ISSM Symposia

The International Society for Subsurface Microbiology holds symposia every three years in idyllic locations throughout the world for the purpose of exchanging ideas and advancing the science.

These symposia, referred to as the “International Symposia on Subsurface Microbiology” (or “ISSM” for short), focus on exploring the link between microbiology, the subsurface environment, and microbial ecosystems. Emphasis is on the newest innovations and research breakthroughs in the field.

No other event in the field offers a more impressive roster of outstanding keynote speakers, quality attendees, and compelling content.

Join us at some of Mother Nature’s most spectacular destinations across the globe to exchange ideas and make connections in the rapidly growing field of subsurface microbiology.

Selected photos from ISSM 2014.  Hold cursor over photo to freeze image.


Recent Symposia

ISSM 2014

ISSM 2014 Monterey, California

Along the rocky shoreline of California's famously picturesque Monterey Peninsula. Ninth International Symposium of Subsurface Microbiology. October 5-10, 2014. Pacific Grove, California. Organizers: Nathalie Tufenkji and Ron Harvey. Local Organizing Committee chair: Ean Warren.

Learn more

ISSM 2011

ISSM 2011 Germany

Within the fairytale setting of Germany's breathtaking Bavarian Alps. Eighth International Symposium of Subsurface Microbiology: ``Microbial Life Below Our Feet.`` September 11-16, 2011. Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Organizer: Rainer Meckenstock.


ISSM 2008

ISSM 2008 Japan

Under the shadow of Japan's iconic volcano, Mount Fuji. Seventh International Symposium for Subsurface Microbiology. November 16-21, 2008. Shizuoka, Japan. Organizer: Kenji Kato.

learn more

ISSM 2005

ISSM 2005 Jackson Hole

Below the jagged peaks of Wyoming's stunning Teton Mountain Range. Sixth International Symposium on Subsurface Microbiology. August 14-19, 2005. Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Organizers: Rick Colwell and George Redden.


Vail, Colorado. SIte of the 4th ISSM.

Fifth ISSM, September 8-13, 2002, Copenhagen, Denmark. Organizers: Hans-Jørgen Albrechtsen, Jens Aamand.

Fourth ISSM, August 22-27, 1999, Vail, Colorado, USA. Organizers: Ronald Harvey, Richard Smith.

Third ISSM, September 15-21, 1996, Davos, Switzerland., Organizer: Reinhard Bachofen.

Second ISSM, September 21-24, 1993, Bath, UK. Organizer: David Balkwill.

First ISSM*, January 15-19, 1990, Orlando, Florida, USA. Organizers: Carl Fliermans, Terry Hazen.

*Official name was “First International Conference on Microbiology of the Deep Subsurface”

Photo courtesy of M. Dornblaser, USGS. Vail, Colorado, USA, site of the 4th ISSM in 1999.


Student Support to Attend the Symposia

Student research represents the next generation of breakthroughs in subsurface microbiology and microbial ecology. Therefore, the Society is committed to assisting students from universities across the globe to attend and participate at our symposia.

Assistance will vary and may include:

  • Discounted student registration rates.
  • Student presenter travel grants.
  • Prizes for best student posters.
  • Student volunteer opportunities in exchange for reduced registration and lodging fees.
  • Room sharing opportunities for symposium lodging.
ISSM 2011 Germany

We are passionate about helping students pursue research opportunities and careers in the field of subsurface microbiology. One way is to offer best poster awards to student presenters.

Photo: ISSM 2011 Germany.