The purpose of the society is to promote excellent research in microbial systematics as well as enhance global communication among taxonomists who study the Bacteria and Archaea. The society will also serve internationally as an advocate for research efforts on microbial systematics and diversity.
The Trust recognizes that the vast diversity of microbial life is the last remaining major reservoir of unknown biological diversity on Earth. A principal goal of the society is to comprehend this vast but largely unstudied diversity with its untapped genetic, enzymic and industrial potential. A basic aim of the society is to foster efforts to isolate novel microorganisms in pure culture and to describe, name and classify them.
Bergey's Manual Trust began considering the idea of an international society to support microbial systematics in 2006-2007. Through the Bergey's Manual Trust web site and Newsletter an online survey was conducted to determine if there was sufficient interest among the community of microbiologists who study the Bacteria and Archaea to form a Society. The results of the survey coupled with a discussion held at the 2008 International Union of Microbiological Societies meeting in Istanbul were highly supportive of the concept. Based on this, the Trust voted to sponsor BISMiS at its annual meeting in 2009.
Bergey's Manual Trust, which is an international Trust of microbial systematists, is an ideal organization to sponsor an international society because it is a non-profit trust [a USA 501(c)3 tax entity] that is devoted to serving the needs of the global community of microbial taxonomists interested in Bacteria and Archaea.
At the inaugural meeting of BISMiS in Beijing on 22 May 22 2011, the new officers were appointed. President-Elect Michael Goodfellow became President upon the end of the term of President James T. Staley. However, he resigned in favor of Fred Rainey, the former Secretary. In addition, the new President-Elect and Secretary were elected by a ballot of the members. The current BISMiS officers elected at the meeting in Pune, India, on 12-16 September, 2016 are:
- President: Iain Sutcliffe
- President-Elect: Kamlesh Jangid
- Secretary: Wen-Jun Li
- Treasurer: Brian Hedlund
Members have access to The Microbial Taxonomist, the newsletter of Bergey's Manual Trust, and a new publication, The Bulletin of BISMiS. The The Bulletin is sent to members immediately upon publication. It is then released for open access 6 months following publication.
The Bulletin of BISMiS focuses on invited opinion articles, review articles, educational articles on methodologies, and invited autobiographies and biographies. Original research articles will not be published.
The constitution was approved on 18 March 2011, by a vote of the membership of 77% in favor, 0% against, and 23% not voting. The constitution is available online here.
One goal of the Society is to provide appropriate recognition to those who have made significant contributions to microbial systematics. The major reason for this is to acknowledge the importance of the recipient's contributions and to aid in their careers. In addition, this group of well-known systematists can serve as a powerful international voice in promoting the field of microbial systematics.