Leah Gerber

Samantha Cheng

Beth Polidoro

Leah Gerber

School of Life Sciences

Founding Director
Center for Biodiversity Outcomes

(480) 727-3109


Leah Gerber is a Professor of Conservation Science in the School of Life Sciences and Founding Director of the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes at Arizona State University. With the overarching goal of creating and implementing novel solutions for a sustainable planet, Gerber’s work includes pioneering research in marine conservation, institutional leadership to scale conservation solutions and close engagement of students to train future leaders.

Gerber’s empirically-based research program spans many dimensions of natural and social sciences, with the goal to inform policies for sustaining the health of the world’s oceans. Gerber has pioneered new approaches in protected area design, risk assessment, adaptive management and structured decision making. This work includes ~110 publications in high quality journals (e.g., Science, Nature, PNAS). Gerber has garnered a broad base of research funding to support this work, including a National Science Foundation Career Award and an award from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

By training, Gerber is a population ecologist and marine conservation biologist who is motivated by a desire to integrate insights from natural and social sciences into tenable decision tools and policy. With a grounding in natural history and primary data collection, quantitative methods and an appreciation for the interactions between humans and the environment, Gerber engages unconventional actors and interdisciplinary teams to achieve outcomes in conservation.

As an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, Gerber is passionately committed to communicating the relevance of science in tackling the complex environmental challenges of the 21st century. The relevance of her work extends beyond scientific impact factors – she is most proud of her work that has been used in policy decisions and has stimulated public discourse in popular media.

In 2014, Gerber established ASU’s Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, a boundary organization to enable discoveries and solutions needed to conserve and sustainably manage the Earth’s biodiversity in a time of rapid biophysical, institutional and cultural change. Because this leadership experiment is pushing the frontier of the unknown, Gerber is pioneering new models of engagement as part of a recent NSF Science of Science and Innovation Policy grant.

In leading the Center, Gerber has built capacity in academic excellence and established new models for academic engagement in achieving societal outcomes. At ASU, Gerber is also a Senior Sustainability Scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, a Fellow in the Institute for the Future of Innovation in Society, an Honors Faculty in the Barrett Honors College and an Affiliate Faculty in Applied Mathematics.

Research interests

Adaptive management
Climate change
Life below water
Mathematical and system dynamics modeling
Modeling and simulation
Environmental policy
Ecosystem services
Climate change and adaptation
Ecological behavior
Quantitative approaches to decision making under scientific uncertainty
Population biology
Marine ecology
Decision science
Marine mammal biology
Fisheries management
Risk management
Boundary science


Quantitative Methods in Conservation and Ecology
Environmental Leadership and Communication
Marine Conservation Biology
Conservation Biology and Ecological Sustainability
Conservation Planning
Environmental Modelling
Principles of Sustainability
Marine Mammal Behavior and Conservation
Applications of Behavioral Ecology to Conservation Biology
Principles of Ecology


PhD in wildlife ecology, University of Washington – Seattle, Washington – 1998
MMA in marine policy, University of Washington – Seattle, Washington – 1993
BA in environmental biology, Mills College – Oakland, California – 1992



Levin, P., Anderson, L., Rose, K., Koehn, L., Grabowski, J., Jensen, O., Essington, T., Smith, T., Marshall, K., Carothers, C., Sanchirico, J., Möllmann, C., Houde, E., Coleman, F., Bundy, A., & Gerber, L. R. (2018). Building effective fishery ecosystem plans. Marine Policy (link).

Mancha-Cisneros, M.M., Suarez-Castillo, A. N., Torre, J., & Gerber, L. R. (2018). The role of stakeholder perceptions and institutions for marine reserve efficacy in the Midriff Islands Region, Gulf of California, Mexico. Ocean and Coastal Management. (link)

Fujitani, M., Fenichel, E., Torre, J., & Gerber, L. R. (2018). Synthesizing ecological and human use information to understand and manage coastal change. Ocean and Coastal Management (link).


Álvarez-Romero J. G., Munguía-Vega, A., Beger, M.,  Mancha-Cisneros, M.M., Suarez-Castillo, A. N., Gurney, G. G., Pressey, R. L., Gerber, L. R.,  Morzaria-Luna, H. N., Reyes-Bonilla, H., Adams, V. M., Kolb, M., Graham, E., VanDerWal, J., Castillo-Lopez, A., Hinojosa-Arango, G., Petatan-Ramirez, D., Moreno-Baez, M., Godinez-Reyes, C. R., & Torre, J. (2017). Designing connected marine reserves in the face of global warming. Global Change Biology00, 1–21. doi.org/10.1111/gcb.13989. (link)

Marshall, K. N., Levin, P. S., Essington, T. E., Koehn, L. E., Anderson, L. G., Bundy, A., Carothers, C., Coleman, F., Gerber, L. R., Grabowski, J. H., Houde, E., Jensen, O. P., Möllmann, C., Rose, K., Sanchirico, J. N., & Smith, A. D. (2017). Ecosystem-based fisheries management for social–ecological systems: Renewing the focus in the United States with Next Generation Fishery Ecosystem Plans. Conservation Letters. doi:10.1111/conl.12367 (link)

Hallett, L., Morelli, T. L., Gerber, L. R., Moritz, M., Schwartz, M., Stephenson, N., Tank, J.,   Williamson, M., & Woodhouse, C. (2017). Navigating translational ecology: Creating opportunities for scientist participation. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 4(10), 578-586. doi:10.1002/fee.1734. (link)

