May 2017 Newsletter

From the Deep, a monthly newsletter from DCO
May 2017
Deep Carbon Observatory
Earth in Five Reactions

Ever wonder what the most important reaction on Earth might be? You can enter into the debate by clicking here, and earn a chance to participate in a workshop in Washington, D.C. in March 2018.

Letter from the Director

DCO’s science communities and cross-community initiatives are having another highly productive month, with numerous contributions that extend beyond the examples in the DCO newsletter. 

In a tantalizing new paper, Laura Créon (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) and an international team of scientists provide new constraints on Earth’s deep carbon cycle and identify a transient carbon reservoir in the mantle. They use synchrotron X-ray microtomography to quantify the proportions of all phases in samples from Earth’s mantle and visualize their textural relationships in three dimensions. “It’s the first three-dimensional quantification of carbon dioxide trapped in mantle rocks,” said Créon. 

In a complementary paper, Sebastian Tappe (University of Johannesburg, South Africa) and colleagues provide new insights based on studies of co-existing carbonatites and kimberlites. “Most people would take these carbonatites as a good proxy for deep mantle carbon,” said Tappe. “In this association of these two rock types, the kimberlites are much more primitive and give you a much better picture of the mantle than the associated carbonatites.”

DCO encourages you to participate in a poll by Jie Li (University of Michigan, USA) and Simon Redfern (University of Cambridge, UK) to obtain input on the five most important chemical reactions that govern the transformation and movement of carbon in Earth. Some respondents to the poll will be invited to a DCO workshop to develop a consensus on the top reactions and a plan for using them as central themes for synthesizing and disseminating deep carbon knowledge and findings.

We are grateful to everybody who participated in last year’s survey about the future of deep carbon science. “Enthusiasm for continuing the scientific work launched by DCO is clearly evident in the poll results,” says Claude Jaupart (Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, France), chair of DCO Task Force 2020. “And, it is heartening to have validation that the community is willing to work together to develop great scientific ideas and secure funding. A great future lies ahead for the new field of deep carbon science.”

I agree completely with Claude Jaupart’s optimistic assessment of the future of deep carbon science!

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

News Features

See your work featured on the DCO website and in the newsletter by contacting Katie Pratt of the DCO Engagement Team. 

Life on Land Dates Back to 3.5 Billion Year Old Hot Springs
The Dresser Formation in Western Australia contains evidence of some of the earliest signs of life, dating back almost 3.5 billion years. In the 1970s, scientists discovered the remains of layered microbial mats called stromatolites there, which they thought had formed within an ancient volcanic caldera, submerged under seawater. New research, however, suggests that these early cells thrived not under the ocean, but rather on land, within hot springs. Martin Van Kranendonk, a member of DCO’s Deep Life and Extreme Physics and Chemistry Communities, Tara Djokic, a member of the Deep Life Community (both of the University of New South Wales, Australia), and colleagues discovered microbial biosignatures and minerals matching modern hot spring environments within the Dresser Formation. These findings, which researchers report in a new paper in the journal Nature Communications, suggest that microbial life in hot springs existed about 3 billion years earlier than previously known. Read more...

Carbonatite Magma Evolves during its Trip From the Deep Mantle
Carbonatites, and other carbon-rich magmas that originate hundreds of kilometers below Earth’s surface and intrude into the crust, offer a window into deep carbon processes occurring within the mantle. Scientists have long used characteristics of carbonatite as a stand-in for carbon-bearing magma in the deep mantle when modeling the subsurface. A new study, however, finds that carbonatite magma undergoes extensive changes before reaching the surface and may be a poor proxy for deep carbon. Sebastian Tappe (University of Johannesburg, South Africa) and Katie Smart (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa), who both are members of the Deep Energy, Deep Life, Extreme Physics and Chemistry, and Reservoirs and Fluxes Communities, report these findings in a new paper in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Tappe and Smart worked with colleagues from Germany, Denmark, Norway, and Canada to examine the isotopic and geochemical fingerprints of associated carbonatite and kimberlite magmas that had penetrated the same stable section of continental crust, called a craton. The association of the two rock types enabled the researchers to explore the origin and compare the evolution of these two carbon-rich magmas. Read more...

