2009. OSU Faculty Release Time.

Description: The Faculty Release Time program provides limited funding for individuals developing external grant proposals or who wish to further their scholarly activities.
Funding Details: Award amounts range between $3,500 and $6,000.

15 September 2009. NSF Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET) - Environmental Engineering.

Description: This cluster focuses on research on innovative biological, chemical, and physical processes used alone or as components of engineered systems to restore the usefulness of polluted land, water, and air resources. Major areas of interest and activity in the program include: developing innovative biological, chemical, and physical treatment processes to remove and degrade pollutants from water and air; measuring, modeling and predicting the movement and fate of pollutants in the environment; and developing and evaluating techniques to clean up polluted sites, such as landfills and contaminated aquifers, restore the quality of polluted water, air, and land resources and rehabilitate degraded ecosystems. This program received supplemental funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Funding Details: Average individual awards $100k.

15 September 2009. NSF Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET) - Environmental Sustainability.

Description: This program supports engineering research that seeks to balance society's need to provide ecological protection and maintain stable economic conditions. Research is encouraged to advance the next generation of water and wastewater treatment that will decrease material and energy use, consider new paradigms for delivery of services, and promote longer life for engineered systems. Other activities of interest include: Advancing engineering methods to promote smart growth strategies, Integrating economic development and protection of natural resources, Regenerating ecological functions of degraded environments, Understanding how large complex environmental systems behave, and Developing effective principles for adaptive management of such systems. This program received supplemental funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Funding Details: Average individual awards $100K.

Preproposal due: 15 September 2009. NSF Undergraduate Research and Mentoring in the Biological Sciences (URM) (Full Proposal due: 2 March 2010).

Description: Support will be provided to academic institutions to establish innovative programs to engage undergraduates in a year-round research and mentoring activity. Particular emphasis will be placed on broadening participation of members of groups historically underrepresented in science and engineering.

17 September 2009. NSF Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems: Biosensing.

Description: The Biosensing Program supports innovative, transformative, and insightful investigations of fundamental problems with broad long term impact and applications that require novel use of bio-inspired engineering principles and sophisticated devices to meet the engineering and technology needs of the nation. The program is targeting research in the area of the monitoring, identification, and/or quantification of biological phenomena and will support potential technological breakthroughs that exist at the intersection of engineering, life science, and information technology.
Funding Details: The typical award size for the program is $100,000 for individual investigators or $200,000 for multiple investigators per year (including indirect cost).

20 September 2009. NSF International Research and Education: Planning Visits and Workshops.
Description: International Planning Visit/Workshop awards to support the early phases of developing and coordinating a research and education activity with a foreign partner(s). OISE does not provide support for U.S. scientists and engineers to participate in international conferences or congresses; nor does it provide support for such meetings. OISE can support workshops that may immediately precede or follow a larger-scale conference when they add an international dimension that is focused on building research collaboration.
Funding Details: Support for workshops will be for a maximum of two years and a maximum total budget of $60,000 over the duration of the award. Support for planning visits will be for a maximum of two years and a maximum total budget of $20,000 over the duration of the award.

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.

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