Hint: click on the smaller image in the box to bring up a full-size image!
LTRS members win departmental awards!
At the 2018 Department of Geography Awards Ceremony in April 2018, we're proud to report that Savannah Collins-Key was presented the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, while Maegen Rochner, Savannah, and lab director Henri Grissino-Mayer were presented with Outstanding Service Awards. Former LTRS member Ellie Eggink was awarded the Oustanding Graduating Senior Award, and was recently recognized as one of only 32 Top Collegiate Scholars here at the University of Tennessee! Great job everyone!
Our tree-ring lab at the AAG meeting!
The American Association of Geographers national meeting was held April 9-14, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the LTRS was well-represented by both oral andposter presentations. Giving talks were Maegen Rochner about her climatic research on whitebark pines in Wyoming, Zach Merrill about his stand dynamics research in Isle Royale National Park, and Savannah Collins-Key about her research on wildfire policies, while Laura Smith gave a poster about her continuing research on eastern red cedars collected by Florence Hawley. Lab Director Dr. Henri Grissino-Mayer had to miss the conference due to medical reasions, but his talk about the wildland-urban interface in Tennessee was given by Savannah Collins-Key! Great job everyone!
The LTRS is featured on CBS News Sunday Morning show!
In early February 2018, CBS News met with lab members at the Abraham Lincoln Boyhood Home in Hodgenville, Kentcuky to take video of lab members collecting core samples from logs on the cabin. Thew news crew then drove back down to Knoxville with us to take video of us working on the cores. All this was then edited and shown on February 16 on the show CBS News Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley! We announced to the nation that the boyhood home was built in 1861 and could not have been Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home!
Maegen wins national level awards!
Maegen continues to assert herself as a growing presence in physical geography and dendrochronology, as she recently won the John Fraser Hart Best Ph.D. Paper Award at SEDAAG 2017 in Starkville, Mississippi. A few days later, she was notified that she was awarded an AAG Council Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Paper at a Regional Meeting by the American Association of Geographers. This award will not only cover her travel to present at the national AAG meeting held next April in New Orleans, but will also cover her registration costs! Congratulations, again, Maegen!
The LTRS will be sampling the Hurricane Irma dugout canoe!
On September 10, 2017, Hurricane Irma struck Florida and traveled northward, causing major destructionin its path. Near Cocoa, Florida, the hurricane churned up so much water that a submerged dugout canoe was freed from the river bottom and spotted by an observant passer-by who recognized the importance of what he found. The dugout is now being preserved at the Division of Historical Resources in Tallahassee, Florida, and the conservators wish to determine the dates for the rings in the tree used to build the dugout. Is the dugout prehistoric or historic? What species is it manufactured from? We'll be traveling down to Tallahassee to take a cross section from the dugout in the hopes we can date its tree rings!
The LTRS is well-represented at SEDAAG 2017 in Starkville!
The Laboratory of Tree-Ring Science was well-represented at SEDAAG 2017 held in Starkville, Mississippi! Presentations were given by by Zach Merrill ("Quantifying Growth Rate of Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea) for Analyzing a Trophic Relationship, Isle Royale National Park, Michigan, USA"), Laura Smith ("Geospatial Applications of a Tree Pest and Disease Vulnerability Model on Street Trees in Washington DC"), Henri Grissino-Mayer ("Tree-Ring Dating of Timbers from the Gonzalez-Alvarez and Tovar Houses, St.Augustine, Florida, USA"), Maegen Rochner ("Climate Change in a High-Elevation Whitebark Pine Ecosystem, Beartooth Mountains, Wyoming, USA"), and Savannah Collins-Key ("Industrialized Animal Agriculture: Communicating the Harms of High Meat Consumption on Public Health, Food Security, and the Environment")! Great job, everyone!!!
The LTRS will be sampling Abraham Lincoln's log cabin!
We recently were contacted by the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park in Hodgenville, Kentucky to see if we could find time to sample and evaluate the construction history of the Abraham Lincoln Boyhood Home, located in Knob Creek. Of course, this is excirting research, and we're pleased to be the laboratory of choice to perform this critical research. We'll be taking a crack team of five people up to Knob Creek to sample as many logs as as possible in the four walls of this cabin to determine the cutting dates of these logs and hopefully come up with a narrow set of years or year when the trees were harvested to build the cabin. This will complement our previous research on the actual birthplace log cabin that we performed back in 2004, where we determined that the cabin was actually not Lincoln's birthplace log cabin!
