Workshop: Life in the Sub-Surface: Habitats, Species, Metabolism and Survival Strategies

Conference Handbook

Please find the handbook for the meeting here.

General information

The Workshop “Life in the Sub-Surface: Habitats, Species, Metabolism and Survival Strategies”  will take place from 25th to 27th October 2023 in Angra do Heroismo, Terceira, Açores. It will be co-organised by the European Astrobiology Institute, the Instituto de Investigação e Tecnologias Agrárias e do Ambiente (IITAA) at the University of the Azores and the Centro Cultural e de Congressos in Angra do Heroismo.

The duration of the workshop will be three full days with arrival of participants on 24 October in the afternoon and departure on 28th October morning. The workshop is open to all interested students and scientists.

This workshop is organised by the European Astrobiology Institute

Registration and Abstract Submissions

The deadline for abstract submissions ons has passed but we still have possibilities to include some presentations. So feel free to send applications.. Please refer to the corresponding pages for more details.

For Abstract Submission, download the abstract template here and send the abstract to
=> Selected speakers will be notified soon.

For Registration, click here. Registration deadline is 1 August 2023.


The workshop will cover the following subjects:

  • Characteristics of (potential)  sub-surface habitats on Earth and beyond
  • Early evolution of subsurface life including its possible role in emergence of life
  • Diversity, metabolism and survival strategies of subsurface life on Earth
  • Possibility of extraterrestrial sub-durface life and its detection.
  • Gaps in the knowledge about subsurface life
  • Subsurface environments and extremophiles on the Azores.

Structure of The Workshop

October 25th

  • Scientific Sessions during the day

October 26th

  • Morning and early afternoon: Scientific sessions in the morning
  • Early afternoon: Discussion about “Gaps in the knowledge” in the afternoon, which will form the basis of a review article/white paper/strategy

October 27th

  • Morning: Talks about the geology of the Azores as well as subsurface environments , field sites extremophiles on the Azores
  • Afternoon: Excursion to the Algar de Carvão volcano chimney. The Gruta de Natal Lava cave and the Furnas de Enxofre solfatare field. We will have a dinner at an  Azorean restaurant. 

There will be generous discussion times after each session to foster identification of the “Gaps in the knowledge” about subsurface life.

Outreach work

The future EAI project team “Astrobiology and Art” will organise a multimedia event on the first day. There will be a speleological society “Os Montanheiros” will organise an exhibition of life in Azorean lava caves.

Field trip

We will organise a field trip to the islands of Terceira, Pico, Faial and São Miguel whee we will visit lava caves, hot springs, solfatares and other astrobiologically relevant sites. A programme of the field trip can be found here. If you are interested in participating please send a mail to Wolf Geppert (

Invited Speakers

Henrik Drake

Linnaeus University, Sweden

Ernst Hauber

German Aerospace Centre, Germany

Alexandra Hillebrand-Voiculescu

Emil Rakovita Institute of Speleology, Romania

Andreas Pflitsch

Ruhr University Bochum, Germany

Alexis Templeton

University of Colorado, USA

Frances Westall

CNRS, France

Scientific Organisation Committee

The following scientists are serving on the Scientific Organisation Committee:

Participation Fees (note that the quoted accommodation fees cover lodging from 24 to 28 October AND the registration)

  • These rates include
  • Accommodation as specified from 24 October 2023 (arrival) to 28 October 2023 (departure)
  • Breakfasts (only for hotel guests, we provide groceries for people living in the hostel), coffee breaks starting from 24 October dinner until breakfast  28  October 2023
  • Coffee breaks
  • Conference material

The excursion fee covers the excursion, entrance fees and the dinner.

For a list of institutions participating in the European Astrobiology Institute, click here. Sadly, we cannot financially support attendees to the conference. 

Invite speakers will be offered free lodging at Terceira Mar Hotel and meals. 

Instructions for payment will be given to participants in due course.

Participants from Institutions Inside EAI

Participants from Institutions Outside EAI

Conference Venue

Centro Cultural e de Congressos de Angra do Heroísmo

Canada Nova de S/N, 9700-130 Angra do Heroísmo, Portugal

Terceira, Portugal
25th - 27th October 2023


The main organiser of the event will be the European Astrobiology Institute will be Dr. Wolf Geppert from Stockholm University. For scientific questions he will serve as the main contact person. For administrative issues (e.g. payment) please contact Mariette Vandermersch. The organisers are looking forward to welcoming you at the course.