Elizabeth W. Boyer

Elizabeth W. Boyer

Professor, Department of Ecosystem Science & Management
Co-hire, Institutes of Energy & the Environment
Penn State University
304 Forest Resources Building (office)
329 Forest Resources Building (lab)

University Park, PA 16802

Education: B.S. Geography, with a minor in Science, Technology, & Society, Penn State University | M.S. & Ph.D., Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia | Post-doc, Dept. of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University

Interests: hydrological processes, environmental sciences, science-technology-society interactions, interdisciplinary research, graduate education

Publications: Google Scholar | Curriculum Vitae 

Profiles: Twitter | LinkedInAGU ecohydrology

Honors: AAAS Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science | Paul A. Witherspoon Award, American Geophysical Union, for innovative interdisciplinary research in the hydrologic sciences by a mid-career scientist | Alex & Jesse Black Award for excellence in research, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences

Research: Water-related stresses, such as flooding, droughts, and water quality impairments are among society's primary environmental challenges. My research explores natural and anthropogenic factors affecting water resources. Primary areas include: (1) Coupled hydrological, biological, and geochemical processes controlling the status and trends of water quality  in precipitation, groundwater, and surface waters; and (2) Use of ecohydrological principles toward the sustainable management of watersheds. Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of my work, I have worked with >500 collaborators from around the world on my publications. Such work provides a scientific basis for policies and management strategies to mitigate the effects of pollution and to protect, conserve, and restore freshwater.

Advising: I enjoy working with students toward achieving their academic and professional goals. I advise undergraduates in the Department's various majors and encourage students to participate in independent-study courses, part-time jobs, or honors theses to gain research experience. Water is a cross-cutting research area, and I advise graduate students in any of the department's graduate majors including EcologyForest Resources, Soil Science, and Wildlife & Fisheries Science. Additionally, I advise graduate students in intercollege dual-title programs in BiogeochemistryHuman Dimensions of Natural Resources & the Environment, International Agriculture & Development, and Operations Research. Student research projects typically involve some combination of field sampling, lab analyses, hydrological modeling, data synthesis, or stakeholder engagement. The graduate application process is described here. I am currently accepting applications from prospective graduate students interested in working on research linking critical zone processes with climate change and impacts on human societies, supported by the NSF-funded Critical Zone Collaborative Network.

Service: I have a longstanding commitment to facilitating interdisciplinary research and connecting scientific knowledge to policy. In administrative roles at Penn State, I served for >10 years as Director of the Pennsylvania Water Resources Research Center (one of 54 centers at land-grant universities comprising the National Institutes of Water Resources) and as an Assistant Director of Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment (the central organizing structure for environmental research across the University). I participated for >15 years in various science advisory committees of the US Environmental Protection Agency, focused on the ecological effects of air pollution and sustainable water resources. I recently completed a rotation as a Program Director for the hydrologic sciences and geoinformatics programs at the US National Science Foundation. I currently serve as an Associate Editor for the international journals Environmental Research Communications and Water Resources Research.

Penn State Interdisciplinary Affiliations:

- Institutes of Energy and the Environment (co-hire)

- Institute for Sustainable Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Science

- Institute for Computational and Data Sciences

- Earth and Environmental Systems Institute

- Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences