William Cheung

Wall Scholar


Director and Professor


Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries





Geographic Location


Dr. William Cheung is a Professor and Director of the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, the University of British Columbia. He is also a Canada Research Chair in Ocean Sustainability and Global Change. He is an international leader in developing and using scenarios and models of biodiversity and ecosystem services to understand the responses and vulnerabilities of marine human-natural systems to global change. 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.

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”. William is actively involved in international and regional initiatives that bridge science and policy. For example, he served as Coordinating Lead Author for the Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). He serves as Associate Editor for Global Change Biology and Ecological Society of America’s Frontier in Ecology and the Environment.

Primary Recipient Awards

William Cheung – Wall Scholars – 2017

As a Wall Scholar, Dr. Cheung will explore the question: what are the effective ways to communicate to the public about future projections of our oceans and fisheries under climate change? Scientific research is projecting large impacts of climate change on marine fisheries and ecosystems. To develop effective solutions, we need to effectively communicate to the public and policy-makers about what our future global oceans would look like. Cheung will undertake research to explore effective ways of communicating future scenarios about our oceans. He will engage experts related to this topic across disciplines to development approaches for scenario visualization and communication that facilitate co-development of solutions for future ocean sustainability.

William Cheung – International Research Roundtables – 2015

Seafood in an Uncertain Future: from Scenarios to Policies
Principal Investigator(s): Dr. William Cheung, Changing Ocean Research Unit, Fisheries Centre, UBC; Dr. Yoshitaka Ota, NF-Nereus Program, Fisheries Centre, UBC; Dr. Masahiro Matsuura, Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Tokyo.
This novel collaboration, featuring international experts from a variety of backgrounds—natural and social scientists, representatives from government and non-government organizations, journalists, and artists— will present and synthesize ideas pertaining to the current and future state of the world’s fisheries. Using their academic and personal experiences, participants will address the following question: Do we have enough seafood to feed the world’s demand in an era of climate change?
Specifically, roundtable discussions will:

  • Advance our current understanding of the multi-dimensional linkages between climate change and the world’s seafood production systems;
  • Develop potential scenarios of future ocean fisheries and aquaculture systems, taking into account the tradeoffs between our need for food, conservation of the marine environment, and the preservation of coastal livelihoods;
  • Explore policies for marine climate change adaptation and risk mitigation (including the identification of long-term research directions);
  • Develop a new approach for communicating tradeoffs and scenarios to policy makers and the public at large.
William Cheung – Early Career Scholars – 2013
William Cheung – Catalyst Collaboration Fund – 2022

Project: Solving Sustainability Challenges at the Food-Climate-Biodiversity Nexus
A solution-oriented project that aims to address the sustainability challenges of coastal small-scale fisheries at the nexus of addressing climate, food security and biodiversity emergencies, through a case study in Costa Rica. This study will explore the benefits, co-benefits and trade-offs of implementing a portfolio of nature-based solutions in the Gulf.