Minnesota Dendroecology Laboratory


Established in 2005, the Minnesota Dendroecology Laboratory conducts research focused on variations in forested environments. Our work investigates how forests change over time due to disturbance and successional history, as well as various driving agents such as climate. Much of our work investigates the history of fire and interactions between fire and climate patterns. Our research group primarily focuses on the development of unique long-term datasets developed through intensive field work, often in remote locations. The MDL is one of three research units housed under the broad umbrella of the Minnesota Center for Dendrochronology. More information regarding the work of lab members can be found under the Research or People link. Other labs under the Center for Dendrochronology umbrella include The Griffin Lab and a laboratory headed by Scott St. George.


The Minnesota Dendroecology Laboratory has a number of opportunities for student support to conduct research on various aspects of environmental change, with a focus on dendrochronological methods. Students interested in pursuing research fire history and climate variability in the Great Lakes region are particularly encouraged to consider a graduate program associated with the Dendroecology Laboratory and the Center for Dendrochronology at the University of Minnesota. The Department of Geography, Environment, and Society offers MA and PH.D. programs. The University of Minnesota Geography program is a highly-ranked and competitive program at a top-notch research university. Graduate students are provided guaranteed academic year funding for set number of years depending on whether they enter with or without a Master's degree. There are many opportunities to obtain research support from both within the department and across the university. During the academic year, graduate students working in the Center for Dendrochronology are typically supported as teaching or research assistants, and appointments cover tuition, health, and a stipend. Students interested in enrolling in the graduate program at the University of Minnesota are encouraged to contact a potential advisor in the Center for Dendrochronology well in advance of the application deadline, which is in mid-December. Below are some potential topics for graduate study in the MiDL lab:

Potential Graduate Student Research Areas in the Minnesota Dendroecology Laboratory:

  • Tree growth-climate relationships of northern white-cedar in northern Minnesota (and other potential species).
  • Fire history in the Upper Great Lakes (broadly construed).
  • Phenology of radial growth of red pines in relation to fire scar formation.
  • Successional patterns and processes in forest environments.


This is a photo of some remaining snow with a dust layer initiating differential melting patterns. I always thought these mini-mountains were sort of cool. The photo was taken in a ribbon forest in Crater Lake National Forest in late July 2012. In the background you can see a narrow gap where snow accumulates during the winter months and persists into summer.


Minnesota Dendroecological LaboratoryUniversity of Minnesota Center for DendrochronologyDepartment of Geography, Environment & Society 509 Social Science Building, 267 19th Ave S Minneapolis, MN 55455Email: kurt@umn.edu

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