Hi, I’m Chris.
I’m a PhD student in Montpellier, France but I I work mostly on the Mekong in Cambodia.
Growing up in the Austrian Alps, I was always around water. My dad was a biology teacher and a first-hour environmental activist. Some of his proudest achievements include saving a waterfall at 2000 m from hydropower development and being heavily involved in the revitalisation of the Drava, the river running through our valley, which had been heavily regulated in the 1960s. Some of my earliest memories include climbing through the remaining riparian forests and watching heavy machinery restore the old side branches of the Drava.
Fast-fowarding to university, it wasn’t much of a leap of the imagination for me to study both Biodiversity Management and Conservation, and Civil Engineering and Water Management. When I came to France for an internship and saw the amazing research infrastructure here in Montpellier, I decided to apply for a PhD at the Institute for Development Research.
Working on the Mekong does not only allow me to chase new discoveries in a discipline I’ve been passionate about for as long as I can remember. I also get to discover a new country, a new culture and new ecosystems while I’m at it. (Going from steep alpine torrents to the broad, flat expanse of a tropical delta was a bit of a shock though. )
Most importantly, I also feel like I’m contributing to something worthwhile. Water is the driving force of all nature, the basis of life. But as the floods and droughts of the last years have shown us (both in the Alps and at the Mekong), it can also be a destructive force. More and more so in the face of climate change.
I believe that the only way to face the challenges that the future holds is to know as much about them as possible. And understanding the hydrological dynamics of deltas is part of that.
And knowing that I’m contributing to working towards a water-sustainable future does give me the strenght to deal with both the infamous French bureaucracy and chaotic Cambodian traffic.
PhD research at the Institute of Development Research in Montpellier, France
MSc Civil Engineering, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria
MSc Biodiversity Management and Conservation , University of Vienna, Austria
BSc Biology , University of Vienna, Austria
BA English and American Studies , University of Vienna, Austria
Tutor, University of Vienna and University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences
2013, 2014, 2016
Summer internships at Revital - Integrative Nature Spatial Planning (East Tyrol, Austria)
Public Relations, Translation and Freelance Writing Work
Organising Youth Environmental Projects for the Austrian Alpine Association