Dendrochronology Intensive Summer Courses (DISC)

Each tree has a story to tell. Dendrochronology is the study of natural and human processes that are recorded in the tree-ring record. Due to the remarkable preservation qualities of wood, tree-rings may be sampled across a wide geographical distribution, including unique preservation environments.  Through the science of dendrochronology, a broad range of ecological, climatic, geological, and cultural variables can be reconstructed, and analyzed with high spatial and temporal resolution. Chronologies have been developed from a wide range of species all over the world, and new developments are always being pursued                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
The Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research (LTRR) is offering three (3) concurrent summer courses in dendrochronology, focusing on Dendroclimatology, Dendroecology, and Dendroarchaeology. Classes will convene for three weeks from May 14th - June 1st, 2018 at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Students being with an overall introduction to theory, laboratory and field techniques, and current research in each subfield. Then, students split into subgroups, depending on their area of interest. The Dendroarchaeology students will take a multi-day trip to Northern Arizona, while dendroclimatology and dendroecology students will visit the Chiricahua Mountains of southern Arizona for data collection(see below). Emphasis is placed on hands-on practical skills and project development in combination with background and theory.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
Courses are designed for graduate students as well as faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and working professionals with suitable backgrounds. Upper-division undergradutate students are also welcome to join the courses. Undergraduates in the dendroecology course should have suitable background in ecology, and undergraduates in the dendroclimatology course should have basic background in statistics. Contact the relevant course instructor listed below for more information about course content and prerequisites:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Logistics and Cost

The cost for the three-week course, which includes the field trip:  

  • $1,300 for a non-credit workshop. 
  • $1,522 for students registered through the UA graduate college.

Courses may be taken for graduate or undergraduate credit (3 credits) from the University of Arizona. In this case, students apply and register as a non-degree seeking graduate or undergraduate student at the University of Arizona. The course numbers are:

  • GEOS 497i/597i Dendroclimatology
  • GEOS 497k/597k Dendroecology
  • GEOS/ANTH 497j/597j Dendroarchaeology

More Information

Reasonable accommodations are available in the University area.  For further information on registration, housing and any other questions, please contact Erica Bigio at

We look forward to seeing you this summer!

Field trip to the Chiricahua Mountains

This mountain range is within the Sky Island landscape of southern Arizona, and encompasses a range of forest ecosystems, from oak-savannah to mixed-conifer and spruce at the highest elevations. We will spend three nights at the SW Research station in Cave Creek (Portal, AZ), a world-class destination for birding. We will drive into the higher elevations for sampling. With recent wildfire activity in the range, there are opportunities for studying post-fire effects and recovery, along with fire and insect histories and forest demography. With rocky outcrops and rugged terrain, many trees are also very sensitive to climate, and can be used for reconstructions of past hydroclimate in the region.

Stefan Klesse