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 started as the Water Quality Specialist for Research and as a Research Hydrologist at the California Water Science Center. He is also an adjunct professor in Dept. Geological and Eng. Sciences and a faculty member of the Hydrological Sciences Program at the Univ. Nevada – Reno.  Michael was named as a Fellow of the Geological Society of America in 2010.  He was previously employed at the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, New Zealand, the Div. of Water Res., CSIRO and Curtin Univ. Tech. in Western Australia, and the Limnological Res. Center at the Univ. Minnesota.    

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 chemical transformations in saline brines and the occurrence of lithium and different brine chemistries in US closed basins.  in addition he is still interested in the use of passive samplers to determine organic contaminant concentrations, loads, and toxicity in rivers and lakes and how the presence of contaminants may impact the aquatic community of these systems.  His other interests and projects center around nitrate contaminant transport modeling and nitrogen budgets, limnogeology and paleoclimate research of arid zone lakes, pesticide contamination of lake sediments from agricultural application in Uzbekistan, and determination of water quality trends in large ground water datasets.


BS in Geology at Haverford College (majoring in Geology at Bryn Mawr College),

MS in Geology from the Univ. Rochester

PhD in Geology from the 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 200 reports and papers, with more than 60 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 Resources Association.  He has also edited two books and served as an associate editor for two journals (Sedimentology and Ground Water).