Our research and engagement focuses on the sustainability of natural systems and the development of solutions to difficult problems at the interface of humans and the environment including:
Historically, the mid-Atlantic had vast expanses of low-lying forests with extensive freshwater wetlands and streams. Much of this land has been converted to farming over the last several hundred years. Ongoing pressures include continued farming and the growth of suburban developments. In recognition of the need for new approaches to systematically monitor and assess hydrologic conditions, wetland/stream ecosystem functions, and their impact on water quality, Palmer and colleagues have work on-going in the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
Wetlands are among the most threatened ecosystems on earth yet they play extremely valuable roles in global elemental cycling. As transition points in the landscape between the terrestrial and aquatic realms, they are well known as sources of Carbon (C) production and biomass accumulation, as well as sinks of C received from the surrounding terrestrial environments. Despite their potential importance to understanding C fluxes they have not been adequately integrated into global scale terrestrial C budgets or into inland water C budgets.
The Palmer Lab is committed to understanding the function of aquatic ecosystems and how human activity has altered those functions. Past projects include the National River Restoration Synthesis Project. For more information on that project, see the NRRSS Github page. Other past projects are below.