December 2018 Newsletter

From the Deep, a monthly newsletter from DCO
December 2018
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Deep Carbon Observatory
Desulforudis audaxviator
Candidatus Desulforudis audaxviator (the purplish, blue rod-shaped cells straddling orange carbon spheres) is a species of bacteria originally found living within a fluid and gas-filled fracture 2.8 km beneath Earth’s surface at Mponeng Gold Mine near Johannesburg, South Africa. Image courtesy of Greg Wanger (California Institute of Technology, USA) and Gordon Southam (The University of Queensland, Australia). Read more about Earth's deep biosphere...

Letter from the Director

DCO has much to celebrate as 2018 comes to a close. A DCO news release on life in deep Earth generated more than 1000 news stories in 84 countries and 30 languages, including articles in The New York Times, The Guardian, BBC, NBC, and CNN. The aggregate circulation online surpassed 1 billion people, which is one-eighth of the global population. The news coverage is timely and important, with greater awareness of DCO research empowering the next decade of deep carbon science.
Speaking of deep life, a review article in Nature Geoscience by DCO members Cara Magnabosco, Li-Hung Lin, Hailiang Dong, Malin Bomberg, Karsten Pedersen, Thomas Kieft, and Tullis Onstott provides new estimates of the number of cells and biomass of the continental subsurface.
In another paper about life in the continental subsurface, DCO members Avishek Dutta, Pinaki Sar, and colleagues explore the deep terrestrial subsurface microbiome in the Deccan traps and underlying Archean basement in India.
DCO Deep Life Community members Laura Zinke, Clemens Glombitza, Jordan Bird, Bo Barker Jørgensen, Karen Lloyd, Jan Amend, and Brandi Kiel Reese demonstrate that deep Baltic microbes have a taste for alcohol and cannibalism.
In a new paper in Geology, DCO members Adriana Dutkiewicz, Dietmar Müller, Sabin Zahirovic, and colleagues combine plate tectonic models and records of carbonate layers from scientific ocean drilling expeditions to estimate sequestration and subduction of deep-sea carbonate in the global ocean over the past 120 million years.
Congratulations to Peter Barry and Sabin Zahirovic for winning the 2018 DCO Emerging Leader Awards.
We are grateful to the large contingent of DCO scientists who gave more than 150 presentations at the 2018 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in Washington, DC on 14-18 December.
Finally, I want to thank all of our DCO colleagues for a great year in 2018 and best wishes for the culmination of the DCO decadal program in 2019.


Craig Schiffries, DCO Director
Carnegie Institution for Science, Geophysical Laboratory
Washington DC, USA

News Features

Life in Deep Earth Totals 15 to 23 Billion Tonnes of Carbon—Hundreds of Times More than Humans
Barely living “zombie” bacteria and other forms of life constitute an immense amount of carbon deep within Earth’s subsurface—245 to 385 times greater than the carbon mass of all humans on the surface, according to scientists nearing the end of a 10-year international collaboration to reveal Earth’s innermost secrets. Drilling 2.5 kilometers into the seafloor, and sampling microbes from continental mines and boreholes more than 5 km deep, the team has used the results to construct models of the ecosystem deep within the planet. With insights from now hundreds of sites under the continents and seas, they have approximated the size of the deep biosphere—2 to 2.3 billion cubic km (almost twice the volume of all oceans)—as well as the carbon mass of deep life: 15 to 23 billion tonnes (an average of at least 7.5 tonnes of carbon per cu km subsurface). The work also helps determine types of extraterrestrial environments that could support life. Read more...

Undercover Cells: New Estimate of the Microbes Beneath the Continents
Scientists have proposed that the majority of microbes on Earth live in the vast, dark subsurface, but estimates of their numbers vary widely. Microbes in the subsurface might far outweigh the cells at the surface, or, they might just constitute a sizeable majority. During the past two decades, next-generation sequencing, which enables researchers to get a snapshot of a microbial community by sequencing all of the DNA in an environmental sample, has become more affordable and more widely used. Additionally, more scientists have undertaken explorations of the subsurface through coring and underground sampling. These advances are helping scientists to get a better handle on the numbers and diversity of cells in the subsurface. In a new review in Nature Geoscience, DCO members Cara Magnabosco (Flatiron Institute, USA), Li-Hung Lin (National Taiwan University, Taiwan), Hailiang Dong (Miami University, USA), Malin Bomberg (VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland), Karsten Pedersen (Microbial Analytics Sweden), Thomas Kieft (New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, USA), and Tullis Onstott (Princeton University, USA), and colleagues, make new estimates of the number and biomass of cells living beneath the continents. The researchers compiled cell counts and next-generation sequencing data from sampling locations around the world and used advanced analysis techniques to scale local counts to a global approximation. They estimate that 200 to 600 octillion microbes (2 to 6x1029 cells) live in the continental subsurface. Read more...

