Palmer Lab

@ University of Maryland

Seeking new graduate students

The Palmer Lab is looking for new M.S. or PhD students beginning in January 2020 or summer 2020. Applicants should be interested in working with a dynamic multi-institutional team that includes faculty from: the University of Maryland (Palmer, Drs. Michael Williams and Dr. Kate Tully), Virginia Tech (Drs. Erin Hotchkiss, Daniel McLaughlin, and Durrell Scott), and University of Alabama (Dr. Nate Jones). The NSF funded project focuses on understanding the relationship between wetland-scale hydrology and carbon biogeochemistry. While graduate students will have freedom to develop their own research questions, research could include: measuring or modeling dynamic patterns of water inundation, surface-subsurface exchange, and movement across headwater wetlands and catchments; using high-frequency data to measure and model sources and processes controlling wetland CO2, CH4, and O2 cycling and fate in headwater networks; using hydrologic and organic matter tracers to better understand the movement of water and carbon across catchments; or linking hydrologic measurements and modeling to inform variation in carbon biogeochemistry at wetland and catchment scales.

Background: Worldwide, low-lying areas once rich in forested wetlands have been converted to agricultural production after draining and filling. Prior to their loss, the wetlands reduced flooding through water storage, provided downstream environments with an important energy source in the form of dissolved organic carbon, and played a critical role in regional carbon budgets. This research will test how spatiotemporal changes in surface and subsurface hydrology govern carbon dynamics in wetland-rich landscapes. Using coupled empirical and modeling components, we will quantify: (1) dynamics of surface water connections and surface-subsurface exchange at wetland and catchment scales; and (2) consequent hydrologic influences on wetland- and catchment-scale carbon dynamics. The study sites are on the Delmarva Peninsula of Maryland. Our research will integrate hydrologic sciences, ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, and restoration science; and ultimately, help inform wetland restoration and land management across the coastal plain region.

Successful applicants will have: a keen interest in ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, and/or ecohydrology; research and scientific writing experience through previous employment and/or studies; and the ability to work well independently and in groups. Candidates with strong quantitative skills are especially encouraged to respond to this call. In most cases, Ph.D. applicants should have the equivalent of a M.S. from the United States (2-3 year program with a research thesis), but exceptions with significant research and publication experience will be considered. To enhance the experience, students have the opportunity to be co-advised by another one of the 5-faculty member research team.

Required Qualifications:

  • A B.S. or M.S. in environmental science, civil/environmental engineering, or a closely related discipline. Some biogeochemistry or hydrologic work experience.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Previous research or course work that may help link hydrologic, biogeochemical, and ecological processes.
  • Relevant analytical skills: scripting languages (e.g., R, Python, and/or Matlab), geospatial analysis (e.g., ArcGIS, QGIS, and/or Whitebox GAT), and as appropriate for your research interests, hydrologic modeling (e.g., HydroGeoSphere, MIKE-SHE, and/or MODFLOW)

Individuals should send an email statement of research interests, C.V., transcript, and GRE scores to and put “graduate positions” in the subject title along with your last name.

July 30, 2019