Maegen wins awards at the 2017 department awards ceremony!
Maegen continues to dazzle our department with several awards already this academic year! In March, her proposal was chosen to receive the top award in the Ph.D. Student Research Grant competition of the Biogeography Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers. In April, Maegen won two more awards, the first being a Student Publication Award for her three publications in the last academic year (two with her as senior author), and then she was chosen to receive the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Associate Award for her highly-regarded teaching in the Geography 345 (People an Environment) and Geography 331 (Natural Hazards) courses in the past two semesters. Congratulations, Maegen!
Henri and the LTRS in the news about the Gatlinburg fire!
Not really how we like to get publicity for our lab, but I've been giving lectures for years now about the probability of wildfires hitting Gatlinburg, which lies at the wildland-urban interface. Well, on November 28, 2016, Gatlinburg got hit viciously by a wildfire that destroyed hundreds of buildings and caused loss of life. I'm hoping that some good will come out of all this, but we'll see. In the future, I'd like to be giving more talks in Gatlinburg to educate everyone about fire in their environment!
Maegen and Henri organize a Dendro Session at SEDAAG!
It took some effort, but we managed to bring together some of the top dendrochronologists practicing in the eastern U.S. to our SEDAAG (Southeastern Division of the American Association of Geographers) meeting in Columbia, South Carolina, this past November. Speakers included Stockton Maxwell (Radford University), Grant Harley (University of Southern Mississippi, who gave two talks because his students could not make the meeting), Keith Watkins (University of North Carolina, Greensboro), Maegen, and myself. We enjoyed a large audience which included Dr. Glen MacDonald, President of the American Association of Geographers! We're hoping this session on Dendrochronology becomes a regular session at SEDAAG in years to come!
The LTRS initiates new research in St. Augustine, Florida!
We were contacted by the St. Augustine Historical Society in spring 2016 to see if we could assist the dating of two historic structures in the Historic District of St. Augustine, Florida. The houses are the Tovar House (left) and the Gonzalez-Alvarez House (right, also known as the "Oldest House"), and both are believed to date to the early to mid-1700s. We collected core samples from exposed floor joists in both buildings and hope to confirm if these houses indeed could be the oldest intact timber-frame houses in St. Augustine!
Maegen and Henri serve as Group Leaders at the 26th Annual NADEF!
In July 2016, Maegen and Henri traveled to the University of Washington's Pack Forest where the 26th Annual North American Dendroecological Fieldweek was held. We sampled sites on Mt. Rainier in the National Park with our groups and spent a day hiking the snow fields at treeline! Maegen had 10 participants in her Introductory Group while Henri had five participants in his Advanced Climate Group. We got to see some incredibly beautiful scenery and meet some extraordinary people!
Members of the LTRS conduct a second season of fieldwork in the Beartooth Mountains of Wyoming!
In July 2016, Henri and Maegen again traveled to the Beartooth Mountains of northwestern Wyoming, assisted by graduate student Kyle Landolt, to conduct a second summer season of fieldwork collecting whitebark pine samples for Maegen's doctoral research. This summer, we were stymied by two days of bitter cold temperatures, ice, sleet, snow, and rain, but we managed to collect an unprecedented number of sections and cores from about 200 trees! An untra-successful fieldtrip overall!
The LTRS hosts Sunshine Brosi and her students from Frostburg State University!
From May 12-14, the LTRS hosted Dr. Sunshine Brosi (Associate Professor, Department of Biology and Natural Resources) and her students in Applied Ecology from Frostburg State University. Pictured here are LTRS undergraduate major Ellie Eggink (orange shirt), with (left to right) Frostburg State students Laura Price, Amanda Menasion, Karen Johnson, and Laura Smith, with Dr. Brosi (far right). Welcome to Knoxville and the LTRS!
Allison Ingram successfully defends her master's research and M.S. thesis!
