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Laboratory for Dendrochronology


  • to reconstruct the temporal and spatial variability of the climate of the past utilizing multi-parameter tree ring analysis
  • to assess and verify the causes of climate change and its impact on woody plants


  • quantitative analysis of the climate-signal transfer from atmosphere through soil and leaf into the wood of tree rings (Monitoring, calibration and verification of tree ring parameters vs. instrumental data)
  • to establish multi-centennial to millennium long time series of tree-ring parameters (ring width, cellstructure parameters, stable isotope ratios) for networks of sites from selected regions of the earth
  • comparative study of time series of climate proxies from different geo-archives (varved sediments, spelethemes, corals etc.)

Increment borers (5mm ∅, 30 to 80cm length) and accessories


Trimming of wood segments and cores

Beltsander OPTI

Coarse preparation wood surfaces

Precision saw

A precision saw (Buehler Isomet 5000) was modified by our GFZ workshop for dissecting thin cross sections from wood cores or wood segments.

WSL Sliding microtome

UV-Laser Microdissection Microscopes

For high resolution intra-annual investigations of tree rings variuos microtomes as well research microscopes with UV-laser dissection devices are being used. This allows to prepare, dissect and collect samples, e.g. tree-rings and parts thereof of micrometer size/thickness.

Tree-rings of >0.2mm width are being dissected utilizing binoculars (Nikon)

Cellulose extraction

Ultrasonic Homogenisation of cellulose

Freeze drying devices 

Extracted, homogenized cellulose

Weighing chamber

3 micro balances mounted on special tables are being used for weighing samples for Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS)

Vacuum drying oven

2 Vacuum drying ovens are used to store cellulose samples and reference material for IRMS

To-date we do have monitoring activities going on in:

  • NE-Germany, Müritz National Park
  • Mozambique (Gorongosa National Park)

Dendrohydrological monitoring in NE-Germany

phD-project of Franziska Slotta in cooperation with FU Berlin (Frank Riedel) and the German Archaeological Institute (DAI, Uwe Heußner), Berlin.

A focus is on utilizing a "Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope - CLSM", FV300 FLUOVIEW, Olympus.

Cell^B software
WinCELL Pro 2011a & XL Cell
WinDENDRO Density
Image-Pro Plus & ROXAS

Liang, W., Heinrich, I., Simard, S., Helle, G., Dorado Liñán, I., Heinken, T. (2013): Climate signals derived from cell anatomy of Scots pine in NE Germany.Tree Physiology 33, 833–844. | doi:10.1016/j.dendro.2012.09.002

Liang, W.; Heinrich, I.; Helle, G.; Dorado Liñán, I.; Heinken, T. (2013): Applying CLSM to increment core surfaces for histometric analyses: A novel advance in quantitative wood anatomy. Dendrochronologia, 31, 2, 140-145. | doi:10.1093/treephys/tpt059

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