ICOBTE History

The ICOBTE (International Conference on the Biogeochemistry of Trace Elements) is a non-profit conference series founded and organized by scientists and other professionals whose main interest is in trace element (metals and metalloids) research. The organizers and supporters are volunteers from academia, government and other professional organizations. The first conference took place in 1990 in Orlando, Florida and was entitled the "International Conference on Metals in Soils, Waters, Plants and Animals". The main organizers, Domy Adriano from the University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Lab and Albert Page from the University of California, Riverside, were supported by several colleagues whose main interests were in the trace element field.


The conference was not originally intended to be a series; however, due to keen interest from many segments of the scientific community, the second was organized in Taipei, Taiwan in 1993 (Organizers: S.S. Yang, Dar-Yuan Lee, and Z.S. Chen of National Taiwan University) and the name was formalized as ICOBTE. Thereafter the ensuing meetings were held biannually in the major regions of the world:

  • Paris, France in 1995 organized by Rene Prost of INRA
  • Berkeley, California, USA in 1997 organized by Alex Iskandar of U.S. ACE and Andrew Chang of University of California, Riverside
  • Vienna, Austria in 1999 organized by Walter Wenzel of BOKU
  • Guelph, Ontario, Canada in 2001 organized by Les Evans of University of Guelph
  • Uppsala, Sweden in 2003 organized by George Gobran of SLU
  • Adelaide, Australia in 2005 organized by Mike McLaughlin of CSIRO
  • Beijing, China in 2007 organized by Yong-Guan Zhu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Chihuahua, Mexico in 2009 organized by Ma. Teresa Alarcon at CIMAV.
  • Florence, Italy in 2011 organized by Giancarlo Renella and Roberto Gabbrielli of the University of Florence.
  • Athens, Georgia, USA in 2013 organized by John Seaman, University of Georgia - Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Magdi Selim, Louisiana State University, and Jason Unrine, University of Kentucky
  • Fukuoka, Japan in 2015, organized by Shinjiro Kanazawa, Kyushu University

The conferences focus on the biogeochemistry of trace elements in terrestrial systems and examine issues such as: mobility and transfer, bioavailability, bioaccumulation/toxicity, crop/food chain quality, risk assessment, risk management/remediation, and regulatory protocols. In addition to terrestrial systems the conference also addresses trace element issues in wetland and aquatic systems. Natural, diffuse and point source contamination are examined in these ecosystems.