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Samantha Cheng

Samantha Cheng

Biodiversity Scientist, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History

Center for Biodversity and Conservation
American Museum of Natural History


  • Biodiversity Scientist, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History
  • Former Co-Director, Conservation Solutions Lab


Samantha Cheng is a scientist with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History and the former co-director of the Conservation Solutions Lab. She is an interdisciplinary conservation scientist, specializing in using systematic evidence synthesis methods to examine the impact of conservation on people. Her research has a particular focus on social-ecological systems and dispersal mechanisms in marine ecosystems, especially coastal fisheries.


  • PhD, University of California-Los Angeles, 2015
  • BA, Scripps College, 2009


Journal Articles

In Press

Willette, D. A. and S. H. Cheng. Delivering on seafood traceability under the new U.S. import monitoring program. Ambio DOI: 10.1007/s13280-017-0936-4. (link )


Gerber, L. R., C. J. Barton, S. H. Cheng and D. M. Anderson. 2020. Producing actionable science in conservation: Best practices for organizations and individuals. Conservation Science and Practice 2(12):e295. DOI: 10.1111/csp2.295. (link )


Cheng, S. H., S. Ahlroth, S. Onder, P. Shyamsundar, R. Garside, P. Kristjanson, M. C. McKinnon and D. C. Miller. 2017. What is the evidence for the contribution of forests to poverty alleviation?: A systematic map protocol. Environmental Evidence 6:10. DOI: 10.1186/s13750-017-0088-9. (link )

Miles, M. C., S. Cheng and M. J. Fuxjager. 2017. Biogeography predicts macro-evolutionary patterning of gestural display complexity in a passerine family. Evolution 71(5):1406-1416. DOI: 10.1111/evo.13213. (link )

Willette, D. A., S. E. Simmonds, S. H. Cheng, S. Esteves, T. L. Kane, H. Nuetzel, N. Pilaud, R. Rachmawati and P. H. Barber. 2017. Using DNA barcoding to track seafood mislabeling in Los Angeles restaurants. Conservation Biology 31(5):1076-1085. DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12888. (link )


Althor, G., M. McKinnon, S. H. Cheng, C. Klein and J. E. Watson. 2016. Does the social equitability of community and incentive based conservation interventions in non-OECD countries, affect human well-being? A systematic review protocol. Environmental Evidence 5:26. DOI: 10.1186/s13750-016-0078-3. (link )

McKinnon, M., S. H. Cheng, S. Dupre, J. Edmond, R. Garside, L. Glew, M. B. Holland, E. Levine, Y. J. Masuda, D. C. Miller, I. Oliveira, J. Revenaz, D. Roe, S. Shamer, D. Wilkie, S. Wongbusarakum and E. Woodhouse. 2016. What are the effects of nature conservation on human well-being? A systematic map of empirical evidence from developing countries. Enviornmental Evidence 5:8. DOI: 10.1186/s13750-016-0058-7. (link )


McKinnon, M. C., S. H. Cheng, R. Garside, Y. J. Masuda and D. C. Miller. 2015. Sustainability: Map the evidence. Nature 328(7581):185-187. (link )


Anderson, F. E., A. Bergman, S. H. Cheng, M. S. Pankey and T. Valinassab. 2014. Lights out: The evolution of bacterial bioluminescence in Loliginidae. Hydrobiologica 725(1):189-203. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-013-1599-1. (link )

Bottrill, M., S. H. Cheng, R. Garside, S. Wongbusarakum, D. Roe, M. B. Holland, J. Edmond and W. R. Turner. 2014. What are the impacts of nature conservation interventions on human well-being: a systematic map protocol. Environmental Evidence 3:16. DOI: 10.1186/2047-2382-3-16. (link )

Cheng, S. H., F. E. Anderson, A. Bergman, G. N. Mahardika, Z. A. Muchlisin, B. T. Dang, H. P. Calumpong, K. S. Mohamed, G. Sasikumar, V. Venkatesan and P. H. Barber. 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. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-013-. (link )

Muchlisin, Z. A., B. Zulkarnaini, S. Purnawan, A. Muhadjier, N. Fadli and S. H. Cheng. 2014. Morphometric variations of three species of harvested cephalopods found in northern sea of Aceh Province, Indonesia. Biodiversitas 15(2):142-146. DOI: 10.13057/biodiv/d150205. (link )

Book Chapters


Barber, P. H., S. H. Cheng, M. V. Erdmann, K. Tenggardjaja and . Ambariyanto. 2011. Evolution and conservation of marine biodiversity in the Coral Triangle: insights from stomatopod Crustacea. Pp. 129-156 In: Held, C., S. Koenemann and C. D. Schubart eds., Phylogeography and Population Genetics in Crustacea. CRC Press. ISBN: 9781439840733.

Working Papers


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