Office of Research, UC Riverside
Timothy Lyons
Distinguished Professor of Biogeochemistry
Earth and Planetary Sciences
timothyl@ucr.edu
(951) 827-3106


Geobiology 2017: The Inaugural International Conference of the Geobiology Society

AWARD NUMBER
008952-002
FUND NUMBER
33345
STATUS
Active
AWARD TYPE
3-Grant
AWARD EXECUTION DATE
4/18/2017
BEGIN DATE
5/1/2017
END DATE
4/30/2018
AWARD AMOUNT
$49,500

Sponsor Information

SPONSOR AWARD NUMBER
1734126
SPONSOR
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
SPONSOR TYPE
Federal
FUNCTION
Organized Research
PROGRAM NAME

Proposal Information

PROPOSAL NUMBER
17070984
PROPOSAL TYPE
New
ACTIVITY TYPE
Other Research

PI Information

PI
Lyons, Timothy W
PI TITLE
Other
PI DEPTARTMENT
Earth Sciences
PI COLLEGE/SCHOOL
College of Nat & Agr Sciences
CO PIs

Project Information

ABSTRACT

Much as chemists and physicists brought their tools and expertise to bear on studies of the Earth to create geochemistry and geophysics in the middle of the 20th century, geochemists and microbiologists today have merged their toolkits toward an unprecedented exploration of the co-evolution of Earth's life and physical environments in a maturing field of science known as geobiology. To support the progress of geobiology as an integrated discipline, this project funds participation by U.S.-based scientists in the inaugural conference of the Geobiology Society, scheduled for June 11-14, 2017, in Banff, Canada, a world-famous geobiological destination in its own right. Recognizing that a single, international, community-building conference was critically needed to bring together this first generation of self-identifying geobiologists, the Geobiology Society designed this conference to promote the exchange of ideas, tools, and expertise with emphasis on contributions from early-career scientists (newly hired assistant professors, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students). Reducing participation costs for U.S.-based scientists, who will make up ~70% of the estimated 350 total participants, is a key part of the Geobiology Society's plan to ensure accessibility to this initial meeting, which will in turn seed its long-term sustainability. The society's pledge to sustaining these inclusive, community-building efforts for all stages of scientific experience is in itself a broader impact. In addition, each student attendee will prepare a digital poster presentation to be bundled into an online conference proceedings volume that will be made publically available on the Geobiology Society website.

Leading scientists from both geochemistry and geophysics have recognized the need to bring together scientists with different backgrounds to enhance cross-disciplinary communication. Yet a recent NSF-sponsored workshop on Geomicrobiology and Microbial Geochemistry (October 2013) identified barriers to exchange of relevant information (e.g., on methodologies) among different sub-disciplines as one of the main obstacles to advancing the field of geobiology. Although expertise in any given aspect of geobiology requires specialized training, it is the cross-fertilization among these seemingly disparate fields that defines geobiology, and highlights the need for this shared conference. Because a major goal of this conference is to facilitate bridge building across the disparate fields that define geobiology, particularly from the geological and biological ends of the spectrum, morning programs will be devoted to a single series of oral sessions that all participants will attend; there will be no overlapping or conflicting sessions. The first two full days will explore the modern tools of organic and inorganic geochemistry, molecular biology, microbial ecology, sedimentary geology, and paleontology. The third full day will focus on interpretations of the rock record, including key studies of the modern world that enhance our ability to look back. The afternoons are designed for extended student poster sessions. Additionally, there will be informal talks offered during the poster sessions covering a range of topics, including data visualization, new technological advances in instrumentation, and tips for searching and securing a job.
(Abstract from NSF)