Enquist, C., Davis, F., Garfin, G. M., Gerber, L. R., Jackson, S., Littell, J., Tank, J., Terando, A., & Wall, T. (2017). Foundations of translational ecology. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, (5)10, 541-550. doi: 10.1002/fee.1733. (link)

Possingham, H. P. & Gerber, L. R. (2017). Ecology: The effect of conservation spending. Nature, 551, 309-310. doi:10.1038/nature24158. (link)

Gerber, L. R., & Quiroga, D. (2017). Incentives for Galápagos protection. Science, 358 (6361), 313-314. doi: 10.1126/science.aar2049. (link)

Puritty, C., Strickland, L., Alia, E., Blonder, B., Klein, E., Kohl, M., McGee, E., Quintana, M., Ridley, R., Tellman, B., & Gerber, L. R. (2017). Without inclusion, diversity initiatives may not be enough. Science, 357, 1101-1102. doi:10.1002/aqc.2794. (link)

Thiele T., & Gerber L. R. (2017). Innovative financing for the High Seas. Aquatic Conservation, Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 7(S1), 89–99. doi:10.1002/aqc.2794. (link)

Huang, B., Abbott, J. K., Fenichel, E. P., Muneepeerakul, R., Perrings, C., & Gerber, L. R. (2017). Testing the feasibility of a hypothetical whaling-conservation permit market in Norway. Conservation Biology, 31(4), 809-817. doi:10.1111/cobi.12916. (link)


Gerber, L. R. (2016). Conservation triage or injurious neglect in endangered species recovery. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(13), 3563-3566. doi:10.1073/pnas.1525085113. (link)

Gerber, L. R. (2016). Beyond the whaling stalemate. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 14, 82–183. doi.10.1002/fee.1259. (link)

Gerber, L. R. (2016). The marriage of business and ecology. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 14(1), 3. doi.10.1002/1209. (link)


Hernández-Camacho, C. J., Bakker, V. J., Aurioles-Gamboa, D., Laake, J., & Gerber, L. R. (2015). The use of surrogate data in demographic population viability analysis: A case study of California sea lions. PLoS One, 10(9), e0139158. doi:10.1371. (link)

Gerber, L. R. (2015). A deal with Japan on whaling? Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 13, 347–347. doi.org/10.1890/1540-9295-13.7.347. (link)

Troyer, C. & Gerber, L. R. (2015). Assessing the impact of U.S. Endangered Species Act recovery planning guidelines on managing threats for listed species. Conservation Biology, 29(5):1423–1433. doi:10.1111.cobi.12552. (link)


Gerber, L. R., Mancha-Cisneros, M., O’Connor, M. I., & Selig, E. (2014). Climate change impacts on connectivity in the ocean: Implications for conservation. Ecosphere, 5(3), 33. doi:10.1890/ES13-00336.1. (link)

Tallis, H., Lubchenco, J., Gerber, L. R., & 238 co-authors. (2014). Working together: A call for inclusive conservation. Nature, 515, 27–28. doi:10.1038/515027a. (link)

Gerber, L. R., Costello, C., & Gaines, S. (2014). Conservation markets for wildlife management with case studies from whaling. Ecological Applications, 24, 4–14. doi: 10.1890/12-1919.1. (link)

Gerber, L. R., Costello, C., & Gaines, S. (2014). Facilitate, don’t forbid, trade between conservationists and resource harvesters. Ecological Applications, 24, 23–24. doi:10.1890/13-1541.1. (link)

Gerber, L. R., Gondor, A., D’Agrosa, C., & Anadon, J. (2014). Conservation prioritization to conservation action in the Gulf of California, Mexico. Journal of Conservation Planning, 10, 1-16. (link)


Gerber, L. R., & White, E. (2013). Two-sex matrix models in assessing population viability: when do male dynamics matter? Journal of Applied Ecology, 51(1), 270-278. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12177. (link)

Gregory, R., Arvai, J., & Gerber, L. R. (2013). Structuring decisions for managing threatened and endangered species in a changing climate. Conservation Biology, 27(6), 1212-1221. doi/10.1111/cobi.12165. (link)

Anandon, J. D., Mancha-Cisneros, M., Best, B., & Gerber, L. R. (2013). Habitat-specific larval dispersal and marine connectivity: Implications for spatial conservation planning. Ecosphere, 4(7), 1-15. doi:10.1890/ES13-00119.1. (link)

Gerber, L. R., Karimi, R., & Fitzgerald, T. (2013). Does trophic level indicate seafood sustainability? Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, doi:10.1890/13.WB.007. (link)

Senko, J., White, E., Heppell, S. S., & Gerber, L. R.  (2013). Comparing bycatch mitigation strategies for vulnerable marine megafauna. Animal Conservation, 11(3), 122-123. doi: 10.1111/acv.12051. (link)

Cuddington, K., Hastings, A., Fortin, M. J., Gerber, L. R., O’Connor, M., Liebhold, A., & Ray, C.  (2013). Process-based models are required to manage ecological systems in a changing world. Ecosphere, 4(2), 1-12. doi:10.1890/ES12-00178.1. (link)

Rife, A. N., Aburto-Oropeza, O., Hastings, P. A., Erisman, B., Ballantyne, F., Wielgus, J., Sala, E., & Gerber, L. R. (2013). Long-term effectiveness of a multi-use marine protected area on reef fish assemblages and fisheries landings. Journal of Environmental Management, 117, 276-283. doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2012.12.029. (link)


