Exploring Dendromastecology with Longleaf Pine

Sunday, 15 February 2015
Exhibit Hall (San Jose Convention Center)
Thomas Patterson, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC
Longleaf pine is an endangered, long-lived trees species that once dominated the Coastal Plains and Piedmont ecoregions in the southeastern United States. Currently, its range has been reduced by as much as 97% due to various land-use changes and anthropogenic processes. Reaming old-growth stands provide a resource to understand ecological relationships for an ecosystem undergoing restoration. While cone-crop data has been collected by the USFS for >40 years, a paucity of research exists that explores the effects of cone production on radial growth. This research has three objectives. First I am exploring the effects of cone production on radial growth of longleaf pines to determine if cone-crop data strengthens the accuracy of climate reconstructions. Second, I will determine if climate triggers for masting events can be detected. Third, I am exploring if a relationship between masting events and vector-borne illnesses exists for longleaf pine. If the latter objective can be met, my research will serve as the first reconstruction of vector-borne illnesses from tree-ring data, a tree-ring science subfield that I will call dendroepidemiology.