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B.E.T.R. Lab News

2021

At the beginning of 2021 Dr. Gentry stepped away from NADEF after serving as co-organizer for a decade and co-instructor at nine fieldweeks. He also wrapped up his final year as secretary of the Tree-Ring Society and did not seek reelection. Dr. Gentry began a one-semester sabbatical leave in January and was asked to serve as the Interim Director for the APSU Center of Excellence for Field Biology beginning on June 1. To date, he was a co-author on a presentation at the virtual AAG annual meeting in April: 

Speer, J.H., Kaye, M., Black, B.A., Harley, G.L., Maxwell, R.S., Gentry, C.M., DeRose, J., Bekker, M., Axelson, J., Csank, A., Van Arx, G., Wilson, R., Rochner, M., Pettit, J., Stachowiak, L., Brown, S., Brown, P.M., Heeter, K., Coulthard, B., Brice, R.L., , Pearl, J., Smith, L. (2021) The Drivers of Forest Stress in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Annual Meeting, Association of American Geographers, Seattle, WA. (virtual)

2020

This year was the very trying for the BETR Lab. With the onset of coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic, the university went entirely virtual at the end of March with limited opening in the fall semester. Prior to the pandemic a collaboration between Dr. Gentry and Dr. Chris Gienger in the APSU Center of Excellence for Field Biology was presented by Dr. Gienger's graduate researcher at the Southeast Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation meeting in Alabama:

Pierson, M., Gienger, C.M., Parker, M., Gentry, C.M., DeNardo, D., and Goode, M. (2020) Spatial Ecology of Gila Monsters in a Subsidized Resource Environment. Annual Meeting, Southeast Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Nauvoo, AL.

In January, Dr. Gentry also attended ADVANCEGeo Train the Trainers Workshop in Lawrence, KS. Since attending this training Dr. Gentry has helped to facilitate dozens of workshops in bystander intervention, workplace climate, developing codes of conduct, and harrassment in during field work. Through work with the fire groups at previous NADEFs, he was also a co-author on a paper in Tree-Ring Research:

Brown, S.R., Baysinger, A., Brown, P.M., Cheek, J.L., Diez, J.M., Gentry, C.M., Grant, T.A., St. Jacques, J., Jordan, D.A., Leef, M.L., Rourke, M.K., Speer, J.H., Spradlin, C.E., Stevens, J.T., Stone, J.R., Van Winkle, B., Zeibig-Kichas, N.E. (2020) Fire history across forest types in the southern Beartooth Mountains, Wyoming. Tree-Ring Research, Vol 76(1). https://doi.org/10.3959/TRR2018-11

Although the pandemic shut down most societal meetings in 2020, Dr. Gentry worked with Dr. Adam Csank of the University of Nevada, Reno to host the first ever Tree-Ring Society Virtual Symposium. The event featured presentations from seven papers slated to be presented at the cancelled AAG conference and was attended by nearly 160 people from more than 10 countries. In 2020, the National Geographic Society cancelled its state steward program ending Dr. Gentry's position with NatGeo.

2019

This was another quiet year for the BETR Lab. With several students graduating and no new projects beginning this served as time to finalize small projects and work on developing new ones. Towards the end of the year a paper from the 2016 work in Zion National Park was published in Forest Ecology and Management:

Brown, P.M., Gentry, C.M., and Yao, Q. (2019) Historical and current fire regimes in ponderosa pine forests at Zion National Park, Utah: Restoration of pattern and process after a century of fire exclusion. Forest Ecology and Management. Forest Ecology and Management, Vol 445, pg 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2019.04.058

This year Dr. Gentry's dossier for promotion to full professor was unaimously supported with promotion to being in August of 2020.

2018

Moving from his position as communications officer, Dr. Gentry was again elected to the Tree-Ring Society, Executive Committee as the secretary. He will serve a three year term and be responsible for meeting organization and elections. Additionally, Dr. Gentry was selected as the first ever State Geography Steward by The National Geographic Society. In this role he will work with NatGeo and various partners to help enhance geography in the states K-12 curriculum. 

Based on previous work, Dr. Gentry was the lead presenter on a co-authored presentation at the annual AAG meeting in New Orleans:

Gentry, C.M. and Brooks, W.T. (2018) A Comparison of Spatial Regression Models and the Impact of Socioeconomic Factors on Child Poverty in the Southern United States. Annual Meeting, Association of American Geographers, New Orleans, LA.

