Conferences and Meetings: February 2010

In 2010, AbGradCon, the foremost astrobiology meeting for early-career researchers, will be held in Europe for the first time in its history (June 14-18). Graduate students and early-career postdocs from all over the world will come together in Taellberg, Sweeden to present their research in a comfortable environment, to learn of the latest developments in astrobiology, to network and to forge new collaborations. The meeting will comprise oral and poster presentations, half-day workshops and a one-day field trip to geologically instructive sites in the astrobiologically interesting Siljan impact crater. Attendees are encouraged from the very wide range of subjects pertinent to astrobiology. Financial assistance will be available to invited attendees. Abstract submission deadline: February 28, 2010. For more information:

Location: Palacio de Magdalena, Santander, Cantabria, Spain
Dates: June 21-25, 2010
Deadline: Closing date for NAI scholarship applications - March 31, 2010.

Overview: A week of lectures from international experts, plus round-table discussions, student projects, night-sky observations, and a field trip to a nearby site of astrobiological interest. On-site accommodation and all meals are provided at the Santander campus of the Spanish National University, UIMP. Scholarships covering travel costs, school fees, accommodation and meals are provided by NAI for approximately 10 American students. Additional opportunities are available for students of other nationalities. For more information:

Source: NAI newsletter

Leroy Nelson and Scott Sandford take questions about both science and culture; The inter-cultural team facilitates educators learning the classroom activities.

On January 28-29, 2010, the "NASA and the Navajo Nation" project team hosted a large-scale workshop for educators across the Navajo Nation. Over 100 teachers participated, despite the worst snow storm in 25 years, some traveling hours through severe conditions. On the first day, the teachers heard background lectures from both a cultural expert and an astrobiologist, Scott Sandford from NASA Ames Research Center. On the second day, the team trained teachers on classroom use of the six activities in the So' Baa Hane' booklet, inter-cultural materials developed by the project in 2006.

30 January - 4 February 2011 at the Ventura Beach Marriott Hotel, Ventura, CA

Microbial Ecology in the Early Fossil Record of Earth and Modern Analogues

Convenors: Nora Noffke & John Stolz

This GRC will discuss the latest research highlights in geobiology and will invite exciting case studies that demonstrate the potential of this interdisciplinary research field. The aim is to involve geoscientists as well as bioscientists into this discussion and to initiate collaboration between the disciplines. Geobiology involves the study of both modern and ancient environments and life therein. It is not only relevant to the appearance and evolution of life and habitats on Earth, but has implications for the detection of life on other planetary systems. The main themes of this conference are: i) Biofilms and microbial mats; ii) Biologically controlled sedimentary processes in modern environments; iii) Products of biologically controlled sedimentary processes in fossil environments: biogenic sedimentary structures; (iv) The geobiological approach for the search for life on other planets; and (v) Perspectives and outlook.

For more information:

Source: NAI newsletter

Session description:

The biogeochemical cycle of silicon, the second most abundant element of the earth's crust and a key nutrient element for numerous organisms, extends from the continents, via estuaries, to the oceans. In all environmental reservoirs (geo)physical, chemical, and biological processes affect the cycling of silicon. We invite research conducted on all aspects of the silicon cycle, at all spatial and temporal scales, using experimental, observational and modeling techniques. We particularly encourage contributions that explore the interconnections between the geological and biological roles of silicon.

For more information and abstract submission:

Source: NAI newsletter

The NASA Astrobiology Institute is offering funding for students and postdocs to attend the Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon) 2010 in League City, Texas, on April 26-29, 2010. Information about AbSciCon is available online at Undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs are eligible to apply for funding.

The deadline for applications is Friday, March 5. Award decisions will be made and applicants notified by Friday, March 19.

More information and an application form is posted on the NAI website at

Please direct any comments or questions to Wendy Dolci: