The DCO Deep Life Workshop was held 14-15 May 2013 at McMenamins, Portland, Oregon, with the goal of assessing progress in two major Community projects (the Census of Deep Life and Rock-Hosted Communities) and projecting priority research efforts over the next few years. The workshop involved 38 Deep Life researchers from around the world, and included representatives from the Ocean Observatories Initiative, C-DEBI (Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations), and the Department of Energy Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory.
Day one began with an introduction by Mitch Sogin, Deep Life Co-Chair and Director of the Josephine Bay Paul Center at the MBL in Woods Hole, MA, followed by a session focused on the Rock-Hosted Communities project. This large collaboration aims to understand the close relationship between life and rock, and how one might influence the other over deep time. Co-organizer of the workshop, Matt Schrenk of East Carolina University, gave an overview of the project, touching on the exciting overlap between the Deep Life and Deep Energy Communities already being exploited. Deep Energy Co-Chair Isabelle Daniel (Université Claude Bernard, Lyon), also emphasized this cross-disciplinarity, highlighting further areas of collaboration between Deep Life and Deep Energy research.
The afternoon opened with co-organizer Rick Colwell of Oregon State University describing the work of the Census of Deep Life. Combining multiple high-throughput sequencing techniques this initiative intends to catalog the sub-surface biosphere, thus understanding the diversity of Deep Life. Of particular note was work presented by Sharon Grim (MBL, Woods Hole), who compared data from all sampling sites so far in terms of location and observed diversity. Deep Life Co-Chair Kai-Uwe Hinrichs lead lively discussions at the culmination of both sessions, followed by an open mic opportunity for those not giving scheduled talks.
Day two was comprised entirely of breakout sessions, with Deep Life scientists discussing everything from equipment needs and development, to coordinating field sites for future sampling. Coordination with other DCO initiatives was also considered. After the meeting closed, members of the Deep Life Scientific Steering Committee remained in Portland for their meeting. These activities underscore the forward-looking prospects of the Community, and will ensure that as many research directives as possible, lead by a diverse community of scientists, will be explored over the next few years.
A full agenda can be downloaded here.
Thanks to Rick Colwell for providing workshop details.