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AGU Chapman Conference on Biogeophysics

Portland, Maine, USA 13–16 October 2008


Program Committee


National Science Foundation (NSF): A grant from NSF is covering partial expenses for implementing this Chapman Conference, and is providing travel support for 35 early career scientists and graduate students. Download an application for travel support.

Department of Energy (DOE): Funds from DOE are providing travel support for scientists (at any career level) engaged in biogeophysics and related research of relevance to the DOE mission and/or at DOE sites. Contact Lee Slater ( for details.

Conference Objectives and General Description

“Biogeophysics” is a rapidly evolving Earth science discipline concerned with the geophysical signatures of (1) microbial cells themselves in the Earth, (2) the interaction between microorganisms and subsurface geologic media, and (3) alteration of the physical properties of geologic media as a result of microbial activity. It is a new interdisciplinary field of research that spans established disciplines of Environmental Microbiology, Geomicrobiology, and Geophysics. Biogeophysics research in the last decade has confirmed the potential for geophysical techniques to measure not simply the subsurface physical and chemical properties of the subsurface, as geophysical methods are conventionally used, but also the detection of microbes, microbial growth, and microbe-mineral interactions. The unique properties of geophysical datasets (e.g., non-invasive data acquisition, spatially continuous properties retrieved) provides an opportunity to explore geomicrobial processes outside of the laboratory, at the field-scale, and possibly in remote environments. The advances in Biogeophysics over the last decade have resulted from interdisciplinary collaborations by investigators with diverse skills and experience.

The objective of the Chapman Conference on Biogeophysics is to bring together geophysicists, biophysicists, geochemists, geomicrobiologists, and environmental microbiologists conducting multidisciplinary research with potential impact on biogeophysics in order to define the current state of the science, identify the critical questions facing the community and to generate a roadmap for firmly establishing biogeophysics as a critical subdiscipline of earth science research.

This conference will specifically address the following science questions:

  1. What are the direct geophysical signatures of microbial cells and biofilms?
  2. How do microbe-mineral transformations generate geophysical signatures as a result of changes to the physicochemical properties of the grain-fluid interface?
  3. What geophysical signatures are associated with the generation of microbial-driven redox chemistry?
  4. How can Biogeophysics be used to improve understanding of biogeochemical processes in natural and anthropogenic environments?
  5. Could Biogeophysics ultimately contribute to exploration of microbial activity in extreme environments such as the deep ocean?

Confirmed Plenary Speakers

Prof. Derek Lovley, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Prof. George Luther, University of Delaware
Prof. Karl Stetter, University of Regensberg

Confirmed Special Session Invited Speakers

Prof. Dennis Bazylinski, University of Nevada Las Vegas
Prof. Greg Druschel, University of Vermont
Dr. Burke Minsley, United States Geological Survey
Dr. Veronique Naudet, University of Bordeaux
Prof. Camelia Prodan, New Jersey Institute of Technology
Prof. Eric Roden, University of Wisconsin
Prof. Kamini Singha, Pennsylvania State University
Dr. Kenneth Hurst Williams, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

Conference Format

The meeting will occur over 3.5 days. It will include five oral sessions devoted to each topic and a general poster session that will encourage student presentations. The session chairs (composing the program committee) will present overview talks setting the stage for each session topic, and key speakers for each session will be invited from the academic community. Presenters will be encouraged to contribute to an AGU monograph on biogeophysics.

Program Schedule

The Conference Program is now available. Please view for details on the conference.

Fields of Interest

Geophysics, biogeoscience, hydrology, biophysics, geochemistry, geomicrobiology and environmental microbiology.

Further Information

If you would like to receive updates about this conference, e-mail For information about the scientific program, please contact one of the conveners via e-mail: