Dr. Michael Young is Associate Director for Environmental Systems and Senior Research Scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin. In this capacity, he coordinates research programs for a group of around 30 scientists involved in a variety of research spanning energy/water issues, geological sequestration of CO2, groundwater recharge processes, water quality and resources, coastal processes and geological mapping. Dr. Young has authored or co-authored nearly 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, several book chapters, more than 100 presentations at scholarly meetings and many other technical reports. He currently serves as co-Editor of the Vadose Zone Journal and on numerous other committees in scholarly organizations. His personal research interests and experience are on the movement of water and solutes in arid and semi-arid vadose zones, water/energy nexus, soil/water/plant interactions, groundwater recharge and the connection between water resources, landscape development, and human interactions.

Previously, he served as the Acting Executive Director of the Division of Hydrologic Sciences (he was also Deputy Director for 5 years), Desert Research Institute, in Nevada. He left DRI with the academic rank of Research Professor. He held assistant and senior research scientist positions at the University of Arizona and Georgia Institute of Technology, respectively, between 1995 and 2000, and has more than 25 years of professional experience. Dr. Young received his B.A. and M.S. in Geological Sciences at Hartwick College (Oneonta, NY, 1983) and Ohio University (Athens, OH, 1986), respectively, with a specialty in Hydrogeology at Ohio University. He earned his Ph.D. in Soil and Water Science (specializing in soil physics and hydrology) from the University of Arizona, Tucson in 1995. While at Arizona, he was named Research Specialist of the Year in the College of Agriculture.

Areas of Expertise

Ecohydrology of arid and semiarid landscapes; groundwater recharge in both managed agriculture and natural (arid and semi-arid) systems; influence of soil structure and vegetation on water cycling; design and implementation of monitoring systems for above-ground and near-surface below ground environments.


Research Locations



Editor, Vadose Zone Journal, Soil Science Society of America (2013 - Present)

Chair, Soils and Soil Processes Interdisciplinary Interest Group, Geological Society of America (2013 - Present)

Member, Joint Technical Program Committee - Environmental Geosciences, Geological Society of America (2013 - Present)

Member, Soil Systems and Critical Zone Processes, American Geophysical Union (2012 - Present)

Member, Technical Planning Committee for Environmental Geosciences (2013 ICE), American Association of Petroleum Geologists (2012 - Present)

Technical Chair, Soil Physics Division S-1, Soil Science Society of America (2011 - 2012)

co-Editor, Vadose Zone Journal, Soil Science Society of America (2010 - 2012)

Associate Editor, Vadose Zone Journal, Soil Science Society of America (2002 - 2010)

Chair, Vadose Zone Committee, American Geophysical Union (2002 - 2004)

Graduate Students

Sean Porse, M.S., expected 2013 (Supervisor)

Jon P Pierre (Co-supervisor)


The Water Side of Unconventionals. Presented at the Texas Energy Council, 25th Annual Energy Symposium`, Dallas, TX (2013)

Environmental Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing Truth or Fiction. Invited Plenary, AAPG, Cartagena, Colombia (2013)

Water/Land/Energy Nexus for Unconventional Energy in Texas, Argonne National Laboratories, Chicago, IL (2013)

Multi-scale characterization of arid soil properties for predicting landscape processes, New Mexico Tech, Socorro, NM (2012)

CO2 EOR in Texas: Research, Resources, and Opportunities, Texas House Subcommittee on Energy Resources, Austin, TX (2012)

Energy from Unconventionals: New Hope, New Challenges, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC (2012)