Skip to Main Content
Mobile Menu

Jen Pierce

Group on the river

Jen in her Ducky on the Middle Fork Salmon River

I am a Geomorphologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Geosciences at Boise State University, where I have been on the faculty since 2005. My research interests include the following:

  • What are the feedbacks among wildfires, climate, vegetation and geomorphic response?
  • How do landforms reflect geomorphic, ecologic, hydrologic and climatic forcing mechanisms?
  • How do Quaternary climate changes influence rates and processes of erosion and deposition?
  • How can Holocene records of drought and fire be used to better plan for the future?
  • How do geomorphic and ecologic processes intersect in river systems?
  • What is the role of soils in carbon storage and release, and have has land-use altered soil carbon stores?
  • How has climate change over the past ~100 years altered mountain ecosystems?
  • How has climate change and timing of snowmelt influenced crop production in Idaho?

I have focused my field work in the rugged and scenic mountains of Idaho. My field areas for fire research include the City of Rocks, Sawtooth Mountains, Middle Fork Salmon River, South Fork Payette River, and Boise River (funded by NSF, BLM, City of Rocks, and NSF-EPSCoR).  I am completing an NSF project in the Lost River Range, and am beginning a pedogenic carbon study in the Boise area.  Our research group also works extensively in the Dry Creek Experimental Watershed, outside of Boise Idaho.

Payette field trip

Geologists, Ecologists and Hydrologists from Idaho EPSCoR keepin’ it real on the river

Brief Biography:

I earned my Ph.D. from the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at University of New Mexico in 2004, where I studied Holocene Fires and Geomorphic Response in the South Fork Payette River in Idaho with Dr. Grant Meyer.  I received my MS in Geography from the University of Oregon in 2000, where I looked at the effects of dredge mining on channel morphology on Granite Creek, Oregon (advisor, Dr. Patrica McDowell).  I received my BA from the totally amazing Geology Department at The Colorado College in 1995.  In addition, I was a Thomas J. Watson fellow from 1995-1996, and studied effects of mining in Indonesia, China and Australia.

Courses taught:  I teach undergraduate Geomorphology (Geos. 313), and The Earth’s Climate: Past and Future (Geos. 305).  I also teach graduate level courses in soils, GIS and Geomorphology, and Advanced Geomorphology.  Boise State students should go to Blackboard for the official course sites and course documents.

Field trip

The Geomorph class and Camas the Dog on the South Fork Payette Field trip

Prospective students:  Students interested in working with me at the masters or PhD level should contact me via email at jenpierce(at)

Click here for my CV