September 2012 Archives

Regardless of whether you're dating or measuring tree-ring specimens, it's important to (1) be familiar with and (2) follow common conventions used to label samples and mark key rings.

David Stahle (University of Arkansas) and Dan Griffin (University of Arizona) have pulled together a one-page tip sheet that explains common notation used by dendrochronologists. Please visit the 'Resources' page on Dan's website and download the PDF called 'Tree-Ring Dating Notation and Measurement Guide Sheet'.

Online skeleton-plotting exercise

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Starting today, we'll spend the next four class meetings learning about skeleton plotting, which is one of the most elegant tools available for dating tree ring records. Our main job will be to use skeleton plotting to date a set of tree-ring specimens from Northern Arizona. These samples were collected by scientists at the University of Arizona's Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, and were taken from trees with very clear ring patterns (which should help us date them correctly).

Before we start working with real wood, we'll use a simple online tool to help get us familiarized with the method of skeleton plotting. Each of us will spend today's class working through a series of simulated tree-ring sequences using an application produced by Dr. Paul Sheppard at the University of Arizona.

A quick guide to skeleton plotting
The online skeleton plotting tool

Once you're comfortable with the basics of dating simulated tree-ring series, we'll move on to the real thing.

I'm sorry that I ran out of time in lecture today - I'll pick up our discussion of the Principle of Ecological Amplitude on Thursday.

Exercise 1: Tree-ring anatomy

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Thumbnail image for Lecture 2, What are tree rings?.092-001.jpg
Later today (Tuesday), we'll begin our first in-lab exercise in dendrochronology. The objective of this first exercise is to (1) introduce you to basic wood anatomy and (2) help you understand how these features combine to create annual growth rings.

I've allotted two class sessions (Tuesday and Thursday) for this work. If you finish early, I'll help you get started on the next exercise with a sneak peak into the basics of tree-ring dating.

I've uploaded a PDF copy of the first assignment here.

And here are the images we viewed during our first class meeting:

Class 2: What are tree rings?

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I've uploaded my slides from the second lecture to Slideshare.com. You should be able to view the slides AND download my original PDF. Please test access to this material and let me know if you run into any problems and/or hassles.

Welcome and syllabus

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Welcome to GEOG5389 - Introduction to Dendrochronology. In this course, students will learn about the key concepts underlying tree-ring science and learn how evidence from tree rings is used to address contemporary issues in natural history, resource management and Earth Systems Science.

Click on the link to download the class syllabus: GEOG5839 syllabus.pdf

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