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 Earth's 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. 

 Rose-Veiled Fairy Wrasse, the first Maldivian fish to be described by a local researcher. Photo © Yi-Kai Tea

Hope for Reefs: Maldives

In early-2022, deep-diving Academy Hope for Reefs researchers, along with local partners, conducted the first-ever biodiversity surveys of the Maldives' twilight, or mesophotic, zone—and formally identified a number of new-to-science species, including the stunning Rose-Veiled Fairy Wrasse, pictured here. 

Photo © Yi-Kai Tea

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Bright yellow Cadlinella ornatissima nudibranch with white and red rhinophores, in Zanzibar

2018 Zanzibar expedition

The Hope for Reefs team made its Indian Ocean debut in October 2018, beginning with biotic surveys of marine invertebrates in the shallows and concluding with a descent into the mesophotic zone in December—likely to be Zanzibar's first scientific exploration of this mysterious realm.

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Penang Hills's rainforest canopy walkway at sunset. © Wendy Baxter

Malaysia expedition

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.  

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Example of an ARMS device located in the Northern Pacific. Image by NOAA.

Palau: ARMS across the reef

In 2017, the Academy's deep and shallow dive teams ventured to the Micronesian archipelago of Palau to explore its remarkably pristine coral reefs and deploy ARMS devices—Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures—to gather data on reef ecology.

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About IBSS

The mission of the Academy's Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability (IBSS) 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.