Günther Grill


Global Land and Water Resources Laboratory

Burnside Hall, Room 510

Department of Geography
McGill University
805 Sherbrooke St. West
Montreal, QC H3A 2K6
guenther.grill (at)


Günther Grill

PhD Candidate
Department of Geography
McGill University

I am interested in Freshwater Ecology, Environmental Modeling, and Geographic Information Systems from a large-scale perspective. At McGill, I specialize in river and lake networks, their ecosystem services, and human impacts that threaten freshwater integrity. My goal is to provide analysis, information and tools to researchers, resource managers, and policy makers to improve the status of freshwater ecosystems worldwide.

Research focus

Rivers and lakes provide important ecosystem services to humans, such as clean drinking water, sources of nutrition, transportation and recreation. Yet human activity directly or indirectly threatens the aquatic systems' capacity to provide these services by activities that decrease water quality and through structural changes of the river system, such as irrigation and hydropower dams.

My main focus is the development of a global river routing model (HydroROUT) to investigate the cumulative impacts of humans at the scale of entire river basins. This approach integrates the currently best datasets into a new framework to create novel global-scale, high resolution hydro-ecological models. I will conduct a series of case studies to validate the performance and applicability of such models:

The first study, regarding the effect of large hydropower dams on ecosystem connectivity and flow in the Mekong River Basin has been conducted recently and explores the human impact on migratory fish habitat and the natural flow to help prioritize future dam site selection. A similar study focusing on river fragmentation at the global scale is currently in development. Furthermore, drivers of lake eutrophication are currently under investigation, with the ultimate goal to produce a spatial map of lake eutrophication risk for the worlds lakes. Finally, the routing model provides opportunities to conduct risk assessment from pollutants and pharmaceuticals in rivers and lakes. A large-scale case study will be conducted using a recently developed database of wastewater treatment plants in China.

Example results of ongoing research: 

Mekong Future Fragmentation Fragmentation Global Scale Mekong Dams
Scenarios of current and future ecosystem connectivity in the Mekong River Basin. Fragmentation Histories of selected large river basins (n=number of large dams). Tradeoffs between energy production and environmental impact in the Mekong river Basin.

Research partly funded by the GEC3EC

Research Supervisor: Bernhard Lehner
Co-Supervisors: Michel Lapointe & Elena Bennett

Latest update: 4/23/2012