Michael R Rosen

Michael joined the USGS in 2001 and is based in Carson City, Nevada. He is currently a Research Hydrologist and Water Quality Specialist for Research with the California Water Science Center. From 2011 to 2018 he worked for the Water Mission Area as a Water Quality Specialist. From 2001 to 2011 he was a Research Scientist in the Nevada Water Science Center.


From 2001 to September 2011, Michael was a Research Hydrologist at the USGS working on both groundwater and surface water quality.  From 2011 to 2017 he was a Water Quality Specialist for the Water Science Field Team and from 2017 to 2018 he was a Research Scientist for the Hydro-Ecosystems interaction Branch of the Water Mission Area.  In February 2019 he became the Water Quality Specialist for Research and a Research Hydrologist at the California Water Science Center. He is an adjunct professor in the Dept. Geol. and Eng. Sci. and member of the Hydrological Sci. Program at the Univ. Nevada – Reno, as well as being adjunct in the Dept. Geoscience, Univ. Nevada – Las Vegas and part of the Global Water Center at the Univ. Nevada.  He was previously employed at the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, New Zealand, the Div. Water Res., CSIRO and Curtin Univ. Tech.,Western Australia, and the Limnological Res. Center at the Univ. Minnesota.  Michael also did research at Arco Oil and Gas Company in the summers during his PhD at the Univ. Texas-Austin.   

Research Interests

His research in the past has covered the fields of hydrochemistry (water quality), chemical limnology, sedimentary geochemistry, paleolimnology (including paleoclimate research), ecology, geothermal research, Antarctic research, and hydrogeology.  His current research focuses on lake and groundwater chemistry and the interactions between the two reservoirs.  He currently is working on chemical transformations in saline brines and the occurrence of lithium and different brine chemistries in California and US closed basins, as well as the cycling of selenium in the Salton Sea.  Michael spent many years working to determine the effects of organic contaminants, loads, and toxicity on rivers and lakes (in particular Lake Mead, NV-AZ) and how the presence of contaminants may impact the aquatic community of these systems.  His other interests and projects center around nitrate contaminant transport and nitrogen budgets, including work at Lake Tahoe.


BS, Haverford College, Geology major at Bryn Mawr College; MS, Geology, Univ. Rochester; PhD, Geology, Univ. Texas - Austin


2010 Elected as a Fellow of the Geological Society of America

2014 Eugene M. Shoemaker Communications Award for A/V Product for Lake Mead: Clear and Vital

2014 NAGC Blue Pencil and Gold Screen Awards for Technical or Statistical Report for USGS Circular 1381.

2014 Telly Award (2nd place) for Lake Mead:Clear and Vital video

Dr. Rosen as authored or co-authored over 225 reports and papers, with more than 70 of these being in peer-reviewed journals. He served as the Limnogeology Division Chair and past chair until 2012 for the Geological Society of America.  He is currently the Chair of the International Association of Limnogeology and the editor of the Journal of the Nevada Water Res. Assoc.  He has also edited four books and served as an associate editor for two journals (Sedimentology and Groundwater).