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Dr. Benjamin Ahlswede

PHD FELLOW ALUMNI  |   Global Change Center

VT Alumni April 2021,  Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

Advisor: Dr. Quinn Thomas

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While working on his dissertation, Ben was interested in the interactions of terrestrial ecosystems and the climate system, and how the terrestrial carbon sink will change in the future. He worked with observational data from eddy flux towers and satellites, such as LANDSAT, and used the Community Earth System Model (CESM) to simulate large scale experiments on a global scale.

Before completing his Bachelors, Ben spent several years working for Outward Bound, taking students of all ages on backpacking, canoeing and rock climbing trips from 5 to 30 days in length. He continued to introduce people to the outdoors as he completed his bachelors at Shippensburg University in Ecology and Environmental Biology. While there, he researched the behavior of adult Ambystomatid salamanders.

Ben came to Virginia Tech as a Masters student in the forestry department. He studied the effects of land-use and land cover change on the energy balance at the land surface. He specifically focused on how forests in temperate North America affect surface temperatures.

After graduating with his PhD degree, Ben worked as a postdoctoral researcher with the University of Illinois, Chicago, where he studied how terrestrial ecosystems affect and are affected by the atmosphere across scales using eddy covariance and global climate models. In 2023, Ben accepted a new position as a Research Assistant Professor in the department of meteorology at Penn State University.

In his free time, Ben enjoys hiking, running and backpacking. He successfully completed a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2012 before starting his graduate studies. He is also a founding member of the Blue Ridge Orienteering Club and is working to bring orienteering to Southwestern Virginia.

Last updated April 2023.