SamChengFunPicSamantha Cheng

Assistant Research Professor
School of Life Sciences
Center for Biodiversity Outcomes

Research interests:
  • Evidence synthesis for decision-making in conservation and environmental management
  • Role of data visualization and technology for finding and using evidence
  • Links between conservation actions and human well-being
  • Impact evaluation
  • Utilizing molecular ecology and genetics for marine management and biodiversity protection
  • Diversification processes in marine ecosystems
My research agenda revolves around understanding the process of using scientific evidence in conservation planning and decision-making. I take a multi-disciplinary approach to this broad question by systematically examining the role of evidence, methodology, interactions, and stakeholders to determine effective pathways from information to action to outcome. As part of this, I am specifically interested in the role that data science and technology can play in improving the use of evidence in conservation (for example, see ongoing initiatives: the Evidence for Nature and People Data Portal and Colandr). Topically, I am interested in understanding links between conservation and human well-being, particularly in marine ecosystems. I am also interested in understanding the role and contribution of molecular ecology studies and genetics data for informing marine conservation planning (e.g. seafood identification, fisheries stock delineation, population genetics).

Personal background:

- B.A. Scripps College, Claremont, CA
- Ph.D. University of California-Los Angeles
- Conservation Genetics Working Group (Society for Conservation Biology)




Willette DA, Cheng SH. 2017. Delivering on seafood traceability under the new U.S. import monitoring program. Ambio. (accepted)

Cheng SH, Ahlroth S, Onder S, Shyamsundar P, Garside R, Kristjanson P, McKinnon MC, Miller DC. (2017) What is the evidence for the contribution of forests to poverty alleviation?: A systematic map protocol. Environmental Evidence 6: 10

Miles MC, Cheng SH, Fuxjager MJ. Biogeography predicts macro-evolutionary patterning of gestural display complexity in a passerine family. Evolution. doi:10.1111/evo.13213

Willette DA, Simmonds SE, Cheng SH, Esteves S, Kane TL, Nuetzel H, Pilaud N, Rachmawati R and Barber PH. 2017. Using DNA barcoding to track seafood mislabeling in Los Angeles restaurants. Conservation Biology. doi:10.1111/cobi.12888

Cheng SH, Robinson JE, Cox N, Biggs D, Olsson A, Mascia M, McKinnon M. 2017. Evaluating the effectiveness of international wildlife trade programs and policies on species conservation and livelihoods: an evidence map. Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science Working Paper 1. Arlington, VA: Conservation International

Althor G, McKinnon MC, Cheng SH, Klein C, Watson J. 2016. Systematic Review Protocol: Does the social equitability of community and incentive based conservation interventions in non-OECD countries, affect human well-being? Environmental Evidence 5(26). DOI: 10.1186/s13750-016-0078-3

McKinnon MC, Cheng SH, Butterfield R, Dupre S, Edmond J, Garside R, Glew L, Holland MB, Levine E, Masuda YJ, Miller DC, Oliveira I, Revenaz J, Roe D, Shamer S, Wilkie D, Wongbusarakum S, Woodhouse E. (2016) What are the effects of nature conservation on human well-being? A systematic map of empirical evidence from developing countries. Environmental Evidence 5(8): 1-25

McKinnon MC, Cheng SH, Garside R, Masuda YJ, Miller DC. (2015) Map the evidence. Nature 528: 185-188

Bottrill M, Cheng S, Garside R, Wongbusarakum S, Roe D, Holland M, Edmond J, Turner WR. (2014) What are the Impacts of Nature Conservation Interventions on Human Well-Being: A Systematic Map Protocol. Environmental Evidence 3(16): 1-22

Anderson FE, Bergman A, Cheng SH, Pankey MS, Valinassab Y. (2014) Lights out: the evolution of bacterial bioluminescence in Loliginidae. Hydrobiologia 725(1): 189-203

Cheng SH, Anderson FE, Bergman A, Mahardika GN, Muchlisin ZA, Thuy DB, Calumpong HP, Mohamed KS, Sasikumar G, Venketesan V, Barber PH. (2014) Molecular evidence for co-occuring cryptic lineages within the Sepioteuthis cf. lessoniana species complex in the Indian and Indo-West Pacific Oceans. Hydrobiologia 725(1): 165-188

Muchlisin ZA, Zulkarnaini B, Purnawan S, Muhadjier A, Fadli F, Cheng SH. 2014. Morphometric variations of three species of harvested cephalopods found in northern sea of Aceh Province, Indonesia. Biodiversitas 15(2): 142-146

Barber PH, Cheng SH, Erdmann MV, Tenggardjaja K, Ambariyanto (2011) Evolution and conservation of marine biodiversity in the Coral Triangle: Insights from stomatopod Crustacea in Phylogeography and Population Genetics of Crustacea in Crustacean Issues: CRC Press