Katharyn Boyer


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Boyer headshot
Professor of Biology
Wetlands Ecology, Community and Restoration Ecology
(415) 338-3751


Research Interests I am broadly interested in the ecology of coastal habitats, primarily salt marshes and seagrass beds. My research focuses on how species interact to structure their environments and influence fundamental ecosystem processes. I use such basic ecological research to inform the restoration of damaged habitats. I earned a BS in Zoology at the University of Maryland, College Park, an MS in Biology at San Diego State, and a PhD in Biology at UCLA. I completed postdoctoral work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before beginning my faculty position at San Francisco State in 2004. In my lab at the EOS Center, we work mainly with vascular plants, macroalgae, and invertebrates as well as the water and sediments on and in which they live. Our work is mostly experimental, conducted in field, greenhouse, and outdoor mesocosm settings. In the San Francisco Estuary, our research on eelgrass (Zostera marina) includes experimental evaluation of restoration techniques, long-term monitoring of eelgrass beds, and experiments to test abiotic and biotic influences. I am actively involved in several working groups to advance the science of restoration in an era of changing climate, with a focus on protecting shorelines, increasing carbon sequestration, and reducing ocean acidification. I am the lead scientist on several living shorelines projects, which restore habitats such as eelgrass and native oysters while evaluating their roles in shore protection. I am currently a team member in the Bay Area’s Resilient by Design Challenge and am co-project lead on a multi-year effort to restore eelgrass and assess the habitat for spawning herring following the Cosco Busan oil spill. In addition, I have current projects evaluating factors that influence spread of invasive species and the conservation and restoration of rare species, including an endangered plant (Suaeda californica) that may promote high tide refuge and shoreline resiliency with sea level rise.

Selected Publications (** = grad student)

Reynolds, P. L, J. J. Stachowicz, K. Hovel, C. Boström, K. Boyer, M. Cusson, J. S. Eklöf, F. G. Engel, A. H. Engelen, B. K. Eriksson, J. Fodrie, J. N. Griffin, C. Hereu, M. Hori, T. Hanley, M. Ivanov, P. Jorgensen, C. Kruschel, K.-S. Lee, K. McGlathery, P. O. Moksnes, M. Nakaoka, F. T. Nash, M. I. O'Connor, N. O'Connor, R. J. Orth, F. Rossi, J. Ruesink, E. Sotka, R. K. F. Unsworth, M. A. Whalen, J. E. Duffy. In press. Latitude, temperature and habitat complexity predict predation pressure in eelgrass across the Northern Hemisphere. Ecology.

J. L. Murphy**, K. E. Boyer, and E. C. Carpenter. 2017. Restoration of cordgrass salt marshes: limited effects of organic matter additions on nitrogen fixation. Wetlands. doi.org/10.1007/s13157-017-0973-6

Kollars, N. M., A. K. Henry, M. A. Whalen, K. E. Boyer, M. Cusson, J. S Eklöf, C. Hereu, P. Jorgensen, S. Kiriakopolos, P. L. Reynolds, F. Tomas, M. S. Turner, and J. L. Ruesink. 2017. Meta-analysis of reciprocal linkages between temperate seagrasses and waterfowl with implications for conservation. Frontiers in Plant Science. doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2017.02119

Parker, V. T and K. E. Boyer. 2017. Sea-level rise and climate change impacts on an urbanized Pacific Coast Estuary. Wetlands. doi.org/10.1007/s13157-017-0980-7

Boyer, K., C. Zabin, S. De La Cruz, E. Grosholz, M. Orr, J. Lowe, M. Latta, J. Miller, S. Kiriakopolos, C. Pinnell**, D. Kunz, J. Moderan, K. Stockmann**, G. Ayala, R. Abbott, and R. Obernolte. 2017. San Francisco Bay Living Shorelines: Restoring Eelgrass and Olympia Oysters for Habitat and Shore Protection. Chapter 17 in D. M. Bilkovic, M. Mitchell, J. Toft, and M. La Peyre, eds., Living Shorelines: The Science and Management of Nature-Based Coastal Protection. CRC Press Marine Science Series.

Cloern, J. E., A. Robinson, A. Richey, L. Grenier, R. L. Grossinger, K. E. Boyer, J. Burau, E. A. Canuel, J. F. DeGeorge, J. Z. Drexler, C. Enright, E. R. Howe, R. Kneib, A. Mueller-Solger, R. J. Naiman, A. Mueller-Solger, J. L. Pinckney, D. Schoellhamer, and C. Simenstad. Primary production in the Delta, then and now. 2016. San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science 14(3). doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.15447/sfews.2016v14iss3art1

Borgnis**, E. and K. E. Boyer. 2015. Salinity tolerance and competition drive distributions of native and invasive submerged aquatic vegetation in the upper San Francisco Estuary. Estuaries and Coasts 39:707-717.

Lewis**, J. T. and K. E. Boyer. 2014. Grazer functional roles, induced defenses, and indirect interactions: Implications for eelgrass restoration in San Francisco Bay. Diversity 6:751-770.

