Silja is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at UBC. Her research interests focus on freshwater security, socio-hydrology, and using community-based hydrology to support adaptation to hydrologic extremes, such as droughts and floods. Silja works in integrated surface water and groundwater systems, and combines field work and hydrologic computer modelling, with an emphasis on using open-source hardware and software.

Ph.D. Research

Silja is investigating streamflow and groundwater recharge dynamics in relation to climate and water use stressors within the extremes of the wet-dry tropics of Guanacaste, Costa Rica, with the overarching goal of contributing to improve freshwater security of small rural agricultural communities.

Silja has spent many months in both the wet and dry seasons of 2014 and 2015 working on the ground in Guanacaste. She has installed a hydrologic monitoring network in the two watersheds of Potrero and Caimital close to the town of Nicoya that provide the water supply for many of the surrounding communities. Another important component of her work is working with local and national water agencies (AyA, SENARA, MINAE) and community water boards (ASADAs) to understand community water use and extractions from streams and groundwater. 

Her research is part of the interdisciplinary and international FuturAgua Project, funded by the Belmont Forum Call for Freshwater Security. The collaboration within project researchers and the local stakeholder advisory group enables interdisciplinary exchange and close integration of stakeholder needs and local knowledge.

Silja strongly believes that open-source tools and the exchange within the open-source community can greatly contribute to advancing research. She is an active user of open-source software (R, QGIS, etc), and open-source hardware, such as the Arduino project. For her field work, she was part of a team that developed low-cost open-source Arduino-based dataloggers (Hund et al., 2016).


Ph.D. Candidate in Geological Sciences (start 09.2013)

Dept. of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences (EOAS), University of British Columbia (UBC). Supervisory Committee: Dr. Mark Johnson (supervisor), Dr. Douw Steyn (EOAS, UBC), Dr. Diana Allen (Simon Fraser University, Burnaby)

B.Sc. & M.Sc. in Geoecoloy, major in Hydrology (2011)

Institute of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Potsdam, Germany. M.Sc. thesis in corporation with the Soil, Water and Communities lab, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, UBC, Canada, on the influence of land use on sediment chemistry of agricultural streams

University exchange at UBC during undergraduate studies (2008-2009). Field work on tropical rainforest hydrology, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (summer 2007)

Recent Volunteer Involvement

Director, Canadian Water Resources Association BC Branch Board of Directors (since 2013). Student and Young Professional Chair (2013-2016); Member of the Organizing Committee of the 2015 BC Branch Conference.

Editor, Journal of the Association for Geoecology in Germany (FORUM) (since 2013)

Awards and Scholarships

o NSERC (National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada)/ Belmont Forum FuturAgua Stipend (2013-2016)

o CATIE Research Stipend (Centro Agronomico Tropical de Investigacion y Ensenanza, Turrialba, Costa Rica) (2014-2015)

o International Tuition Award University of British Columbia

o Faculty of Science PhD Tuition Award

o W.H. Matthews Scholarship (2014)

o Egil H. Lorntzen Scholarship (2013)

o Master Thesis Award - DAAD (German Academic Exchange Services) (2011)

o Exchange Scholarship for North America - DAAD (German Academic Exchange Services) (2008-2009)

Selected Publications and Conference Contributions

Hund, Silja V., Mark S. Johnson and Tom Keddie (2016). Developing a hydrologic monitoring network in data-scarce regions using open-source Arduino dataloggers. Agricultural & Environmental Letters 1:160011. doi:10.2134/ael2016.02.0011 (pdf)

Mark S. Johnson, Silja V. Hund (presenting author), Laura Morillas, Douw G. Steyn (2016). Integrating socio-hydrology with ecohydrology to evaluate freshwater security in relation to multiple, interacting stressors in a drought-prone tropical region. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers, San Francisco, CA, Mar 29 – Apr 2, 2016

Hund, Silja V., Mark S. Johnson, Douw G. Steyn, Tom Keddie and Laura Morillas (2015). Hydrologic monitoring using open-source Arduino logging platforms in a socio-hydrological system of the drought-prone tropics, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Presented at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, San Francisco, CA, Dec 14-18, 2015

Silja V. Hund, Sandra Brown, Les M. Lavkulich, and Sascha E. Oswald (2013). Relating Phosphorus lability in stream sediments to watershed land use via an effective sequential extraction scheme. Water, Air and Soil Pollution. 224: 1643-1656

Silja V. Hund (2011). Assessment of phosphorus and trace metal availability in stream sediments of an agriculturally influenced watershed. M.Sc. Thesis. Institute of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Potsdam, Germany; in cooperation with the Soil, Water and Communities Group, University of British Columbia, Canada

Silja V. Hund, A.V. Shiel, S. Brown, L.M. Lavkulich, and D. Weiss (2011). Agricultural impact on P and metal availability in stream sediments. Mineralogical Magazine, 75(3) 1071 Goldschmidt Conference, Prague, Czech Republic, Aug 14-19, 2011



Twitter: @SiljaHund