PhD Students

Mengyue Duan

Mengyue Duan came to the University of Salzburg as a PhD candidate from Northwest University (China) with financial support from the OeAD through the Ernst Mach Scholarship. She is now a regular PhD student at the University of Salzburg where she is working on the evolution of landscapes on the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau and the Tienshan mountains.

Her research in Salzburg focuses on the analysis of digital elevation models and the interpretation of topographic patterns that show both climatic and tectonic control. These works are supervised by Jörg Robl and Franz Neubauer.

Her research in Salzburg has already resulted in a peer-reviewed publication
Northeastward expansion of the Tibetan Plateau: Topographic evidence from the North Qinling Mts.–Weihe Graben Coupling system, Central China

Viktor Haunsberger

Viktor studied mathematics and computer science and now works as a PhD student in the OEAW funded project Movemont As part of the project, he is developing a new method for computing stresses in mountain masifs under dead load. This interdisciplinary doctoral thesis is supervised by Jörg Robl and Andreas Schröder.



Fabian Dremel

Fabian is employed on a 4-year PhD position at the University of Salzburg, which was created with Christoph v.Hagke's professorship. Fabian is investigating the topographic evolution and relief rejuvenation of Variscan mountains in Europe. He is working with morphometry, low-temperature thermochonometry and numerical modeling. Fabian is supervised by Christoph v.Hagke and Jörg Robl.

Wetzlinger, K., Robl, J., Liebl, M., Dremel, F., Stüwe, K., & von Hagke, C. (2023). Old orogen -  young topography: Evidence for relief rejuvenation in the Bohemian Massif. Austrian Journal of Earth Sciences, 116(1), 17-38.


Master Students

Johannes Köstner 

Johannes has a profound education in morphology and is particularly interested in alpine natural hazards. His master thesis deals with new approaches for sensitivity analysis in the numerical description of rapid mass movements.

Hannes Dullnig

Hannes is working on slow slope deformation as part of his master's thesis. He presents methods how this movement can be measured in different spatial scales and which possibilities there are to master this geotechnical challenge. He is working on the case study of a reservoir for artificial snowmaking.


Patricia Wagner

Patricia studies the influence of erodibility contrasts on the geometry of river networks. She applies morphometric analysis and numerical models. Her research area is the Chinese Loess Plateau (Orodos Block), where thick easily erodible loess deposits overlie erosion-resistant rock


Sara Stücker

Sara's master's thesis explores the potential of photogrammetry to determine the surface flow velocity of rivers. In doing so, she compares the computed velocity vectors of three torrents with conventionally measured flow velocities.


Bachelor Students

Martin Gimpl
Patricia Wagner
Christoph Schnell
Bernhard Mitosch
Thomas Hauthaler
Christopher Hausmann
Helena Hofmann
Andreas Portenkirchner
Elisabeth Horvath
Christoph Hesselbach
Sebastian Baumann
Christian Wolfesberger
Eva Maria Wagenhofer
Reinhard Maxbauer
Florian Hartmann
Tobias Stöger
Bernhard Hallweger
Nina Rinner
Linus Panea Lichtig


Alumni (Master and PhD)

Georg Neulichedl



Georg has been studying tsunamis in alpine lakes triggered by rapid mass movements. He used the code r.avaflow to calculate possible impulse waves in the Wolfgangsee near Salzburg, where about 100 years ago a landslide generated a wave several meters high, which caused great damage to the shores.

Michaela Sichert


In her master thesis, Michaela conducted flood simulations on the Taugl River, a tributary of the Salzach River. The aim was to determine at which discharge (1) sediment is taken up and transported and (2) how often bedrock erosion occurs.  The results of this work are important in that climate warming is changing the magnitude and frequency of floods, and thus impacts on river landscapes can be expected.

Benedikt Pleyer


In his master's thesis, Bene attached a probe to the Taugl River that measures temperature, water level and conductivity three times an hour. In combination with discharge measurements (tracer method) and hydrochemical analyses (ICPMS), time series for discharge and dissolved load were calculated over a hydrological year.

Thomas Hauthaler

Thomas did his master thesis in the Ricola project. He performed a back analysis of the rockfall at Hintersee using the numerical model Gerris. Together with Anne-Laure he was able to publish his results in the journal Geomorphology.

Argentin, A. L., Hauthaler, T., Liebl, M., Robl, J., Hergarten, S., Prasicek, G., Salcher, B., Hölbling, D., Pfalzner-Gibbon, C., Mandl, L., Maroschek, M., Abad, L., & Dabiri, Z. (2022). Influence of rheology on landslide-dammed lake impoundment and sediment trapping: Back-analysis of the Hintersee landslide dam. Geomorphology, 414, [108363].

Klaus Wetzlinger


Klaus has been studying the lastest topographic evolution in the Bohemian Massif. The results of his morphometric analyses show a bimodal landscape with steep rivers near the receiving streams separated by prominent knickpoints from shallow meandering rivers at higher elevations. Klaus konnte seine Ergebnisse in AJES veröffentlichen.

Wetzlinger, K., Robl, J., Liebl, M., Dremel, F., Stüwe, K., & von Hagke, C. (2023). Old orogen -  young topography: Evidence for relief rejuvenation in the Bohemian Massif. Austrian Journal of Earth Sciences, 116(1), 17-38.

Stefan Rass



Stefan determined a mass balance of the Rettenbach torrent that is a small torrential river near the city of Salzburg. He determined the dissolved load by integrating discharge-time series from a gauging station operated by the Torrent and Avalanche Control and analyzing the concentration of cations in water. Water was sampled at different discharge regimes. Chemical analyses are performed at the ICP-MS facility of the University of Graz.

