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Matthew Chew

Matthew Chew

Instructor, School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

School of Life Sciences
Arizona State University
PO Box 874501
Tempe, AZ 85207-4501


  • Senior Global Futures Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory
  • Instructor, School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


Dubbed a ‘gadfly of invasion biology’ by Scientific American, Matt Chew is known for critiquing ecology’s overreliance on societal metaphors and conservationists’ misapplication of notions like ‘nativeness’. A creature of the American southwest, Chew was raised in Arizona, earned two natural resources degrees at Colorado State University, then returned to Phoenix to consult for the Defense Department, Bureau of Indian Affairs and other government clients. As statewide Natural Resources Planner for Arizona State Parks, he coordinated their Natural Areas Program, researched wildlife issues, and served on interagency committees—one of which also included his future wife, plant ecologist Julie Stromberg. With her encouragement, he abandoned government work to earn a biology PhD based entirely on historical research.

Remaining at Arizona State University, Chew conducts a field course in ‘novel ecosystems,’ lectures in ‘history of biology’ and ‘biology and society’, and works with postgraduate students. He was awarded an Oxford research fellowship in 2014. His articles in "Nature," "Science" and niche publications in history and conservation have been cited in over 200 different journals. Chew and Stromberg live in a historic farmhouse on irrigated land, where they rescue dogs, garden to attract wildlife and buy more books than they can read.


  • PhD, Biology (Biology and Society), Arizona State University, 2006
  • MS, Range Science (Ecology), Colorado State University, 1991
  • BS, Environmental Interpretation, Colorado State University, 1990

Journal Articles


Davis, M. A., M. K. Chew, R. J. Hobbs, A. E. Lugo, J. J. Ewel, G. J. Bermeij, J. H. Brown, M. L. Rosenzweig, M. R. Gardener, S. P. Carroll, K. Thompson, S. T. Pickett, J. C. Stromberg, P. Del Tredici, K. N. Suding, J. G. Ehrenfeld, J. P. Grime, J. Mascaro and J. C. Briggs. 2011. Don't judge species on their origins. Nature 474:153-154. DOI: 10.1038/474153a. (link )

Makings, E., L. Butler, M. K. Chew and J. C. Stromberg. 2011. Noteworthy collections from the Tempe Towne Lake riverbed. Desert Plants 27(1):3-10. (link )


Chew, M. K. 2009. The monstering of tamarisk: How scientists made a plant into a problem. Journal of the History of Biology 42:231-266. DOI: 10.1007/s10739-009-9181-4. (link )

Stromberg, J. C., M. K. Chew, P. L. Nagler and E. P. Glenn. 2009. Changing perceptions of change: The role of scientists in Tamarix and river management. Restoration Ecology 17(2):177-186. DOI: 10.1111/j.1526-100X.2008.00514.x. (link )


Chew, M. K. and M. D. Laubichler. 2003. Natural enemies -- metaphor or misconception?. Science 301(5629):52-53. DOI: 10.1126/science.1085274. (link )


Stromberg, J. C. and M. K. Chew. 1997. Herbaceous exotics in Arizona's riparian ecosystems. Desert Plants 13:11-17. (link )

Book Chapters


Chew, M. K. 2013. Tamarisk introduction, naturalization, and control in the United States, 1818-1952. Pp. 269-286 In: Sher, A. and M. F. Quigley eds., Tamarix: A Case Study of Ecological Change in the American West. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780199898206.


Chew, M. K. 2011. Anekeitaxonomy: Botany, place and belonging. Pp. 137-152 In: Rotherham, I. D. and R. A. Lambert eds., Invasive & Introduced Plants & Animals: Human Perceptions, Attitudes and Approaches to Management. Taylor & Francis. ISBN: 978-1849710718.

Chew, M. K. 2011. Invasion biology: Historical precedents. Pp. 369-374 In: Simberloff, D. and M. Rejmanek eds., Encylopedia of Biological Invasions. University of California Press. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA. ISBN: 978-0520264212.

Chew, M. K. and A. Hamilton. 2011. The rise and fall of biotic nativeness: A historical perspective. Pp. 35-47 In: Richardson, D. M. ed., Fifty Years of Invasion Ecology: The Legacy of Charles Elton. Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. ISBN: 9781444335859.


Stromberg, J. C. and M. K. Chew. 2002. Chapter 2: Flood pulses and restoration of riparian vegetation in the American Southwest. Pp. 11-48 In: Middleton, B. A. ed., Flood Pulsing in Wetlands: Restoring the Natural Hydrological Balance. John Wiley & Sons. New York, NY. ISBN: 978-0-471-41807-8.

Stromberg, J. C. and M. K. Chew. 2002. Foreign visitors in riparian corridors of the American Southwest: Is xenophytophobia justified?. Pp. 195-219 In: Tellman, B. ed., Invasive Exotic Species in the Sonoran Region. University of Arizona Press. Tucson, AZ. ISBN: 978-0816521784.