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Christopher J. Kennedy


Office: SN 2005


Dr. Colin Laroque and Dr. Trevor Bell

Thesis Title (Working Title)

The Dendroclimatogy and Dendroecology of Labrador’s Latitudinal Tree line

Research Description

Traditional latitudinal tree lines are continuous and largely a function of a marked north-south gradient. In contrast, the northern Labrador tree line has elements of both distinct north-south and east-west components, and is composed of geographically isolated tree islands that exist in sheltered bays and fjords along Labrador’s dissected coast.
My research will be based on a network of 16 sites along current tree line and will sample the dominant tree species, white spruce. Therefore, this study will generate chronologies representative of much of northern Labrador. The purpose of this research is to determine the causes and factors that contribute to maintaining the current unusual tree line in northern Labrador. This will be addressed through a dendroecological investigation of a network of sites along tree line. The following research questions will guide the focus of this study:

1. To what extent can the unusual configuration of northern Labrador tree line be explained by marine versus continental influences?
2. Which, if any, climatic parameters most influence radial white spruce growth along tree line?
a. Can some aspects of climate be reconstructed beyond the instrumental record using a white spruce tree ring record for northern Labrador?
3. To what extent is tree line being limited by ecological factors (i.e. soil depth, soil pH, nutrient availability, etc)?

Research Interests

  • Forest Ecosystems
  • Dendroecology and Dendroclimatology