The mission of the Academy's Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability is to gather new knowledge about life's diversity and the process of evolution—and to rapidly apply that understanding to our efforts to sustain life on Earth.
The Academy's Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability is home to more than 100 dedicated scientists, researchers, and support staff. Together, we travel the world in our efforts to discover new knowledge about Earths' biodiversity, and to rapidly apply that knowledge to a wide range of protections.
From specific initiatives such as our in-house Scientific Diving department—dedicated to surveying and protecting Earth's largely unexplored oceans—to priorities that include the rapid sharing and application of the data we collect, we're committed to being a visible and active force in efforts to sustain life on Earth.
In October 2017, a team of Academy scientists traveled to Malaysia to conduct a floor-to-canopy biodiversity survey—or bioblitz—of the thriving, 130-million-year-old rainforest atop Penang Hill. Working alongside Malaysian colleagues, the team will share their observations of plant and animal life in real-time via iNaturalist.
2015 Philippines Biodiversity Expedition
In April 2015, a team of scientists returned to the Philippines' Verde Island Passage, considered the most biologically diverse marine ecosystem on Earth, in search of new species and habitats not previously explored—including the mysterious depths of the "twilight zone," up to 500 feet beneath the ocean's surface.
Ethiopia: Uncovering Human Evolution
The Afar region in Northeastern Ethiopia has played host to some of the most important hominin discoveries ever made—including Dr. Zeresenay Alemseged’s discovery of “Selam,” a 3-year-old Australopithecus afarensis female who predated the famous skeleton we call Lucy.
The Caymans: Tracking Invasive Lionfish
In March 2014, Academy's scientists and divers traveled to the Cayman Islands to collect invasive lionfish at depths of up to 400 feet. By analyzing stomach contents, population genomics, and more, our staff are working with local conservationists to better control the lionfish threat to local ecosystems.
Help collect data for ongoing Academy research from home or in the field—it's fun, easy, and helps scientists answer big questions.
Be mesmerized by the brilliant colors of tropical fish, the grace of giant rays, and the busy waddling of African penguins. Our webcams stream 24 hours a day.