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Ecologist Joins American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Margaret Palmer’s Election Brings Number of UMD Faculty in Academy to 22

By Abby Robinson

cherry blossoms near columns on campus

Distinguished University Professor Margaret Palmer (below), a professor of entomology and director of the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), became the 22nd current UMD faculty member elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Photo by John T. Consoli

A University of Maryland researcher focused on the relationship between society and nature is among 250 new members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies.

Distinguished University Professor Margaret Palmer, a professor of entomology and director of the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), was recognized for work on watershed science and restoration ecology, a field she pioneered. Her election brings the number of UMD faculty in the academy to 23 and in all national academies to 75.

Margaret Palmer portrait

“Margaret Palmer's election to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences is a richly deserved honor," said university President Darryll J. Pines. "Her unwavering commitment to both academic excellence and real-world impact is truly inspiring. The University of Maryland is incredibly fortunate to count her among our faculty.”

Palmer is known for research at the interface of water science and policy, having served as a technical advisor and innovator to help build teams that solve problems with a mix of social, legal, policy and scientific aspects. She also engages in science matters associated with water policies and actions, particularly those affecting the Appalachian region.

“I am honored to have received this award,” Palmer said.

Awarded more than $50 million in support from the National Science Foundation to establish SESYNC, Palmer spearheaded innovative interdisciplinary programs and practices for teams of researchers from all over the world. The center is widely known for creating research communities and cultures that other centers around the world seek to emulate. It offers vast open-access resources to support teaching and research at the interface of environmental and social systems.

“We are so proud to see Margaret Palmer recognized for her pioneering work on watershed science and restoration ecology,” said Amitabh Varshney, dean of UMD’s College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. “Her decades of dedicated research, teaching and service have been key to the college and university's successes.”

Palmer is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Ecological Society of America and an honorary member of the British Ecological Society. She has received the Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship, Lilly Fellowship, Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography Ruth Patrick Award, Ecological Society of America Sustainability Science Award, Society for Freshwater Science Research Excellence Award and Helmholtz International Fellow Award.

She has also published more than 185 peer-reviewed journal articles, served on numerous editorial boards and mentored more than 50 students and postdocs at UMD.

“We are thrilled for Margaret as a recipient of this incredibly prestigious award,” said Craig Beyrouty, dean of UMD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “Her career has been marked with numerous high-profile honors, and this will add to her reputation as one of the premiere scientists and innovators of our time.”

Palmer earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Emory University in 1977 and her master’s and Ph.D. in coastal oceanography from the University of South Carolina in 1979 and 1983, respectively.



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