Dendrochronology Intensive Summer Course (DISC) 2022

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 DISC2022?

This year, the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research (LTRR) is offering three dendrochronology tracks and two modes of instruction for its intensive summer course. The Archaeology track will be conducted in-person and will be led by Dr. Ron Towner. Both the Dendroclimatology and Isotope Dendrochronology tracks will be conducted live-online. Dr. David Frank will lead the Dendroclimatology track and Dr. Soumaya Belmecheri will lead the Isotope Dendrochronology track. Participants will be able to hone their skills in track-specific techniques and concepts but also be exposed to the fundamentals and the rich inter-disciplinary nature of Dendrochronology. Ample opportunities will be provided to interact with participants in other tracks, as well as Invited Speakers. Read on for more details about each of the tracks!

Archaeology

This track will emphasize the process of conducting Dendroarchaeological research from start to finish. During this course, participants will collect, analyze and interpret archaeological tree-rings. Participants (undergrads, grads, professionals) will learn the most accurate and precise dating method used by archaeologists via lectures, laboratory exercises, and field work. The centerpiece of this track is the field trip - a tour through multiple archaeological sites in New Mexico. Participants will embark into the field after first receiving instruction in the basics of dendrochronological method and theory. Upon returning from the field, participants will prepare, crossdate and interpret dendroarcheological samples collected during the field trip. Lectures will be presented by course instructors as well as leading tree-ring scientists, including Jeffrey S. Dean and Charlotte Pearson. 

Isotope Dendrochronology

This live-online 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.

IMPORTANT: The online tracks - Dendroclimatology and Isoptope Dendrochronology will focus on analytical methods and data analyses. We expect that these two tracks  will be most appealing and useful to participants who have some background and knowledge in tree-ring research but are looking to deepen their analytical skills. 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 R computing software for data analysis and statistics.

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.

IMPORTANT: The online tracks - Dendroclimatology and Isoptope Dendrochronology will focus on analytical methods and data analyses. We expect that these two tracks  will be most appealing and useful to participants who have some background and knowledge in tree-ring research but are looking to deepen their analytical skills. 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 R computing software for data analysis and statistics.

What is the format of DISC2022?

The Archaeology track is in-person. It will span a period of two weeks, beginning May 23 and ending June 3. This track will include lectures, field and lab work, as well as group work to analyze and interpret archaeological tree rings.

The Dendroclimatology and Isotope Dendrochronology tracks are live-online. These tracks will also span a period of two weeks, but will begin on May 31 and end on June 9. These tracks will include lectures, method tutorials, and workshop-style breakout sessions in small groups.

In all three tracks, lectures will be presented by course instructors and other leading scientists at the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research and other research institutions. There will be time dedicated 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. Formal course activities will typically extend from 9AM to 4PM (Pacific Time). For the live-online participants, we will aim to establish a framework that mitigates Zoom fatigue, and is conducive to building a connected cohort of participants.

Who should attend?

The Archaeology track is open to students with some knowledge of dendrochronology, including undergraduate students, graduate students and professionals. The Dendroclimatology and Isotope Dendrochronology tracks, which emphasize analysis, will be most appealing and useful to participants who have some background and knowledge in tree-ring research but are looking to deepen their analytical skills. This includes graduate students, post-docs, faculty and working professionals. Prospective students for the two online tracks 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 R computing software for data analysis and statistics.

Specific inquiries regarding the suitability of this course should be directed toward Lead Instructors.

Registration

To register, please complete this form, then contact Skye Bennett (skyebennett@email.arizona.edu) to set up payment by check or wire transfer. Course fees are $1350 for the in-person Archaeology track and $850 the live-online tracks - Dendroclimatology and Isotope Dendrochronology payable by May 1, 2022. If you are interested in taking this course for University of Arizona credit, you can email us at disc@ltrr.arizona.edu. Note that tuition will be higher if taken for university credit.

Course dates

The in-person Archaeology track will run from May 23 through June 3, 2022. The live-online Dendroclimatology and Isotope Dendrochronology tracks will run from May 31 through June 9, 2022. Please note the different course dates for in-person and live-online offerings. Additional details will be updated at http://www.ltrr.arizona.edu/summerschool/index.html.

For more information

For general inquiries, send us an email at disc@ltrr.arizona.edu. For more specific questions about a track, contact Lead Instructors: Dr. Soumaya Belmecheri, sbelmecheri@arizona.edu, for Isotope Dendrochronology; Dr. David Frank, davidcfrank@arizona.edu for Dendroclimatology; or, Dr. Ron Towner, rht@arizona.edu, for Archaeology.

Photos from previous DISC courses

Stefan Klesse