My name is Roberto Cruz García, and I participated in the 27th European Ecological Dendrofieldweek, held from the 12-18th of September 2016 in the beautiful Julian Alps region in Kransjka gora, Slovenia. To aid my participation, I received an ATR Travel Grant to help me finance travel costs.
As a 1st year PhD Student at Greifswald University (Germany), this course offered me the best possibility to get an overview of the sub-branches of Dendrochronology, to meet people working in the field, as well as working under the supervision of experienced researchers. During this week we worked in groups (Dendroarcheology, -geomorphology, -ecology, -climatology and wood anatomy) which were each guided by an experienced researcher in the subject. Each group worked on a project which included all research steps (from research question definition, site selection to sample acquisition, sample preparation, measurement and data analysis).
With more than 30 participants from all over Europe (and some from North and South America), there was a truly interdisciplinary atmosphere, that enriched the discussions during the different lectures and results presentations. Also, it was a great opportunity to practice languages, even though English was the official course language, it was the best opportunity to practice Italian, German (both standard and Swiss-german), Slovenian, Polish, Dutch and even Spanish!
I had the opportunity to take part in the Dendroecology group, where we compared two Norway Spruce (Picea abies) stands with different elevations (high and low elevation stands). With our tree ring analysis we were able to find out that the trees in the higher elevation plot have been far more productive than their lower counterpart, and that these differences were given by site conditions and not climate response. With the help of local expert and Dendroecology group leader Dr. Tom Levanič , we also found out that the higher plot had been a managed pasture around 70 years ago, which further helped support our findings.
During this Fieldweek, we experienced the true spirit of tree ring science. We were able to read the history of trees and find out amazing stories about their past, through an inter-disciplinary approach, with people from different places and different backgrounds that shared a fascination for the secrets tree rings have to tell.
I can only further recommend participating in a Dendrofieldweek, for scientists at all career stages, as it the best starting point to get an overview of the basic concepts of this scientific area and become part of this amazing community.
Furthermore, I wish to thank the Association of Tree Ring Research for the offering of travel grants supporting early stage researchers, and the organizers of the 27th European Dendrofieldweek. Thank you for making this wonderful experience possible.
Dendroecology group – Discussion with Dr. Tom Levanič (sample preparation)
Sunny day at Triglav National Park
Group Excursion through Triglav National Park
Triglav National Park