Michael Paul, MS ’94 (zoology), PhD ’99 (ecology), pursued his research under the mentorship of the Odum School of Ecology’s Professor Judy Meyer. He supports the River Basin Center Fund and Undergraduate Student Support Fund. Paul is an aquatic ecosystem ecologist/biogeochemist with 30 years of experience in the research and management of aquatic ecosystems. His work, which has included teaching, research and public policy, has focused on the ecology of freshwater ecosystems, including 20 years of experience in water quality standards development across the nation. After working at Tetra Tech managing their Center for Ecological Sciences for many years, Paul accepted a position with the central offices of the Environmental Protection Agency, joining the Ecological and Health Processes Branch within the Health and Ecological Criteria Division to be the National Program Lead for Harmful Algal Blooms. He lives with his wife, Katherine Baer, their daughter, Harper Baer, and three cats and dog. Paul enjoys playing music, tennis, riding his bike, working in his shop, and playing in streams as much as he can.
“People ask me what I got out of the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology—I say a master’s, doctorate, postdoc and a spouse. My time at UGA and in Athens was pretty good to me. I owe it a lot. I did not really fit in at my undergrad institution outside of the lab I worked in and a small group of friends. When I arrived in Athens, the Odum School felt like where I was meant to be. These were my people, and this was my kind of place. The sense of community was overwhelming, and the support I received was amazing. I made friendships that have lasted longer than friendships from any place I have ever lived. I do what I can to give back. I know that every little bit helps, so I do my part to help the next generation of ecologists find a place as special as I did.”