He was also a co-author on a presentation given at the Society of American Foresters in Portland:

Audie, M., Monney, T., Parks, S., Pettit, J., Pettit, J., and Gentry, C.M. (2018) High elevation fire history reconstruction and post-fire stand regeneration in the Shoshone National Forest. National Convention, Society of American Foresters, Portland, OR. 

Although the grants submitted in previous years were not selected, 2018 saw another selected NSF grant that will support NADEF for another three years.

Speer, J. Black, B., Gentry, C.M., Harley, G., Kaye, M., and Maxwell, R. “Training Dendrochronologists: A Fieldweek Approach to Determine the Drivers of Forest Stress in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.” National Science Foundation ($199,144)

Through this grant, NADEF will return to the Shoshone National Forest for the next three years to synthesize all of the data collected from the 2014, 2017, and future NADEFs in WY.

2017

Due to changes in the department curriculum, fewer students are seeking opportunities in physical geography opting instead for geospatial courses. As the instructor for most of the geospatial courses, various students have joined the lab as temporary student workers to complete various spatial projects. 

In the fall semester Dr. Gentry attended the PaleoEvent Data Standards for Dendrochronology Workshop supported by Past Global Changes at the Manitou Experimental Forest, Woodland Park, Colorado. In collaboration with Dr. Trevor Brooks in the Department of Sociology, the lab began working on a project examining child poverty in the southeastern US. This information was presented at the Southern Dempgraphic Association meeting:

Brooks, W.T., Gomez, M., Bliss, K., and Gentry, C.M. (2017) An Examination of Demographic, Health, and Economic Factors’ Impact on Child Poverty in the Southern United States. Annual Meeting, Southern Demographic Association, Morgantown, WV.

Additionally, work from the previous summer in Zion National Park was presented at the AAG meeting in Boston:

Gentry, C.M., Brown, P.M., and Yao, Q. (2017) Historical and Current Fire Regimes in Zion National Park, Utah: Restoration of Process and Pattern after a Century of Fire Exclusion.  Annual Meeting, Association of American Geographers, Boston, MA.

In the summer, Dr. Gentry returned to NADEF held again in the Shoshone National Forest in WY as a co-organizer and co-instructor of the introductory group.

2016

From recent work at the 2014 and 2015 NADEFs, Dr. Gentry was co-author on a presentation at the AAG national meeting and a paper published in Climate Research.

Bialecki, M., Fraver, S., Gentry, C.M., Brown, J., Brown, S., Jones, S., Kelly, K., Pansing, E., Stine, A., Thornton, M., and Tucker, C. (2016) Red spruce (Picea rubens) forest disturbance and stand dynamics: lessons from a case study in Acadia National Park, Maine. Annual Meeting, Association of American Geographers, San Francisco, CA.

van der Sleen, P., Dzaugis, M.P., Gentry, C.M., Hall, W.P., Hamilton, V., Helser, T.E., Matta, M.E., Underwood, C.A., Zuercher, R, Black, B.A. (2016) Long-term Bering Sea environmental variability revealed by a centennial-length biochronology of Pacific ocean perch (Sebastes alutus). Climate Research Vol. 71, No. 1, pg 33-45, https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01425.

Although Dr. Gentry helped to organize a portion of the 2016 NADEF in Washington state, he did no attend as an instructor. 2015 marked the end of the previous NSF grant that supported NADEF. A subsequent grant was submitted but ultimately not selected for funding. During the summer Dr. Gentry began working on a fire history project in Zion National Park with researchers from Rocky Mountain Tree-Ring Research.

2015

In the spring semester Dr. Gentry was elected to the Executive Committee of the Tree-Ring Society as the first ever Communications Officer. In this role he will be responsible for the dissemination of information for TRS. From the previous work at the 2014 NADEF two presentations were given with Dr. Gentry as co-author at various meetings:

Hamilton, V., Zuercher, R., Black, B., Underwood, C., Donahue, R., Gentry, C.M., Helser, T., Matta, M., Savage, K., Wils, T., (2015) Climate variability and ecosystem response in the NE Pacific: a case study using otoliths of Pacific Ocean perch (Sebastes alutus). The 52nd Australian Marine Science Association, Annual Conference

Underwood, C., Black, B., Donahue, R., Gentry, C.M., Hamilton, V., Helser, T., Matta, M., Savage, K., Wils, T., Zuercher, R. (2015) Climatic influences on Pacific Ocean perch (Sebastes alutus) otolith growth. Annual Meeting, Association of American Geographers, Chicago, IL.

