Elizabeth W. Boyer, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor of Water Resources
  • Director, Pennsylvania Water Resources Research Center
  • Assistant Director, Institutes of Energy & the Environment
Elizabeth W. Boyer, Ph.D.
Penn State University
Department of Ecosystem Science & Management
304 Forest Resources Building

University Park, PA 16802
Work Phone: 814-865-8830


  1. B.S. Department of Geography (remote sensing/GIS); Penn State University
  2. M.S. Department of Environmental Sciences (hydrology/geosciences); University of Virginia
  3. Ph.D. Department of Environmental Sciences (hydrology/geosciences), University of Virginia
  4. Post-doc, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology (biogeochemistry), Cornell University

Interests:  hydrology, water quality, earth & environmental sciences, biogeochemistry, atmospheric deposition, forests, freshwater, coastal waters, food-energy-water nexus, history of science.

Curriculum Vitae
Profiles from Berkeley & Penn State
Google Scholar (publications & citations)  
Research & Training (gallery: field and lab studies)
Outreach (gallery: let's talk about water)
Twitter (science-related posts)

Research:  As a hydrologist, my research explores how natural and anthropogenic factors affect status and trends of water quality. Quantifying processes that affect water resources remains a grand challenge-- requiring representation of flow paths and elemental cycles within diverse landscapes, and characterization of spatial & temporal variability.  In the context of understanding riverine water quality, much of my work focuses on the couplings among water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles in watersheds, and their interrelationships with food and energy systems.  I approach research from from an interdisciplinary perspective, and have worked with over 350 collaborators from around the world on my publications. Students & staff in my research group conduct projects involving field observations, laboratory studies, systems analysis, and/or hydro-ecological modeling. Such work provides a scientific basis for policies and management programs to mitigate the effects of environmental pollution; and to protect, conserve, and restore surface waters.

Service: Toward communicating scientific information, I participate in conferences and public events, provide scientific perspectives, engage in citizen science activities, and make Congressional visits.  I am a member of several advisory committees of the US Environmental Protection Agency considering air pollution, ecosystem health, and water resources. I serve on editorial boards of the international journals Hydrological Processes and WIRES-Water.  I serve on the Board of Directors of the Universities Council on Water Resources and the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrological Sciences.  I lead one of the 54 centers comprising the National Institutes for Water Resources.  

Advising:  I enjoy working with students toward meeting their academic and professional goals. I advise undergraduates in the Watershed Option of the Forest Management Major and the Water Science Option of the Environmental Resources Management major. I advise graduate students in various degree programs suited to their interests, including EcologyEnvironmental Pollution Control; Fisheries ScienceForest Resources; and Soil Science. I participate in dual-title interdisciplinary graduate programs in Biogeochemistry and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources & the Environment. Prospective students should contact me to discuss opportunities. Find us at Beth's office (304 Forest Resources Building); grad student offices (234 Forest Resources Building); water quality lab (329 Forest Resources Building), or atmospheric deposition lab (201 Forest Resources Laboratory).  

Courses:  Watershed Management (FOR 470 - spring 2017); Research Scholarship, Integrity, and Communication (ESM 597 - spring 2017 & spring 2018); Limnology (WFS/ERM 435 - fall 2017 & fall 2018); Colloquium in Ecosystem Science & Management (ESM 590 - fall 2017 & spring 2018). 

Some Current Projects: