Being an Academy scientist isn't a desk job—we believe constant, scientifically rigorous exploration is key to documenting, understanding, and better protecting Earth's rich biodiversity.

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. 

Diving in the Philippines

Philippines: 2014 Biodiversity Expedition

Learn more about the largest scientific diving expedition in Academy history. From the 500-foot-deep "twilight zone" to the sunlit shallows, the Philippine waters are home to incredible species richness—and to critical conservation challenges.

Zeray Alemseged digging in Ethiopia

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.

Icthyology curator Luiz Rocha holds a collected lionfish

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.


A trap-jaw ant hunts a cricket

Madagascar: Remarkable Ants and Endemism

For more than two decades, Academy entomologist Dr. Brian Fisher has led research expeditions to this island nation off the coast of east Africa, identifying more than a thousand new species of ants while partnering with 180 taxonomic collaborators around the world.

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Explore IBSS

The Academy's Research Institute

The mission of the Academy's Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability is to discover 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.

Citizen Science RR item

Become a Citizen Scientist

Help collect data for ongoing Academy research from home or in the field—it's fun, easy, and helps scientists answer big questions. 

Steinhart Webcams

Steinhart Webcams

Be mesmerized by the brilliant colors of tropical fish, the grace of sharks and rays, and the busy waddling of African penguins. Our webcams stream 24 hours a day.  

Philippine Coral Reef exhibit