Program Update: Integrated Ocean Drilling Program – August 2012
This month, Brazil officially joined the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), bringing the total membership to 26 countries on five continents. IODP scientists conduct research aboard specialized scientific drilling vessels to advance understanding of the Earth through drilling, coring, monitoring, and documenting Earth processes and effects, solid Earth cycles, the subsurface biosphere, and geodynamics. “We welcome the addition of Brazil’s scientists and engineers to IODP at a time when the world needs the knowledge of its researchers,” says Rodey Batiza of the U.S. National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Division of Ocean Sciences. The first IODP expedition with Brazilian researchers will begin in late October off the coast of Costa Rica, where scientists plan to learn more about the processes that trigger large earthquakes. Brazil’s participation in IODP will allow Brazilian scientists to work with other international scientists on common problems at the same time, and will give U.S. geoscientists – as well as those from other countries – the opportunity to learn from Brazilian researchers. “Brazil’s participation brings new opportunities not only for that country, but for the global community,” adds Batiza. For more information, please see the NSF Press Release.
The scientific drillship Chikyu is near Japan’s Shimokita Peninsula this month, conducting IODP Expedition 337 (Deep Coalbed Biosphere off Shimokita). The expedition aims to study the co-evolution of life and hydrocarbon systems in the marine subsurface, and to do so, will deepen a borehole to more than 2,000 meters below the seafloor (mbsf). The site was originally drilled and cased to 511 mbsf during the Chikyu’s shakedown cruise in 2006; deepening the borehole will allow the onboard to scientists to study the microbiology, ecology, and geology of a hydrocarbon system associated with a buried Eocene lignite-coalbed. Supported in part by the Strategic Fund for Strengthening Leading-edge Research and Development from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), it is the first IODP expedition developed from a complementary project proposal. In the final week of August, the international scientific party collected the first cores of the expedition and began preparing to sample the Oligocene-Eocene unconformity. For more information, please visit the Expedition 337 website.
The U.S. Science Support Program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership is pleased to announce the 2012-2013 Schlanger Ocean Drilling Fellows. Each year, the program awards $30,000 stipends to several outstanding graduate students who conduct research related to IODP. This year’s fellows – selected for the quality of their proposed projects – will focus on topics that include sedimentation, climate change, and microbiology. Next summer, the fellows will visit the Ocean Leadership headquarters in Washington, D.C. to present their results. The 2012-2013 Schlanger Fellows are:
- Laurel Childress, Northwestern University
- Joseph Russell, University of Delaware
- Karla Knudson, University of California, Santa Cruz
- Tasha Snow, University of South Florida
- Yi Ge Zhang, Yale University