Library of Life
With nearly 46 million scientific specimens and 38,000 live animals from around the world, the Academy’s research collections and aquarium facilities provide one of the richest records of life on Earth.
Creature Closeups
Gouldian finches are polymorphic, with three possible head color variations—black, yellow, or red.
Specimen Spotlights
The Etendeka round-eared sengi was recently discovered by the Academy's own Jack Dumbacher.

Documenting Change

Scientific collections provide valuable evidence of changes in the physical traits and distribution of species over time.

Specimens collected hundreds of years ago benefit from today's technology to aide conservation efforts.
Documenting Change
Could a bloom of sea slugs in northern California underscore a change in ocean climate?
Documenting Change
Our forests are changing, in large part due to water availability.

Revealing New Species

Determining that a discovery is in fact a new species requires a thorough description and comparison to known organisms.

Using a small submersible, scientists discovered a new species of coral just off the coast.
Revealing New Species
How do animals get their scientific names? Find out as our scientists add 221 new species to the tree of life.
Revealing New Species
From the remote deserts of Namibia comes a new (to science) species of mammal: the tiny Entendeka sengi.

Understanding Evolution

Academy scientists use DNA to better understand how new species arise and which genes are responsible for their adaptive traits.

Genomics provides evidence for the role of selection in the diversification of fishes.
Understanding Evolution
A new study of the genetics of the beaks of Darwin's finches is the perfect gift!
Understanding Evolution
The Afar region in Ethiopia has played host to some of the world's most important hominin discoveries.

Tracking Threats

Our collections allow scientists to track the spread of disease and invasive species and trace environmental toxins over time.

Academy researchers are working to stop the spread of the deadly chytrid fungus in amphibians.
Tracking Threats
Researchers, using the Academy's collections, have discovered when avian pox arrived on the Galapagos Islands.
Tracking Threats
Shannon Bennett studies infectious diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans.

Academy Voices

Take a look at this beast with five eyes, spiked legs, grasping claws, and a beak for stabbing its prey.
Find out some of the most fascinating secrets of these shell-less mollusks, also known as nudibranchs.
Laura Wilson explains the strange, and sometimes gross things, that can be seen happening in the Project Lab.
It's not every day you get to prepare a rock hyrax specimen, as our Project Lab's Laura Wilson explains.

Specimen Spotlight

Atlas moths are famous for the markings on their wings that bear an uncanny resemblance to cobra heads.

Latest News

A newly discovered frog can change textures from smooth to "punk rocker" in a matter of minutes!
By taking high resolution images of our collections, the Academy is making our specimens available to the world.
Scientists are studying hummingbirds to learn the secrets to steady flight.
The dottyback, a small reef fish, can use mimicry to fool multiple species of prey.

Support Academy Research

Our work is more important today than ever before. Help support our research programs and our efforts to train the next generation of scientists by becoming a member today.

Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability

The Academy’s Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability is home to more than 60 research scientists and aquarium biologists, as well as nearly 46 million scientific specimens from around the world—nearly 40,000 of which are alive and on display in the Academy’s Steinhart Aquarium.

The Foundations of Biological Science

The Academy's mission is built upon sound scientific principles. Read our official position statements on evolution and sustainability.

Vast Network of Experts

In addition to our in-house scientists, the Academy benefits from the expertise and efforts of more than 100 international research and field associates and 300 distinguished Fellows.