Archive for May 31st, 2018

Summer Research in the Tree Ring Lab

May 31st, 2018

This summer, students through the AMRE program with funding from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation are working in the Wooster Tree Ring Lab doing historical dating. Kendra Devereux, Alexis Lanier, and Juwan Shabazz are working with clients to date local barns, cabins and houses, to update pre-existing tree-ring chronologies, and to examine the collected data as a record of past climate. Two additional students are also working in the lab with data collected from Columbia Glacier in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Josh Charlton and Victoria Race, who are funded by NSF (National Science Foundation), will be helping out the AMRE students, but primarily will be developing ice flow models and using tree rings to reconstruct mass balance for Columbia Glacier in Prince William Sound, Alaska.

Summer researchers at Stebbins Gulch in the Holden Arboretum. Pictured left to right: Victoria Race (’19), Kendra Devereux (’21), Alexis Lanier (’20), Josh Charlton (’19), and Juwan Shabazz (’19).

The group has worked on a few different projects thus far. Their first assignment was to update the chronology for the Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, Ohio. The group has gone to the field site twice now to collect core samples from living Chestnut Oak trees in Stebbins Gulch. The AMRE group is currently working on mounting the fresh cores from our second trip and will be gathering and analyzing this data in the coming weeks.

Sampling chestnut oak trees at Stebbins Gulch.

Freshly extracted core at Stebbins Gulch.

Alexis Lanier removing increment borer from a sampled tree.

Kendra and Victoria looking at a giant burl on a sampled chestnut oak.

Chestnut oak tree being sampled at Stebbins Gulch.

The AMRE group has also worked with clients to date two local structures, Stratford Cabin and Gingery Barn. The group was able to date both samples and provide a calendar date for our clients, informing them when the trees used for building these structures were felled. Stratford cabin was dated to 1849 and Gingery Barn was dated at 1883. To provide these dates, the students counted and measured the tree rings. This data was then compared to other developed chronologies, a process called cross-dating, which allows us to assign a calendar date to these rings. 

In the coming weeks, the group will be finishing up the work on Stebbins Gulch, dating some more historical structures from Sonnenberg Village, and compiling Columbia Glacier data. Further information on these projects can be found on the Tree Ring Lab’s website.

Juwan drilling into a beam sample to extract a core from Gingery Barn.

Oak slice ready for sanding from Gingery Barn.