About Us


goals is a non-commercial, educational web site created to promote bioscience literacy by examining issues that will:

  • motivate the public to play an active role in bioscience education
  • show how developments in bioscience research can affect everyone
  • promote an understanding of biogeography and the biodiversity of life
  • engage the public to reflect on the relationship between human activity and the natural course of evolution
  • promote global ecological awareness
  • advance formal and informal bioscience education
  • encourage students to pursue studies in the biosciences

To meet these goals, the web site provides peer reviewed articles by scientists, science educators, and science students on issues related to six bioscience content areas: environment, biodiversity, genomics, biotechnology, evolution, and science policy. In addition, information is provided for educators, that explains how the use of issues in biological sciences teaching is firmly rooted in an inquiry-based approach to bioscience education. The site also offers tips on how to teach with issues. The web site provides ready to use original lessons and resources to enhance issue based bioscience teaching. Up-to-date external links are provided at the bottom of each article to help the reader “learn more” about or “get involved” in the issue. Much of the sites content is also available in Spanish.

Our intended audience is the concerned public, educators, students, and science professionals. We welcome suggestions, as well as feedback on posted material.

The record shows time and again that one person or a small group can awaken the public to the importance of an issue and bring about a startling change in the direction of a society. — Mooney, Hal. 2002. “State of the Planet.” National Geographic Magazine, Sept. issue. (Hal Mooney, Ph.D., environmental biologist, Stanford University, CA, expressed this view on the occasion of the Earth Summit 2002 global conference.)

who we are

Editor in Chief
Scott Collins, University of New Mexico

Web Manager
James Verdier, American Institute of Biological Sciences

IT Support
Diane Bosnjak, American Institute of Biological Sciences

Spanish Content
Carlos de la Rosa, Catalina Island Conservancy, Catalina Island, CA Claudia Lewis, environmental consultant/educator

editorial board

  • Michael J. Benton, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom

  • Tim M. Berra, The Ohio State University, Mansfield, OH

  • Carlos de la Rosa, Catalina Island Conservancy, Catalina Island, CA

  • Niles Eldredge, The American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY

  • Sandra M. Latourelle, Plattsburgh State University, Plattsburgh, NY

  • Susan E. Lewis, Carroll College, Waukesha, WI

  • Anthony M. Poole, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

  • Brian R. Shmaefsky, Kingwood College, Kingwood, TX

  • Gordon E. Uno, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK

scientific approach

An article is considered for web site publication when it examines issues in the light of science to draw objective conclusions. Science is the field of study that attempts to describe and understand the natural universe in whole or in part. Scientific conclusions are described by levels of increasing certainty:

  • Hypothesis: a hypothesis is a tentative assumption explaining observations about natural phenomena.

  • Theory: a theory is a hypothesis that has been repeatedly tested, with little modification, which conforms to all known data.

  • Law: a law is a fundamental underlying principle, consistent with all known facts, of how a phenomenon in the natural universe functions.

The scientific method is a thorough, investigative process, providing checks and balances to ensure that science is objective, always ready to admit its errors and revise its theories, facts, and laws.

peer review process

All original articles undergo independent peer review by professionals in the biosciences before online publication. Student articles are reviewed by qualified educators or other professionals. Previously published materials, other than press releases and position statements, are reprinted from peer-reviewed sources.

Peer review is the process by which a paper (article) is critically evaluated, before its publication, by professionals with in-depth knowledge of the author’s field of investigation to make certain that the paper is credible, accurate, well-written, and worthy of publication.1 Some of our original articles are primary literature, i.e., “first disclosure containing sufficient information to enable peers to (1) assess observations, (2) repeat experiments, and (3) evaluate intellectual processes,”2 written by the person or group who undertook the research. Peer review is essential for this type of paper.

The web site editor invites one or two experts, depending on the content of the article, to conduct peer review according to established guidelines [see ref. #2]. In general, peer reviewers must consider whether the article:

  • falls within the aims and scope of the web site.
  • demonstrates originality of ideas, hypothesis, or application.
  • makes a significant contribution to bioscience literacy.
  • is of interest to the intended reader.
  • exhibits technical soundness and scientific accuracy.
  • provides sufficiently comprehensive references and/or credits sources.
  • is well-written and presents information clearly.
  • should be published, with or without revisions, or rejected based on the above considerations.
  1. Council of Science Editors. 1991. Peer review in scientific publishing: Papers from the First International Congress on Peer Review in Biomedical Research. Chicago, Illinois. Additional editorial information provided online at

  2. Forscher, Bernard K. 1965. “Rules for referees.” Science 150(15): 319-321.


The views and opinions expressed in the content published on this web site are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of AIBS, the editors, the publisher, or the institutions with which the authors are affiliated. Authors are responsible for the integrity of their article’s content and references and must guarantee that its publication does not infringe upon the rights of others. AIBS, the editors, and the publisher disclaim any responsibility or liability for such material.

Links and books listed at the end of articles have been provided by the authors or the web site editor. Links that support author views and, when possible, links to alternate views are included. These additional resources are not meant to be exhaustive, nor are they to be considered as the best links or books on a particular issue. The views expressed in the suggested links or books external to this web site are not necessarily those of AIBS, the editors, or the publisher, who disclaim any responsibility or liability for such material. is owned and operated by the American Institute of Biological Sciences, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) scientific association dedicated to advancing biological research and education for the welfare of society. AIBS works to ensure that the public, legislators, funders, and the community of biologists have access to and use information that will guide them in making informed decisions about matters that require biological knowledge.

Founded in 1947 as a part of the National Academy of Sciences, AIBS became an independent, member-governed organization in the 1950s. Today, AIBS has nearly 160 member organizations and is headquartered in Reston, VA, with a Public Policy Office in Washington, DC. Its approximately 40 staff work to achieve its mission by publishing the peer-reviewed journal BioScience and the education Web site, providing scientific peer-review and advisory services to government agencies and other clients, and collaborating with scientific organizations to advance public policy, education, and the public understanding of science.

The Web site was created in 2000 by BioScience Productions, Inc., (not affiliated with the AIBS journal, BioScience), a non-partisan organization with the goal of promoting public literacy in the biosciences. The organization had no vested interest in any products or services related to the bioscience industries. BioScience Productions, Inc. was founded in 1998 by John O. Enander, a retired mechanical engineer and industrial products manufacturer who wanted to contribute to the advancement of bioscience education and to conservation biology. Educators, scientists, researchers, and communications specialists provided additional support.


high-quality educational web site

Eisenhower National Clearinghouse (ENC), 2002

One of the 5 best biology web sites

Scientific American, 2003

Supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation [DUE 0085840/DUE 0226185]


Understanding Science