Established in June 2009, the Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) aims to address two fundamental questions: the origins, abundance, and distribution of hydrocarbons (including so-called fossil fuels) and the origins of life, for which carbon is the key element. The DCO has organized itself into four "directorates", each tasked with executing a different element of the DCO's ambitious research agenda. In October 2010, the Foundation supported the launch of the DCO's first directorate, on deep life. This grant will fund the operation of the second directorate, on deep carbon reservoirs and fluxes. The ambitious aim of the Reservoirs and Fluxes directorate is to integrate, in an unprecedented way, an interdisciplinary group of researchers to study of the upper part of Earth's deep carbon cycle (about 400 kilometers). In a series of simultaneous research projects, the directorate will engage an international group of researchers to conduct fundamental field, laboratory, and modeling research tracing the origin of carbon at the global mid-ocean ridge system, the addition of carbon to oceanic plates, the subduction of carbon at subduction zones, the release of carbon-bearing fluids in the shallow mantle, the delivery of carbon to sources of subduction zone magmatism, and the emission of carbon from convergent margin volcanoes.