The First Steps When Water Meets Rock
When water encounters certain magnesium- and iron-rich mantle minerals, exciting things can happen. This process, called serpentinization, creates hydrogen and, at the seafloor, can lead to the formation of hydrocarbons and small organic compounds. The products of serpentinization support hydrothermal vent ecosystems and may have created conditions permissive for the origin of life. Naturally, scientists are interested in learning the finer details of how this process occurs to get closer to defining when and how life began. DCO members Tingting Liu, Siddharth Gautam, David Cole (all at Ohio State University, USA), and Eugene Mamantov (Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA) performed computer simulations and spectroscopic analyses of fine-scale interactions between water and a type of olivine, a major rock-forming mineral in the upper mantle. In a new paper in Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, they report that water forms three distinct layers when it comes in contact with the olivine. The simulations and measurements complement each other, improving our understanding of the structure and dynamics of water-olivine interactions, and lay a foundation for future research on serpentinization. Read more...

Deccan Traps Microbes Get By with a Little Help from Their Friends
In 1964, the Indian government completed a dam on the Koyna River to create a reservoir for a hydroelectric power plant in Maharashtra in western India. This dam lies within the Deccan Traps, an area covered with layers and layers of lava from massive volcanic eruptions nearly 65 million years ago, which now consists of an area of around 500,000 square kilometers. Three years after completion of the dam, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake rocked the area, followed by several hundred smaller quakes. To investigate the reservoir-triggered seismicity, the Indian government began a scientific deep drilling project at the site. DCO Deep Life Community members Avishek Dutta, Pinaki Sar (both at Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India), and colleagues were on hand during the exploratory drilling to collect fresh cores samples from down to 1500 meters. Now, for the first time, they have sequenced the DNA of microbes living in the basalt layers of the Deccan Traps and the underlying 2.5-billion-year-old Archean basement rock. The researchers discovered that the microbes form interconnected networks to survive in this extreme and nutrient-limited environment, creating communities that are specifically adapted to the geochemistry of the host rock. The researchers report their findings in a new paper in Scientific Reports. Read more...

Deep Baltic Microbes Have a Taste for Alcohol and Cannibalism
In the last 16,000 years, the bottom of the Baltic Sea experienced good times and bad times. Shifting inputs from rivers and seawater, and advancing and receding glaciers, have affected the quantity and quality of organic matter drifting down to the seafloor. All of these changes are recorded in sediments, creating a “natural laboratory” for studying how microbial communities survive in sediments created during both rich and lean times. In a new paper in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, DCO members report that the carbon cycling in Baltic Sea sediments is more complex and cannibalistic than they had imagined. Deep Life Community members Laura Zinke (University of California Davis, USA), Clemens Glombitza (NASA Ames Research Center, USA), Jordan Bird (Indiana University, Bloomington, USA), Bo Barker Jørgensen (Aarhus University, Denmark), Karen Lloyd (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA), Jan Amend (University of Southern California, USA), and Brandi Kiel Reese (Texas A&M University, USA) analyzed DNA and geochemical data from Baltic Sea sediments to see how microbial communities varied, depending on whether they had received organic carbon from marine or terrestrial sources. Regardless of the food source, all communities had a complicated carbon cycle, with microbes fermenting organic compounds to make alcohol and degrading proteins from dead microbes. Read more...

Mapping the Growth of Seafloor Carbonates in Deep Time
The dominant, and yet least explored, way that carbon returns to Earth’s interior is through the accumulation and eventual subduction of layers of sedimentary carbonate rocks. These layers build up on the seafloor from the skeletons of dead marine plankton and later become buried by other sediments as they move across ocean basins due to seafloor spreading. Most of what we know about carbonate deposits comes from rock and sediment cores collected from 50 years of deep ocean drilling programs. But even these expeditions rarely drill deep enough to give a clear picture of where and how much carbonate lies buried in ocean basins. To understand how much carbon is stored away in sedimentary carbonates found in the ocean basins, DCO members Adriana Dutkiewicz, Dietmar Müller, Sabin Zahirovic (all at the University of Sydney, Australia), and colleagues, developed a model of carbonate accumulation in deep-sea sediments spanning the last 120 million years. In a new paper in Geology, the researchers use the model to look at the impact of carbonate accumulation on global climate. The work provides a preliminary estimate of the size of the deep-sea sedimentary carbonate reservoir and its role in the deep carbon cycle over geological timescales. Read more...

2018 DCO Emerging Leader Award Recipients Selected
The Deep Carbon Observatory is pleased to announce that Peter Barry (University of Oxford, UK) and Sabin Zahirovic (University of Sydney, Australia) have been selected as the 2018 recipients of DCO's Emerging Leader Awards. These awards honor early career researchers for distinguished performance and unique potential as leaders of the deep carbon science community, and have been bestowed on two to three outstanding early career scientists each year since 2015. Barry and Zahirovic were selected through a competitive process, which included an open call for nominations from the DCO community. Each will receive a certificate and a slab of carbonated Oman ophiolite in a beautiful display box. They also will receive DCO support to present their deep carbon research at an international conference. Read more...

DCO at the 2018 AGU Fall Meeting
More than 28,000 scientists gathered in the US capital for the 2018 AGU Fall Meeting from 10-14 December. The AGU Meeting provided a venue for Earth and space scientists to present their newest research results, as well as to collaborate and network with colleagues from around the world. As in past years, deep carbon science featured prominently throughout the conference, with DCO researchers presenting more than 150 talks and posters across nine AGU sections. Presentations showcased a wide variety of advances in deep carbon science. Read more...

Deep Carbon Observatory Webinar Wednesdays Return for Another Run
2019 will begin with a new DCO Webinar Wednesday series highlighting several of DCO’s ongoing synthesis projects. Hosted by DCO’s Engagement Team and Synthesis Group 2019, these webinars will involve audiences in discussion about the challenges overcome by these projects to advance science. Tune in at 2pm ET on 23 January 2019 for the first in the series and join Peter Barry, Karen Lloyd, and Donato Giovannelli. They will discuss DCO’s Biology Meets Subduction field project, where early career scientists conducted a 12-day sampling expedition across the Costa Rican volcanic arc, followed by a second expedition to volcanic regions of Panama. Read more...

Upcoming Events

Volcanic and Magmatic Studies Group 2019, University of St Andrews, UK, 8-10 January 2019
This meeting is open to everyone working on volcanic and magmatic geoscience. General themes include eruption processes, subvolcanic processes, monitoring across scales, isotope and trace element geochemistry, ore deposit-formation and exploration, extraterrestrial volcanism and magmatism, and tracking carbon and other volatiles from the mantle to the atmosphere.

DCO Webinar Wednesdays: Breaking the mold of the traditional field expedition: Biology Meets Subduction, 2pm ET, 23 January 2019
Join Peter Barry, Karen Lloyd, and Donato Giovannelli as they discuss their fieldwork in Costa Rica and Panama and share the value added and problems created by conducting a multidisciplinary scientific investigation in the field. 

DCO Webinar Wednesdays: Transforming planetary perceptions: Earth in Five Reactions, 2pm ET, 20 February 2019
The Earth in Five Reactions project leaders Jackie Li, Simon Redfern, and Donato Giovannelli will lead this webinar, sharing how carbon plays a central role in making Earth habitable. 

Janet Watson Meeting 2019: From Core to Atmosphere: Deep Carbon, Geological Society of London, UK, 26-28 February 2019
This three-day meeting will bring together early career geoscientists and senior members of the Deep Carbon research community. Abstract deadline: 28 December 2019

DCO Webinar Wednesdays: Expanding our vision of space and time: EarthByte, 4pm ET, 6 March 2019
In this webinar, EarthByte developer Sabin Zahirovic will share progress in modeling deep carbon flux over deep time, showcase exciting new visualizations of Earth in action, and weigh in on what might be next for visualizing Earth’s processes. 

