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Dr. Margaret Palmer joined the University of Maryland (UMD) in 1989 as an assistant professor in biology, where she is now a Distinguished University Professor. With a background in hydrology and ecology, Palmer has contributed to testing and extending fundamental theory in marine and stream ecosystems on the interactions between organisms, boundary layer flows and geomorphic processes. She is an international expert on the restoration of streams and rivers, and co-author of the book Foundations of Restoration Ecology. She has worked extensively on the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem processes, the biogeochemistry of streams and wetlands, and organism dispersal in aquatic ecosystems.
Palmer is also known for her work at the interface of water science and policy, having served as a technical advisor and innovator to help build solution-focused teams that solve problems with social, legal, policy and scientific aspects. As the Director of SESYNC, Palmer oversees collaborative, cross-disciplinary research groups that work to identify data-driven solutions to society’s most challenging and complex environmental problems and ultimately inform decision makers.
Palmer is a fellow of the Ecological Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has also participated as a fellow in the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program and the Lilly Fellows Program, and received the Award of Research Excellence from the Society for Freshwater Science.