Final analysis is being completed from this project with a paper in preparation. During the summer, Dr. Gentry co-organized and co-lead the dendroecgology group with Dr. Shawn Fraver at the 2015 NADEF in Acadia National Park.

2014

The year has been quiet in the BETR. Dr. Gentry is co-author on a submitted abstract accepted to be presented at the 2014 Association of American Geographers annual meeting in Tampa, FL.

Carlstrom, J., Gentry, C.M., Martin-Benito, D., Hallmann, J., Porter, G., Ray, D., Thompson, N. (2014) A dendroecological analysis of disturbances along a transect representing a species/moisture gradient in central New York. Annual Meeting, Association of American Geographers, Tampa, FL.

Additionally, we are coordinating the 2014 NADEF at the A.L. Mickelson Field Station in WY and preparing for sampling in Montana to expand on the Red Canyon research.

2013

Unfortunately, lead BETR Lab student resarcher, Kayla Pendergrass, graduated in the Spring of 2013. While we were sad to see Kayla graduate, we were proud that she was accepted to continue her research in dendrochronology at the University of Southern Mississippi Dendron Lab.

During the summer, members of the BETR Lab were authors/co-authors of two presentations at the Second American Dendrochronology Conference in Tucson, AZ.

Pendergrass, K.M., Galicki, S., and Gentry, C.M. (2013) Growth response of Douglas-fir to coseismic subsidence in the Red Canyon fault block, Hebgen Lake, Montana. Second American Dendrochronology Conference, Tucson, AZ.

Pettit, J. L., Stan, A.B., Yocom, L.L., Gentry, C.M., Barrett, K., Bragg, T.B., Owens, M.C., and Pendergrass, K.M. (2013) Stand Dynamics in a Small Volcanic Depression in the Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico. Second American Dendrochronology Conference, Tucson, AZ.

Later that summer we attended the North American Dendroecological Fieldweek at the Black Rock Forest near Cornwall, NY. During this summer research, Kayla and the Dendroclimatology Group sampled and dated the oldest known Pinus rigida. This research was preformed in the Minnewaska State Park.

2012

In the spring semester, Dr. Gentry accepted a postion as Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research at APSU. While this will take away from his ability to be in the lab, he will have a much broader reach in encouraging students at APSU to become engaged in research opportunities. As a part of this new position Dr. Gentry and colleagues were awarded a grant from the Tennessee Board of Regents to support diversity programming withing the College of Science and Mathematics.

Gentry, C.M., Sullivan, L., and Torres, D. “Fostering Student Success in the College of Science and Mathematics.” Tennessee Board of Regents Access and Diversity Grant ($106,070)

Summertime was busy in the BETR Lab! Dr. Gentry and student researcher Kayla Pendergrass attend the North American Dendroecological Fieldweek at the Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico. Kayla was funded by a NSF Scholarship to attend the fieldweek. In addition to this award, Kayal was the recipient of a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship from APSU to continue her work at Mount Rushmore. The results of this reesarch were presented at the Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers annual meeting in Asheville, NC:

Pendergrass, K., and Gentry, C.M. (2012) Growth Response in Ponderosa Pine Stands at Mount Rushmore National Monument, South Dakota. Annual Meeting, the Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers, Asheville, NC. 

During the fall semester, Dr. Gentry and Kayla Pendergrass attended a NSF Workshop titled "Science: Becoming The Messenger" in Knoxville, TN. Finally, Dr. Gentry was award the APSU Socrates Award for excellence in teaching. He was the first geosciences faculty member to have be selected for this award.

2011

This has been a very productive year for the BETR Lab! Both Kyle Gainous and Katie Stevenson graduated and the spring semester! Congratulations, thanks for all of your hard work in the lab, and good luck with your future endeavors.

Also during the spring semester Dr. Christopher Gentry and colleagues were awarded a $275,000 National Science Foundation grant to support the logistical costs of the North American Dendroecological Fieldweek!