Scientists Piece Together Microbe’s Long History Through its Genome
Microbes that live in deep-sea hydrothermal vents offer a window into how early organisms survived on a young Earth. As these microbes evolved in response to the changing planet, adaptations became recoded in their genomes. As a result, some modern vent microbes have a “mosaic genome” with both ancient and recent additions, which can reveal important details of their evolutionary history. DCO Deep Life Community members Donato Giovannelli (Earth-Life Science Institute, Japan and Rutgers University, USA) and Stefan Sievert (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA), in collaboration with Costantino Vetriani (Rutgers University, USA) and colleagues, conducted a comprehensive analysis of the genome of Thermovibrio ammonificans, a heat-loving organism that lives off the chemical energy provided by deep-sea hydrothermal vents. The researchers used a “molecular archaeology” approach to distinguish between genes passed down from ancient ancestors and more recent acquisitions, to better understand how the microbe co-evolved with the changing planet. The researchers report their findings in a new paper in the journal eLife. Read more...

Complex Analysis Yields Simple Estimate of Carbon Dioxide Trapped in the Lithosphere
Carbon dioxide leaks that seep upward from Earth’s mantle into hydrocarbon reserves pose a problem for oil and gas companies because contaminated reserves are more expensive to harvest and process. Carbon dioxide initially enters the mantle in carbonates held in Earth’s crust, which sink into the mantle at the edges of colliding tectonic plates. While some of the gas returns to the surface through volcanic eruptions, an unknown amount of carbon dioxide stays trapped in the lithosphere, Earth’s rocky crust and upper mantle. A new study combines existing analytic techniques to estimate the amount of carbon dioxide stored in the lithosphere of the Pannonian Basin in Central Europe. Laura Créon (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), a member of DCO’s Reservoirs and Fluxes Community, and Virgile Rouchon (IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN), France), who belongs to the Deep Energy and Reservoirs and Fluxes Communities, analyzed several rocks called xenoliths, brought from the mantle to the surface through volcanic activity. The analyses suggest that the lithosphere directly below the basin is supersaturated with carbon dioxide, containing at least 0.2%. The researchers report their findings in a new paper in the journal Lithos. Read more...

Nitrogen Exposed as a ‘Chameleon’ Element
Nitrogen is the main component of Earth’s atmosphere, but the element also cycles through marine and terrestrial environments and eventually into Earth’s interior. Despite research into various components of the nitrogen cycle, scientists still don’t know whether the element’s movements over geological timescales have trapped it in the mantle, or simply concentrated it into the atmosphere. Nitrogen bears many similarities to carbon, but the deep nitrogen cycle still remains a mystery. A trio of DCO members, Sami Mikhail (University of St. Andrews, UK), Peter Barry (University of Oxford, UK), and Dimitri Sverjensky (Johns Hopkins University, USA) teamed up to investigate the behavior of nitrogen in the deep subsurface. They used geochemical modeling techniques to study how the pH of water in the mantle affects whether nitrogen exists as molecular nitrogen, ammonia, or ammonium at a range of temperatures, pressures, and oxygen reactivities. The researchers found that the presence of different minerals can greatly alter the pH of water in the mantle, which impacts nitrogen’s form, and in turn alters its behavior in the mantle. The group published their findings in a new paper in the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. Read more...

Bacteria May Survive the Shock of Interplanetary Travel
Investigating life in the deep subsurface has led to the discovery of bacterial species thriving at high pressures. Some microbes even live in environments with 100 times the pressure at Earth’s surface. As scientists probe the limits of bacterial survival, their findings suggest microbes could withstand the intense shock of traveling on a meteor and crashing into another planetary body. This work lends support to the “panspermia” hypothesis; the idea that meteors and comets can spread life between habitable planets. In a new paper in the journal Icarus, Deep Life Community members Rachael Hazael and Paul McMillan (both at University College London, UK) and colleagues report that a bacterium could survive a brief shock of high pressure up 2.5 gigapascals, about 25,000 times atmospheric pressure. Bacteria that had previously experienced high pressures had better survival rates than unaccustomed bacteria, suggesting they have physiological mechanisms in place to withstand high pressures. Read more...

Building a Lasting Virtual Network for Deep Carbon Science
The DCO website is a handy resource for research news, meeting announcements, and webinars. But thanks to the efforts of the DCO’s Data Science Team, the website goes far beyond simply reporting and promoting deep carbon research. The team has created a Deep Carbon Virtual Observatory (DCvO), an open-access, searchable network of information that they hope will serve as a model for other open science initiatives. Xiaogang Ma (formerly at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, now University of Idaho, USA), and other members of the DCO Data Science Team, including Patrick West, Stephan Zednik, John Erickson, Ahmed Eleish, Yu Chen, Han Wang, Hao Zhong, and Peter Fox (all currently or formerly at the Tetherless World Constellation at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA) have applied the latest information technologies and online resources to develop a web portal for the more than 1,000 researchers in the DCO community. The portal provides open access information to data sets, sample collections, field sites, publications, and instruments in a way that links the various components in a network, promoting collaboration and spurring new ideas in deep carbon science. The researchers describe the creation of this network in a new paper in the journal Frontiers in Earth Science. Read more...

