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Climate Response of Whitebark Pine (Pinus albicaulis) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem on a Cellular Scale

Authors: April Kaiser*, University of Idaho, Savannah Collins-Key, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Georg von Arx, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Matthew Bekker, Brigham Young University, Sanjaya Bhandari, Indiana State University, Cody Dems, Pennsylvania State University, Sara Germain, Utah State University, William Wittenbraker, University of Kentucky
Topics: Biogeography, Paleoenvironmental Change, Physical Geography
Keywords: Wood Anatomy, Whitebark Pine, Dendrochronology
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Dendroanatomy, i.e., the quantification of wood anatomical features in a time series, as a climate proxy can present an innovative application of dendrochronological methods. Our study utilized this new methodology using whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis Engelm.) sampled from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. With the xylem-measurement program ROXAS, we identified and measured anatomical features such as mean ring width (MRW), radial cell wall thickness (CWTRAD), earlywood lumen area (LAEW), mean hydraulic diameter (Dh), and hydraulic conductivity (Kh). Using the R packages ‘dplR’ and ‘treeclim’, we investigated the most growth-limiting climate factor from discrete correlations moving correlation analysis. We used three (3) climate variables recorded at monthly intervals from PRISM and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS): minimum temperature (Tmin), precipitation, and vapor pressure deficit (VPD). We conducted classical bootstrapped static and moving interval correlations from previous May to current October using a 25-year moving window interval with 1-year overlap from 1907–2008. This study determines various climate-cellular growth responses to encompass a multi-perspective understanding of whitebark pine's vulnerability to future climatic changes.

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