Academy Leadership

Margaret “Meg” Lowman, Ph.D.

Chief of Science and Sustainability,
Dean of Science and Research Collections, Harry W. and Diana V. Hind Chair,
Lindsay Chair of Botany

Margaret LowmanAs Chief of Science and Sustainability, Dr. Meg Lowman is responsible for the Academy’s scientific research and exploration programs, as well as a number of efforts meant to address the challenges of sustaining life on Earth.

In this newly created position, Lowman assumes the leadership of the Academy’s Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability, which was formed to more fully integrate and expand the Academy’s scientific research activities and its efforts to address sustainability challenges. This role includes developing and executing the strategic vision for the Academy’s scientific exploration and research programs; coordinating the engagement of the Academy's 300 Fellows in the ongoing educational and research life of the institution; and developing and implementing crucial sustainability initiatives, including public engagement activities, advocacy programs, and collaborations with organizations focused on ecology, land-use practices, and climate change. Lowman also serves as the Harry W. and Diana V. Hind Dean of Science and Research Collections and oversees the Academy’s priceless collection of nearly 46 million scientific specimens from around the world.

Before joining the Academy in January 2014, Lowman was Senior Scientist and Director of Academic Partnerships and Global Initiatives at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and had served as Director of the museum’s Nature Research Center. She was also a Research Professor of Natural Sciences in the College of Sciences at North Carolina State University, where she focused on initiatives involving communicating science to the public.

Nicknamed the “real-life Lorax” by National Geographic and “Einstein of the treetops” by the Wall Street Journal, Lowman pioneered the science of canopy ecology. For more than 30 years, she has worked tirelessly to map biodiversity in forest canopies and to champion forest conservation around the world, innovating new research methods and conservation strategies along the way. Her designs for hot-air balloons and treetop walkways are now used by scientists and students around the world who have joined Lowman in studying the little-known ecosystems that thrive high above the forest floor. Her creative approaches to fostering sustainability both at home and abroad, including her work with Coptic priests in Ethiopia to preserve some of the country’s last remaining forests, have garnered Lowman a number of international awards.

Lowman holds a Ph.D. in Botany from Sydney University, a M.S. in Ecology from Aberdeen University, a B.A in Biology from Williams College, and a degree in Executive Management from Tuck School of Business. She has authored more than 120 peer-reviewed scientific publications, and her first book, Life in the Treetops, received a cover review in the New York Times Sunday Book Review.