DCO Webinar Wednesdays: Translating knowledge into understanding: MELTS and DEW, 2pm ET, 20 March 2019
Modeling experts Mark Ghiorso and Dimitri Sverjensky are working to create a virtual laboratory. Join the webinar to discuss how this integration is transforming what we know about the deep carbon cycle and how you might be able to use these models in your own research. 

Industry-Rice Earth Science Symposia 2019: Minerals and Energy: Science, Economics and Policy, Rice University, USA, 21-22 March 2019
The purpose of this symposium is to break down the barriers between scientists, policy makers, industry leaders, and business entrepreneurs to collectively generate a deeper understanding of our planet’s natural resources. 

European Geosciences Union General Assembly, Vienna Austria 7-12 April 2019
The EGU General Assembly 2019 will bring together geoscientists from all over the world to one meeting covering all disciplines of the Earth, planetary, and space sciences. Abstract submission deadline: 10 January 2019

CIDER 2019 Summer Program: Volcanoes, University of California, Berkeley, USA, 17 June-12 July 2019
The CIDER (Cooperative Institute for Dynamic Earth Research) 2019 summer program focuses on volcano science. CIDER's collaborative and interdisciplinary nature provides an ideal venue to expose students and postdocs to the rich developments in volcano science, to help synthesize ongoing work in volcanic systems, and to help develop new research teams and research directions. Application deadline: 15 February 2019

Goldschmidt 2019, Barcelona, Spain, 18-23 August 2019
Goldschmidt is the foremost annual, international conference on geochemistry and related subjects, organized by the European Association of Geochemistry and the Geochemical Society. Abstract submission opens: January 15, 2019

YES Congress 2019, Berlin, Germany, 9-13 September 2019
The YES (Young Earth Scientists) Network is an international association of young and early career Earth scientists. The Congress focuses on climate, environmental, and geoscience challenges facing today’s society, as well as career and academic pathway challenges faced by early career geoscientists. Abstract deadline: 18 February 2019

Funding Opportunities

Deep Life Cultivation Internship Program
DCO's Deep Life Community (DLC) realizes that the majority of deep microbial life has been resistant to cultivation in the laboratory, which complicates the characterization of physiological characteristics of deep community members. However, recent studies using bioreactor-cultivation techniques, under high pressure and/or temperature, have resulted in successful enrichment of previously uncultivable archaeal and bacterial components that mediate biogeochemical carbon cycling in the deep subsurface. To maintain and strengthen cultivation strategies in future deep life missions, the DLC will support early career researchers to visit some key laboratories (Inagaki - Kochi, Japan, Bartlett - La Jolla, USA, and others) to learn and practice newly developed cultivation and cultivation-dependent molecular/biogeochemical techniques, using samples from the DLC’s field missions.

C-DEBI: Rolling Call for Research Exchange Proposals
The Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI) facilitates scientific coordination and collaborations by supporting student, postdoctoral, and faculty exchanges to build, educate, and train the deep subseafloor biosphere community. We award small research exchange grants for Center participants. These grants may be used to support research, travel for presenting C-DEBI research at meetings, or travel exchanges to other partner institutions or institutions that have new tools and techniques that can be applied to C-DEBI research. We anticipate ~10 awards of $500-5,000 with additional matched funds to be granted annually. 

New Publications

View more papers in the DCO publications browser.

The biomass and biodiversity of the continental subsurface
Cara Magnabosco, Li-Hung Lin, Hailiang Dong, Malin Bomberg, William Ghiorse, Helga Stan-Lotter, Karsten Pedersen, Thomas L. Kieft, Esta van Heerden, and Tullis C. Onstott 
Nature Geoscience doi: 10.1038/s41561-018-0221-6

Exploration of deep terrestrial subsurface microbiome in Late Cretaceous Deccan traps and underlying Archean basement, India
Avishek Dutta, Srimanti Dutta Gupta, Abhishek Gupta, Jayeeta Sarkar, Sukanta Roy, Abhijit Mukherjee, and Pinaki Sar
Scientific Reports doi:10.1038/s41598-018-35940-0

Microbial organic matter degradation potential in Baltic Sea sediments influenced by depositional conditions and in situ geochemistry
Laura A. Zinke, Clemens Glombitza, Jordan T. Bird, Hans Røy, Bo Barker Jørgensen, Karen G. Lloyd, Jan P. Amend, and Brandi Kiel Reese
Applied and Environmental Microbiology doi:10.1128/AEM.02164-18

