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May 5, 2010
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Save the Date

imageThe SBI will hold its annual summer workshop on Wednesday, July 21 (all day) and Thursday, July 22, 8am-noon at the Lasells Stewart Center.   Please plan to attend!   Watch this newsletter and the SBI Web page for details. As in years past, there will be invited speakers and a graduate student poster session.


In the News

Nitrogen cycleBacteria move over; there's a new nitrifier in town (Terra, 5-4-10)

It's too early to call for surrender, but bacteria may have to at least share the honors for a chemical process that is critical for life and goes on right under our feet day in and day out. For a century, scientists thought that bacteria were the only organisms that performed one of the key steps in the nitrogen cycle, the conversion of ammonia to nitrate. Now they have confirmed that another common group of microbes known as crenarchaea does the same thing. Link to the full story...


Upcoming Events

Wednesday, May 5, 4:00 pm - 5:20 p.m., ALS 4000 - Weathering and erosion and the critical zone (Spring Hydrology Seminar Series) Speaker: Suzanne Prestrud Anderson, Researcher, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research and Assistant Professor, Geography, University of Colorado at Boulder

Thursday, May 13, 4:00-5:00 p.m., ALS 4000 - Benno P. Warkentin Lecture: Colloid Mobility in Soils: When Little Things Matter Speaker: Dr. Michael L. Thompson, Professor in Soil Mineralogy and Chemistry, Iowa State University. Sponsored by The Subsurface Biosphere Initiative, the Association of Graduate Soil Scientists and the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. If you are interested in meeting with Dr. Thompson during his visit to campus, please contact Marco Keiluweit ( or Elizabeth Brewer (

Tuesday, May 18, 5:00 pm - 6:30 p.m., 129 Wilkinson Hall. Hydrocareers: A panel discussion on careers in water science, engineering, and policy. Sponsored by Hydrophiles.

Wednesday, June 2, 2-3 p.m., 313 Richardson. Nitrogen Fixing Shrubs and Forest Productivity. Speaker: Stephanie Yelenik, Post-doctoral Research Associate, FES Dept, OSU.

Wednesday, June 2, 3:00-4:00 p.m., ALS 4001. Biogeochemistry of a contaminated aquifer: Microbial roles and genomic goals (CGRB Seminar). Eugene Madsen, Department of Microbiology, Cornell University. Host: David Myrold, Crop and Soil Science.

Wednesday, June 2, 4-5:20 p.m., ALS 4000. Quantifying Flow and Reactive Transport in the Heterogeneous Subsurface Environment: From Pores to Porous Media and Facies to Aquifers (Breakthroughs in Hydrology Monitoring: from Pore to Watershed Scales - Spring Hydrology Seminars). Speaker: Tim Scheibe, National Ground Water Assoc. Darcy Lecturer and Hydrology Technical Group, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Thursday, June 3, 4 p.m., Gilfillin Auditorium. Biogeochemical Interactions between Microorganisms and the Environment. Speaker: Sherry Cady, Department of Geology, Portland State University.

Link to a calendar of other related events...


Conference Information

Saturday, May 15 abstracts due for 8th International Conference on Extremophiles, Azores, 12-16 September 2010.

July 11 - 15. Gordon Research Conference: Flow & Transport in Permeable Media. Applications due June 20, 2010. Held in Lewistown, ME.

August 1–6. Gordon Research Conference on Molecular Basis of Microbial One-Carbon Metabolism to be held , Lewiston, ME.

August 22-27. 13th International Symposium on Microbial Ecology. Seattle, WA. Early bird registration deadline May 15.

Opportunities for Students

Summer 2010 SBI Undergraduate Internships - The program provides up to $4,000 to help faculty support a summer intern. It focuses on, but is not limited to, under-represented minority and women students. The SBI Web site has examples of past internship projects and students are encouraged to discuss a project with a faculty member before submitting an application. Applications will be reviewed on receipt. FMI:

NSF Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowships (EAR-PF) - The Division of Earth Sciences (EAR) awards Postdoctoral Fellowships to highly qualified investigators within 3 years of obtaining their PhD to carry out an integrated program of independent research and education. The research and education plans of each fellowship must address scientific questions within the scope of EAR disciplines. 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. Applications due July 1, 2010.

Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Grants - For projects that further the Lindberghs' vision of a balance between the advance of technology and the preservation of the natural/ human environment. Includes categories such as agriculture, natural resources conservation, and waste minimization and management. Grants are awarded for up to $10,580 each (the cost of building the Spirit of St. Louis in 1927). Applications due June 10, 2010.


Opportunities for Faculty

(listed by due date)

1 June 2010. 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.

5 July 2010. NSF Directorate for Biological Sciences - Research Coordination Networks in Biological Sciences (RCN).

Description: The goal of this program is to encourage and foster interactions among scientists to create new research directions or advance a field. Innovative ideas for implementing novel networking strategies are especially encouraged. Groups of investigators will be supported to communicate and coordinate their research, training and educational activities across disciplinary, organizational, institutional, and geographical boundaries. The proposed networking activities should have a theme as a focus of its collaboration. The focus could be on a broad research question, a specific group of organisms, or particular technologies or approaches. This year, the The Undergraduate Biology Education track in the Research Coordination Network program has an incubator program this year where they will award one year, $50k awards that will enhance communication and coordination among scientists and educators who are exploring new approaches to enhance undergraduate biology education. Refer to the Dear Colleague letter:

7 July 2010. 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.

9 July 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 July 2010. 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.

16 July 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.

20 July 2010. NASA ROSES: Climate and Biological Response: Research and Applications.

Description: Focus on "making progress connecting climate drivers to biological responses in order to improve our basic understanding of climate change impacts and to develop tools for managing species and ecosystems, and their associated landscapes and seascapes, under a changing climate." Includes both Type A: Research Proposals and Type B: Applications proposals to support ecosystem and landscape management.

31 July 2010. NSF Physics of Living Systems (PoLS).

Description: This program evolved from the successful Biological Physics program, which supported projects that applied analytical and experimental tools of physics to the study of biological problems at the molecular level. PoLS is replacing the Biological Physics program and will target theoretical and experimental research exploring the most fundamental biological processes that living systems utilize to perform their functions in dynamic and diverse environments. PoLS will stimulate those investigations that have the potential to transform the study of living systems.

12 August 2010. NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) (Preproposal due: 14 July 2010).

Description: This program makes grants to institutions of higher education to support scholarships for academically talented, financially needy students, enabling them to enter the workforce following completion of an associate; baccalaureate; or graduate-level degree in science and engineering disciplines. Grantee institutions are responsible for selecting scholarship recipients, reporting demographic information about student scholars, and managing the S-STEM project at the institution. Letters of Intent are optional.

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