Dr Michael Rose


I am interested in the use of biological solutions to solve environmental and agricultural problems of a chemical nature. I am passionate about the Australian landscape, and would really like to see more use of diverse Australia flora in our agroecosystems to increase their resilience and productivity.

Research interests

I have an interest in the behaviour of nutrients and organic molecules in ecosystems, particularly in water and the rhizosphere of plants. To pursue these interests I (try!) to apply chemical and ecological thermodynamics as a framework to investigate specific problems. I am still learning a lot in this area and I enjoy hearing about new and unique approaches from all corners of the globe. I enjoy working in the field and laboratory so most of my projects involve experiments in either or both of these environments.

As examples, I am involved in a number of current projects including the dynamics of pesticides in wetlands, the use of microbial inoculants as plant-growth promoters to improve the efficiency of chemical fertilizers, and using thermodynamic indicators (e.g. entropy, ‘exergy’ and ‘emergy’) to evaluate the sustainability of current agricultural practices.


Michael Rose’s studies began with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at the University of Sydney, which he followed up with a PhD in the same faculty under the supervision of Prof Ivan Kennedy, Dr Robert Caldwell and Dr Angus Crossan. The theme and title of his thesis was ‘Quantifying pesticide removal in irrigation tailwater by constructed wetlands’.

During this time he spent three months at the University of California, Riverside, with Prof David Crowley and Dr Jong-Shik Kim, investigating the microbial species and genes involved in pesticide degradation.

Following his PhD he worked in Vietnam for 10 months as an AusAID Youth Ambassador, looking at the mechanisms and quality control of biofertilisers for rice production, and then returned to the University of Sydney as a Gritton Postdoctoral Fellow. His current work is focused on thermodynamic approaches for measuring agricultural sustainability.

He currently supervises an honours student looking at soil solution chemistry in the rhizosphere, and a PhD candidate investigating the hydrogeochemistry of salinity in the Murrumbidgee catchment.

Recent publications

  • Phan, C. T., Rose, M. T., Tran, D. D., Choudhury, A. T. M. A., Kecskes, M. L., Nguyen, H. T. and Kennedy I. R. (2009) Effects of a multi-strain biofertiliser and phosphorus rates on nutrition and grain yield of paddy rice on a sandy soil in southern Vietnam. Plant and Soil (Submitted)
  • Kecskés, M. L., Rose, M. T., Michel, E., Lauby, B. Rakotondrainibe, M., Casteriano, A., Palágyi, A., Moutouvirin, A., Elter, S., Guillas, R., Krishnen G., and Kennedy, I. R. (2008) Monitoring inoculant plant growth-promoting microorganisms. Engineering in Life Sciences (Submitted)
  • Rose M. T., Tran M. H., Tran T. K. C., Nguyen, D. H., Phan T. C. and Kennedy I. R. (2008) Phosphorus mobilisation by biofertilizer strains. In Efficient Nutrient Use in Rice Production in Vietnam Achieved Using Inoculant Biofertilisers. Kennedy, I. R., Choudhury, A.T.M.A, Kecskés M. L. and Rose M. T. (eds), pp 67 – 75, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research Proceedings No. 130, Canberra, A.C.T.
  • Rose, M. T., Crossan, A.N. and Kennedy, I. R. (2008) The effect of vegetation on pesticide dissipation from ponded treatment wetlands: Quantification using a simple model. Chemosphere, 72, 999-1005
  • Rose, M. T., Crossan, A.N. and Kennedy, I. R. (2008) Sustaining action and optimizing entropy: coupling efficiency for energy and the sustainability of global ecosystems. Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society, 28, 260-272.
  • Burns, M., Crossan, A. N., Kennedy, I. R. and Rose, M. T. (2008) Sorption and desorption of endosulfan sulphate and diuron to composted cotton gin trash. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 56, 5260-5265
  • Rose, M. T., Crossan, A. N. and Kennedy, I. R. (2007) Dissipation of cotton pesticides from runoff water in glasshouse columns. Water, Air and Soil Pollution, 182, 207-218.
  • Rose, M. T., Sanchez-Bayo, F., Crossan, A. N. and Kennedy, I. R. (2006) Pesticide removal from cotton farm tailwater by a pilot-scale ponded wetland. Chemosphere, 63, 1849 – 1858.