Deep Carbon Science at the 2017 Goldschmidt Conference
A large contingent of DCO researchers will participate in Goldschmidt 2017 from 13–18 August 2017 in Paris, France. Use this day-by-day guide to find DCO talks and posters taking place at this foremost annual, international conference on geochemistry and related subjects, organized by the European Association of Geochemistry and the Geochemical Society. To add additional items to this listing, please contact the DCO Engagement Team. Read more...

Blog: Updates from the Gulf of Mexico Drilling and Coring Expedition
by Tiannong “Skyler” Dong, University of Texas at Austin, USA
23 May 2017: Coming to an End
It is almost time to say goodbye to the Helix Q4000 vessel. We acquired a total of 12 pressure cores at the second drilling site. These pressurized methane hydrate samples are being transported under high pressure and low temperature to Port Fourshon, Louisana by container ship.
9 May 2017: Sampling Fire Ice in the Northern Gulf of Mexico 
In the early afternoon, the roar of helicopter rotor blades brought the last portion of the science party to the Helix Q4000 vessel floating on 6667 feet of water in the northern Gulf of Mexico. These scientists are part of a team working on the Gulf of Mexico Drilling and Coring Expedition, led by Professor Peter Flemings at the University of Texas at Austin, USA. It is part of the six-year, U.S. Department of Energy-funded project Genesis of Methane Hydrate in Coarse-Grained Systems: Northern Gulf of Mexico Slope (GOM2) initiative. Read more...

Help Choose the Five Most Important Carbon-Related Reactions, Earn a Chance to Participate in a DCO Workshop
Ever wonder what the most important reaction on Earth might be? Well, now you have a chance to render an opinion and enter into the debate by clicking here, and earn a chance to participate in a workshop in Washington, D.C. in March 2018. Twenty-five respondents who answer a more detailed part of the survey (part two) will have an opportunity to participate in an "Earth in Five Reactions" workshop in Washington, DC, in March 2018. Workshop participants will use the survey responses to arrive at a consensus, and develop a plan for sharing key advances in deep carbon science with the scientific community and broader audiences using the framework of the top five reactions. Following the workshop, a special issue will highlight the scientific products, in addition to multi-media educational resources. Read more...

Community Input on the Future of Deep Carbon Science
Task Force 2020 is a Deep Carbon Observatory subcommittee charged with charting a course for deep carbon science after the Deep Carbon Observatory culminates in 2019. To help define a clear path forward, the group decided to go directly to the source to hear their views on what direction this burgeoning scientific discipline should take. To elicit feedback from DCO scientists, Task Force 2020, working with the Smithsonian Office of Policy and Analysis, sent an email survey to every member of the science network. More than half those contacted responded, and those who did had a great deal to say about DCO. Overall, member reviews of DCO’s accomplishments to date were very positive. Most agree that the continuation of DCO past 2019 is absolutely essential or of great importance, and that DCO has already made great strides in growing the field of deep carbon science. Read more...

DCO Webinar Wednesdays: Explore Data Science, Modeling, and Visualization
A new series of DCO webinars focusing on big data, and modeling and visualization launched Wednesday, 17 May 2017. Called “DCO Webinar Wednesdays,” this webinar series builds on the successful workshop program at the Third DCO International Science Meeting and takes place monthly over the summer. We hope you join in to learn from DCO experts in data science, modeling, and data visualization, who will guide you through a series of available modeling tools and software packages that you can integrate into your research now. Synthesis Group 2019 and the DCO Engagement Team are hosting this series. The next webinar (Visual Tools for Big Data Network Analysis with Shaunna Morrison (Carnegie Institution for Science, USA) and Ahmed Eleish (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA)) will take place on 14 June 2017 at 2pm EDT. Read more...

Virosphere or Viriosphere? Help Settle the Debate
Is it a case of tomato vs tomatoe? The scientific literature seems divided over the proper spelling of “virosphere” or is it “viriosphere?” Both versions appear in all sorts of peer-reviewed journals. Both spelling variations describe the same thing: a collective noun for all of Earth’s viruses. But, which is correct? Wikipedia, the seventh most visited website on the Internet and the first port of call for many seeking knowledge online, has no entry for either “virosphere” or “viriosphere.”  You can help sort it out. If you have an opinion on the correct spelling, please let us know by emailing the DCO Engagement Team. Read more...

