Dendrochemistry Colloquium


1-unit Seminar for IANIGLA Mendoza

Proposed for teaching component of Fulbright Award to Argentina



Paul Sheppard, email: sheppard @

Note to Fulbright: I have taught this course before at the University of Arizona.

General objectives of this course

Learn by practice with dendrochemical analysis (inorganic, non-isotopic) of selected tree rings for content of relevant elements. Review concepts, techniques, issues, and applications of dendrochemistry as an environmental science.

Colloquium meetings

We will meet for six weeks, about three hours per week. One hour per week will be spent in lecture/discussion, where we'll review relevant literature and learn concepts. The other two hours per week will be in the field or the lab, either together or individually, to actually do the many steps of dendrochemical analysis. These activities may take less than two hours during some weeks, more during other weeks.

Obligations and Expectations


Office hours and readings

Flexible Schedule of Activities (subject to change)
1 Lecture: Why do Dendrochemistry: generally, specifically our project, bibliography

Reading: Lewis: 1995. Dendrochemistry in regional ecosystem health assessments: the forest health monitoring experience.
Reading: Cutter and Guyette: 1993. Anatomical, chemical and ecological factors affecting tree species choice in dendrochemistry studies.

Field: Collect tree-ring specimens nearby
2 Lecture: Tree physiology: translocation after ring formation, uptake mechanisms

Reading: Smith and Shortle: 1996. Tree biology and dendrochemistry.

Lab: Crossdate tree-ring specimens, chisel and bag tree-ring samples from cores
3 Lecture: Chemical measurement of wood

Reading: ICP-MS basics.
Reading: Other measurement options.

Lab: Begin acid dissolution of tree-ring samples
Lab: Put liquid samples in line for ICP-MS measurement
4 Lecture: Dendrochemistry of volcanic eruptions

Reading: Sheppard et al.: 2008. Multiple dendrochronological signals indicate the eruption of Parícutin Volcano, Michoacán, Mexico.
Reading: Sheppard et al.: 2009. Multiple dendrochronological responses to the eruption of Cinder Cone, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California.
Reading: Sheppard et al.: 2010. Dendrochemical evidence of the 1781 eruption of Mount Hood, Oregon.

Lab: Plot out early results
5 Lecture: Other dendrochemistry applications: non-essential element uptake

Reading: Sheppard et al.: 2007. Temporal variability of tungsten and cobalt in Fallon, Nevada.

Lab: Do figures and other results
Lab: Prepare presentation of results
6 1-hour seminar presentation
7 Research paper due

Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona 85721 USA
Office: (520) 621-6474, Fax: (520) 621-8229
Comments to Paul Sheppard: sheppard @