William Cheung – Associated Faculty


Dr. William Cheung is a Professor and Director of the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, at the University of British Columbia. He is a Canada Research Chair in Ocean Sustainability and Global Change. He studies the nexus of food-climate-biodiversity in the ocean. He is the Principal Investigator of the Changing Ocean Research Unit at UBC. He serves as Director for a 6-year SSHRC Partnership “Solving the Sustainability Challenges at the Food-Climate-Biodiversity Nexus.” He is an international leader in developing and using scenarios and models to explore solution options and pathways to desirable and sustainable ocean futures. His work addresses policy-relevant research questions and cuts across multiple disciplines, from oceanography to ecology, economics and social sciences. His research ranges from local to global scales.

William has published over 220 peer-reviewed papers and more than 50 book chapters and reports. He is actively involved in international and regional initiatives that bridge science and policy. For instance, he was a Coordinating Lead Author in the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in the Changing Climate and core author of the Synthesis Report (AR6) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment. He has received multiple international and national awards and recognitions, including the Prix d’Excellence Award of the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas, the E. R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship, and named by Reuters as the top 20 world’s most influential climate scientists.

William obtained his BSc in Biology and M.Phil. from the University of Hong Kong. He worked for WWF Hong Kong for two years, after which he completed his PhD in Resource Management and Environmental Studies at UBC. From 2009 to 2011, he was a Lecturer in Marine Ecosystem Services at the School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia.

Selected Publications

Pauly, D. and Cheung, W.W.L. (2017) Sound physiological knowledge and principles in modeling shrinking of fishes under climate change. Global Change Biology doi: 10.1111/gcb.13831

Cheung, W.W.L., Lam, V., Sarmiento, J., Kearney, K., Watson, R., Zeller, D. and Pauly, D. (2009) Large-scale redistribution of maximum fisheries catch potential in the global ocean under climate change. Global Change Biology doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.01995.x.

Cheung, W.W.L., Lam, V.W.Y., Sarmiento, J.L., Kearney, K., Watson, R. and Pauly, D. (2009) Projecting global marine biodiversity impacts under climate change scenarios. Fish and Fisheries: 10: 235-251

Cheung, W.W.L., Close, C., Lam, V.W.Y., Watson, R. and Pauly, D. (2008). Application of macroecological theory to predict effects of climate change on global fisheries potential. Marine Ecology Progress Series 365: 187-197.

Cheung, W.W.L. and Sumaila, U.R. (2008). Trade-offs between conservation and socio-economic objectives in managing a tropical marine ecosystem. Ecological Economics 66: 193-210.

Cheung, W.W.L. and Pitcher, T.J. (2008). Evaluating the status of exploited taxa in the northern South China Sea using intrinsic vulnerability and spatially explicit catch-per-unit-effort data. Fisheries Research 92: 28-40.

Cheung W.W.L., Watson, R., Morato, T., Pitcher, T.J. and Pauly, D. (2007). Intrinsic vulnerability in the global fish catch. Marine Ecology Progress Series 333: 1-12.

Cheung W.W.L., Pitcher, T.J. and Pauly, D. (2005). A fuzzy logic expert system to estimate intrinsic extinction vulnerability of marine fishes to fishing. Biological Conservation 124: 97-111.

Sadovy Y. and Cheung, W.L. (2003). Near extinction of a highly fecund fish: the one that nearly got away. Fish and Fisheries 4: 86-99.