Wildermuth, R., Anadon, J. A., & Gerber, L. R. (2012). Monitoring behavior: Assessing population status through rapid behavioral assessment. Conservation Letters, 6(2), 86-97. doi:10.1111/j.1755-263X.2012.00298.x. (link)

Dee, L. & Gerber, L. R. (2012). Applications of decision theory to conservation planning and management. Nature Education Knowledge, 3(3), 11. (link)

Rudnick, D. A., Beier, P., Cushman, S., Dieffenbach, F., Epps, C. W., Gerber, L. R., Hartter, J., Jenness, J., Kintsch, J., Merenlender, A. M., Perkl, R. M., Preziosi, D.V., Ryan, S.J., & Trombulak, S. C. (2012). The role of landscape connectivity in planning and implementing conservation and restoration priorities. Issues in Ecology, 16, 1-20. (link)

Gerber, L. R. (2012). The scientific whaling loophole. Science, 337(6098), 1038. doi:10.1126/science.337.6098.1038-a. (link)

Costello, C., Gerber, L. R., & Gaines S., (2012). Conservation science: A market approach to saving the whales. Nature, 481, 139-140. doi:10.1038/481139a. (link)

Gerber, L. R., Karimi, R., & Fitzgerald, T. (2012). Sustaining seafood for public health. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 10(9), 487-493. doi:10.1890/120003. (link)

Fujitani, M. L., Fenichel, E., Torre, J., & Gerber, L. R. (2012). Implementation of a marine reserve has a rapid but short-lived effect on recreational angler use. Ecological Applications, 22(2), 597-605. doi:10.1890/11-0603.1. (link)

Flatz, R., Young, J. K., Gonzalez-Suarez M., Hernandez, C. J., Immel, A., & Gerber, L. R. (2012). Weak polygyny in California sea lions and the potential for alternative mating tactics. PLoS ONE, 7(3), e33654. doi: 10.1371/journal/pone.0033654. (link)


Anadon, J. A., D’Agrosa, C., Gondor, A., & Gerber L. R., (2011). Quantifying the spatial ecology of wide-ranging marine species in the Gulf of California: Implications for marine conservation planning. PLoS ONE, 6(12), e28400. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028400. (link)

Gerber, L. R., Estes, J., Gancos-Crawford, T. M, Peavey, L., & Read, A. J. (2011). Managing for extinction? Conflicting conservation objectives in a large marine reserve. Conservation Letters, 4(6), 417-422. doi:10.1111/j.1755-263X.2011.00197.x. (link)

Gerber, L. R. (2011). What is conservation biology? Nature Education Knowledge, 1(10), 14. (link)

Gerber, L. R. & Gonzalez-Suarez, M. (2011). Population viability analysis: Origins and Contributions. Nature Education Knowledge, 1(11), 15. (link)

Hughes, Z. D., Fenichel, E. P., & Gerber, L. R. (2011). The potential impact of labor choices on the efficacy of marine conservation strategies. PLoS ONE, 6(8), e23722. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023722. (link)

French, S. S., Young, J. K., Gonzalez-Suarez, M., Durham, S., & Gerber, L. R. (2011). Human Disturbance Influences Reproductive Success and Growth Rate in California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus). PLoS ONE, 6(3), e17686. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017686. (link)

Underwood, J. G., Francis, J., & Gerber, L. R. (2011). Incorporating biodiversity conservation and recreational wildlife values into smart growth land use planning. Landscape and Urban Planning, 100, 136-143. doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2010.11.014. (link)


Chirakkal, H. & Gerber L. R., (2010). Short and long-term population response to changes in vital rates: Implications for population viability analysis. Ecological Applications, 20(3) 783-788. doi: 10.1890/09-0560.1. (link)

Wielgus, J., Balmford, A., Lewis, T., Mora, C., & Gerber, L. R. (2010). Coral reef quality and recreation fees in marine protected areas. Conservation Letters, 3, 38-44. doi:10.1111/j.1755-263X.2009.00084.x. (link)

Gerber, L. R., Young, J. K., Gonzalez-Suarez, M., Hernandez-Camacho, C. J., & Sabo, J. L. (2010). The cost of male aggression and polygyny in California sea lions (Zalophus californianus). PLoS ONE, 5(8), e12230. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0012230. (link)

Morissette, L., Kaschner K., & Gerber, L. R. (2010). ‘Whales eat fish’? Demystifying the myth in the Caribbean marine ecosystem. Fish and Fisheries, 11. 388-404. doi:10.1111/j.1467-2979.2010.00366.x. (link)

Green, D.S., Young, J. K., Hernandez-Camacho, C. J., & Gerber, L. R. (2010). Developing a non-invasive indicator of pinniped health: Neonate behavior and growth in California sea lions (Zalophus californianus). Ciencias Marinas, 36(3), 311-321. (link)

González-Suárez, M., Aurioles-Gamboa D., & Gerber L. R. (2010). Past exploitation of California sea lions did not lead to a genetic bottleneck in the Gulf of California. Ciencias Marinas, 36(3), 199-211. (link)

Ward, E., Chirakkal, H., Gonzalez-Suarez, M., Aurioles-Gamboa, D., Holmes E. E., & Gerber, L. R. (2010). Inferring spatial structure from time series data: Using multivariate state-space models to detect metapopulation structure of California sea lions in the Gulf of California, Mexico. Journal of Applied Ecology, 47(1), 1365-2664. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2664.2009.01745.x. (link)

Morissette, L., Kaschner, K., & Gerber, L. R. (2010). Ecosystem models clarify the trophic role of whales off Northwest Africa. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 404, 289-302. doi.org/10.3354/meps08443. (link)

Underwood, J., D’Agrosa, C., & Gerber, L. R. (2010). Identifying conservation areas on the basis of alternative distribution data sets. Conservation Biology, 24(1), 162-170. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01303.x. (link)

Flatz, R. & Gerber, L. R. (2010). First evidence for adoption in California sea lions. PLoS ONE, 5(11), e13873. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0013873. (link)

2009 (maternity leave spring 2009)

Stamieszkin, K., Wielgus, J., & Gerber, L. R. (2009). Management of a marine protected area for sustainability and conflict resolution: Lessons from Loreto Bay National Park (Baja California Sur, Mexico). Ocean and Coastal Management, 52(9), 449-458. doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2009.07.006. (link)

Wielgus, J., Gerber, L. R., Sala, E., & Bennett, J. (2009). Including risk in stated-preference economic valuations: Experiments on choices for marine recreation. Environmental and Resource Economics, 90(11), 3401-3409. doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2009.05.010. (link)

Holcomb, K., Young, J., & Gerber, L. R. (2009). The influence of human disturbance on the behavior of California sea lions during the breeding season. Animal Conservation, 12, 592–598. doi:10.1111/j.1469-1795.2009.00290.x. (link)

González-Suárez, M., Flatz, R., Aurioles-Gamboa, D., Hedrick, P. W., & Gerber, L. R. (2009). Isolation by distance among California sea lion populations in Mexico: Redefining management stocks. Molecular Ecology, 18, 1088-1099. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2009.04093.x. (link)

Gerber, L. R., Morissette, L., Kaschner, K., & Pauly, D. (2009). Should whales be culled to increase fishery yield? Science, 323, 880-881. doi:10.1126/science.1169981. (link)


Wielgus, J., Gonzalez-Suarez, M., Aurioles-Gamboa, D., & Gerber, L. R. (2008). A non-invasive demographic assessment of sea lions based on stage-specific abundances. Ecological Applications, 18(5), 1287-1296. doi:10.1890/07-0892.1. (link)

González-Suárez, M. & Gerber, L. R. (2008). A behaviorally explicit demographic model integrating habitat selection and population dynamics in California sea lions. Conservation Biology, 22(6), 1608-1616. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.00995.x. (link)

Jacobs, D. F., Young, J. K., Hernandez-Camacho, C. J., & Gerber, L. R. (2008). Determinants of outcomes of agonistic interactions among male California sea lions (Zalophus californianus). Journal of Mammalogy, 89(5), 1212–1217. (link)

Gonzalez-Suarez, M. & Gerber, L. R. (2008). Habitat preferences of California sea lions: Implications for conservation. Journal of Mammalogy, 89(6), 1521-1528. (link)

Young, J. K., Gonzalez-Suarez, M., & Gerber, L. R. (2008). Determinants of agonistic interactions in California sea lions. Behavior, 145. 1797-1810. (link)

Wielgus, J., Sala, E., & Gerber, L. R. (2008). Assessing the ecological and economic benefits of a no-take marine reserve. Ecological Economics, 67, 32-40. doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2008.04.019. (link)

Hernandez-Camacho, C. J., Aurioles-Gamboa, D., Laake J., & Gerber, L. R. (2008). Survival rates of the California sea lion, Zalophus californianus, in Mexico. Journal of Mammalogy, 89(4), 1059-1066. doi.org/10.1644/07-MAMM-A-404.1. (link)

Robertson, K. L., Runcorn, C. W., Young, J. K., and Gerber, L. R. (2008). Spatial and temporal patterns of territory use of male California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) in the Gulf of California, Mexico. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 86, 237-244. doi.org/10.1139/cjz-2013-0099. (link)

Hernandez-Camacho, C.J., Aurioles-Gamboa, D., & Gerber, L. R. (2008). Age-specific birth rates of California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) in the Gulf of California, Mexico. Marine Mammal Science, 24(3), 664-676. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-7692.2008.00199.x. (link)

Underwood, J. G., Hernandez-Camacho, C. J., & Gerber, L. R. (2008). Estimating sustainable bycatch rates for California sea lion populations in the Gulf of California. Conservation Biology, 23, 1523-1739. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.00919.x. (link)

Young, J. K. & Gerber, L. R. (2008). The influence of social composition on reproductive behavior of territorial male California sea lions. Aquatic Mammals, 34(1), 103-110. doi: 10.1578/AM.34.1.2008.102. (link)

Rowell, K., Flessa, K. W., Dettman, D. L., Roman, M. J., Finlay, L. T., & Gerber, L. R. (2008). Diverting the Colorado River leads to a dramatic life history shift in an endangered marine fish. Biological Conservation, 141, 1138-1148. doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2008.02.013. (link)


Gerber, L. R., Wielgus, J., & Sala, E. (2007). A decision framework for the adaptive management of an exploited species with implications for marine reserves. Conservation Biology, 21(6), 1594-1602. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2007.00824.x. (link)

Ward, E., Hilborn, R., Towell, R., & Gerber, L. R. (2007). A state-space mixture approach for estimating catastrophic events in time series data. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 64, 899-910. (link)

Gerber, L. R., Keller, A. C., & DeMaster, D. P. (2007). Ten thousand and increasing: Is the western Arctic population of bowhead whale endangered? Biological Conservation, 137, 577-583. doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2007.03.024. (link)

Wielgus J., Ballantyne, F., Sala, E., & Gerber, L. R. (2007). Viability analysis of reef fish populations based on limited demographic information. Conservation Biology, 212, 447-454. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2006.00644.x. (link)

Young, J. K., Gerber, L. R., D’Agrosa, C., Hilborn, R., Hopcraft, G., & Arcese, P. (2007). Wildlife population increases in Serengeti National Park. Science, 315(5820), 1790-1791.doi:10.1126/science.315.5820.1790b. (link)

Gaines, S. D., Gaylord, B., Gerber, L. R., Hastings, A., & Kinlan, B. (2007). Connecting places: The ecological consequences of dispersal in the sea. Oceanography, 20(3), 90-99. doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2007.32. (link)

Young, J. K., Hernandez, C. J., & Gerber, L. R. (2007). Long-distance movement of a pinniped neonate. Marine Mammal Science, 23(4), 926-930. doi:10.1111/j.1748-7692.2007.00138.x. (link)


Gerber, L. R. (2006). Including behavioral data in demographic models improves estimates of population viability. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 4(8), 419-427. doi:10.1890/1540-9295(2006)4[419:IBDIDM]2.0.CO;2. (link)

Zacharias, M. A., Gerber, L. R., & Hyrenbach, K. D. (2006). Review of the Southern Ocean Sanctuary: Marine protected areas in the context of the International Whaling Commission Sanctuary Programme. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management, 8(1), 12-25. (link)

Gonzalez-Suarez, M., McCluney, K.E., Aurioles, D., & Gerber, L. R. (2006). Incorporating uncertainty in spatial structure for viability predictions: A case study of California sea lions (Zalophus californianus). Animal Conservation, 6, 219-227. doi:10.1111/j.1469-1795.2006.00022.x. (link)

2005 (maternity leave spring 2005)

Gerber, L. R., Hyrenbach, D., & Zacharias, M. A. (2005). Do the world’s largest protected areas conserve whales or whalers? Science, 307(5709), 525-526. doi:10.1126/science.1106120. (link)

Gerber, L. R., Beger, M., McCarthy, M. A., & Possingham, H. P. (2005). A theory for optimal monitoring of marine reserves. Ecology Letters, 8(8), 829-83. doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2005.00784.x. (link)

Gerber, L. R., Lafferty, K. D., McCallum, H., Sabo, J. L., & Dobson, A. (2005). Exposing extinction risk analysis to pathogens: Is disease just another form of density dependence? Ecological Applications, 15(4), 1402-1414. doi:10.1890/04-0880. (link)

Papastavrou, V., Leaper, R., Gerber, L. R., Hyrenback, K. D., & Zacharias, M. A. (2005). Debating whale sanctuaries. Science, 309(5731), 51-52. doi:10.1126/science.309.5731.51e.  (link)

McCallum, H., Gerber, L. R., & Jani, A. (2005). Does infectious disease influence the efficacy of marine protected areas? A theoretical framework. Journal of Applied Ecology, 42(4), 688-698. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2664.2005.01043.x. (link)

Green, J. L., Hastings, A., Arzberger, P., Ayala, F. J., Cottingham, K. L., Cuddington, K., Davis, F., Dunne, J. A., Fortin, M., Gerber, L. R., & Neubert, M. (2005). Complexity in ecology and conservation: Mathematical, statistical, and computational challenges. BioScience, 55, 6. doi.org/10.1641/0006-3568(2005)055[0501:CIEACM]2.0.CO;2.  (link)


Gerber, L. R., Buenau, K. E., & VanBlaricom, G. (2004). Density dependence and risk of extinction in a small population of sea otters. Biodiversity and Conservation, 13, 2741-2757. doi.org/10.1007/s10531-004-2146-1. (link)

Harvell, D., Aronson, R., Baron, N., Connell, J., Dobson, A., Ellner, S., Gerber, L., Kim, K., Kuris, A., McCallum, H., Lafferty, K., McKay, B., Porter, J., Pascual, M., Smith, G., Sutherland, K., & Ward, J. (2004). The rising tide of ocean diseases: Unsolved problems and research priorities. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 2(7), 375-382. doi:10.1890/1540-9295(2004)002[0375:TRTOOD]2.0.CO;2. (link)

Gerber, L. R., Tinker, M. T., Doak, D. F., Estes, J. A., & Jessup, D. A. (2004). Mortality sensitivity in life-stage simulation analysis: A case study of Southern sea otters. Ecological Applications, 14(5), 1554-1565. doi: 10.1890/03-5006. (link)

Gerber, L. R. & Heppell, S. S. (2004). The use of demographic sensitivity analysis in marine species conservation planning. Biological Conservation, 120, 121-128. doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2004.01.029. (link)

Hooker, S. K. & Gerber, L. R. (2004). Marine reserves as a tool for ecosystem-based management: The potential importance of megafauna. BioScience, 54(1), 29-41. doi.org/10.1641/0006-3568(2004)054[0027:MRAATF]2.0.CO;2. (link)

