Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Brief Bio

Cheryl is a NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) Fellow at the Goddard Space Flight Center working with Dr. Lola Fatoyinbo. She uses remote sensing to study how coastal salt marsh and mangrove ecosystems are responding to climate change. Her research interests lie at the intersection of coastal wetland ecology and remote sensing, where she seeks answers to questions about how these valuable ecosystems are changing using Earth observation data. 

For her MS in Biology from Villanova University, she studied how mangrove expansion into saltmarshes driven by a warming climate increased carbon storage and coastal protection in the wetlands surrounding NASA's Kennedy Space Center in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. For her PhD in Geography from UCLA, she used optical imagery from drones and satellites to map saltmarsh biomass and monitor the past 35 years of change in the urban, and SLR-threatened, wetlands of Southern California. During this project, she also worked directly with regional management efforts to develop a SLR response model to predict future habitat losses and provide quantifiable objectives for regional adaptation planning. 

Her current research focus is high-resolution mapping in dynamic, climate-sensitive ecotones where tropical mangroves meet temperate salt marshes in order to capture changes in mangrove extent and structure that have implications for Blue Carbon. The goals for her NPP project include high-resolution mapping of mangroves and saltmarshes in ecotones worldwide using WorldView and Sentinel data, detecting changes in mangrove extents and canopy heights and the implication to blue carbon, and finding hotspots of saltmarsh-mangrove ecotone change and determining the climatic factors driving it.

Current Projects

Elucidating changes and drivers to mangrove extents and heights at range limits for an improved global understanding of blue carbon

Vegetation & Soil


NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow

USRA - Goddard Space Flight Center

January 2021 - Present


PhD in Geography, University of California, Los Angeles CA

MS in Biology, Villanova University, Villanova PA

BS in Biology with Distinction and Honors, Temple University, Philadelphia PA

Selected Publications


Doughty, C. L., R. F. Ambrose, G. S. Okin, and K. C. Cavanaugh. 2021. Characterizing spatial variability in coastal wetland biomass across multiple scales using UAV and satellite imagery Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation [10.1002/rse2.198]

Stein, E. D., C. L. Doughty, J. Lowe, et al. M. Cooper, E. B. Sloane, and D. L. Bram. 2020. Establishing Targets for Regional Coastal Wetland Restoration Planning Using Historical Ecology and Future Scenario Analysis: The Past, Present, Future Approach Estuaries and Coasts 43 (2): 207-222 [10.1007/s12237-019-00681-4]

Cavanaugh, K. C., E. M. Dangremond, C. L. Doughty, et al. A. P. Williams, J. D. Parker, M. A. Hayes, W. Rodriguez, and I. C. Feller. 2019. Climate-driven regime shifts in a mangrove–salt marsh ecotone over the past 250 years Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116 (43): 21602-21608 [10.1073/pnas.1902181116]

Doughty, C., and K. Cavanaugh. 2019. Mapping Coastal Wetland Biomass from High Resolution Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Imagery Remote Sensing 11 (5): 540 [10.3390/rs11050540]

Doughty, C. L., K. C. Cavanaugh, R. F. Ambrose, and E. D. Stein. 2018. Evaluating regional resiliency of coastal wetlands to sea level rise through hypsometry‐based modeling Global Change Biology 25 (1): 78-92 [10.1111/gcb.14429]

Kelleway, J. J., K. Cavanaugh, K. Rogers, et al. I. C. Feller, E. Ens, C. Doughty, and N. Saintilan. 2017. Review of the ecosystem service implications of mangrove encroachment into salt marshes Global Change Biology 23 (10): 3967-3983 [10.1111/gcb.13727]

Doughty, C. L., K. C. Cavanaugh, C. R. Hall, I. C. Feller, and S. K. Chapman. 2017. Impacts of mangrove encroachment and mosquito impoundment management on coastal protection services Hydrobiologia 803 (1): 105-120 [10.1007/s10750-017-3225-0]

Doughty, C. L., J. A. Langley, W. S. Walker, et al. I. C. Feller, R. Schaub, and S. K. Chapman. 2015. Mangrove Range Expansion Rapidly Increases Coastal Wetland Carbon Storage Estuaries and Coasts 39 (2): 385-396 [10.1007/s12237-015-9993-8]

Quattrini, A. M., P. J. Etnoyer, C. Doughty, et al. L. English, R. Falco, N. Remon, M. Rittinghouse, and E. E. Cordes. 2014. A phylogenetic approach to octocoral community structure in the deep Gulf of Mexico Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography 99 92-102 [10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.05.027]

Doughty, C. L., A. M. Quattrini, and E. E. Cordes. 2014. Insights into the population dynamics of the deep-sea coral genus Paramuricea in the Gulf of Mexico Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography 99 71-82 [10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.05.023]


The Wetland Foundation Travel Grant, 2018

Santa Monica Bay Audubon Society Field Study Grant, 2017

Student Travel Award, Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation, 2015

USC Sea Grant Traineeship, University of Southern California, Dornsife, 2015 - 2017

Link Fellowship, Smithsonian Institution, 2014

Rachel Carson Memorial Award, Temple University, 2013

Teaching Experience

Teaching Assistant. Advanced Remote Sensing (GEOG 174). Spring 2020, UCLA

Teaching Assistant. World Vegetation (GEOG 108). Winter 2020, UCLA

Teaching Assistant. World Vegetation (GEOG 108). Winter 2019, UCLA

Mentor. Undergraduate Directed Study (GEOG 199). Spring 2018, UCLA

Teaching Assistant. People, Places & the Environment (GEOG 5). Spring 2017, UCLA

Teaching Assistant. People, Places & the Environment (GEOG 5). Fall 2016, UCLA

Teaching Assistant. General Biology I Lab (BIO 2102). Fall 2013, Villanova University

Teaching Assistant. General Biology II Lab (BIO 2104). Spring 2013, Villanova University

Professional Societies

Ecological Society of America

2013 - Present

Coastal & Estuarine Research Federation

2015 - Present