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Karst research



Almost a quarter of the world population obtains its drinking water from karst systems. Our research focuses on the assessment of water resources in karst regions at various scales. We develop new modeling and parameter estimation procedures for more reliable karst water management under current and potential future conditions. Global monitoring programs and multivariate model evaluation help us to improve the reliability of our predictions of water availability.

karst recharge

(Hartmann, et al. 2014, RoG)


Our karst research topics cover:


Research beyond the karst


The strong experience in developing and evaluating hydrological models allows us to transfer our approaches to other hydrological environments. Hydrochemical signatures were used to improve the simulation of subsurface storm flow (SSF) at the catchment scale. Using a multivariate simulation of water levels and stable water isotopes, we could improve evapotranspiration simulations of a tropical wetland. Our large-scale approaches were also used in streamflow analysis.



(Chifflard, et al. 2019, Hydrological Processes)


Our research topics beyond the karst cover:


Current projects

Description Funding

GloW: Global Assessment of Water Stress in Karst Regions in a Changing World


DFG Emmy Noether Programme for exceptionally qualified early career researchers

Evaluation of karst water sources vulnerability assessment by means of numerical modelling


DAAD International Mobility Grant together with the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of Slovenia (MIZS)

Subsurface Stormflow: A well-recognized but still challenging process in catchment hydrology research

  • HYDMOD performs as collaboration partner
  • PI: Peter Chifflard, Soil and Water Ecosystems, Philipps-University Marburg
  • Project Details


DFG Scientific Networks

Optimality and self-organization in subsurface flow processes

  • HYDMOD performs as collaboration partner
  • PI: Stefan Hergarten, Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Near Surface Geophysics, University of Freiburg
  • Project Details


DFG Research Grant



Past projects

Description Funding

AWSEK: Achieving Water Security in Europe’s Karst Regions: Collection of karst system observations


Large-scale assessment of the importance of karst regions for human water security under current and potential future conditions




PhD projects

Candidate Topic Supervision Key words
Romane Berthelin Experimental Karst Hydrology within the GloW project Andreas Hartmann
  • monitoring network in three karst areas in Germany, Spain and UK
  • sampling and analysis of soil moisture and stable isotopes of water in the soil and epikarst
  • model application to derive long-term flow pathways, flow velocities, mixing patterns and downward percolations
  • findings will contribute to the development and improvement of a large-scale karst hydrology model
Tunde Olarinoye Comparative Karst Hydrology within the GloW project Andreas Hartmann
  • Management and continuous development of the group global karst springs discharge database

  • Recession analysis of large karst spring discharge time series across the globe

  • Extracting quantitative information from recession characteristics to unravel the hydrodynamic behaviour of karst spring across the globe

  • Comparative analysis of recession characteristics at different scales

  • Findings will contribute to better management of karst water resource and parameterisation of karst models especially for ungauged basins 



Graduate School "Environment, Society and Global Change" (ESGC)