Project Description: 

In mountainous terrain, topography can condition forest responses to drought by creating small-scale microclimates that diverge from regional climate. These "topoclimates" can moderate or amplify the impacts of water deficit, but it’s unclear to what extent topographic variability affects forest drought responses across watersheds or landscapes. One way to improve this understanding is through dendrochronology: analyzing tree rings to quantify growth patterns over time. The objective of this project is to use dendrochronological methods to quantify how topography mediates tree growth responses to drought.

Undergraduate's Role: 

Working alongside a graduate student in the Kueppers lab, the student will assist with building tree-growth chronologies based on cores extracted from spruce and fir trees in Colorado's East River watershed. The student will contribute to the development of cross-dated chronologies from core scans, perform quality-assurance checks on the chronologies, and learn foundational methods in tree-ring analysis.

Undergraduate's Qualifications: 

A course or two in plant biology and/or ecology; experience with Excel or R; background or interest in forest ecology

6-9 hours