Another successful defense this week! We congratulate Allison Ingram who successfully defended her masters research and M.S. thesis! The title of her thesis is “Testing the Temporal Stability of the Climate Response in Tree Species Growing in Norris Dam State Park, Tennessee, USA.” Her committee consisted of Drs. Kelsey Ellis, Sally Horn, and Henri Grissino-Mayer (Chair). Allison joined our lab in August 2014 and literally blasted through our program, doing some intensive fieldwork and intensive laboratory analyses, and then wrote up an excellent thesis. We'll miss having you around our lab! Congratulations, Allison!
Lauren Stachowiak successfully defends her doctoral research and dissertation!
We congratulate Lauren Stachowiak for successfully defending her doctoral research and dissertation. Her dissertation is titled “Using Spatial Analysis to Evaluate Fire Activity in a Pine Rockland Ecosystem, Big Pine Key, Florida, USA” and her committee members are Drs. Sally Horn, Nicholas Nagle, Philip Li, Wayne Clatterbuck (Forestry, Wildlife, Fisheries), and Henri Grissino-Mayer (Chair). Lauren recently accepted a tenure-track Assistant Professor position in GIS/Physical Geography in the Department of Geography and Anthropology at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington. Well done, Dr. Stachowiak!
Maegen Rochner wins major awards at the 2016 AAG meeting in San Francisco!
Ph.D. student Maegen Rochner is conducting some of the most significant research ever performed by a student on our Laboratory of Tree-Ring Science. To reward her efforts, Maegen was recently awarded not one, but two awards at this year's national meeting of the AAG in San Francisco. She won the Chimborazo Student Research Grant competition for best Ph.D proposal from the Mountain Geography Specialty Group, and was also awarded the best Ph.D. proposal in the Student Research Grant competition from the Paleoenvironmental Change Specialty Group. These two grants will fund two projects out of three outlined in her doctoral proposal overall! Congratulations, Maegen!
The LTRS initates new research to date the Blount Mansion in Knoxville, Tennessee!
Governor William Blount was the state's first governor, appointed by President George Washington in 1790! Blount moved the capitol of the new state to Knoxville, Tennessee where he built an elaborate mansion that still stands today near downtown Knoxville, next to the Tennessee River. Cutting of trees and construction was believed to have begun in 1792 but no one knows for certain when this occurred. We'll be sampling timbers from the cellar and the attic to help date when the mansion was built!
The LTRS makes a strong showing at the SEDAAG meeting in Pensacola!
The LTRS made an incredible showing at the recent SEDAAG meeting held in Pensacola, Florida, thanks to a special session on dendroarchaeology organized by Maegen Rochner! Presentations were given by current and former lab members Savannah Collins, Georgina DeWeese, Daniel Brock, Maegen Rochner, and myself, with current student Lauren Stachowiak and fomer student Liz Schneider as co-presenters. Click on the image at the right to bring up a larger version of the session participants!
The LTRS initiates new research on (pre)historic dugout canoes!
Sometimes I wonder how we get so lucky to be able to work on such cool projects. We were asked by the Museum of Scotland County in Laurenburg, North Carolina if we could come and take a look at their dugout canoe on display and evaluate the potential for getting the tree rings on it dated. During our visit, we learned they had not one, but three dugout canoes and we were able to obtain complete cross sections from all three with little to no damage!
Complement your wardrobe with our own LTRS t-shirts!
The LTRS has had a few t-shirt designs over the yeaers, but this one is by far our best and hits home the importance and diversity of the research in which we engage. We have to thank LTRS member Savannah Collins for taking on this task! If anyone would like to order one or more shirts, we have these in several sizes available for immediate shipping at $US 20 each, while large hoodies are available for $30 each. Just contact Henri and let him know the size needed!
The LTRS initiates new research in the Beartooth Mountains of Wyoming!
During the 2014 NADEF in Wyoming, we noticed what appeared to be the long-dead carcasses of massive whitebark pines scattered across the landscape near treeline in the Beartooth Mountains. Now, Maegen has started her dissertation research on these whitebark pines and we made our first trip there in July 2015. We also found Engelmann spruce that are hundreds of years old!
The LTRS participates at NADEF 2015 in Acadia National Park in Maine!
