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.
Dr. Brian Fisher is Curator of Entomology at the Academy and has spent three decades documenting the island of Madagascar's beautiful biodiversity. Along the way, he's discovered over one thousand new ant species, including the jumping and Dracula ants. As the climate crisis unfolds and biodiversity vanishes in what is now considered the sixth mass extinction, Fisher is tracking big-scale changes—all with the help of insects. By closely monitoring invertebrate populations, which respond rapidly to changes in their environment, Fisher is developing a system to flag early signs of ecosystem change. In 2017, he and his collaborators launched Insects and People, a Malagasy organization that produces protein-packed cricket powder to fight food insecurity and alleviate pressure on endangered species habitat. This effort is now evolving into a larger initiative called Breakfast before Conservation.