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. Dept. of Geography; Penn State University
  2. M.S. Dept. of Environmental Sciences; University of Virginia
  3. Ph.D. Dept. of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
  4. Post-doc, Dept. of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University

Scholarly Activity:

Keywords:  hydrology, ecosystems, water quality, watershed management, forests, freshwater, coastal waters, air pollution effects, environmental science, remote sensing.

Interests:  As a hydrologist, my research explores how natural and anthropogenic factors affect water -- in streams, lakes, aquifers, rivers, estuaries, and embayments. Understanding processes that affect status and trends of water quality remains a grand challenge; given the need to represent coupled elemental cycles within diverse landscapes, and to characterize spatial and temporal variability.  I approach this from an interdisciplinary perspective, and have worked with over 300 collaborators from around the world on my publications about watersheds and water resources.  Students & staff in my research group typically conduct projects involving field sampling, laboratory studies, environmental systems analysis, and/or numerical modeling.  Our work contributes toward a scientific basis for management programs and policies to mitigate the effects of pollution; and to protect, conserve, and restore surface waters.

Toward communicating scientific information, I regularly participate in conferences and public events, provide scientific perspectives, and make Congressional visits.  I am currently a member of several committees of EPA's Science Advisory Board dealing with air and water quality; serve on the Board of Directors of the Universities Council on Water Resources and the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrological Sciences; and lead one of the Centers comprising the National Institutes of Water Resources

Advising:  I enjoy working with students toward meeting their academic and professional goals.  I work closely with undergraduates in the Watershed Management Option of the Forest Management Major and the Water Science Option of the Environmental Resources Management major.  I mentor graduate students in Penn State's degree programs in Forest Resources; Soil Science; Wildlife & Fisheries Science; Ecology; and Environmental Pollution Control.  I participate in dual-title 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:  In 2017, I am teaching FOR 470 Watershed Management (spring), ESM 597 Research Integrity and Communication (spring), WFS/ERM 435 Limnology (fall), and ESM 590 Colloquium (fall).