Micheli, F., Amarasekare, P., Bascompte, P., & Gerber, L. R. (2004). Including species interactions in the design and evaluation of marine reserves: Some insights from a predator-prey model. Bulletin of Marine Science, 74(3), 653-669. (link)

Keller, A. C. & Gerber, L. R. (2004). Monitoring and the Endangered Species Act: Revisiting the Eastern North Pacific gray whale. Endangered Species Update, 20(1), 87-92.  (link)

Gerber, L. R., Reichman, O. J., & Roughgarden, J. (2004). Food hoarding: future value in optimal foraging decisions. Ecological Modeling, 175, 77-85. doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2003.10.022. (link)


Gerber, L. R., Seabloom, E. W., Burton, R.S., & Reichman, O.J. (2003). Translocation of an imperiled species: Integrating spatial and habitat patterns. Animal Conservation, 6, 309-316. doi:10.1017/S136794300300338X. (link)

Buenau, K. E. & Gerber, L. R. (2003). Developing recovery and monitoring strategies for the endemic Mount Graham red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus grahamensis) in Arizona. Animal Conservation, 7, 1-6. (link)

Gerber, L. R. (2003). Delisting of species under the Endangered Species Act. Conservation Biology, 17(3), 651-652. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1739.2003.02110.x. (link)

Shelden, K. E, Rugh, D. J., DeMaster, D. P., & Gerber, L. R. (2003). Evaluation of bowhead whale status: Reply to Taylor. Conservation Biology, 17(3), 918-920. doi:10.1046/j.1523-1739.2003.03003.x. (link)

Gerber, L. R., Botsford, L. W., Hastings, A., Possingham, H. P., Gaines, S. D., Palumbi, S. R., & Andelman, S. (2003). Population models for marine reserve design: A retrospective and prospective synthesis. Ecological Applications, 13, 47-64. doi:10.1890/1051-0761(2003)013[0047:PMFMRD]2.0.CO;2. (link)


Gerber, L. R. & Hatch, L. T. (2002). Are we recovering? An evaluation of recovery criteria under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Ecological Applications, 12(3), 668-673. doi:10.2307/3060976. (link)

Schultz, C. B. & Gerber, L. R. (2002). Are recovery plans improving with practice? Ecological Applications, 12(3), 641-647. doi:10.1890/1051-0761(2002)012[0641:ARPIWP]2.0.CO;2. (link)

Gerber, L. R., Kareiva, P. M., & Bascompte, J. (2002). The influence of life history attributes and fishing pressure on the efficacy of marine reserves. Biological Conservation, 106(1), 11-18. doi.org/10.1016/S0006-3207(01)00224-5. (link)

Lafferty, K. D. & Gerber, L. R. (2002). Good medicine for conservation biology: The intersection of epidemiology and conservation theory. Conservation Biology, 16(3), 1-12. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1739.2002.00446.x. (link)


Gerber, L. R. & VanBlaricom, G. R. (2001). Implications of three viability models for the conservation status of the Western Population of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus). Biological Conservation, 102(3), 261-269. doi.org/10.1016/S0006-3207(01)00104-5. (link)

Gerber, L. R. & Schultz, C. B. (2001). Authorship and the use of biological information in Endangered Species Act recovery plans. Conservation Biology, 15(5), 1308-1314. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2001.00110.x. (link)

Gerber, L. R. (2001). Conservation biology of cetaceans in marine communities of Baja California: Science or advocacy? Global Ecology and Biogeography, 10(3), 335-336. doi:10.1046/j.1466-822X.2001.00171-8.x. (link)

Gerber, L. R. & Hilborn, R. (2001). Catastrophic events and recovery from low densities in populations of otariids: Implications for risk of extinction. Mammal Review, 31(2), 131-150. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2907.2001.00081.x. (link)


Gerber, L. R. (2000). Science and sentimentality. American Scientist, 88(6), 477-478.

Gerber, L. R., DeMaster, D. P., & Roberts, S. P. (2000). Measuring success in conservation. American Scientist, 88(4), 316-324. (link)


Gerber, L. R. & DeMaster, D. P. (1999). A quantitative approach to Endangered Species Act classification of long-lived vertebrates: Application to the North Pacific humpback whale. Conservation Biology, 13(5), 1203-1214. doi:10.1046/j.1523-1739.1999.98466.x. (link)

Gerber, L. R., DeMaster, D. P., & Kareiva, P. M. (1999). Gray whales and the value of monitoring data in implementing the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Conservation Biology. 13(5), 1215-1219. (link)

Gerber, L. R., Wooster, W. S., DeMaster, D. P., & VanBlaricom, G. R. (1999). Marine mammals: New objectives in U.S. fishery management. Reviews in Fishery Science, 7(1), 23-28. doi.org/10.1080/10641269991319180. (link)


Gerber, L. R. (1998). Seeking a rational approach to setting conservation priorities for marine mammals. Integrative Biology, 1, 90-98. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1520-6602(1998)1:3<90::AID-INBI3>3.0.CO;2-Q. (link)


Norse, E. N. & Gerber, L. R. (1993). A global strategy for preserving biological diversity in the sea. Diversity, 9(3), 40-44. (link)

Book Chapters and Encyclopedia Articles


Mancha-Cisneros, M. & Gerber, L. R. (2015). Guiding principles for green economic development in the marine environment: Insights from small-scale fisheries. In Gasparatos and Willis, Biodiversity in the Green Economy. Routledge.


