DCO's Task Force 2020 at their first meeting at IPGP, France, in May 2016. From left to right: Nicolas Coltice, Claude Jaupart (Chair), Karyn Rogers, Uli Harms, Anat Shahar, Robert Hazen, Antonio Costa, Elizabeth Cottrell, and Beth Orcutt. Not pictured: Jun Tsuchiya.
Find out more about DCO's legacy and synthesis efforts.
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DCO Symposium in Yokohama
DCO is hosting a Symposium at the Pacifico Yokohama Conference Center on Sunday, 26 June 2016 from 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Whether you are local to the Yokohama area or are in town for Goldschmidt 2016, we welcome you to join us at the Symposium for a full day of DCO-related talks. Members of the DCO Executive Committee will provide introductions to DCO's four science communities, followed by a series of invited speakers presenting recent exciting results from the Deep Life, Deep Energy, Reservoirs and Fluxes, and Extreme Physics and Chemistry Communities. Symposium Organizing Committee: Eiji Ohtani (Tohoku University), Fumio Inagaki (JAMSTEC), Kagi Hiroyuki (University of Tokyo), and Yuji Sano (University of Tokyo). The Symposium opens with introductions by the Symposium Organizing Committee and DCO Executive Director Robert Hazen. Mitchell Sogin and Isabelle Daniel will introduce DCO's Deep Life and Deep Energy communities respectively, followed by keynote speaker Ken Takai and invited speakers David Wang and Yohei Suzuki. Marie Edmonds will introduce DCO's Reservoirs and Fluxes community followed by keynote speaker Hiroshi Shinohara and invited speakers Takanori Kagoshima, Takeshi Ohba, and Junichiro Ishibashi. The final session of the day consists of an introduction to the Extreme Physics and Chemistry Community by Craig Manning, and related talks by keynote speaker Toshiaki Iitaka and invited speakers Koichi Mimura and Hiroaki Ohfuji. We will conclude the Symposium with an opportunity for discussion with DCO Executive Committee members and closing comments from DCO Director Craig Schiffries. The Symposium represents a great opportunity to learn more about the latest in deep carbon research and meet other interested scientists from around the world. Registration is required, but FREE. Please see the Symposium website for more details and/or contact Jennifer Mays (DCO Secretariat) for information.
The Oxygenation of Earth’s Atmosphere, Plate Tectonics, and the Deep Carbon Cycle
Today, some 20 percent of Earth's atmosphere is free molecular oxygen, or O2. For much of Earth's 4.5-billion-year history, free oxygen was all but nonexistent in the atmosphere. A team of scientists including Cin-Ty Lee and Laurence Yeung (Rice University, USA) offer a new answer to the long-standing question of how our planet acquired its oxygenated atmosphere. Based on a new model that draws from research in diverse fields including petrology, geodynamics, volcanology, and geochemistry, the team published their findings this month in Nature Geoscience. They suggest that the rise of oxygen in Earth's atmosphere was an inevitable consequence of the formation of continents in the presence of life and plate tectonics. Read more...
Microbial Dark Matter and the Diversity of Uncultured Microbes
Over the last five years, advances in DNA sequencing technologies have completely changed our perspective of life on Earth. Next generation sequencing techniques allow microbiologists to look at entire populations of microbes (metagenomics) living in diverse environments, from your belly button to the muddy sediment of the seafloor. Microbiologists can now even sequence a genome from just one microbial cell. Before these techniques took off, DNA sequencing required large samples. For single celled organisms this meant culturing in the lab and allowing them to grow and multiply many times. Organisms that didn't grow in standard lab media, or multiply quickly enough, were therefore "invisible" to scientists. A new review paper in Current Opinion in Microbiology recaps the major impact next generation sequencing has had on mapping the so-called dark biosphere. In the review, Lindsey Solden (The Ohio State University, USA) and DCO collaborators Karen Lloyd (DCO Executive Committee, University of Tennessee Knoxville, USA) and Kelly Wrighton (The Ohio State University, USA) discuss the far-reaching consequences of investigating microbial diversity. Read more...
Methane-Producing Microbes Found in Rocks at Freshwater Springs in California
Deep in vents on the ocean floor, methane-producing microbes feed off chemical reactions between water and rock. Scientists working on freshwater springs in California have found new evidence suggesting this process also takes place on land. They report evidence of hardy, methane-producing microbes in water that surfaces from deep underground at The Cedars, a set of freshwater springs in Sonoma County. It is the first time scientists have found these methane-producing microbes, which thrive in harsh environments, living anywhere outside of the deep sea. The new finding could offer clues into how early microbes lived on Earth billions of years ago and if they might be present on other planets like Mars. The study, which is published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, also shows the newly-discovered microbes are likely capable of using carbon dioxide to produce methane – a finding that could have implications for future carbon sequestration projects being proposed in areas similar to The Cedars, said Lukas Kohl (Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada), lead author of the study. Read more...
