Assistant Research Professor


Contact Info

Institution: Desert Research Institute

Phone: (775) 673-7693

Address: 2215 Raggio Parkway, RENO, Nevada 89512, US


Research Disciplines

  • Environmental Chemistry

  • Climate Change

  • Geology

  • Water Quality

  • Citizen Science

Research Interests

Microplastics, human environment interactions, paleofire




Monica Arienzo is an Assistant Research Professor in the Division of Hydrologic Sciences at the Desert Research Institute. She earned a doctoral degree in Marine Geology and Geophysics from the University of Miami.

In her research, Monica uses chemical tools to understand how humans have impacted the environment. After years of studying caves in the Bahamas and ice cores from Antarctica, now she studies microplastics from peak to tap. Her microplastic research focuses on microplastics found in snowy peaks, to downstream lakes and rivers, and to drinking water taps. This research would not be possible without the help of her colleagues, students, collaborators, and more than 25 volunteer citizen scientists.


  • Ph.D., University of Miami, Marine Geology and Geophysics, 2014
  • B.A., Franklin and Marshall College, Geosciences, 2008