The idea of organizing an association of limnologists and other experts involved in the study of inland waters  in Southeast Asia came about in 2013 during the meeting of Dr. Luki Subehi (Indonesia) and Ms. Adelina (Lennie) Santos-Borja (Philippines) at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia, or LIPI, now, LIPI has changed to BRIN). This was inspired by the need to promote tropical limnological  research and studies in Southeast Asia and establish a mechanism for the exchange of information on lakes and other inland waters, collaboration on common research needs, cross-visits of experts and students, and to strengthen policies on conservation and management through evidence-based research involving various disciplines.

The Indonesian Society of Limnology supported the idea during the Seminar on Tropical Limnology, held in 2019 wherein Ms. Santos-Borja was inducted as an honorary member of the Society.

Figure 1. Dr. Luki Subehi and Ms. Adelina Santos-Borja sharing the idea of creating a network among experts and the academe who involved in the study of tropical lakes in Southeast Asia.

Figure 2. First Seminar of the Indonesian Society of Limnology (Masyarakat  Limnologi Indonesia or MLI) in Dec 2013.

During the World Lake Conference held at Bali, Indonesia on November 7-11, 2016, participants from Southeast Asia held a separate meeting wherein the establishment of the Southeast Asian Limnological Network or SEALNet was endorsed by Dr. Zainal Arifin, Deputy of Earth Sciences, LIPI, Dr. Fauzan Ali, Director of the Research Center for Limnology, LIPI, Prof. Wan Maznah Wan Omar, Universiti Sains Malaysia and Adelina Santos-Borja, Laguna Lake Development Authority, Philippines. The other signatories were from Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Figure 3. Founding members of SEALNet, November 9, 2016

From an initial 17 members, SEALNet now has more than 50 members from numerous countries. The Secretariat is based at the Research Center for Limnology, Indonesia (LIPI) which was reorganized by the Government of Indonesia to the National Research and Innovation Agency (Badan Riset dan Inovasi Nasional or BRIN)

Figure 4. SEALNet member composition as of 2023