Launch of the Toulouse INP- AXA chair on Functional Mountain Ecology

Press release : Preserving biodiversity, water and mountain ecosystems

What is your personal inspiration and motivation behind your career as a researcher?

I always wanted to understand how things work and I was fascinated by nature already as a school boy. I spent most of my spare time in the nearby forest, explored caves, observed ants doing their job, listening to birds and frogs, and was especially attracted to water. In the temperate region, these were the activity hotspots with many different species interacting.

Any kind of destruction of nature was horrible to me, as I observed with facination all the tiny and less tiny organisms interact, which then were simply destroyed to make place for some human made, monofunctional structure.

Only as a young student I realized how little we actually understood of that fantastic world around us and I wanted to understand more. Not just to understand, but also to apply my knowledge to protect and conserve nature. This has kept me going through my researchers career and through the lows of it.

What has the impact of AXA support (both funding and dissemination) on your research project been?

AXA RF opened an array of new possibilities to further advance with my research and to support my endevour to not sit in an ivory tower of research, but to share my research and knowledge with the general public. It allows me to go further, more in depth, with my research on mountain ecosystems and to line up very disparate fields of science into one goal: understanding mountain functioning and what risks change brings to biodiversity and the human population.

The AXA support further has opened some doors which remain usually closed - access to politicians and enterprises. This is important to advance not only research, but the needed transformative change of the human population.