My background in cave exploration
I became addicted to caving in 1994 and ever since I have explored horizontal, vertical, squeezy, vast, clean, super-muddy, wet, dry, hot, cold and damn cold caves in Germany, France, Austria, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Italy, Portugal, New Zealand and the United States. As an active member of the Höhlenforschungsgruppe Ostalb-Kirchheim, I was involved in the discovery, exploration and survey of dozens of caves in Germany, Austria, Italy, France and the United States, and reported on our findings in numerous articles. My main areas of exploration are the plateau ‘Reiteralm’ in the alpine karst of Germany/Austria, and Lechuguilla Cave in the States – in both cases I am expedition leader and cartographer. My camera is usually an integral part of both my caving expeditions and karstic travels with my wife and good friends.
My background in marine science
My recognised profession is that of a geologist and palaeontologist (PhD) in the field of marine research at the Senckenberg am Meer institute in Wilhelmshaven, Germany. My main research interests are the growth and decay (calcification and bioerosion) of coral reef ecosystems and other depositional systems sustained by calcareous creatures on the sea floor (so-called ‘carbonate factories’). My fieldwork takes me around the globe, from the tropics (Great Barrier Reef, Australia) to the polar region (Svalbard, in the Arctic). There, I explore the sea floor, by scuba diving or sitting comfortably in a research submersible, in order to gain a better understanding of the biosedimentary processes in the world’s oceans. If you would like further information, along with my detailed publication record, please visit ResearchGate (login required) or Google Scholar.
My background in photography, writing and publishing
One year studying fine arts at a private art school, and another year in the postgraduate programme of media science and practice, fostered my skills as a photographer and taught me how the various media function. I designed and have maintained this website – originally launched during my studies and now in its third incarnation – for almost 20 years. Due to my publication activity in my main profession as a marine geoscientist, as well as in the course of my hobby as a speleologist, writing became an important part of my life. Close collaboration with various journals and publishing houses has given me exciting insights into the art of producing quality books – and sparked the idea to produce my own coffee-table books within the framework of the speleo-photo editions.