Sequestration and subduction of deep-sea carbonate in the global ocean since the Early Cretaceous 
Adriana Dutkiewicz, R. Dietmar Müller, John Cannon, Sioned Vaughan, and Sabin Zahirovic
Geology doi:10.1130/G45424.1

Structure and dynamics of water on the forsterite surface
Tingting Liu, Siddharth Gautam, Hsiu-Wen Wang, Lawrence M. Anovitz, Eugene Mamontov, Lawrence F. Allard, and David R. Cole
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics doi:10.1039/c8cp05075a

Employment Opportunities

View more employment opportunities on the DCO website.

Instructional Assistant Professor - Texas A&M University, USA
The Department of Oceanography at Texas A&M University seeks an Instructional Assistant Professor (Non-Tenure Track) to lead efforts in the development and execution of online courses in an Ocean Data Science track being developed for the online Masters of Geosciences degree program. The candidate is expected to transform and deliver courses on Ocean Observing Systems, Physical Oceanography, and Ocean Data Methods in a distance education environment. Application deadline: 31 December 2018

Tenure-track Assistant or Associate Professor in Geochemistry - Laurentian University, Ontario, Canada
The Harquail School of Earth Sciences at Laurentian University invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant or Associate Professor position in Geochemistry to begin in July 2019. We seek an innovative geochemist with outstanding teaching and research skills who will enhance our status as one of the leading global centers in the study of Mineral Deposits and Precambrian Geology. Application deadline: 31 December 2018

Associate Professor of Isotope Geochemistry / Geochemistry - University of Tennessee, USA
The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, invites applications for a nine-month, tenure-line position in Isotope Geochemistry and Geochemistry to be hired at the rank of Associate Professor. The candidate will provide primary oversight of a newly created ICP-MS core facility, which will include quadrupole and multi-collector ICP-MS instruments, a laser ablation system, and a clean laboratory housed in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, located within the newly constructed Strong Hall. Application deadline: 7 January 2019

Two PhD Positions in Volcano Geodynamics - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
We are seeking two excellent PhD students to participate on a project in the Gregg Lab at the University of Illinois to investigate several volcano targets in Alaska. The goal of this work is to use statistical data assimilation to link geodynamic magma chamber models with geophysical observations including GPS, InSAR, and seismicity to assess the stress evolution and eruption potential of Alaskan volcanoes exhibiting unrest. Application deadline: 15 January 2019 

Director - University of Texas at Austin Institute for Geophysics, USA
An accomplished leader is sought to provide strategic vision and outstanding operational management, to foster high-quality research programs, and to guide the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas at Austin (UTIG) community to the next level of accomplishment and impact. The UTIG Director will maintain and strengthen the culture of collaboration and innovation in the Jackson School of Geosciences, expand the reputation of the institute, promote diversity within the institute, and demonstrate commitment to a high-quality student experience. Application deadline: 15 January 2019 

Tenure Track Faculty Position in Paleoclimate / Paleoenvironmental Reconstructions, Kent State University, USA 
The Department of Geology at Kent State University invites applications for an open-rank tenure-track position in sedimentary geology with an emphasis on reconstructing environments and climates across geologic time. The successful candidate will integrate field and laboratory investigations of depositional systems with applications to Earth-life-environment interactions. Application deadline: 15 January 2019 

Graduate Research Assistantships in Deep Biosphere and Cave Research – Desert Research Institute/University of Nevada Las Vegas, USA
We seek highly motivated individuals to contribute to NASA- and NSF-funded research at the interface between environmental science, cultivation-based microbiology, and genomics. The successful applicant will join a dynamic research team with primary collaborators from the Single Cell Genomics Center (Bigelow Lab, ME), the Universities of New Hampshire and New Mexico, and NASA in Silicon Valley (NASA Ames). Major field activities will focus on caves at Lava Beds National Monument, deep boreholes associated with Death Valley, and other (often) extreme desert environments. Application deadline: 15 January 2019 

Postdoctoral Positions in Fluid-Rock Interactions and Deep Subsurface Life - University of Toronto, Canada
One or more postdoctoral positions are available for research projects on the origin, residence times, and geochemical signatures of deep crustal fluids and the subsurface microbial communities that are sustained by water-rock reactions in the deep Earth. Field, laboratory, and modeling opportunities are available to extend the existing program to explore the implications of our work on Earth analogs to the search for life on the rocky bodies and ocean worlds of our solar system. Open until filled.