In spring 2015, we traveled to Acadia National Park on the coast of Maine for the 25th North American Dendroecological Fieldweek -- Henri served as the Group Leader for one of the two climate groups, while Savannah Collins was a participant in the other climate group. Henri's group sampled four overlapping pine species found on the summit of Norumbega Mountain on Desert Island. The views were breath-taking!
Maegen shared her experiences at the recent AAG meeting and offers students some excellent advice!
Maegen completed her M.S. degree in our laboratory and we're pleased to announce that she's returned to begin working on her Ph.D. degree! She attended the AAG meeting in Chicago last April and decided to put her experiences down on paper so that she could share these with her fellow students. She offers some excellent advice, such as how to network, how to dress, how to branch out from your own specialty, and how to grow your own CV. This will become required reading for all students who work in our tree-ring laboratory!
Members of the LTRS win major awards at the 2015 Department of Geography Awards Ceremony!
A banner year by any measure! Savannah Collins, Lauren Stachowiak, and Maegen Rochner receive Student Publication Awards, Lauren receives the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Associate Award, and Maegen receives the department's highest award, the Robert G. Long Outstanding M.S. Student Award! Undergraduates Rebeccah Groh received the Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, while Brooke Pearson received the Excellence in Geography Award from Gamma Theta Upsilon. Finally, Henri received the Service Above and Beyond the Call of Duty Award for extraordinary departmental service.
The LTRS initiates new research at Norris Dam State Park!
Norris Dam State Park harbors some of the oldest oaks in the entire southeastern U.S. and we were fortunate to re-discover these specimens when Dan Duvick of Iowa State visited here back in October 2014 to show us where he had sampled back in 1981. This research will make up the master's thesis of new M.S. student Allison Ingram. She will develop separate oak and pine chronologies and test whether the climate-tree growth relationship has remained stable over the 20th century.
Sarah Jones Wayman successfully defends her M.S. thesis!
We're very proud to announce that Sarah Jones Wayman successfully defended her Master of Science thesis in the Department of Geography! Sarah's been a valuable member of our laboratory since 2009 when she was an undergraduate lab and field assistant. Her M.S. research involved evaluating the stand history of the pygmy forest in El Malpais National Monument. She's presented the results of her research at both the SEDAAG and AAG annual meetings. Congratulations, Sarah, and good luck at your new teaching position at Pellissippi State!
The LTRS earns major honors at the 2014 SEDAAG meeting in Athens, Georgia!
The LTRS continues its long tradition of receiving national recognitions for its members. At the recently held SEDAAG meeting in Athens, Georgia, master's student Maegen Rochner was honored with the Best M.S. Paper Award. Associate Director Dr. Sally Horn was presented with SEDAAG's highest award, the Lifetime Achievement Award. Director of the LTRS Dr. Henri Grissino-Mayer was honored with SEDAAG's Research Honors Award! Congratulations to all!
The LTRS was well represented at the 2014 SEDAAG Meeting in Athens, Georgia!
Members of the LTRS presented several talks at this year's annual meeting of the Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers in Athens, Georgia held November 23-25. Maegen, Savannah, and Lauren presented impressive, well-attended talks about their research. Henri chaired a session on dendrochronology and presented a talk about his research on temporal stability in climate-tree growth relationships. We're very proud that our students continue the tradition of presenting our research at such regional and national meetings!
Savannah Collins successfully defends her M.S. thesis!
We're very proud to announce that Savannah Collins successfully defended her Master of Science thesis in the Department of Geography! Savannah's research involved detecting a signal from tropical cyclones in tree-ring width data from the Lake Louise longleaf pine tree-ring site in southern Georgia. She's presented the results of her research at both the SEDAAG and AAG annual meetings in 2013 and 2014. Congratulations, Savannah, and good luck at your new teaching position at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga!
Maegen Rochner successfully defends her M.S. thesis!
We're very proud to announce that Maegen Rochner successfully defended her Master of Science thesis project in the Department of Geography! Maegen joined us nearly two years ago and literally blasted through her program of study while maintaining stellar grades and winning numerous awards. Maegen's research involved identifying debris slides in the tree-ring record of red spruce trees in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Congratulations, Maegen! Maegen is currently teaching geography at South College in Knoxville, but we look forward to having her in our Ph.D. program!