Chouly Ou, Ph.D.


Associate Lecturer


Ph.D. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences
Texas A&M University (TX, USA)

M.Sc. in Natural Resources Management
Asian Institute of Technology (Thailand)

B.Sc. in Biology
Royal University of Phnom Penh (Cambodia)


SFS 3800 Conservation Science and Practice
(The School for Field Studies)

SFS 4910 Directed Research
(The School for Field Studies)

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Faculty Profile

After obtaining an undergraduate degree in Biology in Cambodia, I worked on research focusing on community-based management of the Tonle Sap Lake fishery. That experience led me to pursue a Master’s in Natural Resources Management in Thailand, where I returned to the lake to study factors affecting success of community-based conservation projects focusing on ecotourism, fishery management, and bird conservation. I then returned to Cambodia to teach at the Department of Environmental Science at my alma mater and worked as a biodiversity monitoring expert at a local conservation organization, traveling to remote parts of Cambodia to monitor and evaluate status and threats to a number of wildlife species. In 2008 I received a Fulbright fellowship to pursue a Ph.D. in the United States where I focused my research on fisheries ecology of the Mekong River and its tributaries in northeastern Cambodia. I joined SFS Cambodia as a resident lecturer from 2014-2016 teaching Conservation Science and leading Directed Research projects concerning ecology and conservation of the Tonle Sap Lake. I worked closely with local partners such as the Ministry of Environment and Wildlife Conservation Society to document fish diversity and to investigate the ecology of the lake in order to establish baseline data for conservation plans for the ecosystem. I am excited to return to SFS Cambodia program this Fall 2020 to lead Directed Research on the Tonle Sap Lake.

Academics & Research

Areas of Expertise

  • Tropical freshwater ecology
  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Community-based natural resources management
  • Hydropower development

Professional Affiliations

  • Cambodian Journal of Natural History (Editorial Board Member, 2018-present)
  • Virginia Tech (Associate Research Scientist, 2017-present)
  • Cambodian Journal of Natural History (Reviewer, 2015-present)
  • Society for Conservation Biology (Member, 2016-present)
  • Ecological Society of America (Member, 2013-present)


Montaña, C.G., C. Ou, F.W. Keppeler, & K.O. Winemiller. 2020. Functional and trophic diversity of fishes in the Mekong-3S river system: comparison of morphological and isotopic patterns. Environmental Biology of Fishes 103: 185-200.
Ou, C., C. G. Montaña., & K. O. Winemiller. 2017. Body size–trophic position relationships among fishes of the Lower Mekong Basin. Royal Society Open Science 4: 160645.
Ou, C. & K.O. Winemiller. 2016. Seasonal hydrology and shifts in production sources supporting fishes in the Lower Mekong River Basin. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science 73: 1-21.
Winemiller, K.O., P. B. McIntyre, L. Castello, E. Fluet-Chouinard, T. Giarrizzo, S. Nam, I. G. Baird, W. Darwall, N. K. Lujan, I. Harrison, M. L. J. Stiassny, R. A. M. Silvano, D. B. Fitzgerald, F. M. Pelicice, A. A. Agostinho, L. C. Gomes, J. S. Albert, E. Baran, M. Petrere Jr., C. Zarfl, M. Mulligan, J. P. Sullivan, C. C. Arantes, L. M. Sousa, A. A. Koning, D. J. Hoeinghaus, M. Sabaj, J. G. Lundberg, J. Armbruster, M. L. Thieme, P. Petry, J. Zuanon, G. Torrente Vilara, J. Snoeks, C. Ou, W. Rainboth, C. S. Pavanelli, A. Akama, A. van Soesbergen, and L. Sáenz. 2016. Balancing hydropower and biodiversity in the Amazon, Congo, and Mekong. Science 351 (6269): 128-129.
Cooperman, M. S., N. So, M. Arias, T. A. Cochrane, V. Elliott, T. Hand, L. Hannah, G. W. Holtgrieve, L. Kaufman, A. Koening, J. Koponen, V. Kum, K. S. McCann, P. B. McIntyre, B. Min, C. Ou, N. Rooney, K. Rose, J. L. Sabo & K. O. Winemiller. 2012. A watershed moment for the Mekong: newly announced community use and conservation areas for the Tonle Sap Lake may boost sustainability of the world’s largest inland fishery. Cambodian Journal of Natural History 2: 101-106.
Ou, C., C.G. Montana, K. O. Winemiller & K.W. Conway. 2011. Schistura diminuta, a new miniature loach from the Mekong River drainage of Cambodia (Teleostei: Nemacheilidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters 22 (3):193-200.

Selected Grants and Awards

The School for Field Studies, 2015
BirdLife International, 2012-2013
Conservation Leadership Program, 2011-2012


“Floodplain river food web in the Lower Mekong Basin”. American Fisheries Society- Virginia Tech Chapter. Invited Speaker. Blacksburg, VA. March 2018.
“Body size and trophic position in tropical river food webs”. The Ecological Society of America, Baltimore, MD. August 2015.
“Fishes and food security in the Mekong River: a preview of life after the new dams”. Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, Phnom Penh. April 2015.
“Seasonal hydrology drives shifts in production sources supporting fishes in the Lower Mekong.” The Ecological Society of America, Minneapolis, MN. August 2013.
“Trophic structure of fish assemblages in the Mekong River and its tributaries”. The Ecological Integration Symposium, College Station, TX. March 2012.
“Production sources and trophic positions of fish assemblages in the Mekong River and its tributaries”. The Ecological Integration Symposium, College Station, TX. March 2011.
“Using stable isotopes to reveal food web structure in the Mekong River and its tributaries”. The Texas Chapter of American Fisheries Society, San Marcos, TX. February 2011.
“Fish diversity in the Lower Mekong River Basin”. The American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Providence, RI. July 2010.
“Prospects for community-based conservation in Cambodia”. The International Symposium on Society and Resource Management. Corpus Christi, TX. June 2010.
“Sustainability of the Tonle Sap community-based conservation”. Departmental seminar. Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, TX. October 2008.
“Perception of local people on participation in biodiversity conservation in Cambodia”. USEPAM Regional Conference, Hanoi. March 2007.
“Factors influencing local participation in community-based conservation in Prek Toal”. National Conference Series, Phnom Penh. February 2007.