Research, Outreach, & Assessment Specialist, Climate Assessment for the Southwest
Ben McMahan joined CLIMAS in June of 2014 as a Research, Outreach, and Assessment Specialist after completing a PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of Arizona. His dissertation research was on hurricanes and disaster on the U.S. Gulf Coast, where he focused on human interactions in a dynamic social and environmental context, risk perception and landscape changes during and after disaster, and social network and policy responses to governance issues related to the acute threats of disaster; as they layer onto long term environmental issues and landscape scale changes. He also worked extensively on Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology (BARA) collaborative/trans-disciplinary research on the social, economic, and environmental impacts of the US Oil and Gas industry, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
At CLIMAS, his research activities include tracing how climate information is incorporated into regional decision maker networks, CLIMAS team research on the risks and effects of climate extremes, and collaborative research on the effects of climate variability on phenology and temporality of native plants in the region. His outreach activities include coordinating publication of the monthly Southwest Climate Outlook, producing the Southwest Climate Podcasts, serving as online editor for CLIMAS’ blog - Southwestern Oscillations, and working to expand collaborative research opportunities and outreach efforts at CLIMAS. His assessment activities include assistance in monitoring the effectiveness and reach of CLIMAS research projects and outreach activities, and applying this information during science/strategic planning with the CLIMAS team, in order to prioritize future research and outreach directions.