New Mantle Reference Model Probes Volatile Recycling During Subduction
Earth's atmosphere has changed considerably over the last several billion years. Many changes are aligned with monumental milestones in our planet's past, such as the great oxidation event 2.5 billion years ago. With the onset of plate tectonics, surface elements began cycling into deep Earth via subduction and out again at volcanoes, gradually changing the atmosphere and the planet's interior. Gaseous nitrogen constitutes 78% of today's atmosphere, but that was not always the case. The nitrogen concentration in Earth's atmosphere has gradually declined, and a new reference model from DCO collaborators Peter Barry (University of Oxford, UK) and David Hilton (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA) explains how. The model is published in Geochemical Perspectives Letters. Read more...
DCO Announces New Initiatives to Sustain Long-Term Research on Deep Carbon and Synthesize a Decade of Discovery
The Deep Carbon Observatory program is truly exceptional in its goals and scope. Carbon is stored and transported in all three states of matter: gas (e.g. by several different kinds of volcanic emissions), liquid (e.g. in hydrocarbon reservoirs), and solid (in graphite and diamond, as well as more than 400 other carbon-bearing mineral species). It is present in significant quantities in all the major reservoirs of our planet: the atmosphere, the oceans, the crust, the mantle, and the core, and is essential to living organisms. The ubiquity of carbon, coupled with its pervasive influences on the physics, chemistry, and biology of Earth systems from surface to core, justified the large-scale, international, cooperative decadal DCO program that was launched in 2009. With the culmination of the program in 2019, DCO leadership recognized the need to ensure DCO's achievements are shared widely and the legacy of DCO into 2020 and beyond is carefully considered. Read more...
T-Limit of the Deep Biosphere off Muroto: IODP Expedition 370
One of the key scientific objectives in studies of deep life and carbon is to understand environmental factors that constrain population, activity, diversity, and ecological function of microbial communities, and the extent of habitable zones in Earth's interior. To better constrain the temperature limit of life in the deep biosphere, the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) is preparing Expedition 370 "T-Limit of the Deep Biosphere off Muroto (T-Limit)" with the Japanese drilling vessel Chikyu to revisit Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 1174 in the Nankai Trough subduction zone off Cape Muroto, Japan. The expedition is scheduled for 10 September - 10 November 2016. Interested scientists can apply to sail onboard the expedition (deadline 10 June 2016), and are invited to attend a project workshop onboard Chikyu (25 June 2016). Read more...
New Update from the Trail by Fire Team: The long way to Copahue
From the summits of Nevados de Chillán and Villarica the team could see Copahue on the horizon, enticing them with its dark, ash-rich plume. This 3 km high stratovolcano sits on the Chilean – Argentinean border and is capped by a line of craters with a busy record of activity dating back to approximately 6820 BCE. The easternmost crater has been the focus of four eruptions this century alone, and is currently the source of an ongoing eruption that started in October 2015. Between eruptions this crater has hosted an acid lake with a pH below 0.3, and material blasted out in 2012 suggests a submerged lake of liquid sulfur may lie beneath the water. In fact, Copahue means sulfurous waters in the Mapuche language. Read more...
DCO in Wikipedia
Wikipedia, the free crowd-sourced online encyclopedia, is one of the top ten websites in the world in terms of its monthly traffic. Over five million Wikipedia articles cover a vast range of topics, dozens of which relate to topics of interest to DCO, from bioreactor to kimberlite to x-ray diffraction. For DCO, Wikipedia offers an opportunity to present deep carbon science to a broader audience. DCO research will develop new knowledge, as well as refine and expand our understanding of existing topics. Presenting the advances in deep carbon science to an audience numbering in the millions will be an important part of DCO's legacy. For all of these reasons, the Engagement Team is spearheading the effort to include DCO science in relevant Wikipedia entries. To this end, we are soliciting recommendations for article topics. In some cases, DCO researchers will be able to improve or expand upon existing articles by providing expert review. In other cases, DCO researchers may want to provide entirely new content. The Engagement Team will facilitate this process by updating the articles with DCO scientists' edits. While we encourage everyone in the DCO Science Network to review and edit Wikipedia content directly, we are available to assist, answer questions, or make the edits on your behalf. Read more...
