The California Academy of Sciences is a renowned scientific and educational institution with a mission to explore, explain, and sustain life. Based in San Francisco, it is home to an aquarium, planetarium and natural history museum as well as innovative scientific research and education programs all under one living roof. The Academy is also home to nearly 46 million scientific specimens from around the world; essential tools for comparative studies on the history and future of life on Earth. The Academy’s Biodiversity Course encourages students of all ages to explore the natural world and become active stewards of the environment and is supported by the Global Environmental Literacy Initiative, with major funding provided by the Pisces Foundation.
Community Questions

Welcome to the world of biodiversity!

Take an expedition with us to investigate the amazing diversity of life on this planet. Learn what biodiversity is, why it is important, where it is found, how it comes into existence, how you study it, why it is threatened, and how it can be protected.

Why is biodiversity important?

Discover why a high diversity of species sustains ecosystems, which in turn provide important services to humans.

Where is biodiversity found?

Explore how life is found almost everywhere on Earth, but is not distributed evenly. And learn why the clumped distributions of species are the result of a wide variety of both natural and human-driven factors.

How is biodiversity studied?

Delve into the history of humanity’s passion to document and display specimens from the natural world and learn how biodiversity expeditions are conducted today.

Why is biodiversity threatened?

Examine the local and global threats to biodiversity that are caused by human activities. Many of the negative impacts start as regional, but easily add up to affect the entire planet.

How can biodiversity be protected?

Discover the wealth of options available in the vital race to protect biodiversity.

Where does biodiversity come from?

Earth's amazing diversity of life is the result of billions of years of evolution, of natural selection acting on individual genetic variation.

What are the different levels of biodiversity?

Learn how to recognize the genetic, ecosystem, and evolutionary levels of biodiversity. Along with species richness, these levels play crucial roles in conservation.