During the last year the BETR Lab had five presentations at local and national conferences:

Pendergrass, K., Gentry, C.M., Ellison, W., Ethridge, E., and Kelly, J. (2011) Examination of stand structure on an elevation gradient in a subalpine forest in South Central Colorado. Annual Meeting, the Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers, Savannah, GA.

Sipe, J., Gentry, C.M., Kapke, J., Pierce, P., and Smith, C. (2011) Analysis of Meteorological Triggers of Mountain-Valley Breezes in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Colorado. Annual Meeting, the Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers, Savannah, GA.

Whitley, J., Stoner, S., Waegerle, M., and Gentry, C.M. (2011) A Stitch in Time: National Civil War Quilt Trail. Annual Meeting, the Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers, Savannah, GA.

Gentry, C.M. and Brown, P.M. (2011) Quantifying the growth response of Pinus ponderosa in treated and untreated stands, Mount Rushmore National Monument, South Dakota, USA. Annual Meeting, The Association of American Geographers, Seattle, WA.

Dugan, A., Brown, P.M., Gentry, C.M., Cassell, B., Harris, J., King, C., Marschall, J., Salicrup, D., Smith, G., Waldron, J., (2011) Fire and recruitment history of a Jeffery pine stand in the eastern Sierra Nevada, California. Annual Meeting, The Association of American Geographers, Seattle, WA.

Sahara, A., Gentry, C.M., van de Gevel, S.L., Birch, S., Cousins, S., Dech, D., Guiterman, C., Harley, G., Hook, B., Martinson, E., Morrissey, R., Reinikainen, M., Ryu, S., Waldron, J. (2011) Forest Stand Dynamics and Disturbance History in a Mixed Hardwood Forest, Simes Tract, Harvard Forest, Massachusetts. Annual Meeting, The Association of American Geographers, Seattle, WA.

Pendergrass, K., Zahn, L., and Gentry, C.M. (2011) Using tree-ring analysis to examine the influence of climate on the growth of ponderosa pine stands at the Mount Rushmore National Monument, South Dakota. 6th Annual Research and Creativity Forum, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN

Two of these presentations were based on a new biogeography course offered by Dr. Gentry.

2010

2010 proved to be a busy summer for members of the BETR Lab. Kyle Gainous spent the summer working as a Biological Science Tech with the USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center and stations Northern Nevada. This research examined aspen dynamics in relation to aspen-associated bird communities.

During the month of July, Dr. Christopher Gentry travelled with four APSU students to Mount Rushmore National Monument to begin sampling for a project which will quantify the effect thinning has had onPinus ponderosa stands near the monument. More information can be found on the project page: MORU

For the second consecutive year Dr. Gentry lead a group at the North American Dendroecological Fieldweek. Held at the Crooked Creek Research Station in the White Mountains of California, five groups spent a week in August examining research topics using dendrochronological techniques. Dr. Gentry and Dr. Peter Brown (Rocky Mountain Tree-ring Research) co-led the fire history group that  that reconstructed the historic range of variability of fire within a site in the Inyo National Forest. You can learn more about the NADEF from the following website:
North American Dendroecological Fieldweek

2009

Four Austin Peay Geosciences students attended the 19th Annual North American Dendroecological Fieldweek hosted by Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. The NADEF was held from June 4-11 and is a  intensive learning experience in dendrochronological techniques and applications. You can learn more about the NADEF from the following website:
North American Dendroecological Fieldweek

The B.E.T.R Lab joined researchers from Virginia Tech at Berry College in Rome, GA. The goal of this work is to examine composition, structure, and dynamics of mountain and piedmont longleaf pine communities in the southeastern US. Check out some of the photos in the photo gallery...

The Department of Geosciences is assisting the Baggett Family in above ground and subsurface mapping of a family plot in central Tennessee. Using ground penetrating radar, surveying equipment, digital cameras, and handheld GPS units, members of the B.E.T.R. Lab and the department will search for unmarked gravesites and create a web-based map for the family to maintain for future generations. Recently the B.E.T.R. Lab was contacted by another family looking for similar work to be preformed on their own family plot.

2008

Members of the B.E.T.R Lab and the Center of Excellence for Field Biology travelled to a tract of land purchased by H.G. Hill near the Warner Parks in Nashville, TN. Our lab was contacted to do some preliminary work to determine the relative age of the trees within the H.G. Hill tract. It is thought that this might be the only tract of  "old growth" forest within a city park in the country.

Check out the report and video by Nashville's News Channel 5...