Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Kelton McMahon
Kelton McMahon's photoKelton McMahon
Guest Investigator

Contact Information:
Work: 508 289 3966
Building: Marine Research Facility 217

Mailing Address:
Mailstop 50
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Woods Hole, MA 02543

Research Interests
I am interested in building a quantitative, mechanistic understanding of the processes that affect the reciprocal relationship between the modifying actions of humans on coastal ecosystem and the goods and services those systems provide to humans. I am broadly interested in how trophic dynamics and movement ecology establish links among humans, animals, plants, microbes, and the environment. I approach coastal ecology and sustainability from a holistic, systems perspective, working along a continuum from individual nutritional ecology to population/community dynamics up through entire ecosystem food web structure. My research uses a multidisciplinary approach that combines cutting-edge analytical tools, such as compound-specific stable isotope analysis (CSIA) and advanced statistical modeling, with traditional ecological approaches to examine ecosystem function, resilience, and sustainability. My research is highly collaborative, engaging partnerships across academia, local/regional governance, and invested stakeholders to enhance both our research capacity, and the effectiveness of coastal management. My research program is firmly rooted in fundamental ecological theory, but extends beyond the ecological questions to the applied management and practical decision-making needed to resolve current and emerging coastal ocean challenges. My research provides critical scientific support for the design and evaluation of ecosystem-based management policies necessary for the successful long-term management and conservation of coastal socio-ecological systems.


2013-present: Postdoctoral fellow: Department of Ocean Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA. USA. Supervisors: Dr. Mathew McCarthy and Dr. Thomas Guilderson, Project: Reconstructing decadal to century scale shifts in North Pacific Ocean phytoplankton community dynamics from δ13C compound-specific stable isotope analysis of long-lived deep-sea corals. 2011-2012: Postdoctoral Scholar: Red Sea Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Department of Biology, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, USA. Supervisors: Dr. Michael Berumen and Dr. Simon R. Thorrold. Project: Examining the underlying mechanisms for food web architecture in coral reef seascapes using compound-specific stable isotope analysis

2005-2011: Ph.D. (Biological Oceanography) Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Oceanography: Applied Ocean Science and Engineering. Advisor: Dr. Simon R. Thorrold. Dissertation Title: “Functional connectivity of coral reef fishes in a tropical seascape assessed by compound-specific stable isotope analyses.”

2001-2005: B.Sc. (Biology) Bates College, Summa Cum Laude. Advisors: Dr. William Ambrose Jr. (Biology) and Dr. Beverly Johnson (Geology). Honors Thesis Title: “The impact of a changing food supply on Arctic benthos: Digestibility of ice algae and phytoplankton”

Coral Reefs, vol. 30 (2011): Best paper award finalist Best Student Paper Award (2009) 4thInternational Otolith Symposium

Sally Richardson Best Student Paper Award (2009) 33rd Annual Larval Fish Conference

International Society for Reef Studies/Ocean Conservancy Coral Reef Research Fellowship (2008) Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2006-2009) Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Ocean Life Fellowship (2005-2006) Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution 

Graduate Council Fellowship (2005); Offer Declined

Presidential Award (2005; Offer Declined) 

Summa Cum Laude (2005)Bates College

Inducted to Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society (2005) 

Howard Hughes Summer Fellowship (2004-2005) Bates College

Dean’s Honors List (2001-2005)Bates College: (8 consecutive semesters) 

Arthur Crafts Award (2001)Bates College

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