Environmental Sciences

Environmental Sciences Experts

Megan Barbara Young

Research Hydrologist
National Research Program
The U.S. Geological Survey
United States Virgin Islands


Megan Young specializes in isotope biogeochemistry research as a member of Carol Kendall’s Isotope Tracers Project at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California.  She also manages the Menlo Park Tritium Laboratory, providing tritium analysis for groundwater age dating within the USGS.  Megan received her Bachelor of Science in Geology from the University of Puget Sound, Washington, and her Ph.D. in Geological & Environmental Sciences from Stanford University in 2006, working with Dr. Adina Paytan.  Her research has focused on using a wide range of natural tracers, including stable isotopes, geochemical constituents, and radioactive isotopes to trace natural and anthropogenic nutrient sources through surface and groundwater systems, and on the development and application of new isotope tracing techniques.  Megan is currently working on large scale multi-isotope tracer studies in rivers, estuaries, and ground water in the San Francisco Bay Delta and Central Valley, California. One focus of her current research is on expanding the use of the oxygen isotopic composition of phosphate into freshwater systems as a tracer of phosphate sources and cycling, and she has co-authored several articles and book chapters on this topic.

Research Interest

aquatic ecosystems ecological processes ecosystem functions groundwater quality surface water (non-marine)


  • Kendall, C., D. Doctor, M. Young (2014) Environmental Applications in Hydrologic Studies. In: Volume 5 of Treatise on Geochemistry: Fresh Water Geochemistry, Weathering, and Soils. J. Drever, ed. Elsevier.

  • Lehman, P.W., Kendall, C., Guerin, M.A., Young, M.B., Silva, S.R., Boyer, G.L., and Teh, S.J. (2015) Characterization of the Microcystis bloom and its nitrogen supply in San Francisco Estuary using stable isotopes. Estuaries & Coasts, 38:165-178.

  • Kendall, C., Young, M.B., Silva, S.R., Kraus, T.E.C., Peek, S., and Guerin, M. (2015) Tracing nutrient and organic matter sources and biogeochemical processes in the Sacramento River and Northern Delta: proof of concept using stable isotope data. U.S. Geological Survey

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