Hernandez, C. & Gerber, L. R. (2012). Sea lions. World Book Encyclopedia. World Book.

VanBlaricom, G. R., Gerber, L. R., & Brownell Jr., R. L. (2012). The Past, Present and Future of Marine Mammals. In: S.A. Levin (editor). Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, Volume 4. Academic Press, San Diego.

Gerber, L. R., Gancos, T. N., & Halpern, B. (2012). Marine reserves and ecosystem-based management: Nested approaches for marine conservation. In A. Hastings and L. Gross, editors. Sourcebook in Theoretical Ecology. University of California Press.


Morissette, L., Melgo, J. L., Kaschner, K., & Gerber, L. R. (2009). Modelling the Trophic Role of Marine Mammals in Tropical Areas:  Data requirements, uncertainty, and validation. UBC Fisheries Center Research Reports, 17(2), 120 pp.


D’Agrosa, C., Gerber, L. R., Sala, E., Wielgus, J., & Ballantyne IV, F. (2007). Navigating Uncertain Seas: Adaptive monitoring and management of Marine Protected Areas. 32 pp.


Szteren, D., Aurioles D., & Gerber, L. R. (2006). Population status and trends of the California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) in the Gulf of California, México. In: Trites, A., Atkinson, S., DeMaster, D., Fritz, L., Gelatt, T., Rea, L., & Wynne, K. (Eds.), Sea Lions of the World: Conservation and Research in the 21st Century. Alaska Sea Grant College Program, University of Alaska Fairbanks


Gerber, L. R. (2004). Biological uncertainty and extinction risk for Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) In: R.A. Akcakaya (Ed.), Developing models for conservation and management using RAMAS GIS. Island Press, Washington, DC.


Sabo, J. S. & L. R. Gerber. (2001). Trophic Ecology. In: McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York.


VanBlaricom, G. R., Gerber, L. R., & Brownell Jr., L. R. (2000). Extinctions of marine mammals. Pages 37-69 In: S.A. Levin (editor). Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, Volume 4. Academic Press, San Diego.


Gerber, L. R. (1999). Marine Conservation and Marine Reserves In: McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, ISBN 0-07-052771-7.

Morris, W., Doak, D., Groom, M., Kareiva, P., Fieberg, J., Gerber, L. R., Murphy, P., & Thomson, D. (1999). A practical handbook for population viability analysis. The Nature Conservancy, ISBN: 0-9624590-4-6. 133 pp.

Gerber, L. R. (1999). Scientific uncertainty and sentimentality: Extinctions & protective legislation of marine mammals In: International Cooperation in Science and Technology. Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, Inc. ISBN: 0-914446-13-4.

Conference Papers


Szteren, D., D. Aurioles and L. R. Gerber. 2006. Population status and trends of the California sea lion (Zalophus californianus californianus) in the Gulf of California, Mexico. Pp. 369-384 In: Trites, A. W., S. K. Atkinson, D. P. DeMaster, L. W. Fritz, T. S. Gelatt, L. D. Rea and K. M. Wynne eds., Sea Lions of the World. Sea Lions of the World: Conservation and Research in the 21st Century, 22nd Lowell Wakefield Fisheries Symposium. Anchorage, AK. (link )



Rudnick, D. A., S. J. Ryan, P. Beier, S. A. Cushman, F. Dieffenbach, C. W. Epps, L. R. Gerber, J. Hartter, J. S. Jenness, J. Kintsch, A. M. Merenlender, R. M. Perkl, D. V. Preziosi and S. C. Trombulak. 2012. The role of landscape connectivity in planning and implementing conservation and restoration priorities. Ecological Society of America. 16. (link )


Morissette, L., J. L. Melgo, K. Kaschner and L. R. Gerber. 2009. Modelling the trophic role of marine mammals in tropical areas: data requirements, uncertainty, and validation. Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia. Research Report Vol. 17, No. 2. (link )


D’Agrosa, C., L. R. Gerber, J. Wielgus and F. Ballantyne. 2007. Navigating uncertain seas: Adaptive monitoring and management of marine protected areas. School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University and Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, Scripps Institution of Oceanography. (link )


  • International Congress for Conservation Biology Workshop 202: Partnerships for conservation (2017)
  • Expanding diversity in the next generation of ecology: What works to recruit, matriculate, and retain disadvantaged youth in undergraduate degrees in ecological degree programs? (2016)
  • Developing decision tools to facilitate recovery planning under the Endangered Species Act,   National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center to develop new decision tools for recovery and spending decisions in endangered species conservation. (2014)
  • Escaping the Ivory tower, Symposium at annual AAAS meeting, Boston, Massachusetts. (2013)
  • “Integrating theory and data in marine science” Plenary Speaker at Western Society of Naturalists Meeting, Monterey, California. (2013)
  • “’All You Need to Know is…: Advice from Theorists on Managing Ecosystems in a Changing Climate”, Symposium at the 2010 Ecological Society of American meeting in Pittsburg, PA. (2011)

