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November 5, 2009
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SBI Research Feature: Julie Pett-Ridge, new SBI faculty member in soil science

Julie Pett-RidgeDr. Julie Pett-Ridge became an assistant professor in the OSU Department of Crop and Soil Science in July 2009. Her position is partially funded by the Subsurface Biosphere Initiative. Link to a Web interview where Julie describes her research focus and introduces the expertise she brings to campus.

Upcoming Events

Monday, November 9, 4:00-5:00 p.m., ALS 4000. Crop and Soil Science Seminar. Speaker: John Baham, Associate Professor, Soil Geochemistry, OSU.

Thursday, November 12, 5:00 p.m., ALS 1019. Bacterial and Fungal Contributions to Forest Soil Nutrient Cycling (Microbiology Department Fall Colloquium). Speaker: Stephanie Yarwood.

Monday, November 16, 9:00 a.m., 10 Nash Hall. Does nutrient supply or hydrology affect bacterial communities in desert stream sediments?. Speaker: Lydia Zeglin, OSU, Crop and Soil Science. Stream Team Monday Morning Meeting.

Tuesday, November 17, 4:00-5:00 p.m., ALS 4000. Biological control in horticultural crops: Facts and fancy. Speaker: Jana Lee, Research Entomologist, USDA-ARS HCRL, Corvallis. Part of the Horticulture fall term seminar series.

Tuesday, November 17, 12:00-1:00 p.m., 193 Burt Hall. Preliminary Results from the Pacific Equatorial Age Transect, IODP Expeditions 320/321 (COAS Marine Geology & Geophysics Seminar). Speaker: William Busch, University of New Orleans.

Thursday, November 19, 4:00-5:00 p.m., 108 Wilkinson Hall. Groundwater Arsenic Contamination in Southern Willamette Basin (Geology Fall Seminar Series). Speaker: Qusheng Jin, University of Oregon, Dept. of Geology.

Tuesday, November 24, 4:00-5:00 p.m. , 108 Wilkinson Hall. Heat budget in the hyporheic zone on the Willamette River - Implications for aquatic habitat (Geology Fall Seminar Series). Speaker: Stephen Lancaster, Associate Professor, Dept. of Geosciences, OSU.

Monday, November 30, 4:00 p.m., 109 Withycombe Hall. The origin of species at 150: Is it past its sell-by date?. Speaker: Michael Ruse, Florida State University. Stream Team Monday Morning Meeting at a special time and place.

Link to a calendar of other related events...

Upcoming Conferences

ASM/JGI Bioinformatics Institute: Incorporating Bioinformatics Research in Undergraduate Education. To be held March 10-13, 2010 in Washington, DC. At the end of the workshop participants will understand, interpret, and use molecular sequence information to solve problems, providing a framework for developing classroom activities and research projects for undergraduate students. The program features analysis of microbial genomes, molecular sequences, and structural data. Application deadline: November 15, 2009.


Opportunities for Students

USGS Mendenhall Postdoctoral Program - Mendenhall Fellows are appointed to the USGS for two years and receive full salary and benefits at the GS-12 level. The 2009 base salary for a GS-12, step 1 is $59,383. The program provides an opportunity for postdoctoral fellows to conduct concentrated research in association with selected members of the USGS professional staff, often as a final element to their formal career preparation.   Some examples of projects include: Exploring the Microbial Link Between High Elevation Deglaciation and Headwater Biogeochemistry, Regional Climate Change and Carbon Cycling on the Colorado Plateau, Microbial Biogeochemistry of Arsenic Redox Transformations in Hydrologic Systems. Deadlines of November 9, 2009 and January 15, 2010 depending on project topic.

Ford Foundation Diversity Fellowships Program for Achieving Excellence in College and University Teaching. Fellowships for individuals planning a career in teaching and research at the college or university level in a research-based field of science, social sciences, or humanities. Stipends and allowances: dissertation--$21,000 for one year; postdoctoral--$40,000 for one year, $1,500 employing institution allowance, to be matched by employing institution. Application Deadline Dates: Dissertation: November 9, 2009, Postdoctoral: November 9, 2009.