Archbald**, G. and K. E. Boyer. 2014. Potential for spread of Algerian sea lavender (Limonium ramosissimum sbsp. provinciale) in tidal marshes. Invasive Plant Science and Management 7:454-463.

Carr**, L. A. and K. E. Boyer. 2014. Variation at multiple trophic levels mediates a novel seagrass-grazer interaction. Marine Ecology Progress Series 508:117–128.

Ort, B. S., C. S. Cohen, K. E. Boyer, L. K. Reynolds, S. M. Tam and S. Wyllie-Echeverria. 2014. Conservation of eelgrass (Zostera marina) genetic diversity in a mesocosm-based restoration experiment. PLOS One DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089316

Powers, S. P. and K. E. Boyer. 2014. Marine restoration ecology. Ch. 22 in Bertness, M. D., J. P. Bruno, B. R. Silliman, and J. J. Stachowicz. Marine Community Ecology and Conservation, Sinauer.

Boyer, K. E. and W. J. Thornton**. 2012. Natural and restored tidal marsh communities. Chapter 17 (pp. 233-251) in A. Palaima, ed., Ecology, Conservation, and Restoration of Tidal Marshes: The San Francisco Estuary. University of California Press.

Reynolds, L. K., L. A. Carr**, and K. E. Boyer. 2012. A non-native amphipod consumes eelgrass inflorescences in San Francisco Bay. Marine Ecology Progress Series 451:107–118.

Carr**, L. A., K. E. Boyer, and A. Brooks. 2011. Spatial patterns in epifaunal community structure in San Francisco Bay eelgrass (Zostera marina) beds. Marine Ecology 32:88-103.

Boyer, K. E. and A. P. Burdick**. 2010. Control of Lepidium latifolium (perennial pepperweed) and recovery of native plants in tidal marshes of the San Francisco Estuary. Wetlands Ecology and Management 18:731-743.

Boyer, K. E., J. S. Kertesz**, and J. F. Bruno. 2009. Biodiversity effects on productivity and stability of marine macroalgal communities: the role of environmental context. Oikos 118:1062-1072.

Bruno, J. F., K. E. Boyer, S. C. Lee, and J. E. Duffy. 2008. Relative and interactive effects of plant and grazer richness in a benthic marine community. Ecology 89:2518-2528.

Huntington**, B. E. and K. E. Boyer. 2008. Evaluating patterns of nitrogen supply using macroalgal tissue content and stable isotopic signatures in Tomales Bay, CA. Environmental Bioindicators 3:180-192.

Huntington**, B. E. and K. E. Boyer. 2008. Impacts of red macroalgal abundance (Gracilariopsis sp.) on eelgrass (Zostera marina) in Tomales Bay, California. Marine Ecology Progress Series 367:133-142. Armitage, A. R., K. E. Boyer, R. R. Vance, and R. F. Ambrose. 2006. Restoring assemblages of salt marsh halophytes in the presence of a rapidly colonizing dominant species. Wetlands 26:667-676. Boyer, K. E., and P. Fong. 2005. Co-occurrence of habitat-modifying invertebrates: effects on structural and functional properties of a created salt marsh. Oecologia 143:619-628.

Boyer, K. E., and P. Fong. 2005. Macroalgal-mediated transfers of water column nitrogen to intertidal sediments and salt marsh plants. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 321:59-69.

Bruno, J. F., K. E. Boyer, J. E. Duffy, S. C. Lee, and J. S. Kertesz**. 2005. Relative effects of species identity and richness on primary production in benthic marine communities. Ecology Letters 8:1165-1174.

Boyer, K. E., P. Fong, A. R. Armitage, and R. A. Cohen. 2004. Elevated nutrient content of macroalgae increases rates of herbivory in coral, seagrass, and mangrove habitats. Coral Reefs 23:530-538.

Lindig-Cisneros, R., J. Desmond, K. E. Boyer, and J. B. Zedler. 2003. Wetland restoration thresholds: can a degradation transition be reversed with increased effort? Ecological Applications 13:193-205. Boyer, K. E., P. Fong, R. R. Vance, and R. F. Ambrose. 2001. Salicornia virginica in a southern California saltmarsh: seasonal patterns and a nutrient enrichment experiment. Wetlands 21:315-326.

Fong, P., K. Kamer, K. E. Boyer, and K. A. Boyle. 2001. Nutrient content of macroalgae with differing morphologies may indicate sources of nutrients to tropical marine systems. Marine Ecology Progress Series 220:137-152.

Boyer, K. E., J. C. Callaway, and J. B. Zedler. 2000. Evaluating the progress of restored cordgrass (Spartina foliosa) marshes: belowground biomass and tissue N. Estuaries 23:711-721. Boyer, K. E. and J. B. Zedler. 1998. Effects of nitrogen additions on the vertical structure of a constructed cordgrass marsh. Ecological Applications 8:692-705.

Boyer, K. E. and J. B. Zedler. 1996. Damage to cordgrass by scale insects in a constructed salt marsh: effects of nitrogen additions. Estuaries 19:1-12.