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Organization's history

The International Society of Environmental Indicators: Historical Overview

Edward J. Zillioux

The International Society of Environmental Indicators (ISEI) is an international network of scholars who support and promote the development and use of biological, chemical and physical environmental indicators in environmental assessments and environmental management. Environmental indicators are critical components of monitoring efforts worldwide, and because many environmental indicators are relatively inexpensive to monitor, ISEI makes efforts to work with scientists in developing countries to enable them to better integrate environmental indicators in their environmental assessment and monitoring efforts. This overview describes its formation and development.

The ISEI traces its origin to a series of sessions on bioindicators, or biomarkers, organized by myself and Jim Newman at the Annual International Conference on Contaminated Soils, Sediments and Water held at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2002 – 2005. In 2003, we published a paper on Bioindicators – Essential tools for realistic site assessment and remediation cost control in the March/April issue of The Association for Environmental Health & Sciences (AEHS) magazine, Soil Sediment & Water. It was in Amherst during this period when several new journals were being launched by Amherst Scientific Publishers, an affiliate of AEHS. I was having lunch with Paul Kostecki, the co-founder of AEHS, and suggested that there was a need for a journal on environmental bioindicators and that AEHS should consider adding such a journal to their portfolio. Paul responded with, “Why don’t you do it?” This was not something I had contemplated before and it took a couple weeks to get used to the idea. I contacted Jim Newman to see if he would be interested in partnering with me on the venture and found him to be enthusiastic. I then called a contact at Taylor & Francis Group, LLC (T&F). A short time later, Jim and I were invited to meet with the publishing staff of T&F at their corporate offices in Philadelphia. We were advised that the chances of such a journal being a success would be greatly enhanced if we were to form a scientific society to support it.

The first meeting of the new International Society of Environmental Bioindicators was held in concert with the Thirteenth International Conference on Environmental Bioindicators of the International Union of Biological Scientists (IUBS), International Commission on Bioindicators at the Vila Porthemaka Praha, Czech Republic, 6-10 June 2005. The formation of the new society was proposed and agreed by the participants. (The name of the new society was formally changed to the International Society of Environmental Indicators [ISEI] in 2009 to reflect the broader scope of the interests of its members).

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