Intersections Seminar Series: Dr. Benjamin Gaglioti
October 20 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
The Physical Geography Intersections Seminar Series presents:
Dr. Benjamin Gaglioti, Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Fairbanks, Alaska USA
Glacier fluctuations provide a natural experiment involving forest responses to secular climate changes
In this talk I will report on a natural experiment in old-growth forests of Alaska that, due to their varying proximity to the cold microclimate around an advancing and retreating glacier, have been subjected to dramatic changes in mean summer air temperatures over the last 200 years. Because these trees possess climate-sensitive indicators of growth and recruitment (tree-rings), the outcome of this long-running temperature-change experiment can be analyzed using dendrochronology. These forests are novel and scientifically valuable because we discovered that they experienced anomalously long and dramatic temperature histories, comparable to those climate trends that are expected to affect Earth’s ecosystems in the near future. Our results illustrate that tree species “see” their shared climate histories in surprising ways, and a species’ inter-annual climate sensitivity does not necessarily reflect its responses to longer climatic trends.