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Lectures in Dendrochronology

Very few universities offer formal instruction in the science of dendrochronology via recognized courses, and the University of Tennessee is a recognized leader in teaching the basics and more complex techniques in tree-ring dating. We offer Geography 432, Introduction to Dendrochronology, every other Fall Semester as a 4-credit hour lab-based course, with three 1-hour lectures and one 2-hour lab per week.

The course is taught in a state-of-the-art classroom in the Burchfiel Geography Building that features 15 stereozoom boom-arm microscopes with Nicholas illuminators and 30 Haglof and Mattson increment borers, all dedicated for sole use by students enrolled in the course. The 12 laboratory sessions stress mastering crossdating, the primary technique in dendrochronology. The labs begin with simple pattern recognition exercises and move on to more and more complex skeleton plotting exercises. The labs conclude by teaching students the diagnostic features available in the COFECHA program.

Over the years, Jim Speer (Indiana State University), Paul Krusic (Columbia University), and I have developed standard lectures in dendrochronology that we make freely available to any who wish to use them. If you download any of the lectures below, please be sure to acknowledge Jim, Paul, and me, and please also alert me that you will be using these in your own coursework or for putting together an invited talk. These PowerPoint lectures represent an immense amount of time on our parts and we kindly request that you adhere to these rules.

PowerPoint Lectures

I. Background
     1. History of Dendrochronology
     2. Principles of Dendrochronology

II. Botanical Basis
     3. Wood Anatomy and Dendrochronology
     4. The Three Wood Types

III. Field and Lab Methods
     5. Basic Field Techniques
     6. Basic Sampling Design
     7. Basic Laboratory Techniques

IV. Analyzing Tree-Ring Data
     8. Introduction to Crossdating
     9. Using and Interpreting the COFECHA Program
     10. Standardization Techniques
     11. Detrending with ARSTAN
     12. A Primer on Climate Variables
     13. Climate Response with DendroClim 2002

V. Applications in Dendrochronology
     14. Dendroclimatology
     15. Tree Rings and Fire History
     16. Dendrogeomorphology
     17. Isotope Studies and Tree Rings

And more on the way!

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