The Gilbert Ichthyological Society is a scientific organization whose stated purpose is to foster communication in the Pacific Northwest concerning all things ichthyological (Pietsch, 1990). The organization was originally founded in 1931 in the Department of Fisheries (later a College then a School of Fisheries, and now the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences), University of Washington (UW), Seattle, as the "Gilbert Fisheries Society." Little is known about this early society other than an announcement of the establishment of the organization published in 1931 in Copeia, the journal of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. The notice (Anon., 1931) reads, "Dr. James Eric Lynch has been appointed Associate Professor in the Department of Fisheries at the University of Washington.2 The staff and students of that department have organized the Gilbert Fisheries Society, named in honor of the late Charles Henry Gilbert. The object of the Society is to promote interest in fisheries research and to bring fisheries investigators and administrators into contact with the local group." The Society apparently died an early death, as references to it cannot be found in archives of the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences.

In the late 1980s, Professor Theodore Wells Pietsch (1945-), an ichthyologist in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and the Curator of Fishes in the UW Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, conceived the idea of re-constituting the Gilbert Fisheries Society as the Gilbert Ichthyological Society (GIS). Pietsch envisioned a means by which ichthyologists and others in the Northwest concerned primarily with fishes per se, as opposed to fisheries biology, could meet, exchange ideas, and have an enjoyable time doing so. He suggested the formation of the Society in 1988 to Professor Douglas Frank Markle (1947-), his counterpart at Oregon State University, Corvallis. The Gilbert Ichthyological Society (GIS) was born in 1989, originally conceived as an organization of "fish friendly" people from Washington and Oregon. The Society was dedicated to the "Cultivation of the Science of Ichthyology in all its Branches." A secondary purpose was to have an enjoyable time while furthering the cause of ichthyology.

This chronology traces the origin and development of the Gilbert Ichthyological Society during the first 12 years (1989-2000) of its existence. It attempts also to serve as documentation of the annual meetings of the Society, a record of its officers and members, and a description of other activities of the association during this period. The primary sources for this chronicle are the archives of the Society and interviews with some of the principals involved with the development of the organization.3

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