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Emerging technologies with dendrochronology: platforms, progress, and potential

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11:15, Tuesday 28 Jun 2022 (15 minutes)
Coeur des Sciences, Sherbrooke Building, UQAM - Salle polyvalente (SH-4800)

Ultra high resolution imaging is becoming standard across the sciences and must be a priority for dendrochronology. Large format scanners fail to resolve micro rings and the anatomical structures of increasing scientific interest. Meanwhile, current software limitations include cost, user experience, data management flexibility, and capacity for handling large file sizes. We argue for a new paradigm and present a technology framework that integrates gigapixel macro photography, a cloud-hosted digital asset management system, and an internet accessible toolbox that facilitates rapid measurement, dating, and annotation on tree ring imagery.

DendroElevator is our open-source platform for tree-ring image curation, visualization, and analysis. With a basic internet connection and modern web browser, end users can easily access microscope quality tree-ring images online. JavaScript tools facilitate ring-width measurement, dating, and annotation, all within the web browser. DendroElevator transforms what is possible with remote research, distanced collaboration, training, teaching, and outreach. We are rapidly growing an online image archive to complement entire collections of physical tree-ring specimens. In light of recent debates about missing rings and data authenticity, we argue that our progress and goals represent a critical and overdue step towards open science standards in dendrochronology.

Further integration of emerging technologies will transform throughput capacity for dendro data development. Toward the end of automated quantitative wood anatomy, recent computer vision results with machine learning are encouraging. The most urgent priority is to develop an affordable platform for gigapixel image acquisition.

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