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Samantha Cheng

Samantha Cheng

Biodiversity Scientist, American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History


  • Biodiversity Scientist, American Museum of Natural History


Samantha Cheng is a conservation scientist, with experience both in the field working in tropical coral reefs, cephalopod fisheries, seafood sustainability – and in the policy sphere, engaging with diverse stakeholders in organizations, governments, and academic institutions to develop evidence-based solutions for conservation and human well-being outcomes. Cheng’s research aims to improve understanding of the process of using scientific evidence in conservation planning and decision-making. She was the Associate Director for Conservation Evidence at the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes and specialized in systematic evidence synthesis methodologies for assessing impacts of environmental and conservation actions. Cheng has a PhD from University of California-Los Angeles in Biology and a BA from Scripps College in Organismal Biology and Ecology.


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


External Links

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 )


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.