Environmental Engineers of the Future Masters Fellowship - Preference is given to qualified students that are currently enrolled in a qualified undergraduate program and planning to attend one of the participating universities to obtain a masters degree in environmental engineering. Upon graduation, the student must work for one of the sponsoring firms/agencies for a 2-year period. Funding of up to $10,000. Applications due December 1, 2009.

U.S. EPA Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Undergraduate Fellowships - Fellowships are for bachelor level students in environmental fields of study. Eligible students will receive support for their junior and senior years of undergraduate study and for an internship at an EPA facility during the summer between their junior and senior years. The fellowship provides up to $19,250 per year of academic support and up to $8,000 of internship support for a three-month summer period. Applications due: December 10, 2009.

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 and include individual interviews in Washington, DC. Applications due: December 15, 2009.

Grant A. Harris Research Instruments Fellowship - This fellowship provides $5,000 worth of Decagon research instruments to a graduate student studying any aspect of environmental science or geotechnical science. This year the committee will be emphasizing studies that propose innovative soil and plant monitoring.  Six awards will be made. Applications are due December 18, 2009.

CUAHSI Pathfinder Fellowships to Support Multi-site Research in Hydrology - CUAHSI is providing travel support for graduate students to make an extended visit (ca. 1-3 months) to conduct field research at an additional site or to collaborate with a research group using alternate modeling methods. CUAHSI will provide funding for up to five graduate students, with a $5000 maximum award to each recipient, to cover travel costs. Applications due:  December 31, 2009.

National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowships - These fellowships are awarded to applicants who will pursue a doctoral degree in, or closely related to, a variety of science and engineering disciplines including bioscience, geoscience and oceanography. Applications due: January 4, 2010.

Winter Term Course Announcement: GEO 599 Biogeochemistry. Ed Brook in Geosciences will be teaching a three credit special topics graduate course in the winter, listed in the course catalog as GEO 599:  Biogeochemistry.   He wrote: "I am planning to repeat a version of a class we did  a few years ago that focused on the history of the carbon cycle and atmospheric CO2.  Students in Geology, Geography, and COAS took that course.  Some background in chemistry and earth history or biogeochemistry is desirable.  It was primarily a seminar format with a little bit of lecturing for background. The current schedule has this being taught from 12:30 to 2:30 on Tuesdays.  However, I would be willing to change that if there is demand to do so". Contact Ed for more information.

Opportunities for Faculty

(listed by due date)

16 November 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.

17 November 2009. NSF Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH).

Description: This 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.
Funding Details: Grants are for up to $1.5M.

19 November 2009. Water Reuse Foundation Utilization of HACCP Approach for Evaluating Integrity of Treatment Barriers for Reuse (WRF-09-03).

Description: This project seeks to investigate and develop an alternative approach for managing and monitoring microbial water quality of reclaimed water effluent through the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) process. A key component of this study will be documenting the applicability of HACCP for risk management, monitoring, and control of reclaimed water processes.

5 December 2009. NSF Hydrologic Science.

Description: Hydrologic Sciences focuses on the flow of water and transport processes within streams, soils, and aquifers. Particular attention is given to spatial and temporal heterogeneity of fluxes and storages of water and chemicals over a wide range of scales, to geolimnology and to interfaces with the landscape, microbial communities, and coastal areas. Studies may also deal with processes in aqueous geochemistry and with the physical, chemical, and biological processes within water bodies. Study of these processes requires expertise from many basic sciences and mathematics, and proposals often require joint review with related programs.

Preproposal due: 11 December 2009. Office of Naval Research Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative MURI (Full Proposal due: 2 March 2010).

