Kelton McMahon


Associate Professor, University of Rhode Island - Graduate School of Oceanography

Dr. Kelton McMahon is an Associate Progressor in the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography where runs the Ocean Ecogeochemistry lab. He and his lab develop a mechanistic understanding of how consumer-resource relationships build the food web architecture that supports ecosystem structure, function, and resilience, and how climate change and human-environment interactions (e.g., overfishing, eutrophication) alter those relationships. His approach draws upon expertise in ecology, oceanography, biochemistry, and geochemistry.  His research is centered on the development and application of compound-specific stable isotope analysis to understand resource utilization, trophic dynamics, and biogeochemical cycling. His research also explicitly builds research capacity, education, and use-inspired application through partnership with local, Indigenous communities for purposeful, place-based coproduction of knowledge. By quantifying the influence of food web architecture on marine ecosystem function, his lab provides scientific support to address current and emerging ocean challenges related to human-environment interactions. Dr. McMahon graduated with a B.S. in Biology from Bates College (Maine, USA) where he studied climate impacts on Arctic food web dynamics and a Ph.D in Biological Oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Oceanography (Massachusetts, USA) where he studied migration patterns of coral reef fishes from coastal wetlands in the Middle East. He completed postdoctoral fellowships at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology on coral reef food web dynamics and conservation and the University of California – Santa Cruz on stable isotope geochemistry and paleoceanography. He was an assistant research faculty at UC – Santa Cruz prior to joining the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography as an assistant professor and now associate professor with tenure.