Tree-Ring Talk

Large contribution from anthropogenic warming to an emerging North American megadrought

Over the past two decades much of western North America experienced persistent drought with little to no respite. Consequences were widespread, including declines in river flow and reservoir storage, over-extraction of ground water, explosion of forest-fire activity, and massive bark beetle outbreaks. Water-balance calculations make clear that 2000–2018 was easily the driest 19-year period in the past century. To what degree if at all is human-caused climate change responsible and what is the future trajectory of water supply in western North America?

Woody Species Responses to Extreme Living Conditions: An ongoing PhD story

Woody species distributions and health status strongly depend on their capacity to cope with variable environmental conditions. Such environmental conditions can be, or might become, extreme both in terms of long-term environmental setting (e.g., at the species distribution limit) and short-term events (e.g., drought). My PhD research aims to provide insights on woody species responses to extreme conditions, linking dendrochronology, dendroanatomy and ecophysiology.

Interpreting tree ring records using a plant ecophysiological approach

Trees' rings record a wealth of information on climate, disturbance, and forest dynamics, and can record these processes from the plot to regional to global scales. However, extracting plant physiological processes from the tree ring record has proved to be more difficult, as integration of leaf to whole tree processes can often lead to confounding results. My research aims to bring a plant ecophysiological perspective to interpreting the tree ring isotopic record and to ask, what processes are the rings actually recording?

Scaling climate sensitivity: How does spatial aggregation affect estimation of the species–environment relationship?

The practice of aggregation in dendrochronology reveals common climate signals while minimizing non-climatic noise. Especially when analyzed at broad spatial scales, climate emerges as a strong predictor of variability in tree ring width. However, the increasing use of tree ring data to study the impacts of climate change on forests, from local to regional and even global scales, warrants careful thinking about the effect of aggregation on climate sensitivities (i.e., species–environment relationships).

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