Description: The Fiscal Year 2010 MURI competition is comprised of 30 topics. Topic 4 is Biofuels: Microbial Communities, Biogeochemistry and Surface Interactions. The objective of Topic 4 is to explore molecular- and micro-biological approaches to establish the key organisms, reactions and mechanisms involved in biocontamination and subsequent biocorrosion processes in bio-derived hydrocarbon fuels. This program will require a multidisciplinary (molecular biology, fuel chemistry, analytical biochemistry, microbiology, surface and interfacial science, mathematical modeling, electrochemistry, corrosion) team that can identify and characterize the biofuel components and/or microbial metabolites that lead to fuel contamination, degradation and biocorrosion under varying biogeochemical and environmental conditions.
Funding Details: $1.5 million/yr for up to five years.

Preproposal due: 7 January 2010. DOD Strategic Environmental Research & Development Program (SERDP) - Core Solicitation (Full Proposal due: 11 March 2010).

Description: Example topics include: ERSON-11-02 In Situ Remediation of Perfluoroalkyl Contaminated Groundwater, ERSON-11-03 Improved Understanding of Impacts to Groundwater Quality Post-Remediation, SISON-11-01 Impacts of Climate Change on Alaskan Ecological Systems, SISON-11-03 Ecological Forestry and Carbon Management, SISON-11-04 Ecology and Management of Source-Sink Populations.

9 January 2010. 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 January 2010. Long Term Research in Environmental Biology (LTREB).

Description: hrough 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 January 2010. NSF Systematic Biology and Biodiversity Inventories .

Description: The Systematic Biology and Biodiversity Inventories Cluster supports research in taxonomy and systematics that contributes to: 1) using phylogenetic methods to understand the evolution of life in time and space, 2) discovery, description, and cataloguing global species diversity, and 3) organizing information from the above in efficiently retrievable forms that best meet the needs of science and society.

11 January 2010. NSF Research Initiation Grants to Broaden Participation in Biology.

Description: Currently, African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are under-represented in biology. These grants are intended to increase the diversity of researchers who apply for and receive BIO funding to initiate research programs early in their careers.
Funding Details: Awards are for 24 months and are limited to $175,000 total costs (direct plus indirect) with up to an additional $25,000 for equipment (maximum total award amount of $200,000).

12 January 2010. NSF Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) - Cellular Systems Cluster.

Description: The Cellular Systems Cluster focuses on the structure, function, and regulation of plant, animal and microbial cells, and their interactions with the environment and with one another. Areas supported include studies of the structure, function, and assembly of cellular elements, such as the cytoskeleton, membranes, organelles, intracellular compartments, intranuclear structures, and extracellular matrix, including eukaryotic and prokaryotic cell walls and envelopes. In addition, support is provided for the study of intracellular and transmembrane signal transduction mechanisms and cell-cell signaling processes, including those that occur in biofilms. Research on cellular recognition and self defense mechanisms is included.

12 January 2010. NSF - Division of Integrative Organismal Systems -Physiological and Structural Systems Cluster.

Description: This program supports research aimed at furthering the understanding of organisms as integrated units of biological organization. It considers proposals focused on interacting physiological and structural systems, their environmental and evolutionary contexts, and how these components are constrained by their integration into the whole organism. Projects that use systems approaches to understand why particular patterns of architecture and regulatory control have emerged as general organismal properties are particularly encouraged. Multidisciplinary approaches to the study of organismal systems including research at the interfaces of biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science and engineering are encouraged in each of the following areas: Symbiosis, Defense and Self-recognition; Processes, Structures and Integrity; Organism-Environment Interactions.

12 January 2010. NSF Biomolecular Systems Cluster.

Description: The Biomolecular Systems Cluster emphasizes the structure, function, dynamics, interactions, and interconversions of biological molecules. The context for such studies can range from investigations of individual macromolecules to the large-scale integration of metabolic and energetic processes. Research supported by this cluster includes development of cutting-edge technologies integrating theoretical, computational, and experimental approaches to the study of biological molecules and their functional complexes; mechanistic studies of the regulation and catalysis of enzymes and RNA, and higher-order characterization of the biochemical processes by which all organisms acquire, transform, and utilize energy from substrates. This cluster emphasizes the importance of multi-disciplinary research carried out at the interfaces of biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics and computer science, and engineering.

