701-1682-00L  Dendroecology

SemesterAutumn Semester 2023
LecturersC. Bigler, K. Treydte, G. von Arx
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


701-1682-00 GDendroecology
Zusätzlich zur Lehrveranstaltung wird eine ganztägige Exkursion angeboten
3 hrs
Fri12:15-14:00CHN G 46 »
C. Bigler, K. Treydte, G. von Arx

Catalogue data

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
- Formation and structure of wood and tree rings
- Wood anatomy and intra-seasonal tree-ring growth
- Continuous and discontinuous tree-ring characteristics
- Sampling and measuring of tree rings
- Crossdating methods (visual, skeleton plots, quantitative)
- Detrending and standardization of tree-ring series
- Development of tree-ring chronologies
- Water transport in trees
- Stable isotopes in tree rings
- Climate influences, climate-growth relationships, climate reconstructions
- Reconstruction of 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 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 be downloaded from Moodle (Link) 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. 3 hours are reserved for the lab work and 19 hours for the project.

The class language is English, by mutual request only German.

Basics of biology, ecology and forest ecology
Subject-specific CompetenciesConcepts and Theoriesassessed
Techniques and Technologiesassessed
Method-specific CompetenciesAnalytical Competenciesassessed
Project Managementassessed

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits3 credits
ExaminersC. Bigler, K. Treydte, G. von Arx
Typeungraded semester performance
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionRepetition possible without re-enrolling for the course unit.
Additional information on mode of examinationProjektarbeit kann auf Deutsch oder Englisch verfasst werden; Bericht umfasst ca. 4-7 Seiten und basiert auf 2-3 wissenschaftlichen Artikeln, welche kritisch gelesen werden müssen; Abgabe bis Ende Semester
Project work can be written in German or English; report comprises approx. 4-7 pages and is based on 2-3 scientific articles, which must be read critically; submission by end of semester

Learning materials

No public learning materials available.
Only public learning materials are listed.


No information on groups available.


There are no additional restrictions for the registration.

Offered in

Doctorate Environmental SciencesForest and Landscape ManagementWInformation
Environmental Sciences MasterMethods and ToolsWInformation