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USC chosen for $25 million NSF center
Date:2/23/2010

Katrina J. Edwards, professor of biological sciences and Earth sciences at USC College, has been recommended for an award of a $25 million National Science Foundation grant to establish the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations, a new science and technology center.

Edwards and her USC team will partner with several major research universities and national laboratories to study the "deep biosphere" beneath the oceans.

A little-known fact is that nearly half of the total biomass on earth resides in sub-surface habitats that include mines, aquifers, soils on the continents and sediments and rocks below the ocean floor. This massive area is what Edwards and her research partners plan to explore in three main field projects at North Pond, Juan de Fuca and South Pacific Gyre, where they will conduct an international, coordinated mission on the sub-seafloor biosphere.

"Our mission statement is to understand the extent, function, dynamics and implication of the existence of a deep biosphere on Earth," Edwards said. "We focus on the marine realm because it is by far the biggest challenge in terms of potential habitat size."

USC Executive Vice President and Provost C. L. Max Nikias said: "USC has a strong track record of success in winning these types of center excellence awards across the university. We have built a reputation for quality research that leverages our strengths in multidisciplinary collaboration between our schools, other institutions and industry. This highly competitive award demonstrates that Katrina Edwards, other USC College faculty and USC researchers are at the forefront of science in the exploration of the biosphere."

The center will facilitate the achievement of the principal scientific, education and diversity goals of deep sub-seafloor biosphere researchers; advance the suite of scientific tools; train and educate a new and diverse generation of undergraduate, graduate students and postdoct
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Contact: Susan Andrews
susancan@usc.edu
213-821-2481
University of Southern California
Source:Eurekalert

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