Dendrochronology Intensive Summer Course (DISC) 2021

Every tree has a story to tell. Dendrochronology is the study of natural and human processes that are recorded in the annual growth rings of trees. This tree-ring record is archived thanks to the remarkable preservation qualities of wood, and across the wide geographical distribution of trees. Through the science of dendrochronology, a broad range of ecological, climatic, geological, and cultural phenomena can be reconstructed and analyzed with high spatial and temporal resolution.

What is DISC2021?

This year - June 7 through June 18, the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research (LTRR) is offering an experimental online version of its summer course in dendrochronology. Connected with this shift in venue - from in-person to online - course content will focus on the analytical methods and data analyses based upon existing data sets. In comparison to other years, we expect that this course will be most appealing and useful to participants who have some background and knowledge in tree-ring research but are looking to deepen analysis skills. Nevertheless, the course will broadly cover some fundamentals of dendrochronology as well as the diverse inter-disciplinary applications of dendrochronology. For in-depth analyses, participants may choose either isotope dendrochronology, led by Dr. Soumaya Belmecheri, or dendroclimatology, led by Dr. Dave Meko.

Isotope Dendrochronology

This track will emphasize the application of stable isotopes measured in tree rings (Carbon, Oxygen and Nitrogen) to the reconstruction of physiological parameters at the tree level since the industrial revolution and beyond. Lectures from researchers experienced in stable isotope applications in ecohydrology and ecophysiology, and in the use of tree-ring isotopes to evaluate vegetation models will give an overview of the diverse applications of isotope dendrochronology as a tool to characterize and understand forest responses to changes in environmental conditions. With guidance of the instructor, students will design and conduct a mini-research project that includes 1) assembly and quality control of data, 2) calculation of ecophysiological indices, 3) climate signal identification, 4) quantification and interpretation of trends and variability of tree ecophysiological responses. The project will be based on data available through the International Tree-Ring Databank (ITRDB), data compilations from recently published and publically available meta-analysis. Students are also welcome to include their own tree-ring data sets in the course activities. Prospective students should be familiar with tree-ring data, have a basic knowledge of statistics at the introductory level, and have some experience with the use of computer software for data analysis and statistics (e.g. R).

Dendroclimatology

This track will emphasize the application of tree-ring data from the International Tree-Ring Databank (ITRDB) to the reconstruction of climatic and hydrologic time series. Lectures from researchers experienced in dendroclimatic reconstruction projects at a wide range of spatial and temporal scales will give an overview of diverse applications of networks of tree-ring data in climatology and hydrology. With guidance of the instructor, students will design and conduct a mini-research project that includes 1) assembly and quality control of data, 2) tree-ring standardization, 3) climate signal identification, 4) climate or streamflow reconstruction, and 5) climatological interpretation of reconstructions with the aid of time series and statistical methods. Students are welcome to include their own tree-ring data sets in the course activities and analyses steps. Prospective students should be familiar with tree-ring data, have a basic knowledge of statistics at the introductory level, and have some experience with the use of computer software for data analysis and statistics.

What is the format?

This online course will span a period of two weeks, including lectures, method tutorials, and workshop-style breakout sessions in small groups. Lectures will be presented by course instructors and other leading scientists at the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research and other research institutions. There will also be dedicated breaks to work on developing projects. The course will culminate with final presentations. Participants should be prepared to fully dedicate these two weeks to course activities. We will attempt to establish a framework that mitigates Zoom fatigue, and is conducive to building a connected cohort of participants. Formal course activities will typically extend from 9AM to 5PM (Pacific Time).

Who should attend?

Due to the emphasis on analysis, we expect DISC2021 to be most beneficial for graduate students, post-docs, faculty and working professionals. Specific inquiries regarding the suitability of this course should be directed toward Lead Instructors.

Registration and logistics:

To register, please fill in this form: https://forms.gle/7k8CZQf7r5ma4ko98. Course fees are $600 payable before May 15, 2021. Please contact Skye Bennett (skyebennett@email.arizona.edu) to set up payment by check or wire transfer. If you are interested in taking this course for University of Arizona credit, please send us an email at disc@ltrr.arizona.edu.

Course dates

June 7 through June 18, 2021. Additional details will be updated at http://www.ltrr.arizona.edu/summerschool/index.html.

For more information

For general enquiries, send us an email at disc@ltrr.arizona.edu. For more specific questions about in-depth analyses, contact Lead Instructors: Dr. Soumaya Belmecheri, sbelmecheri@arizona.edu, for isotope dendrochronology or Dr. Dave Meko, dmeko@ltrr.arizona.edu, for dendroclimatology.

Photos from previous DISC courses

Stefan Klesse