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Nonannual tree rings in a climate-sensitive Prioria copaifera chronology in the Atrato River, Colombia

Herrera-Ramirez, D., Andreu-Hayles, L., del Valle, J. I., Santos, G. M. and Gonzalez, P. L. M. (2017) Nonannual tree rings in a climate-sensitive Prioria copaifera chronology in the Atrato River, Colombia. Ecology and Evolution, 7 (16). pp. 6334-6345. ISSN 2045-7758

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/ece3.2905


In temperate climates, tree growth dormancy usually ensures the annual nature of tree rings, but in tropical environments, determination of annual periodicity can be more complex. The purposes of the work are as follows: (1) to generate a reliable tree‐ring width chronology for Prioria copaifera Griseb. (Leguminoceae), a tropical tree species dwelling in the Atrato River floodplains, Colombia; (2) to assess the climate signal recorded by the tree‐ring records; and (3) to validate the annual periodicity of the tree rings using independent methods. We used standard dendrochronological procedures to generate the P. copaifera tree‐ring chronology. We used Pearson correlations to evaluate the relationship of the chronology with the meteorological records, climate regional indices, and gridded precipitation/sea surface temperature products. We also evaluated 24 high‐precision 14C measurements spread over a range of preselected tree rings, with assigned calendar years by dendrochronological techniques, before and after the bomb spike in order to validate the annual nature of the tree rings. The tree‐ring width chronology was statistically reliable, and it correlated significantly with local records of annual and October–December (OND) streamflow and precipitation across the upper river watershed (positive), and OND temperature (negative). It was also significantly related to the Oceanic Niño Index, Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and the Southern Oscillation Index, as well as sea surface temperatures over the Caribbean and the Pacific region. However, 14C high‐precision measurements over the tree rings demonstrated offsets of up to 40 years that indicate that P. copaifera can produce more than one ring in certain years. Results derived from the strongest climate–growth relationship during the most recent years of the record suggest that the climatic signal reported may be due to the presence of annual rings in some of those trees in recent years. Our study alerts about the risk of applying dendrochronology in species with challenging anatomical features defining tree rings, commonly found in the tropics, without an independent validation of annual periodicity of tree rings. High‐precision 14C measurements in multiple trees are a useful method to validate the identification of annual tree rings.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:85682


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