Public work

National and International

  • Red List Committee, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (2016-present)
  • Co-director, ASU-Conservation International Knowledge Partnership (2016-present)
  • Reducing Ocean Waste Task Force, World Business Council on Sustainable Development (2016-present)
  • Lead Author, Global Assessment, Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (2016-present)
  • Knowledge Partner Liaison Delegate, World Business Council on Sustainable Development (2016-present)
  • External Reviewer, Scientific Committee, International Whaling Commission (2016)
  • Lenfest Ecosystem Based Fishery Management Task Force member, Pew Charitable Trusts (2015-7)
  • Nominating Committee, Indianapolis Prize, Indianapolis Zoo (2015-)
  • External Review Panel, NMFS Endangered Species Program, NOAA (2015)
  • Member at large, Ecological Society of America’s Board of Governors (2014-6)
  • Editorial Board, Conservation Biology (2013)
  • Antarctic Ecosystems Review Panel, NSF (2012)
  • Development Committee, Ecological Society of America (2012)
  • Chair, NMFS shark predation management review panel, Center for Independent Experts (2012)
  • Chair, Review Panel, Hawaiian monk seal translocation plan, NMFS (2011)
  • Editorial Board, ISRN Ecology (2011)
  • Editorial Board, Conservation Letters (2007)
  • Ocean Science Review Panel, NSF (2007)
  • Advisory Panel for NSF CAREER program (2006)
  • Editorial Board, Conservation Biology (2003-8)
  • Editorial Board, Endangered Species Research (2004-9)
  • Recovery Team Member and Plan co-author, White Abalone Recovery Team (2002-7)
  • Recovery Team Member, Mount Graham Red Squirrel Recovery Team (2002-present)
  • Reviewer, President’s Panel on Ocean Exploration, NOAA (2002)
  • Advisory Panel Member, Abalone Recovery and Management Team (2002)
    • Policy Committee, Society for Conservation Biology Board of Governors
    • Science Chair, Marine Section of the Society for Conservation Biology
    • Member-at-Large, Society for Marine Mammalogy Board of Governors
  • Reviewer, Ecology and Biological Oceanography Panels, National Science Foundation (2003)

Regional and ASU

  • President’s Council on Women in Leadership, ASU (2015-)
  • Founding Director, Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, ASU (2014-)
  • Coordinator, Hugh Hanson Ecology Seminar Series, ASU (2012)
  • Director, Environmental Leadership and Communications Certificate, ASU (2012-)
  • Research and Training Initiatives Committee, School of Life Sciences, ASU (2011-)
  • Advisory Board for the Ecosystem Conservation and Resilience Initiative, ASU (2011-)
  • Personnel committee, School of Life Sciences, ASU (2007-9)
  • Undergraduate Programs Committee, School of Sustainability, ASU (2007-9)
  • Review committee, School of Life Sciences Undergraduate Research Program, ASU (2006-9)
  • Honors Disciplinary Faculty, Barrett Honors College, ASU (2005-)
  • Research Coordination Network for the Colorado Delta Region, NSF (2004-7)
  • Co-director, Undergraduate Conservation Biology Program, Arizona State University (2002-)
  • Undergraduate Programs Committee, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University (2003-6)

Assistant Research Professor Samantha ChengSamantha Cheng

Assistant Research Professor

Click here to visit Cheng Lab’s website.

BA Scripps College, Claremont, CA
PhD University of California-Los Angeles



My research agenda revolves around understanding the process of using scientific evidence in conservation planning and decision-making. I take a multi-disciplinary approach to this broad question by systematically examining the role of evidence, methodology, interactions, and stakeholders to determine effective pathways from information to action to outcome. As part of this, I am specifically interested in the role that data science and technology can play in improving the use of evidence in conservation (for example, see ongoing initiatives: the Evidence for Nature and People Data Portal and Colandr). Topically, I am interested in understanding links between conservation and human well-being, particularly in marine ecosystems. I am also interested in understanding the role and contribution of molecular ecology studies and genetics data for informing marine conservation planning (e.g. seafood identification, fisheries stock delineation, population genetics).

Research Interests

  • Evidence synthesis for decision-making in conservation and environmental management
  • Role of data visualization and technology for finding and using evidence
  • Links between conservation actions and human well-being
  • Impact evaluation
  • Utilizing molecular ecology and genetics for marine management and biodiversity protection
  • Diversification processes in marine ecosystems

Curriculum Vitae

ASU Professor Beth PolidoroBeth Polidoro

Assistant Professor
School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences
School of Life Sciences

Senior Sustainability Scientist
Sustainability Scientists and Scholars

Click here to visit Polidoro Lab’s website.

My primary research interests are in risk assessment and applied toxicology within the context of marine and freshwater biodiversity conservation, human health and sustainable development. I am an assistant professor of Aquatic Conservation and Environmental Chemistry at ASU’s West campus and also serve as the Deputy Director of ASU’s Center for Biodiversity Outcomes. I am also Co-Chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Marine Fishes Specialist Group.

I have a broad background in the marine, chemical and environmental sciences. Before coming to ASU in 2012, I was a senior research associate with IUCN, where I worked with scientists around the globe to quantify the impacts of anthropogenic threats on more than 20,000 marine species for inclusion on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Currently, my research supports various marine and freshwater conservation initiatives and risk assessments in the United States, Latin America, Africa and Oceania. My current research projects involve the development of ecological risk assessments for microplastics in aquatic environments, pollution vulnerability indices for marine biodiversity and new methodologies to assess marine biodiversity extinction risk across the globe. I also have a long-term monitoring project for pollutants in aquatic resources and recreationally-caught fishes in metro-Phoenix.

Research interests
Marine and freshwater toxicology
Ecological and public health risk assessment
Marine conservation biology
Endangered species recovery
Decision science