College of Exploration

C-DEBI and TCOE Collaborative Projects


About C-DEBI at the University of Southern California

C-DEBI the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations  funded by the National Science Foundation has a mission to explore life beneath the seafloor and make transformative discoveries that advance science, benefit society, and inspire people of all ages and origins. Three new US-led IODP projects for deep subseafloor biosphere research have been drilled during C-DEBI, headed by executive committee members and involving many science participants. These projects developed independently, with specific sites and scientific objectives. C-DEBI is seizing a unique opportunity to bundle these diverse projects, to accomplish an integrated, global scientific mission.

 C-DEBI’s first major science objective is to coordinate, integrate, support, and extend the science associated with these three projects, establishing a new model for conducting internationally coordinated collaborative research in the deep subseafloor biosphere. C-DEBI will establish the technological, collaborative, and distributed infrastructure that is needed to effectively plan, execute, and maximize returns for deep subseafloor biosphere research—now and into the future.

The second major science objective is to foster and educate an interdisciplinary community of researchers in deep subseafloor biosphere research, with a focus on students and junior researchers. C-DEBI will nurture new projects, through collaboration and networking between new deep subseafloor biosphere enthusiasts and researchers with experience in the logistical and technological "how's" for mounting and executing an IODP project—thereby ensuring precision use of scarce resources and well-informed project development for answering critical global science questions.

C-DEBIS’s education and diversity objectives are to educate, inform, and translate knowledge of the deep subseafloor biosphere via a coordinated program across primary, secondary, and higher education programs, and for C-DEBI scientific participants to learn how to be more effective in communicating scientific and technical results to a broader audience.

Learn more at C-DEBI website

Toolkits for Community Colleges
about C-DEBI Research

Welcome to the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI ) Online Workshops and Toolkits hosted on the College of Exploration learning platform.

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Please let us know of your interest. Sign up to the Keep Me Informed list. Also as we grow this resource you may be considered to participate if you wish in future design and content creation projects. Let us know in the questions/comments box in this sign up form. Sign up and keep informed!

Biology - Toolkit
Chemistry - Toolkit
How to Read and Present Scientific Papers - Toolkit


Introduction to instructors:

Welcome! This site contains activities that are geared towards integrating current research on the deep ocean into your community college course. Our goal is to provide you with a self-contained activity that is easy to integrate into your curriculum in one or multiple sessions.

We developed activities for specific courses in biology and chemistry. Each has already been piloted by our team. Please look at the activities under your course and see the instructor guide for an overview of the content and logistics. In addition, we have provided general tools for community college students to understand scientific papers.

We hope you and your students gain a new perspective and have fun! Please don’t hesitate to contact us for any questions. Any feedback is also appreciated.

Past Workshop

Microbes down below! Exploring life beneath the ocean floor!

The Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI) and the College of Exploration invite you to explore “life on the dark side” in a free online workshop: “Microbes down below! Exploring life beneath the ocean floor.”


Collaborative Development of C-DEBI Resources for Community Colleges: The College of Exploration Grant

To address the educational objectives of C-DEBI the College of Exploration was funded by C-DEBI’s Education and Outreach Grant Program in 2014 to convene a collaborative team to guide the production of online toolkits of educational materials and resources that community college instructors could use to teach about C-DEBI research and the deep biosphere.  The project  team consisted of 8 to 10 collaborators, including community college instructors, C-DEBI scientists, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, technology experts, and science education specialists. The project drew from the 2013 C-DEBI online workshop “Microbes down below! Exploring life beneath the ocean floor”  offered by the College of Exploration, which was specifically designed for community college instructors.

The online toolkits kits were designed to be aligned with specific community college course subjects and to include materials and information that instructors could use to make connections between the topics in their curriculum and C-DEBI research, practices, or technology.

The goals of this project were to:
  • Create resource tool kits that will be used by community college faculty across the country
  • Build awareness of C-DEBI and C-DEBI research
  • Develop an effective collaborative design model
  • Provide opportunities for C-DEBI staff, graduate students, and post-doctoral investigators to support and contribute to outreach efforts
  • Facilitate a community of practice among community college science instructors to promote the use of C-DEBI content and materials in their classes

Over a period of six months the kits were designed and produced through a collaborative process involving scientists, community college faculty, and education and technology experts.   Five community college faculty members from different parts of the US, who were already familiar with C-DEBI, participated in online design meetings through a  BlueJeans conferencing system  ( There was also an asynchronous online space for sharing ideas and resources and ongoing dialogue during the whole project period. The faculty provided valuable guidance, generated curriculum content and piloted tested the resources in their community college classrooms. Scientists and graduate students worked diligently with the faculty to help identify relevant data and respond to detailed questions about C-DEBI research. The process was designed to serve as a model for future science education curriculum and educational resource development.

 C-DEBI research and projects were used to great advantage as content for these approaches, by providing exciting and engaging examples of real-world phenomena, data visualizations, illustrations of how scientific procedures learned in class can be applied in the context of research, and case studies of the process of scientific investigation.   The collaborative team worked throughout the project to make the materials practical and broadly applicable in the most frequently offered community college science courses, primarily biology and chemistry.

The aim was to reach a nationwide audience of community college instructors, and through them, hundreds to thousands of community college students, by making it available free on line. These toolkits are presented here for use by all and we hope that you find them useful  for your educational purposes.

For further information or to provide feedback,  please contact Dr. Kristina Bishop, College of Exploration


Collaboration, Support and Acknowledgments

We thank the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations at the University of Southern California for our funding. We also thank our entire-C-DEBI Collaborative Toolkit team for their work on this project.

John Kirkpatrick, University of Rhode Island, C-DEBI

Jason Sylvan, University of Southern California, C-DEBI

Lily Momper, University of Southern California, C-DEBI

Laura Zinke , University of Southern California, C-DEBI

Esat Atikkan, Montgomery College (MD)

Martin Diaz, Los Angeles Trade Tech Community College (CA)

Angela Gee, Los Angeles Trade Tech Community College (CA)

Rebecca Kapley, Cuyahoga Community College (OH)

Dale Stanley, Nassau Community College (NY)

Marissa Pantastico-Caldas, Los Angeles Trade Tech Community College (CA)

Lynn Whitley, University of Southern California

Howard Walters, Ashland University, Ohio

The College of Exploration team: Tina Bishop, Peter Tuddenham, William Bragg

Digital Media Enterprises: Allan Bragg

And a big thank you to Patricia Harcourt for her ideas, advice, and support.