Saline lakes are common on every continent and are of considerable economic, ecological, and scientific value.  Recognizing the increasing interdisciplinary interest in salt lake research, a group of limnologists, under the aegis of the International Association for Limnology (SIL) began holding a triennial series of international symposia beginning in 1979 at Adelaide, Australia (Hydrobiologia Vol. 81).  These continued with the 2nd through 4th conferences at Saskatchewan, Canada (1982; Hydrobiologia Vol. 105); Nairobi, Kenya (1985; Hydrobiologia Vol. 158); and Banyoles, Spain (1988; Hydrobiologia Vol. 197).

Following the 4th international conference in Spain, the International Consortium for Salt Lake Research was formed to foster research on, interest in, and the conservation and economic use of salt lakes.  The bulletin, Salinet, served as the association’s primary vehicle to attain these goals.  The 5th through 7th international conferences were held in La Paz, Bolivia (1991; Hydrobiologia Vol. 210); Beijing, China (1994; Hydrobiologia Vol. 381); and Death Valley, USA (1999; Hydrobiologia Vol 466).

At the Beijing conference in 1994, the previous informal association was renamed the International Society for Salt Lake Research and a slate of officers was elected: Stuart Hurlbert, President; Arie Nissenbaum, Vice President; Mianping Zheng, Vice President; Brenton Knott, Secretary-Treasurer.

At the Death Valley conference in September 1999, attendees voted to incorporate the Society and elected a new slate of officers: John Melack, President; Javier Alcocer, Vice President; William D. Williams, Editor; Robert Jellison, Secretary-Treasurer; and Aharon Oren, Simone Servant-Vildary, Angel Baltanas, and Mianping Zheng, Members-at-Large.  In January 2000, the International Society of Salt Lake Research (ISSLR) was incorporated in California, USA.  Officers and Members-at-large constitute the board of directors.

ISSLR’s primary purposes are to establish effective liaison between persons interested in any aspect of inland saline waters, to encourage these interests, and to educate the public in the scientific use, management, and conservation of salt lakes. This web site, the triennial international conferences, special issues of Hydrobiologia, and the individual efforts of salt lake researchers are the means of furthering these purposes.