Margaret Palmer

Director, National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center; Professor, Department of Entomology & Chesapeake Biological Laboratory

University of Maryland

Margaret Palmer is a professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science where she serves as Director of the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory. She also holds a joint position at the University of Maryland, College Park where she is a Professor of Entomology. She received her Ph.D. in oceanography, but in the last 20 years has turned her attention to freshwater systems. The broad objective of Palmer's research is to understand what controls stream ecosystem structure and function. She specifically focuses on how land use and urbanization influence stream ecosystems and on producing the best science to guide ecologically effective restoration of rivers and streams.

Palmer has more than 90 peer reviewed publications with numerous awards from the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the C.S. Mott Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Distinguished Awards include: American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow, Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, Lilly Fellow, Distinguished Scholar Teacher Award. She currently is leading the National River Restoration Science Synthesis project, has an active research lab of 12 graduate students, postdocs, and research technicians working on various aspects of stream ecosystem science (

Palmer has served on numerous advisory boards and scientific panels: Scientific Advisory Board, Grand Canyon Research and Monitoring Program; Scientific Advisory Board, American Rivers; Chair, Scientific Advisory Board, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis; Section Head - Freshwater & Marine Ecology, Faculty of 1000, BioMed Central; EcoHydrology Science Agenda Committee Chair, National NEON Design Consortium and National Network Design Committee Member; Leadership team - International Riverine Landscapes; National Research Council ? Committee on River Science.

Palmer led the Ecological Society of America's committee to develop an action plan for the ecological sciences for the 21st century. The 20-member committee worked closely with its membership, the NGO community, the business community, and federal agencies to develop the plan. The intellectual foundation was laid out in the article Ecology for a Crowded Planet that appeared in Science magazine in 2004 (Vol. 304: 1251-1252). The full report outlines the recommended actions and is available at Both received a great deal of interest (and press) from the broad ecological, environmental community, and numerous agencies.

Palmer was Director of Biological Sciences at the University of Maryland from 1997-1999 and Program Director of Ecology at the National Science Foundation from 1999-2000. She also has been actively involved in scholarly work on women in science having recently chaired the advisory board of scholars for a project on Women and Scientific Literacy organized by the American Association for Colleges and Universities.