Moritz Liebl

Moritz was working in the project ELEvATE, funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and the government of Salzburg. The project focused on the evolution of elevated low relief landscapes (plateaus) in active mountain ranges. The PhD project was supervised by Jörg Robl and Kurt Stüwe. Moritz studied geoscience (Bachelor´s and Master´s degree) at the University of Innsbruck. His research interests are active tectonics and dynamic sediment processes, which eventually control the evolution of alpine landscapes.

Moritz successfully defended his doctoral thesis on 14.12.2022

Liebl, M., Robl, J., Hergarten, S., Egholm, D. L., & Stüwe, K. (2023). Modeling large‐scale landform evolution with a stream power law for glacial erosion (OpenLEM v37): benchmarking experiments against a more process-based description of ice flow (iSOSIA v3.4.3). Geosci. Model Dev., 16(4), 1315-1343.

Liebl, M., Robl, J., Egholm, D. L., Prasicek, G., Stüwe, K., Gradwohl, G., & Hergarten, S. (2021). Topographic signatures of progressive glacial landscape transformation. EARTH SURFACE PROCESSES AND LANDFORMS, 46(10), 1964-1980.

Anne-Laure Argentin


Anne-Laure is a PhD student working on the Austrian Academy of Sciences funded RiCoLa (River Courses and Landslides) project ( She is part of the Dynamite - Dynamic Mountain Environments (DME) doctorate school (

Anne-Laure graduated with a master's degree from the National Superior School of Geology in Nancy, France.
Her PhD focuses on the detection and analysis of landslide-induced river course changes and lake formation.
Her supervisors are Jörg Robl and Günther Prasicek (RiCoLa project leader).

Moritz successfully defended her doctoral thesis on 22.11.202

Argentin, A. L., Hauthaler, T., Liebl, M., Robl, J., Hergarten, S., Prasicek, G., Salcher, B., Hölbling, D., Pfalzner-Gibbon, C., Mandl, L., Maroschek, M., Abad, L., & Dabiri, Z. (2022). Influence of rheology on landslide-dammed lake impoundment and sediment trapping: Back-analysis of the Hintersee landslide dam. Geomorphology, 414, [108363].

Argentin, A. L., Robl, J., Prasicek, G., Hergarten, S., Hölbling, D., Abad, L., & Dabiri, Z. (2021). Controls on the formation and size of potential landslide dams and dammed lakes in the Austrian Alps. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 21(5), 1615-1637.


Sebastian Baumann



Sebastian has written his bachelor thesis with focus on morphometry and landscape evolution of the Hausruck- Kobernausserwald region. His main interests are on landscape evolution, spatial statistics and planetology where he benefits from his numerical and computational skills. Currently Sebastian is working on his master thesis that focusses on remote sensing for groundwater exploration. The thesis is funded by the project "EO-based services to support humanitarian operations: monitoring population and natural resources in refugee/IDP camps". To assist this project, he develops automated routines in open-source software (e.g. GRASS GIS, R) for satellite images and digital elevation models (Landsat 7/8, SRTM) to identify lineaments. He further generates spectral populations and assigns attributes to these spectral populations (lithology, vegetation density, moisture  ...). Remote sensing methods in general use image processing algorithms. In his approach he uses geomorphological analysis on digital elevation models to preprocess satellite images and classify surface domains prior to image processing.

BAUMANN, S., ROBL, J., KEIL, M. and SALCHER B. (2014): Geomorphic characterization of hilly relief in the north alpine foreland basin: The Hausruck- and Kobernaußerwald region. EGU2014-7059.  

 LEITNER, C., FRIEDL, G., BAUMANN, S. and BIENIOK, A. (2014): Excavation and humidity induced extension veins of mudrock clasts in a ductile rock salt matrix, filled with secondary halite deposits (Northern Calcareous Alps, Austria, Bavaria). Zeitschrift der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften 165/1, pp. 77–90, doi: 10.1127/1860-1804/2014/0061.  

Georg Manuel Trost

Trost Georg
Georg has successfully written his master thesis on a mass balance of a small torrential catchment near the city of Salzburg. He determined the dissolved load of the Schwarzaubach torrent over a period of more than one year and calculated the average catchment wide "denudation rate" due to chemical erosion. Georg is an expert for spatial analysis and integrates data from field with results from numerical analyses. He is working with several GIS-software products like ArcGIS, GRASS and GMT and is familiar with rainfall-runoff-models such as HEC-HMS and TOPMODEL.
Georg will start his PhD on "Neotectonics, active faults and landforms" supervised by Franz Neubauer. This PhD project is part of the doctorial college GIScience and funded by the FWF.

David Schwertl



David has recently submitted his master thesis on the impact of rapid mass movements on infrastructure in alpine valleys. Therefore he combined field work and numerical models such as trajectory models for rock falls or fluid dynamic models for debris flows. He integrated field data with results from numerical models using the ArcGIS. This allowed a concise presentation of the potential impact of debris flows and rock falls on infrastructure for an entire alpine valley.

Bernhard Mitosch



Bernhard has written his bachelor thesis about the characteristics of channels and corresponding hillslope that are currently adjusting to the Pleistocene base level lowering of the Salzach valley. He has strong skills in both: field work and GIS. Currently he performs his master thesis analyzing morphological characteristics of a landslide prone area in the Flysch Zone of Salzburg (state). Therefore he delineates morphological features that are characteristic for slow and fast mass wasting on hillslopes. He is interested in mechanisms that trigger landslides and he determines the spatial distribution of numerous landslides to explore the lithological control of landslide occurrence. In this context, he collects statistics of observed landslides and calculates slope stability models with state of the art codes on the basis of ellipsoidal failure surfaces whereby fieldwork is a crucial part of it.