The first interaction I ever had with Dr. Palmer was at a science conference where she was the keynote speaker. During the Q&A, I raised my hand and introduced my question by saying, “Long time listener, first time caller…”
And I suspect the first part, “long time listener”, was an apt description of most of the audience because Palmer has been an influential scientist in stream ecology for many years. I have been particularly interested in following her recent focus on mountain top removal / valley fill (MTR/VF) coal mining and its effects on headwater streams in southern WV and eastern KY. Not only does she carry out research quantifying stream ecosystem function responses to MTR/VF, she also testifies as an expert witness in cases involving the coal companies’ environmental impacts.
Last week Science magazine published a news feature profiling Dr. Palmer’s efforts to step beyond the bounds of a traditional academic and toward being a scientist involved in societal issues. You can learn more about this leading lady scientist by reading the full Science article here: Palmer, Margaret – The mountaintop witness SCIENCE 2014. You can also see Dr. Palmer’s appearance on “The Colbert Report ” in 2010 here.
Dr. Palmer is a professor of entomology at the University of Maryland and the executive director of the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center in Annapolis, MD.