Daniel Griffin, Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Geography, University of Arizona
M.A., Geography, University of Arkansas
B.S., Earth Science, University of Arkansas

Dr. Griffin's interests include climate science, water resource issues, environmental dynamics and natural areas conservation. His current work on hydroclimatic variability and change is centered in California, the American Southwest, and Guatemala.

phone: (+1) 612-625-2562
office: 533 Social Sciences
Google Scholar Profile
UMN Geography Profile

Kurt Kipfmueller, Associate Professor
Ph.D., Geography, University of Arizona
M.A., Geography, University of Wyoming
B.S., Geography & Earth Sci, Central Michigan Univ.

Dr. Kipfmueller’s research examines how climate influences disturbances in western forests. His work has mostly focused on subalpine ecosystems of the western United States.  Kurt is also interested in forest dynamics of the Great Lakes and upper Midwest.

phone: (+1) 612-625-9668
office: 568 Social Sciences
Google Scholar Profile
UMN Geography Profile

Scott St. George, Associate Professor
Ph.D., Geosciences, University of Arizona
M.Sc., Geography, University of Western Ontario
B.Sc., Geography, University of Winnipeg

Dr. St. George is an earth scientist whose research deals with topics in paleoclimatology, climate dynamics, natural hazards and climate impacts on renewable energy. His specialties are dendrochronology and dendroclimatology, low-frequency behavior in the climate system, and the northern Great Plains during the late Holocene.

phone: (+1) 612-625-0805
office: 537 Social Sciences
Google Scholar Profile
UMN Geography Profile

Graduate Students

Margaret Bialecki, Geography Ph.D. Student
M.S., Geography, Southern Illinois University
B.S., Geography, Southern Illinois University

"Emma" is starting a doctoral program in the Fall 2015 semester. Drawing on her background in biophysical geography and dendrochronology, her work will focus on environmental dynamics and hydroclimatic variability. Her recent work at the Chicago's Morton Arboretum Forest Ecology Lab examined urban forest responses to climate. Her M.S. thesis research used tree rings to reconstruct extreme flood history in the middle reaches of the Mississippi River Valley.

office: 574 Social Sciences
advisors: Kipfmueller

Megan Buchanan, Geography Ph.D. Candidate
M.S., Geography, University of Alabama
B.S., Geography, University of Alabama

Megan’s research investigates historical and modern forest development, stand dynamics, and disturbance ecology in order to inform natural resource management strategies. Her dissertation research analyses historical land surveys alongside forest inventory and tree-ring data to identify the role that land use, climate, and forest disturbances have played in the recent oak regeneration decline in the Wisconsin Driftless Area. Her curriculum vitae is here.

office: 522 Social Sciences
phone:  (256) 426-0590
advisor: Kipfmueller

Elizabeth Schneider, Geography Ph.D. Student
M.S., Geography, University of Tennessee
B.S., Geography, University of Oregon

Elizabeth is broadly interested in forest dynamics and climate variability and is currently working on fire history reconstructions for northern Minnesota. Her prior work includes a study of fire history in the Magdalena Mountains of New Mexico and tree-ring dating of historic buildings in middle Tennessee.

advisor: Kipfmueller
UMN Geography Profile

Uday Kunwar Thapa, Geography Ph.D. Student
M.Sc., Environmental Science, Tribhuvan University
B.Sc., Environmental Science, Tribhuvan University

Uday is broadly interested in paleoclimate, forest dynamics, and Nepal Himalaya. His prior work includes a paleoclimate study of pre-monsoon temperature variability using tree rings from Picea in Nepal.

office: 360 Social Sciences
advisor: St. George

Google Scholar Profile

Daniel Ackerman, Ecology Ph.D. Student
B.A., Environmental Studies, Carleton College

Daniel is interested in the causes and consequences of land cover change across the globe. His current research is focused on shrub expansion in the Arctic tundra. He is applying dendrochronology methods to dwarf shrubs growing above the latitudinal tree line on the North Slope of Alaska. Dan's primary advisor is Jacques Finlay.

office: 407 Ecology (St. Paul Campus)
supervisor: Griffin

Undergraduate Students

Talia Anderson 
B.S., Geography (honors)
B.A., Spanish
Expected Graduation: May 2016

Research Interests:
Latin America, political ecology, environmental history

advisor: Griffin

Daniel Crawford
B.S., Geography
B.S., Environmental Science, Policy, & Management
Expected Graduation: May 2015