APPLY NOW: PhD School on Carbon Forms, Paths, and Processes in Earth
The international school will present state-of-the-art of research studying the forms, paths, and processes of carbon in Earth in order to address the long-term fate of carbon on the planet. Consisting of a series of invited lectures, practical sessions on cutting-edge techniques, and contributions from participants, this five-day school is intended to bring together scientists, PhD students, and postdocs with broad international representation in geochemistry, petrology, experimental mineralogy and petrology, materials science, thermodynamics, volcanology, geodynamics, and geophysics. It will take place from 15-20 October 2017 at the Villa del Grumello, Como, Italy. Read more...

APPLY NOW: Fourth International Diamond School
This school will provide a general overview of the recent advances in diamond research, combining geology, exploration, and gemology of diamond, providing theoretical lectures and practical sessions focused on microscope observations of a complete inclusion-bearing diamond collection and micro-Raman spectroscopy analyses.  Masters students, PhD students, and senior researchers of any research fields are welcome to apply to the school, which will take place at the Università di Padova, Bressanone-Brixen (Bolzano-Bozen, Italy) from 29 January - 2 February 2018. Read more...

Upcoming Events

DCO Webinar Wednesday: Visual Tools for Big Data Network Analysis, 2PM EDT, 14 June 2017
In the second webinar in the series, Extreme Physics and Chemistry member Shaunna Morrison and Data Science Team member Ahmed Eleish join forces to demonstrate how to turn large data sets into dynamic visualizations showing network connections. 

MGLS and C-DEBI Webinar on Proposal Writing, Management, and Budget Planning, 3PM EDT, 15 June 2017
This webinar will focus on topics related to preparing research proposals by providing advice on writing, constructing planning timelines, managing a team through the process, and preparing a budget. Speakers: Donna Blackman (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA) and Beth Orcutt (Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, USA).

DCO Webinar Wednesday: Studying Deep Earth Reactive Transport Using ENKI: A Modeling Primer. 2PM EDT 26 July 2017
In the third webinar in the series, DCO Modelers Mark Ghiorso and Dimitri Sverjensky will show you how to use Enabling Knowledge Integration (ENKI) tools for modeling deep Earth fluids, chemical reactions, and transport. 

Goldschmidt 2017, Paris, France, 13-18 August 2017
Goldschmidt, the foremost annual, international conference on geochemistry and related subjects, will be held in Paris in 2017. View DCO participation.

IAVCEI 2017 Scientific Assembly, Portland, Oregon, USA, 14-18 August 2017
This conference will cover planetary volcanology and chemistry of Earth's interior and eruption dynamics, including a practical understanding of the environmental and social impacts of eruptions. 

Third DCO Early Career Scientist Workshop, Etna, Italy, 28 August-2 September 2017
This workshop will bring together the next generation of researchers active in deep carbon studies from around the world. 

Second International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2) Community Workshop, La Jolla, California, USA 11-13 September 2017
Participants in this workshop will work across the disciplines of biological, chemical, physical, and geological oceanography to address some of the leading, multidisciplinary science questions in the Indian Ocean basin. Registration now open.

DCO Webinar Wednesday: A Blueprint for Creating a Box Model, 2PM EDT, 13 September 2017
In the fourth webinar in the series, DCO Modeling and Visualization expert Louise Kellogg and colleagues will present a blueprint and virtual “construction manual” for integrating different types of data into a box model.

DCO Webinar Wednesday: Data, Modeling, and Visualization: Ask the Experts! 2PM EDT, 11 October 2017
In the final webinar of this series, join us for a structured discussion and ask questions of any of the presenters in the series. 

PhD School, Como, Italy, 15-20 October 2017
The aim of the school is to present state of the art of research on the forms, paths, and processes of carbon in Earth in order to address the long-term fate of carbon on the planet. Application deadline: 15 June 2017 

Third International Training School on Convective and Volcanic Clouds Detection, Monitoring, and Modeling, Tarquinia, Italy, 18-25 October 2017
The purpose of this school is to train students in techniques for detecting, monitoring, and modeling convective and volcanic clouds. Application deadline: 31 August 2017

2017 GSA Annual Meeting, Seattle, Washington, USA 22-25 October 2017
The annual meeting of the Geological Society of America will take place in Seattle, Washington, and includes opportunities for local field experiences.