International Diamond School 2016, Edmonton, Canada, 8-10 June 2016
Following the two very successful International Diamond Schools held at Padua, Italy, the DCO Diamonds and Mantle Geodynamics of Carbon Consortium will host a 3 day International Diamond School in 2016 on "Diamonds and their Cratonic Mantle Hosts" at the University of Alberta.
DCO Executive Committee Meeting, Yokohama, Japan, 25 June 2016
DCO Symposium in Yokohama, Japan, 26 June 2016
Speakers will present recent exciting results from the Deep Life, Deep Energy, Reservoirs and Fluxes, and Extreme Physics and Chemistry Communities. We also take this opportunity to warmly welcome members of the Japanese geochemical, geophysical and geomicrobiological communities to join the DCO Science Network. Please register online by 21 June 2016. Registration is FREE. Attendees do not need to be registered for Goldschmidt 2016 to attend this symposium.
IODP "T-Limit" Project Workshop - Expedition 370: T-Limit of the Deep Biosphere off Muroto, Onboard the Chikyu at the Shimizu port, Shizuoka, Japan, 26 June 2016
The IODP "T-Limit" Project Workshop is a one-day event on 25 June 2016 to be held on the Japanese drilling vessel Chikyu. This workshop will discuss how to achieve important scientific objectives regarding the limits of the deep biosphere during the upcoming IODP Expedition 370. Registration is FREE, but space is limited.
Goldschmidt 2016, Yokohama, Japan, 26 June - 1 July 2016
View DCO sessions of interest here.
Chikyu Onboard School, Yokohama, Japan, 3-6 July 2016
This event includes tours of the cutting edge laboratories, equipment, and facilities aboard the scientific drilling vessel Chikyu, and lectures from leading scientists.
ICDP/DCO International Workshop on Multi-Well Deep Underground Laboratory in Eastern China, Changchun, PR China, 3-8 July 2016
The objective of this ICDP-DCO-MLR-IUGS-CGS sponsored workshop is to develop a full proposal to be submitted to ICDP to implement a deep multi-well (1000 - 6000 m) underground laboratory (MW-DUL) using the large number of existing boreholes in the Songliao Basin, NE China.
Second DCO Summer School, Yellowstone National Park, USA, 23-28 July 2016
DCO will hold its second Summer School in Yellowstone National Park from 23 - 28 July 2016. This Summer School will introduce approximately 35 students and early career researchers to the interdisciplinary concepts, which are the cornerstone of DCO’s approach to understanding Earth.
T-Limit of the Deep Biosphere off Muroto, DV Chikyu, Nankai Trough, Japan, 10 September - 10 November 2016
To better constrain the temperature limit of life in the deep biosphere, IODP is preparing Expedition 370 “T-Limit of the Deep Biosphere off Muroto (T-Limit)” with the Japanese drilling vessel Chikyu to revisit Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 1174 in the Nankai Trough subduction zone off Cape Muroto, Japan. Application to sail deadline: 10 June 2016
4th Serpentine Days, Séte, France, 25-29 September 2016
Serpentine Days is an international workshop supported by the Societé Francaise de Minéralogie (French Mineralogical Society) focused on multidisciplinary research on serpentines and serpentinization.
NSF Subduction Zone Observatory Workshop, Boise, Idaho, USA, 29 September - 1 October 2016
[NOTE: The workshop dates have been shifted to eliminate overlap with the final day of GSA's annual meeting.] The workshop seeks a broad range of applicants interested in discussing the scientific motivations for an interdisciplinary Earth, ocean, and atmospheric research program focused around the scientific questions and societal hazards related to subduction zones. Application deadline: 1 June 2016
ICDP Training Course on Continental Scientific Drilling, Potsdam, Germany, 16-20 October 2016
This training course will touch upon all relevant aspects of continental scientific drilling, including project planning and management, pre-site surveys, drilling engineering, sample handling and storage, on-site studies, downhole logging, data management, and post-drilling measures. Application deadline: 15 June 2016
AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, USA, 12-16 December 2016
DCO Diversity Grants
In January 2015, the Deep Carbon Observatory began collaborating with the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) to increase the participation and retention of United States citizens and permanent residents who are geoscientists from underrepresented groups (African American, Hispanic, Latino/Latina, Native American, Native Alaskan, Native Hawaiian, Filipino, and Pacific Islander) in DCO. AGI is offering eligible geoscience researchers support for attending national and international conferences to present DCO-related research, travel funds for attending DCO-related workshops, conferences, and events, funds for lab or fieldwork that advances DCO-aligned research, or instrumentation time at DCO-affiliated facilities. Awards are flexible in nature, and a diverse range of proposals is welcome. Applicants must join the DCO Science Network to be eligible. These awards are intended for geoscientists not already engaged in the DCO Science Network to foster collaborations with existing DCO researchers. More information about the grants is available here. Application deadline: 6 June 2016
Second Call for Proposals: Deep Energy Community
The Deep Energy Community (DEC) of the Deep Carbon Observatory invites proposals for short- term funding of projects and/or activities aimed at addressing the DEC’s decadal goals and/or strengthening the international DEC community and its abilities to generate funding for new and ongoing initiatives. The DEC has identified a number of guiding questions and the DEC Steering Committee encourages submission of ideas for modest short-term support that will address these and other relevant/meritorious efforts with high potential to attract new funding. Examples of supported activities include 1) laboratory research, 2) travel to field sites to collect samples of key importance, 3) working groups and workshops to synthesize data for publication of Deep Energy research, and/or to develop interdisciplinary collaborations, 4) travel to work with collaborators on the preparation of new proposals, or 5) other activities that would advance Deep Energy Goals. More information is available here. Deadline: 20 July 2016
US NSF GeoPRISMS Program Solicitation
The GeoPRISMS (Geodynamic Processes at Rifting and Subducting Margins) Program investigates the coupled geodynamics, Earth surface processes, and climate interactions that build and modify continental margins over a wide range of timescales. These interactions cross the shoreline and have applications to margin evolution and dynamics, construction of stratigraphic architecture, accumulation of economic resources, and associated geologic hazards and environmental management. The GeoPRISMS Program includes two broadly integrated science initiatives (Subduction Cycles and Deformation and Rift Initiation and Evolution), linked by five overarching scientific topics and themes, where transformative advances are likely to occur in the decade 2011-2020, and where a focused scientific program could be most effective. These overarching science topics include 1) Origin and evolution of continental crust; 2) Fluids, magmas and their interactions; 3) Climate-surface-tectonics feedbacks; 4) Geochemical cycles; and 5) Plate boundary deformation and geodynamics. Each of the initiatives has identified primary sites for focused investigations, as well as thematic studies that will complement primary site studies. Deadline: 26 July 2016
DCO: Deep Life Cultivation Internship Program
The DCO Deep Life Community 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 nbsp;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 deep subsurface. In order to maintain and strengthen cultivation strategies in future deep life missions, the Deep Life Community 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 Deep Life Community’s field missions. Financial support includes $5,400 per person for travel and lodging costs and host lab research supply reimbursement. Interested applicants should send their CV, a brief one page statement of their cultivation plans, and a letter of support from their intended host to Fumio Inagaki and Douglas Bartlett.
Postdoctoral Opening with the Multidisciplinary Applied Geochemistry Network (Canada)
The Multidisciplinary Applied Geochemistry Network (MAGNET) is seeking a postdoctoral fellow to join their dynamic and rapidly growing network of leading scientists, industry partners and state-of-the-art analytical laboratories across Canada. MAGNET is an NSERC-funded industrial stream Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) program devoted to analytical, environmental and exploration geochemistry. The position is available 1 September 2016 (or possibly later) until the end of the program on 31 March 2018. Currently, there are openings for postdoctoral research in "noble gases as tracers of aquitard integrity" and "origin, residence times, and geochemical signatures of deep crustal fluids." Qualified candidates must have a recent PhD (within the last five years; excluding time off for parental leave) in the Earth/ocean/environmental sciences, chemistry, or a related field, and should have a strong background in isotope geochemistry and mass spectrometric techniques, together with a solid publication record. Postdoctoral fellows will be expected to work closely with MAGNET faculty and collaborators, assist with program activities (e.g., online course, annual workshop) and provide mentorship to undergraduate, MSc and PhD trainees. Application deadline: 15 June 2016.
Postdoctoral Position in Deep Biosphere Research at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, USA
The Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences is seeking a qualified and highly motivated individual for a postdoctoral research scientist position in the laboratory of Dr. Beth Orcutt. The research will be related to the study of the marine deep biosphere, focusing on the use of subseafloor observatories to study microbial processes, building off international ocean drilling program field sites on the Juan de Fuca Ridge flank, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge Flank and/or the Atlantis Massif. Highly successful candidates would have experience with environmental science and/or microbiology or biogeochemistry, with working knowledge of molecular biology techniques (such as DNA extraction, amplification, and sequencing or bioinformatics), microscopy, or stable isotope techniques considered as highly desirable. Applicants must have at least a PhD in marine sciences, oceanography, environmental microbiology or similar field with a proven publication record. Experience with project management or fieldwork also desired. Proficiency in computer programs for word processing and data entry are a must, as well as good written and oral communication skills. The position is offered for two years. The position has an expected start date of September 2016, but this may be negotiated. Review of applicants will begin immediately and proceed until the position is filled.