Research Interests:
Paleoclimatology, water quality, landscape disturbance

advisor: Kipfmueller

Daniel Schwalen
B.A., Management Info Systems
B.A., Marketing
Minor: Statistics
Expected Graduation: May 2018

Research Interests:
computer programming, database management, software implementation, market research

advisor: Griffin

Lucas Veitch
B.S., Economics
B.S., Statistics
Expected Graduation: May 2018

Research Interests: 
Time series analysis, economic theory

advisor: Griffin


Dr. Susy Ziegler
Dr. Susy Ziegler was the first tree-ring scientist hired on faculty at the University of Minnesota and founded the research group that would later become the Center for Dendrochronology. We owe Susy an enormous debt for her work putting UMN on the map in dendrochronology and dendroecology. In 2010, she left Minnesota to join the faculty of Northern Michigan University, where she is continuing her work studying the northern forests of eastern North America.

Sarah Appleton (M.A., 2015)
"Mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana [Bong.] Carr.) growth and cool-season precipitation in Crater Lake National Park, Oregon"
Sarah came from Ohio where she earned a B.A. in Geology from The College of Wooster. She is currently working with National Geographic in the District of Columbia.

Xiaolu (Grace) Li (M.A., 2014)
“Forward modeling of tree-climate relations across the Northern Hemisphere”
Originally from China, Ms. Li joined the UMN Geography department after completing her B.Sc. in Business Economics from Peking University. Her Master's thesis was focused on testing whether a process model of tree-ring formation is able to reproduce behavior exhibited by real tree-ring width data across the Northern Hemisphere. She is now
pursuing a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University.

Max Torbenson (M.A., 2014)
Assessing the response of upper montane forests to decadal variability in precipitation
Originally from Sweden, Mr. Torbenson joined us after completing his undergraduate studies with the QUB Dendrochronology group. He is currently a doctoral student in the Tree-Ring Lab at the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arkansas.

Dr. Chris Crawford (Ph.D. , 2013)
Assessing historical trends in snowpack variability across the Northern Rocky Mountains using remote sensing and dendrochronology approaches
Chris's dissertation focused on remote sensing of snowpack in the interior of western North America, dendroclimatology of the Northern Rockies and Southern Appalachian Mountains, and low-frequency climate variability. He is a post-doctoral fellow at NASA's Goddard Space Science Center, working in the Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory.

Lane Johnson (M.A., 2013)
Tree ring reconstruction of island and mainland fire events along a historic canoe travel corridor in Minnesota's Boundary Waters Wilderness
Lane is a native Minnesotan who conducted fire history research in the near-boreal forests of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Erika Wertz (B.S., 2012)

Testing whether vessel characteristics in bur oak can serve as proxies for severe Red River floods within the United States
Erika is employed by the Colorado State Forest Service in Canyon City, Colorado.

Danny Margoles (M.A., 2010)
Mountain pine beetle - whitebark pine dynamics in a subalpine ecosystem of the Pioneer Mountains, southwest Montana
As part of his thesis research, Danny focused on a historic outbreak of mountain pine beetle in the high-elevation whitebark pine forests of Montana.

Dr. Grant Elliot (Ph.D., 2009)

Multi-scale influences of climate on upper treeline dynamics along a latitudinal gradient in the Rocky Mountains, USA
Grant's dissertation dealt with the impacts of climatic variability and disturbance regimes on vegetation patterns in Rocky Mountain and Minnesota forests. He is an Assistant Professor in Geography at the University of Missouri.

Dr. Evan Larson (Ph.D., 2009)
Status and dynamics of Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis Engelm.) forests in southwest Montana, central Idaho, and Oregon, U.S.A.
Evan's dissertation research examined the variability of fire regimes and stand dynamics in whitebark pine forests across the central distribution of the species, and its causes. Evan is an Assistant Professor of Geography and Geology at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

Sarah Margoles (M.A., 2009)

Perspectives on oak savanna restoration in Minnesota: a dendroecological approach
Sarah's thesis work used fire scars to reconstruct fire history in oak savannas in central and southern Minnesota.

Dr. Julia Rauchfuss (Ph.D., 2009)
Dynamics of old-growth forests of Minnesota

Julia studied the dynamics of old growth forests in the 'Lost 40' in northern Minnesota, Itasca State Park, and the Big Woods in south-central Minnesota. Julia is currently a post-doctoral researcher at Mid Sweden University.