Samantha H. Cheng

Director of Conservation Evidence, Global Science, World Wildlife Fund for Nature

While my career in higher education (B.A. from Scripps College and PhD candidate at UCLA) may hint at a southern Californian, I was born and raised in Boston, MA and am a Bostonian at heart. My love of the sea has taken me all over the world in pursuit of research and adventures. In general, my research draws from the biological, social, and computer sciences, to understand connections between nature and human well-being in global coastal communities, and build tools and assessments for evidence-based conservation decisions (read more in Research). I work across the conservation and development sectors on applied conservation policy questions.

Follow me on: ResearchGate, Google Scholar, and Twitter (@pilesofsquid)

Click here for my CV


Konno, K., Cheng, S.H., Eales, J., Frampton, G., Kohl, C., Livoreil, B., Macura, B., O’Leary, B.C., Randall, N.P., Taylor, J.J., Woodcock, P., Pullin, A.S. 2020. The CEEDER database of evidence reviews: An open-access evidence service for researchers and decision-makers. Environmental Science & Policy, 114: 256-262.

Brown, M.I., Allgood, B., Waugh, J., Martino, R., Cheng, S.H., Kelman, C.C., Porzecanski, A.L. with Akwah, G., Roe, D., York, A., Tolisano, J., Infield, M., Sterling, E.J., Crane, N., Skinner, D., Maistrellis, E., Aggrawal, R., Gerber, L., Sunderland, T., Schoon, M., Polidoro, B., Wongbusarakum, S. 2020. Communities, conservation, and development in the age of COVID: Time for rethinking approaches (commentary). MongaBay. https://news.mongabay.com/2020/08/communities-conservation-and-development-in-the-age-of-covid-time-for-rethinking-approaches-commentary/

Cheng, S.H., McKinnon, M.C., Masuda, Y.J., Garside, R., Jones, K.W., Miller, D.C., Pullin, A.S., Sutherland, W.J., Augustin, C., Gill, D.A. and Wongbusarakum, S., 2020. Strengthen causal models for better conservation outcomes for human well-being. PloS one, 15(3), p.e0230495.

Brooks, W.R., Rudd, M.E., Cheng, S.H., Silliman, B.R., Gill, D.A., Ahmadia, G.N., Andradi-Brown, D.A., Glew, L. and Campbell, L.M., 2020. Social and ecological outcomes of conservation interventions in tropical coastal marine ecosystems: a systematic map protocol. Environmental Evidence, 9, pp.1-12.

Sterling, E.J., Pascua, P., Sigouin, A., Gazit, N., Mandle, L., Betley, E., Aini, J., Albert, S., Caillon, S., Caselle, J.E., Cheng, S.H., Claudet, J., Dacks, R., Darling, E.S., Filardi, C., Jupiter, S.D., Mawyer, A., Mejia, M., Morishige, K., Nainoca, W., Parks, J., Tanguay, J., Ticktin, T., Vave, R., Wase, V., Wongbusarakum, S., McCarter, J. 2020. Creating a space for place and multidimensional well-being: lessons learned from localizing the SDGs. Sustainability Science, 15(4), pp.1129-1147.

Pullin, A.S., Cheng, S.H., Cooke, S.J., Haddaway, N.R., Macura, B., McKinnon, M.C. and Taylor, J.J., 2020. Informing conservation decisions through evidence synthesis and communication. Conservation Research, Policy and Practice, p.114.

Simmonds, S.E., Fritts‐Penniman, A.L., Cheng, S.H., Mahardika, G.N. and Barber, P.H., 2020. Genomic signatures of host‐associated divergence and adaptation in a coral‐eating snail, Coralliophila violacea (Kiener, 1836). Ecology and Evolution, 10(4), pp.1817-1837.

Miller, D., Rana, P., Nakamura, K., Forrest, S., Cheng, S.H., Ahlroth, S. and Perge, E., 2019. A Systematic Review of the Impact of Forest Property Rights Interventions on Poverty (No. 148149, pp. 1-30). The World Bank.

Brown, M.I., Cheng. S.H., Tolisano, J., with George Akwah, Patricia Dunne, Janet Edmond, Mark Infield, Emily Maistrellis, Shauna Mahajan, Robin Martino, Peggy Ochandarena, Diane Russell, Anne Marie Tiani, Beth Polidoro, John Waugh, Supin Wongbusarakum, Ana Porzecanski, Eleanor Sterling, Rhimjim Aggrawal, Megha Budruk, Candice Carr Kelman, *Aireona Raschke, Leah Gerber. 2019. From threat to solution: Rethinking the role of community in nature conservation (commentary). MongaBay https://news.mongabay.com/2019/09/rethinking-the-role-of-communities-in-nature-conservation-from-threat-to-solution-commentary/

Gill, D.A., Cheng, S.H., Glew, L., Aigner, E., Bennett, N.J., Mascia, M.B. (2019). Social Synergies, Tradeoffs, and Equity in Marine Conservation Impacts. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 44. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-environ-110718-032344

*Raschke, A.B., Brown, M.I., Cheng, S.H. (2019). Evidence on Biodiversity Conservation Impacts: Assessing Theories, Approaches, and Outcomes from Community Engagement and Tenure. Chemonics Working Paper.

Cheng, S.H., Macleod, K., Ahlroth, S., Onder, S., Perge, E., Shyamsundar, P., Rana, P., Garside, R., Kristjanson, P., McKinnon, M.C., Miller, D.M. (2019). A systematic map of evidence on the contribution of forests to poverty alleviation. Environmental Evidence 8(1) https://doi.org/10.1186/s13750-019-0148-4

Willette, D.A., Cheng, S.H., Greenberg, J., Barber, P.H. (2018). Rethinking solutions to seafood fraud. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 16(9): 499-500.

Cheng, S.H., Augustin, C., Bethel, A., Gill, D., Anzaroot, S., Brun, J., DeWilde, B., Minnich, R.C., Garside, R., Masuda, Y.J., Miller, D.C., Wilkie, D., Wongbusarakum, S., and M.C. McKinnon. (2018). Using machine learning to advance synthesis and use of conservation and environmental evidence. Conservation Biology. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/cobi.13117

Westgate, M.J., Haddaway, N.R., Cheng, S.H., McIntosh, E.J., Marshall, C., and D.B. Lindenmayer. (2018) Software support for environmental evidence synthesis. Nature Ecology & Evolution 2(4): 588.

Simmonds SE, Chou V, Cheng SH, Rachmawati R, Calumpong HP, Mahardika GN. (2018). Evidence of host-associated divergence from coral-eating snails (genus Coralliophila) in the Coral Triangle. Coral Reefs: 1-17

Willette DA, Cheng SH. (2017). Delivering on seafood traceability under the new U.S. import monitoring program. Ambio. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-017-0936-4

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. Accepted Author Manuscript. 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: a systematic map. Conservation International Working Paper.

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. Map the evidence. Nature 528: 185-188

Bottrill M, Cheng S, Garside R, Wongbusarakum S, Roe D, Edmond J, Turner WR. (2014) What are the impacts of nature conservation interventions on human well-being: a systematic map protocol. Environmental Evidence 3(1): 16 pp

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

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

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


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