AGU Fall Meeting, New Orleans, 11-15 December 2017 
AGU’s Fall Meeting is the largest Earth and space science meeting in the world. 

Fourth International Diamond School, Bolzano-Bozen, Italy, 29 January - 2 February 2018
The school will provide a general overview of recent advances in diamond research, combining geology, exploration, and gemology of diamond. Pre-registration now open.

Honors and Awards

Vikram Vishal, Reservoirs and Fluxes
Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
Indian National Science Academy Medal for Young Scientists

Dietmar Müller, Modeling and Visualization
University of Sydney, Australia
Elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science

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.

2017 Simons Postdoctoral Fellowships in Marine Microbial Ecology
The Simons Foundation invites applications for postdoctoral fellowships to support research on fundamental problems in marine microbial ecology. The Foundation is particularly interested in applicants with training in different fields who want to apply their experience to understanding the role of microorganisms in shaping ocean processes and vice versa, as well as applicants with experience in modeling or theory development. While cross-disciplinary applicants will receive particular attention, applicants already involved in ocean research are also encouraged to apply. The Foundation anticipates awarding five fellowships in 2017.

C-DEBI: Rolling call for Research Exchange Proposals
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 $500-5000 with additional matched funds to be granted annually. 

New Publications

View more papers in the DCO publications browser.

Earliest signs of life on land preserved in ca. 3.5 Ga hot spring deposits
Tara Djokic, Martin J. Van Kranendonk, Kathleen A. Campbell, Malcolm R. Walter, and Colin R. Ward
Nature Communications doi:10.1038/ncomms15263

Sources and mobility of carbonate melts beneath cratons, with implications for deep carbon cycling, metasomatism and rift initiation
Sebastian Tappe, Rolf L. Romer, Andreas Stracke, Agnete Steenfelt, Katie A. Smart, Karlis Muehlenbachs, and Trond H. Torsvike
Earth and Planetary Science Letters doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2017.03.011

The relationship between mantle pH and the deep nitrogen cycle
Sami Mikhail, Peter H. Barry, and Dimitri A. Sverjensky
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta doi:10.1016/j.gca.2017.04.007

Insight into the evolution of microbial metabolism from the deep-branching bacterium, Thermovibrio ammonificans
Donato Giovannelli, Stefan M Sievert, Michael Hügler, Stephanie Markert, Dörte Becher, Thomas Schweder, and Costantino Vetriani
eLife doi:10.7554/eLife.18990

Highly CO2-supersaturated melts in the Pannonian lithospheric mantle – A transient carbon reservoir?
Laura Créon, Virgile Rouchon, Souhail Youssef, Elisabeth Rosenberg, Guillaume Delpech, Csaba Szabó, Laurent Remusat, Smail Mostefaoui, Paul D. Asimow, Paula M. Antoshechkina, Mark S. Ghiorso, Elodie Boller, and François Guyot
Lithos doi:10.1016/j.lithos.2016.12.009

Weaving a knowledge network for deep carbon science
Xiaogang Ma, Patrick West, Stephan Zednik, John Erickson, Ahmed Eleish, Yu Chen, Han Wang, Hao Zhong, and Peter Fox
Frontiers in Earth Science doi:10.3389/feart.2017.00036 

Bacterial survival following shock compression in the GigaPascal range 
Rachael Hazael, Brianna C. Fitzmaurice, Fabrizia Foglia, Gareth J. Appleby-Thomas, and Paul F. McMillan
Icarus doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2017.03.031 

Employment Opportunities

Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution for Science, USA
The Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM), Carnegie Institution for Science, seeks a highly qualified and motivated postdoctoral research scientist with a geologic background in computational geophysical fluid dynamics, whose primary responsibility will be to develop new codes to study carbon transport in numerical models of fluid flow in subduction zones. The ideal candidate will work in collaboration with DTM researchers Erik Hauri, Cian Wilson, and Peter van Keken and Columbia University researchers Marc Spiegelman and Peter Kelemen, and should have skills and experience in the areas of shell scripting, C/C++, Python, Fortran and/or Perl. We hope to find an individual who is excited about the opportunity to conduct collaborative, guided research at the interface of numerical modeling, geochemistry, and geophysics. The postdoctoral research position is funded by the Deep Carbon Observatory for two years, and the application will remain open until filled. Application deadline: 1 July 2017

