Biology Department photograph montage

Katharyn Boyer

Professor dianachu
UCLA (Ph.D), San Diego State (M.S.), University of Maryland, College Park (B.S.)
At SFSU Since: 
Romberg Tiburon Center, Bldg 36, rm 204; Hensill Hall 545
Office Hours: 
by appointment
Office Phone: 
(415) 338-3751
Wetland and coastal ecology and restoration, community ecology, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, nutrient dynamics, trophic interactions, habitat structure


My research is focused on the ecology and restoration of coastal habitats, primarily salt marshes and seagrass beds. I am particularly interested in how species interact to structure their environments and influence fundamental ecosystem processes such as nutrient cycling. I have a strong interest in species assemblages and processes occurring at habitat borders and the manner and extent to which adjacent habitats are linked through biotic activity and interactions. Such basic ecological research has important implications for the restoration of damaged habitats. My more applied work includes comparisons of structure and functioning (e.g., trophic interactions, nutrient dynamics) of natural and restored habitats. I also work to develop restoration techniques and nutrient pollution indicators for estuarine and coastal waters. I work mainly with vascular plants, macroalgae, and invertebrates as well as the water and sediments on and in which they live. My work is mostly experimental, conducted in field, greenhouse, and outdoor mesocosm settings. While much of my research experience and interest is in the coastal marshes and the shallow subtidal zone in California, I also work periodically in the tropics to detect patterns in nutrient supply and herbivory in coral reef and adjacent habitats, and recently have conducted experimental work on the relationship between biodiversity and functioning of marine ecosystems in North Carolina.

Recent papers:  ** = graduate student

Ryan**, A. B. and K. E. Boyer. In press. Nitrogen further promotes a dominant salt marsh plant in an increasingly saline environment. Journal of Plant Ecology. 

Reynolds, L. K., L. A. Carr**, and K. E. Boyer. In press. Invasive amphipod (Ampithoe valida) consumption of eelgrass (Zostera marina) inflorescences in San Francisco Bay. Marine Ecology Progress Series.

Ort, B. S., C. S. Cohen, K. E. Boyer, and S. Wyllie-Echeverria. In press. Population structure and genetic diversity among eelgrass (Zostera marina) beds and depths in San Francisco Bay.  Journal of Heredity.

Boyer, K. E. and W. J. Thornton**. In press. Natural and restored tidal marsh communities. Chapter 17 in A. Palaima, ed., Ecology, Conservation, and Restoration of Tidal Marshes: The San Francisco Estuary.  University of California Press.

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. and S. Wyllie-Echeverria.  2010.  Eelgrass Conservation and Restoration in San Francisco Bay: Opportunities and Constraints.  Report for the San Francisco Bay Subtidal Habitat Goals Project (appears as Appendix 8-1 in the Goals Report).

Reynolds, L. K. and K. E. Boyer.  2010.  Perennial pepperweed (Lepidium latifolium): properties of invaded tidal marshes.  Invasive Plant Science and Management 3:130-138.

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 267:133-142.

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.

Fong, P., K. E. Boyer, K. Kamer, and K. A. Boyle.  2003.  Influence of initial tissue nutrient status of tropical marine algae on response to nitrogen and phosphorus additions.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 262:111-123.

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.