Brian ChengBrian Cheng

Assistant Professor of Marine Ecology


Office: 118 Holdsworth Hall

Phone: 413-545-2454

Curriculum vitae | Google Scholar | Lab website

Research Interests

Our research interests straddle the line between basic and applied problems in marine ecology. We seek to integrate knowledge from the physical sciences (oceanography and atmospheric science) with biology (ecology and physiology) to understand what the future holds for marine ecosystems. We are currently focusing on global change (climate change, biological invasions), predator-prey interactions, and management tools (marine protected areas) using lab experiments, field observations, and quantitative synthesis (meta-analysis).


Postdoctoral Fellow, Smithsonian Institution – 2014-2017
Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 2014
M.S., San Diego State University, 2008
B.S., University of California, Santa Barbara, 2001

Courses Taught

ENVIRSCI 214 – Ecosystems, Biodiversity, and Global Change (Spring)
NRC 494GI – Global Change Ecology (Fall, odd years)
NRC 590M – Marine Ecology (Fall, even years)


Cheng, B.S., J. Blumenthal, A.L. Chang, J.M. Barley, M.C. Ferner, K.J. Nielsen, G.M. Ruiz, C.J. Zabin. (Accepted) Severe introduced predator impacts despite attempted functional eradication. Biological Invasions | preprint

Barley, J. M., B.S. Cheng, M. Sasaki, S. Gignoux-Wolfsohn, C.G. Hays, A.B. Putnam, S. Sheeth, A.R. Villeneuve, M.W. Kelly. (In press) Limited plasticity in thermally tolerant ectotherm populations: evidence for a trade-off. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 288:20210765

Villeneuve, A.R., L.M. Komoroske, B.S. Cheng. (2021) Environment and phenology shape local adaptation in thermal performance. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 288:20210741

Villeneuve, A.R., L.M. Komoroske, B.S. Cheng. (2021) Diminished warming tolerance and plasticity in low latitude populations of a marine gastropod. Conservation Physiology 9:coab039

Hollarsmith, J.A., J.S. Sadowski, M.M.M. Picard, B.S. Cheng, J. Farlin, A. Russell, E.D. Grosholz. (2020) Relative effects of event-driven estuarine acidification (EA) on growth and survival of native and commercial oysters. Limnology and Oceanography 65:224-235

Banerjee, S.M., C.D. Allen, T. Schmitt, B.S. Cheng, J. A. Seminoff, T. Eguchi, L. M. Komoroske. (2019) Baseline health parameters of eastern Pacific green turtles at Southern California foraging grounds. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 18:163-174

Cheng, B.S., A.H. Altieri, M.E. Torchin, G.M. Ruiz (2019) Can marine reserves restore lost ecosystem function? A global synthesis. Ecology 100:e02617

Cheng, B.S., G.M. Ruiz, A.H. Altieri, M.E. Torchin. (2019) The biogeography of invasion in tropical and temperate seagrass beds: testing interactive effects of predation and propagule pressure. Diversity and Distributions 25:285-297

Bible, J.M., B.S. Cheng, A.L. Chang, M.C. Ferner, K. Wasson, C.J. Zabin, M. Latta, E. Sanford, A. Deck, E.D. Grosholz (2017) Timing of stressors alters interactive effects oa coastal foundation speciesEcology 98:2468-2478 pdf

Cheng, B.S., L.M. Komoroske, E.D. Grosholz (2017) Trophic sensitivity of invasive predator and native prey interactions: integrating environmental context and climate change. Functional Ecology 31:642-652 pdf | data

Cheng, B.S., A.L. Chang, A. Deck, M.C. Ferner (2016) Atmospheric rivers and the mass mortality of wild oysters: insight into an extreme future?
Proceedings of the Royal Society B 283:20161462 pdf | data

Cheng, B.S. and E.D. Grosholz (2016) Environmental stress mediates trophic cascade strength and resistance to invasion. Ecosphere 7 (4): e01247. 10.1002/ecs2.1247 pdf

Cheng, B.S., J.M. Bible, A.L. Chang, M.C. Ferner, K. Wasson, C.J. Zabin, M. Latta, A. Deck, A.E. Todgham, E.D. Grosholz (2015)
Testing local and global stressor impacts on a coastal foundation species using an ecologically realistic framework. Global Change Biology 21:2488-2499 pdf

Williams, S.L., N. Janetski, S. Blankenhorn, J. Abbott, B.S. Cheng, E. Crafton, D. Trockel (2014)
Ornamental marine species culture in the coral triangle: seahorse demonstration project in the Spermonde Islands, Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Environmental Management doi: 10.1007/s00267-014-0343-6 pdf

Komoroske, L.M., R. Connon, J. Lindberg, B.S. Cheng, G. Castillo, M. Hasenbein, N. Fangue (2014)
Ontogeny influences sensitivity to climate change stressors in an endangered fish. Conservation Physiology 2:cou008-cou008 pdf

Kimbro, D.L., B.S. Cheng, E.D. Grosholz (2013) Biotic resistance in marine environments. Ecology Letters 16:821-833 pdf

Woodson, C.B., J.A. Barth, O.M. Cheriton, M.A. McManus, J.P. Ryan, L. Washburn, K.N. Carden, B.S. Cheng, J. Fernandes, L.E. Garske, T.C. Gouhier, A.J. Haupt, K.T. Honey, M.F. Hubbard,   A. Iles, L. Kara, M.C. Lynch, B. Mahoney, M. Pfaff, M.L. Pinsky, M.J. Robart, J.S. Stewart, S.J. Teck, A. True (2011) Observations of internal wave packets propagating along-shelf in northern Monterey Bay. Geophysical Research Letters 38: L01605.