Postdoctoral Scholar Position at the the University of Pennsylvania, USA
The Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania seeks a postdoctoral scholar to study microbial remediation of asbestos through chemosynthesis. The position involves the cultivation of chemosynthetic microorganisms relevant to Fe- and N-based energy metabolisms. DESIRED LABORATORY SKILLS INCLUDE: (i) experience with microbial cultivation under batch and/or continuous culture conditions, (ii) experience with aqueous geochemistry techniques, (iii) experience with epifluorescent, SEM and/or TEM microscopy and (iv) basic molecular techniques. DESIRED ACADEMIC SKILLS INCLUDE: (i) team-working and interpersonal skills, (ii) excellent written and oral communication skills, (iii) commitment to developing peer-reviewed manuscripts, and (iv) desire to work at the intersection between geology, chemistry, and biology. The position is available starting 1 September 2017. Applications are accepted until position is filled. Successful completion of a PhD is required at the time of appointment.

Tenure-track Faculty Position in Solid Earth Geochemistry/Petrology at the Pennsylvania State University, USA
The Department of Geosciences at The Pennsylvania State University invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position at the Assistant Professor level in Solid Earth Geochemistry. We seek a colleague who creatively uses theoretical, observational, analytical and/or experimental approaches to address fundamental problems related to the mineralogy, petrology, and geochemistry of the solid Earth. Candidates with expertise in planets and meteorites also will be considered. Successful applicants will be expected to contribute to a diverse research and teaching community in the Department of Geosciences through the development of a vigorous, internationally recognized and externally funded research program, and through teaching courses in their discipline at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The Department of Geosciences is part of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, and houses research programs and state-of-the-art analytical facilities spanning a broad spectrum of Earth Science disciplines. Review of applications will begin on 1 September 2017.

Postdoctoral scholar, microbial transcriptional activity in subseafloor sediment, University of Munich, Germany
The Orsi lab at the University of Munich (Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München) is searching for a postdoctoral scholar within the framework of a newly funded project on microbial transcriptional activity in subseafloor sediment. The position involves the extraction and analysis of DNA and RNA from a high number of samples in order to constrain shared and unique biochemical subsistence strategies of subseafloor life. Desired skills in the ideal candidate are experience working with DNA and RNA from low biomass samples, and experience with bioinformatic analysis of large datasets of next generation sequencing data. The city of Munich is located less than one hour from the alps and hosts a vibrant and intellectually stimulating academic environment that includes major geoscience centers such as the Munich GeoCenter, Munich GeoBio Center, and Origins of Life Munich Initiative. 

DCO in the News

Read more DCO News here

30 May 2017: Tamsin Mather on what volcanic plumes reveal about our planet
The Life Scientific, BBC Radio 4 (Audio)
To volcanologist Tamsin Mather, volcanoes are more than a natural hazard...

17 May 2017: Microbes might thrive after crash-landing onboard a meteorite
By Rebecca Boyle for New Scientist
Bacteria riding on an incoming meteorite may be able to survive the violent shockwave created when it crash-lands on a planet...

10 May 2017: Earliest form of life found in Western Australia
By Lulu Morris for National Geographic Australia
The Pilbara is known for its fantastic array of stromatolite fossils. Once thought to have been a shallow, ancient aquatic landscape, a discovery of ancient hot springs has opened up a whole new field of research on the origins of land life...

10 May 2017: Oldest evidence of life on land found in Australian outback
By Lara Pearce for HuffPost Australia
The oldest evidence of life on land has been discovered in rocks in the Australian outback, in findings that could have big implications for the origins of life on Earth and even the quest to find life on Mars...

9 May 2017: Early life on land may have thrived in 3.5 bn-year-old Pilbara hot spring
By Bianca Nogrady for ABC Science
A team of researchers discovered evidence of fossil stromatolites — structures formed by layers of cyanobacteria — in what appears to be an ancient freshwater hot spring...

9 May 2017: 3.5 billion-year-old fossils suggest life began on land, not the sea
By Jerico Mandybur for Mashable
Life on Earth might have started billions of years ago on land, not in the sea, according to a new study...

9 May 2017: Oldest evidence of life on land found in 3.48 billion-year-old Australian rocks
Science Daily
Fossils discovered in ancient hot spring deposits in the Pilbara have pushed back by 580 million years the earliest known evidence for microbial life on land...

2 May 2017: Beyond diamonds: Search is on for rare carbon crystals
By Sid Perkins for Science News for Students
Long ago, in Russia’s distant Northwest, a bird pooped. But this was not just any old splat of excrement...

Learn more about DCO's Scientific Communities


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.

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.

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.

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