Autumn Semester 2020 takes place in a mixed form of online and classroom teaching.
Please read the published information on the individual courses carefully.

701-1682-00L  Dendroecology

SemesterAutumn Semester 2016
LecturersC. Bigler, A. Rigling, K. Treydte
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish

AbstractThe course dendroecology offers theoretical and practical aspects of dendrochronology. The impact of different environmental influences on tree-ring characteristics will be shown. The students learn various methods to date tree rings and they understand how ecological and environmental processes and patterns can be reconstructed using tree rings.
ObjectiveThe students...
- understand, how wood is configured and how tree-ring structures are formed.
- are able to identify and describe different tree-ring structures.
- understand the theoretical and practical aspects of the dating of tree rings.
- know the effects of different abiotic and biotic environmental influences (climate, site, competition, insects, fire, physical-mechanical influences) on trees and tree rings.
- discover a tool for understanding and reconstructing global change processes.
- learn software to date, standardize and analyze tree rings.
- get hands-on experience based on the demonstration of wood (increment cores, stem discs, wedges), sampling in the field, and measuring and dating of tree rings in the tree-ring lab.
- solve R-based exercises (R tutorial will be provided) and answer questions in Moodle.
- work out an independent research question related to a dendroecological topic and write a short literature review based on scientific papers.
Content- Overview and history of dendrochronology
- Principles of dendrochronology
- Evolution of tree rings
- Formation and structure of wood and tree rings
- Intra-seasonal tree-ring growth
- Continuous and discontinuous tree-ring characteristics
- Sampling and measuring
- Crossdating methods (visual, skeleton plots, quantitative)
- Standardization of tree-ring series
- Development of tree-ring chronologies
- Dendrogeomorphology, dendrohydrology, dendroglaciology
- Stable isotopes
- Climate, climate-growth relationships, climate reconstructions
- Age and size structures, forest dynamics (regeneration, growth, competition, mortality)
- Disturbance ecology (fire, insects, blowdown)
- Application of tree-ring research in practice and in interdisciplinary research projects
- Field and lab day (date for one entire day or two half days will be searched together with the students in the beginning of the semester): discussion of different dendroecological questions in the forest; sampling of trees; insight into different tree-ring projects in the lab (Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL)
Lecture notesLecture notes (in English) will be handed out in the class.

The lecture notes and further documents (papers, software) can also be downloaded from Moodle ( following registration for the course.
LiteratureLiterature lists will be handed out in the class.
Prerequisites / NoticeTime schedule (total of 90 hours): There will be 12 lectures with each two hours (total of 24 hours presence) as well as a field and lab day (8 hours presence). In addition, the students are expected to put 18 hours into the preparation of the lectures as well as 18 hours for the exercises. 4 hours are reserved for the lab work and 18 hours for the project.

The class language is German and English, on request English only.

Basics of biology, ecology and forest ecology