Hydrology PhD Candidate, Tunde Olarinoye @tundeham: A Day in the GeoLife Series

NAME: Tunde Olarinoye

CURRENT TITLE: Scientific employee/PhD candidate;
Chair of hydrological modelling and water resources
University of Freiburg, Germany

AREA OF EXPERTISE: Hydrogeology, modelling, data analysis and management, GIS

YEARS OF EXPERIENCE: Scientific employee/PhD candidate – University of Freiburg, Germany (since 2018); Graduate researcher – UNESCO-IHE Delft, Netherlands (2017); Research intern – Deltares, Netherlands (2016)

EDUCATION: PhD Hydrology (Present) – University of Freiburg, Germany.
Joint Masters Degree, Groundwater and Global Change:
– MSc Water Science and Engineering (2017), UNESCO-IHE Delft, Netherlands.
– MSc Hydroscience Engineering (2017), Dresden University of Technology, Germany.
– MSc Environmental Engineering (2017), IST-University of Lisbon, Portugal.

WEBSITE: https://www.hydmod.uni-freiburg.de/team-1/olarinoye-tunde

TWITTER NAME: @tundeham

Exploring beautiful Slovenia karst landscapes ©2019 Tunde Olarinoye

What’s your job like?

As a researcher and PhD candidate within the project Global Assessment of Water Stress in Karst Regions in a Changing World (GLoW), my job involves investigating the attributes of complex groundwater systems through data analysis and modelling. I am responsible for the development and continuous management of the World Karst Spring hydrograph (WoKaS) database which is the largest single repository of karst spring discharge time series (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41597-019-0346-5). As a result, I collaborate with several researchers and hydrologists across the globe and also attend to questions and problems encountered by users of the database. One of my research objectives is to unravel the complex hydrodynamic groundwater flow in karst aquifers to improve the management of groundwater resources and hydrogeological models. For this, I am developing an automated karst-specific spring recession analysis method to estimate fast- and quick-flow recession parameters. Afterward, I will apply statistical methods to upscale the estimated recession parameters information to other ungauged karst regions to infer about the heterogeneity of karst aquifer storage-discharge behavior.

Field excursion to Torcal de Antequera UNESCO site during 2019 IAH Conference, Malaga, Spain ©2019 Tunde Olarinoye

What’s a typical day like?

I usually start my day reading and replying to emails, and at times meeting colleagues for morning coffee breaks or at weekly team meetings. After these morning events, I generally spend the rest of my day sitting behind my computer writing codes, reading papers, or writing articles. In between, I am having a nice lunch break with my lovely colleagues, during which we not only talk about work-related topics but also about other aspects of our lives. 

My typical day in the office spending time behind the computer ©2020 Tunde Olarinoye

What’s fun?

The pleasing part of my job is the opportunity to explore and discover new things, and using the gained knowledge to develop an approach to solve a peculiar problem. Days outside the office are also pleasurable for me. Either assisting a colleague in the field, hydrological excursion at incredible karst landscapes, exploring some caves, discovering new places, and innovative ideas while attending conferences.

Cave exploration and visit to Predjama Castle in Slovenia ©2019 Tunde Olarinoye

What’s challenging?

The first phase of my PhD, which involved the development of the WoKaS database, was challenging. I worked with over 50 collaborators exchanging correspondences and making sure everyone’s contributions were duly acknowledged. In addition, working with large data and interpreting results can be tricky at times.

What’s your advice to students?

Before you decide to become a researcher or pursue a PhD, be sure you have the motivation, perseverance, and passion for the research topic/field. Research is interesting because it avails one the opportunity to learn, discover, invent, and grow. There are challenges, but your passion and perseverance will keep you moving.


  1. Michael Kehinde

    Hi Túndé
    Quite an exciting blog and work focus you have.
    I am keen to get access to the karst database you mentioned. I wonder if you have any examples of the not-so-world-famous karst springs and systems here in the United Kingdom.
    Hope to hear from you.

    Michael Kehinde
    Environment Agency
    [email protected]

    1. Tunde Olarinoye

      Hi Michael,

      Thank you for the comment.

      We have ca. 30 springs from the UK in the WoKaS database, I guess some less famous ones also included. We continuously update the database with new datasets from researchers and contributors. If you have data from the not-so-famous karst springs in the UK and would like to share, we would be very interested in them and collaborate with you.

      Thanks for your interest and hope to hear from you.

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