DCO in the News

19 December 2018 Deep beneath your feet, they live in the octillions
JoAnna Klein for The New York Times
The real journey to the center of the Earth has begun, and scientists are discovering subsurface microbial beings that shake up what we think we know about life...

19 December 2018 Astrobiology Highlights of 2018
By Caleb A. Scharf for Scientific American
A very incomplete list of contributions furthering our search for life elsewhere (and other stuff)...

17 December 2018 Scientists just discovered organisms that have been alive for thousands of years
By Ilana Strauss for Treehugger
People may have been chasing immortality for millennia, but thanks to recent research, we now know some organisms have actually been alive for thousands of years...

14 December 2018 Deep life on Earth: What's it all about?
By Natalia Smolentceva for Deutsche Welle
Billions of tons of carbon are buried underneath the Earth's surface. Studying deep life can tell us about the origins of life on our planet and perhaps even the potential for life elsewhere...

12 December 2018 Earth’s subterranean ecosystem uncovered
By Tom Whipple for The Times
There is no light, little nutrition and extreme heat. But in the crust deep beneath our feet scientists have uncovered a wilderness to rival the most diverse ecosystems in the world...

12 December 2018 Deep Earth is teeming with mysterious life
By Brian Kahn for Gizmodo
It may seem fantastical, but there is a living world deep, deep beneath our feet. Go below the soil, beyond the bedrock, and you’ll find a hot, sweaty underworld teeming with life that puts the surface biosphere to shame...

12 December 2018 Tons of life found deep within Earth's surface
By John Donovan for How Stuff Works
An international group of scientists is closing in on the end of a 10-year study that has uncovered secrets of "deep life," a stunningly diverse population of microscopic organisms miles inside Earth's surface...

11 December 2018 There is a colossal cornucopia of exotic life hiding within Earth's crust
By Robin Andrews for Forbes
It’s always worth being reminded that, in terms of sheer numbers and even mass, humanity is not the dominant form of life on Earth...

11 December 2018 Scientists identify underground ecosystem containing billions of micro-organisms
BBC World Service (Newsday)
[Interview with DCO's Karen Lloyd starts at 46:08]

11 December 2018 Vast ecosystem of underground organisms holds more life than Earth's oceans
By Sam Blum for Popular Mechanics
As climate change reduces Earth's biodiversity, a vast ecosystem of microbes is thriving beneath the planet's surface, teeming with hundreds of millions of microscopic lifeforms...

11 December 2018 Life deep underground is twice the volume of the oceans: study
By Carolyn Wilke for The Scientist
Scientists estimate that subterranean organisms constitute a massive amount of carbon, 245 to 385 times greater than that contained in all humans...

11 December 2018 Massive ‘deep life’ study reveals billions of tonnes of microbes living far beneath Earth’s surface
By Josh Gabbatiss for The Independent 
Billions of tonnes of tiny creatures are thriving far beneath the planet’s surface, according to a major study of “deep life” living in a habitat nearly twice the size of the oceans...

11 December 2018 Scientists discover billions of tons of 'zombie' bacteria inhabits the ground beneath our feet
By Euan McKirdy for CNN
Barely alive "zombie" bacteria and other life forms are thriving miles below the Earth's surface, scientists have found after a decade of research which changes perceptions of life on our planet...

11 December 2018 Daily briefing: Subterranean biosphere contains billions of tonnes of life
By Flora Graham for Nature
Samples taken from boreholes 5 kilometres deep suggest that the underground ecosystem contains 70% of Earth’s bacteria and archaea...

11 December 2018 Scientists uncover massive, diverse ecosystem deep beneath Earth’s surface
By Frankie Schembri for Science
To survive in the hostile underworld deep beneath Earth’s surface, organisms must be hardy enough to take on extreme pressure, blistering heat, a complete absence of sunlight, and minimal food...

11 December 2018 Biomasa de la vida subterránea es miles de millones de toneladas de carbono
Agencia EFE
Un estudio dado a conocer hoy calcula que la biomasa en carbono de todos los seres humanos es entre 245 y 385 veces menor que la que existe en las profundidades de la Tierra, que contiene microbios hasta los 5.000 metros por debajo de la superficie...

11 December 2018 Subsurface dark community hundreds of times more than humans: study
Bacteria and unknown forms of life in Deep Earth, or so-called subterranean microbial "dark matter", are hundreds of times greater than the carbon mass of all humans on the surface...

11 December 2018 Dr Peter Barry awarded the 2018 DCO Emerging Leader Award
University of Oxford
Congratulations to Dr. Peter Barry on being awarded the prestigious 2018 Deep Carbon Observatory’s Emerging Leader Award...

10 December 2018 Earth's mysterious 'deep biosphere' is home to millions of undiscovered species, scientists say
By Brandon Spektor for Live Science
Life on Earth takes billions of shapes, but to see most of them you'll have to dig deep below the planet's surface...

10 December 2018 'Zombie' bacteria hint life on Earth began deep underground
By Sarah Knapton for The Telegraph
Earth is teeming with life miles beneath the surface, scientists have discovered, leading to speculation that our distant ancestors may even have evolved deep underground...

10 December 2018 Eat sulphur, breathe rust: Scientists find life deep underground
By Bob Weber for The Canadian Press
Scientists are releasing results of a decade's worth of research that has uncovered a vast and mysterious world of microbes deep underground that could help explain how life began on Earth and how it might look on other planets...

10 December 2018 Deep life: exploring microbial dark matter
By Lauren Fuge for Cosmos
“Zombie” bacteria and other forms of life constitute an immense amount of carbon deep within Earth’s subsurface – hundreds of times greater than the carbon mass of all humans on the surface, scientists say...

10 December 2018 Under Earth's surface, a wild menagerie of strange organisms
By Danielle Venton for KQED Science
There’s life on Earth, and there’s life in Earth. And the latter, overlooked for so long, is coming into focus as a wild menagerie of strange, diverse organisms...

10 December 2018 La vida en la Tierra profunda constituye una asombrosa masa de carbono
Europa Press
Las bacterias 'zombies' y otras formas de vida constituyen una inmensa cantidad de carbono en las profundidades del subsuelo de la Tierra: de 245 a 385 veces mayor que la de todos los seres humanos...

10 December 2018 Scientists identify vast underground ecosystem containing billions of micro-organisms
By Jonathan Watts for The Guardian
The Earth is far more alive than previously thought, according to “deep life” studies that reveal a rich ecosystem beneath our feet that is almost twice the size of all the world’s oceans...

10 December 2018 Amount of deep life on Earth quantified
By Jonathan Amos for BBC
Scientists have estimated the total amount of life on Earth that exists below ground - and it is vast...

10 December 2018 Les entrailles de la Terre grouillent de vie "intraterrestre"
Agence France Presse
Environ 70% des microbes de la Terre vivent dans ses profondeurs, dans des roches autrefois considérées stériles mais où bactéries et autres organismes unicellulaires abondent...

3 December 2018 The oldest water on Earth
Third Pod from the Sun
Thousands of feet below the surface of the Earth is salty water that hasn’t seen the light of day in millions or even billions of years...


Learn more about DCO's Scientific Communities


Extreme Physics and Chemistry
The Extreme Physics and Chemistry Community is dedicated to improving our understanding of the physical and chemical behavior of carbon at extreme conditions, as found in the deep interiors of Earth and other planets.

Reservoirs and Fluxes
The Reservoirs and Fluxes Community is dedicated to identifying the principal deep carbon reservoirs, to determining the mechanisms and rates by which carbon moves among these reservoirs, and to assessing the total carbon budget of Earth.

Deep Energy
The Deep Energy Community is dedicated to developing a fundamental understanding of environments and processes that regulate the volume and rates of production of abiogenic hydrocarbons and other organic species in the crust and mantle through geological time.

Deep Life
The Deep Life Community is dedicated to assessing the nature and extent of the deep microbial and viral biosphere by exploring the evolutionary and functional diversity of Earth's deep biosphere and its interaction with the carbon cycle.


Thanks for reading! Send us items for future newsletters by emailing Katie Pratt of the DCO Engagement Team. 

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