Faculty Positions in Geosciences and in Environmental Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, USA
The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins University invites applications for multiple tenure-track or tenured faculty positions. The positions can be filled at the Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor level, starting as early as Fall 2016. The successful candidates are expected to develop internationally recognized and externally funded research programs, to help develop and participate in undergraduate and graduate teaching, and to supervise graduate student research. In the case of an appointment with tenure, the candidate must already be internationally recognized and have a demonstrated record of external research funding. A PhD is required in the Earth Sciences or a related natural sciences discipline; post-doctoral experience is desirable. Applicants are sought for two focus areas: 1. Geosciences including low-temperature geochemistry and studies of the early Earth, cosmochemistry, geophysics and geodynamics, volcanology and igneous petrology. We are particularly interested in candidates whose research has synergies with our recent hires with expertise in sedimentary, metamorphic and tectonic processes, planetary geology, and planetary atmospheres. 2. Environmental Sciences including: natural resources (including water, metals, soils, and energy), ecology, critical zone science, marine sciences, cryospheric sciences, geomorphology, landscape hydrology, environmental change, air pollution, and, biogeochemistry. We are particularly interested in candidates whose research has synergies with our program in Global Environmental Change and Sustainability.
Application deadline: 30 June 2016
Staff Scientist Position in Geophysics, Geochemistry, and/or Cosmochemistry at Carnegie DTM, Washington DC, USA
The Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) at the Carnegie Institution for Science seeks applicants for the position of Staff Scientist in the broad categories of geophysics, geochemistry, and/or cosmochemistry. We are particularly interested in innovative researchers whose observations help constrain the role of fluids (e.g., water, other volatiles, melt) in: the past and present evolution of the solid Earth; the formation and early development of Earth’s atmosphere; and/or the origin of volatiles on Earth and other rocky planets. Subfields of interest include, but are not limited to, geodesy, geo/cosmochemistry, magnetotellurics, noble gases, remote sensing, seismology, and/or astrochemistry. Applicants who integrate across traditional boundaries are particularly encouraged to apply. The applicant should complement existing strengths within the Department. We especially encourage applications from early career scientists and from members of traditionally underrepresented groups. Applications should be submitted online here and should include a curriculum vitae, a brief statement of research plans, and abstracts from the applicant’s three most important papers. Please also provide the names, email addresses, and phone numbers of three professional referees, whose letters may be requested by DTM. Review of applications will begin 1 August 2016.
DCO in the News
Read more DCO News here
27 May 2016: Geosciences Researcher Awarded Inaugural Deep Carbon Observatory Diversity Grant
University of Arkansas, USA
Seven researchers in the nation are among the inaugural class of Deep Carbon Observatory Diversity Grant recipients — including Celina Suarez, assistant professor of geosciences from the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences...
25 May 2016: Methane-Producing Microbes on Land?
Greg Watry for R&D Magazine
In 2014, scientists released a study documenting 570 locations on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean where methane was leaking. Bubbly, gurgling trails, these leaks, produced by microbes, were found at depths between 800 and 2,000 feet...
23 May 2016: Diamonds in the Mantle
University of Southampton, UK
University of Southampton Diamond Jubilee Fellow and Visiting Professor, and US National Academy member Professor Peter Kelemen of Columbia University (New York) visited University of Southampton in April. Professor Kelemen was here to discuss ongoing planning of the Oman Drilling Project with the ODP team including Project Director Dr Juerg Matter and Science Project Manager Dr Jude Coggon...
16 May 2016: New answer to why Earth's atmosphere became oxygenated
Based on a new model that draws from research in diverse fields including petrology, geodynamics, volcanology and geochemistry, the team's findings were published online this week in Nature Geoscience...
5 May 2016: Crushing Pressures Start to Reveal the Truth About Earth's Core
Ker Than for Smithsonian.com
The beating heart of our planet has remained a mystery for scientists searching for how Earth formed and what went into its creation. But a recent study was able to recreate the intense pressures approaching those found in the center of Earth, giving researchers a glimpse into our planet's early days, and even what the core may look like now...
3 May 2016: Il ferro e l'evoluzione geochimica della Terra
La chimica del ferro può raccontare molti particolari dell'evoluzione geochimica del nostro pianeta, in particolare di quella del nucleo. Lo dimostra uno studio pubblicato su “Science” da Anat Shahar della Carnegie Institution for Science e colleghi, che hanno riprodotto in laboratorio le condizioni di pressione elevatissima che caratterizzarono il processo noto come differenziazione planetaria...
Learn more about DCO's Scientific Communities
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.
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.