People | Carolina Tree-Ring Science Laboratory


Sampling old-growth longleaf pine at Weymouth Woods, NC.


Dr. Paul Knapp, Professor

Curriculum Vitae

While I have long appreciated the field of dendrochronology, it was not until the mid-1990s that I became actively involved. Prior, my geography interests were in biogeography and climatology and thus working with tree-rings allowed me to combine my interests. My first project involved studying western juniper expansion in my home state of Oregon. Ironically, I have distinct recollections of collecting western juniper firewood while on camping trips in the 1960s and 70s in central Oregon. Little did I know that two decades later I would have a different appreciation of the value of the tree! Since then, I have been principally involved with a series of dendroecological projects that have focused on the role of atmospheric CO2 fertilization affecting radial growth rates of western juniper and ponderosa pine, dendroclimatology projects that have examined spatio-temporal patterns of droughts, and the reconstruction of severe wind events. I have collected tree-ring data in a variety of places in the American West, and always look forward to my next field adventure. Each year, I try to fund students to help with these projects, and I am grateful for their help over the years. My observations over the past decade have led me to believe that tree-ring science is a great sub-discipline for physical geographers, with extensive, relevant, and timely applications that are often interdisciplinary. In the section on projects, some of these applications are listed.

Ph.D. Students

At the top of Black Elk Peak in South Dakota.

Avery Catherwood, Ph.D. Student

Curriculum Vitae

I graduated from UNC-Greensboro with a Bachelors in Geography in 2018 and a Master’s in Applied Geography in 2021. My research revolves around the fascinating world of tree rings, with a focus on quantitative wood anatomy and understanding how trees respond to drought. When I’m not peering into the lives of trees, I’m out hiking, enjoying the company of friends, and having adventures with my beloved dog. 

Sampling longleaf pine at Sandhills Game Land in North Carolina.

Tyler Mitchell, Ph.D. Student

Curriculum Vitae

I received my master’s degree from UNC Greensboro in 2019 and my bachelor’s degree from the University of West Florida in 2017.  In my work I use tree-ring data to analyze historic variability in climate and weather. I am particularly interested in precipitation–growth responses of Pinus species at various spatial and temporal scales. I am also interested in the influence of Atlantic ocean–atmosphere interactions on southeastern US precipitation regimes.  In my free time I like to hike, read, run, and play guitar.

Master’s Students

Gabe Small, Master’s Student

I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Natural Science from the University of West Florida in 2023. My research focuses on reconstructing ice storm histories using signals within tree rings. I am obsessed with severe weather, often driving hundreds of hours to chase supercell thunderstorms. When I am not driving through hail, I am usually playing video games, mountain biking, or photographing the cosmos