12 January 2010. NSF Genes and Genome Systems Cluster.

Description: he Genes and Genome Systems Cluster supports studies on genomes and genetic mechanisms in all organisms, whether prokaryote, eukaryote, phage, or virus. Proposals on the structure, maintenance, expression, transfer, and stability of genetic information in DNA, RNA, and proteins and how those processes are regulated are appropriate. Areas of interest include genome organization, molecular and cellular evolution, replication, recombination, repair, and vertical and lateral transmission of heritable information. Of equal interest are the processes that mediate and regulate gene expression, such as chromatin structure, epigenetic phenomena, transcription, RNA processing, editing and degradation, and translation. The use of innovative in vivo and/or in vitro approaches, including biochemical, physiological, genetic, genomic, and/or computational methods, is encouraged, as is research at the interfaces of biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics and computer science, and engineering.

13 January 2010. NSF Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI).

Description: This program seeks to improve the quality of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for all undergraduate students. The program supports efforts to create new learning materials and teaching strategies, develop faculty expertise, implement educational innovations, assess learning and evaluate innovations, and conduct research on STEM teaching and learning. The program supports three types of projects representing three different phases of development, ranging from small, exploratory investigations to large, comprehensive projects.

14 January 2010. NSF Planetary Biodiversity Inventories.

Description: To accelerate the discovery and study of the world’s biodiversity, proposals are invited from teams of investigators to conduct a worldwide, species-level systematic inventory of a major group of organisms. Each project should conduct fieldwork necessary to fill gaps in existing collections, produce descriptions, taxonomic revisions, web-searchable databases, and interactive keys (or other automated identification tools) for all new and known species in the targeted group, analyze their phylogenetic relationships, and establish predictive classifications for the group. Proposals may target any particular group of organisms, from terrestrial, fresh-water, or marine habitats, at any feasible level in the taxonomic hierarchy, but must be global in scope.

15 January 2010. The United States - Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund.

Description: This program supports mission-oriented cooperative agricultural research projects of mutual interest to the United States and Israel. Among the six priority research areas is Biotic Protection of Animal and Plant Crops; Water Quality and Quantity; Functional Genomics and Proteomics; and Engineering of Sensors, Robotics.
Funding Details: The average BARD grant is $300,000 for a three- year award.

15 January 2010. NSF Pan-American Advanced Studies Institutes Program (PASI).

Description: The Pan American Advanced Study Institutes (PASI) Program, is a jointly supported initiative between the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Pan American Advanced Studies Institutes are short courses ranging in length from ten days to one month duration, involving lectures, demonstrations, research seminars and discussions at the advanced graduate and post-doctoral level. PASIs aim to disseminate advanced scientific and engineering knowledge and stimulate training and cooperation among researchers of the Americas in the mathematical, physical, and biological sciences, and in engineering fields. Whenever feasible, an interdisciplinary approach is recommended.
Funding Details: The cost for any one Institute is expected to range from $70,000 to $90,000, and may not exceed $100,000, aside from contributions from other sources.

16 January 2010. 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.

22 January 2010. Mazamas Standard Research Grant.

Description: The Mazamas is a 3,000 member Oregon mountaineering organization headquartered in Portland. Their organization supports research projects in keeping with the purposes of the Mazamas, including the investigation of geologic features, biotic communities, and human endeavors pertaining to mountains, forests, rivers, and lakes.
Funding Details: Up to $3000, They also offer $1500 graduate student awards.

22 January 2010. NSF: Collaboration in Mathematical Geosciences.

Description: The purpose of the Collaboration in Mathematical Geosciences (CMG) activity is to enable collaborative research at the intersection of mathematical sciences and geosciences, and to encourage cross-disciplinary education. Projects should fall within one of three broad themes: (1) mathematical and statistical modeling of complex geosystems, (2) understanding and quantifying uncertainty in geosystems, or (3) analyzing large/complex geoscience data sets. Research projects supported under this activity must be essentially collaborative in nature. Research groups must include at least one mathematical/statistical scientist and at least one geoscientist. Proposals that address problems with relevance to global change and sustainability are especially encouraged.

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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