Welcome to TREX!
Dendrochronologists often travel to remote regions across the world in search of old, slow growing, trees that capture the environmental conditions where they live in their annual growth rings. By studying these trees, scientists learn about environments and climates, hundreds-to-thousands of years in the past. For example, scientists have used trees from such sites to reconstruct temperature variability of the past two thousand years in the Northern Hemisphere, to place exact calendar dates on ancestral pueblos in the U.S. Southwest and to reconstruct streamflow estimates for the U.S. Colorado River. Because the basic premise of dendrochronology is so easily understandable — non-expert audiences can see climate variability through time with the naked eye by looking at tree cores — tree rings provide a wonderful window into how scientists do science and why they do it, and provide students with the opportunity to generate and evaluate relevant geoscience data and research.
Here, we have built five publically available labs, geared for community college and undergraduate instructors and their students, that tap into the excitement of launching an expedition while introducing students to groundbreaking tree-ring studies that have had important societal impact. Tree-Ring Expeditions (TREX) immerses students in the field of dendrochronology and allows them to experience science as a process, as a scientist would.
With TREX, students have the opportunity to use many of the same tools and strategies that tree-ring scientists do, including: exploring important tree-ring sites, measuring and evaluating data from those sites and using online research and analysis tools and databanks. They will also hear from scientists who led research projects through video interviews about how they got started, what motivates them, and what advice they have for undergraduate students interested in scientific careers.
The TREX website includes instructor guides, answer keys and a separate section for students that guides them through labs and provides student activity sheets to download. To use TREX and receive access to the instructor guides, please use the 'Request for Instructor Access' link in the left navigation menu.
For questions, contact:
Dr. Nicole Davi, Tree-Ring Laboratory, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University & Department of Environmental Science, William Paterson University, 300 Pompton Rd., Wayne NJ 07470
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation's Division of Undergraduate Education under Grant No. 1405664. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.