Tuesday, June 17, 2014

University of Innsbruck Alpine Tree-Ring Group

Dr. Kurt Nicolussi was my host and is the principle dendrochronologist at the University of Innsbruck Alpine Tree-Ring Group. He works with five other technicians and students (A. Österreicher, Thomas Pichler, Andrea Thurner, and Georg Weber - http://www.uibk.ac.at/geographie/forschung/dendro/index.html.en). They specialize in research on climate (Nicolussi and Schiessling 2001), CO2 fertilization (Nicolussi et al. 1995), tree line (Nicolussi et al. 2005), and glacier in high-mountain regions (Nicolussi and Patzelt 2000). They have also conduct some research in Archaeology and Historic Buildings such as dating the Golden Roof in the old city of Innsbruck. They are also working on long chronologies from Subfossil wood and exploring the 8.2ka event (Nicolussi and Schlüchter 2012).

I would say that out of all of the labs that I have visited, this lab receives the “Best View from a Dendrochronology Lab” award. They are located on the sixth floor and look out over the city to the Austrian Alps. I have found that each country has a focus on their approach to dendrochronology based on the researchers that are active in each country. Kurt is the main Austrian dendrochronology that I am aware of which means the focus of Austrian dendrochronology is on Alpine tree-line changes, climate, and glaciology.

I had met Kurt many times previously at international conferences and got to spend some time with him during the 2010 North American Dendroecological Fieldweek (NADEF) in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains of California. Kurt is in the back of this picture leaning against the sign in the white shirt and the grey hat. Also in this picture, Tom Harlan (in the foreground) is telling us the history of bristlecone pine research.

Kurt took the time to show me how the computer program TSAP works. I had heard about this program before and know that it is the main dating tool used in most European dendrochronology laboratories.  It is developed by Frank Rinn and Rintech, costing (http://www.rinntech.de/content/view/17/48/lang,english/). I plan to purchase the software and to include it in my crossdating procedure. I will still do skeleton plotting prior to measuring the wood, but then also visually check the dates using the measured series in TSAP, the statistical measures in TSAP (such as the G, T, and r statistics), and then also use COFECHA.

Nicolussi, K., Bortenschlager, S., & Körner, C. (1995). Increase in tree-ring width in subalpine Pinus cembra from the central Alps that may be CO2-related. Trees, 9(4), 181-189.
Nicolussi, K., & Patzelt, G. (2000). Discovery of Early Holocene wood and peat on the forefield of the Pasterze Glacier, Eastern Alps, Austria. The Holocene, 10(2), 191-199.
Nicolussi, K., Kaufmann, M., Patzelt, G., & Thurner, A. (2005). Holocene tree-line variability in the Kauner Valley, Central Eastern Alps, indicated by dendrochronological analysis of living trees and subfossil logs. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 14(3), 221-234.
Nicolussi, K., & Schiessling, P. (2001, September). Establishing a multi-millenial Pinus cembra chronology for the central Eastern Alps. In International Conference of Tree-Rings and People (pp. 251-252). Davos.
Nicolussi, K., & Schlüchter, C. (2012). The 8.2 ka event—Calendar-dated glacier response in the Alps. Geology, 40(9), 819-822.

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