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, groundwater, 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. 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 as an Editor of the international journal Hydrological Processes.  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 BiogeochemistryHuman Dimensions of Natural Resources & the Environment, and International Agriculture. 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 Hydrology & 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: