Research Labs and Outreach

Dendrochronology Laboratory

Tree-ring research is done by the DendroLab, headed up by Dr. Franco Biondi. Although the primary focus is on reconstruction of Great Basin hydroclimatic patterns, the lab also maintains a high-altitude study site in Colima, Mexico, along with several archaeological dating projects. Recent lab products include a 2300-year precipitation reconstruction in the Walker River basin, an on-line GIS-based query interface for the 4km PRISM dataset in the Great Basin, and DendroClim2002, a free software package that performs statistical analysis between tree-rings and climate records. Ongoing projects include completing a network of moisture-sensitive tree-ring chronologies around the Great Basin, based mostly on samples obtained from Piñon pine.

Geospatial Laboratory (G-Lab)

The Geospatial Lab at UNR conducts applied research in the application of GIS technologies and spatial statistics to ecosystems pattern and processes and their affected biotic and abiotic components.

The G-Lab is the research laboratory of Jill S. Heaton. The lab was established in 2004 following Dr. Heaton's appointment to the faculty of the Department of Geography. The G-Lab supports Dr. Heaton's research and that of her graduate and undergraduate students. Visit their research page for current research projects.


Palynology Laboratory
The Department of Geography's palynology laboratory is equiped for a variety of paleoecological work, including pollen analysis, macroscopic charcoal analysis, woodrat midden analysis, and pollen separation for AMS radiocarbon dating.

Facilities include a walk in cold storage unit for sediment cores. We have a full set of field equipment for collecting sediment cores, and maintain an extensive pollen reference collection for the Intermountain West in conjunction with DRI.

Research Highlights

University research funding doubles in 10 years

In its fall 2009 publication, the University Office of Research announced funding of $73 million for research in fiscal year 2008-09, more than double the $34 million the University received in 1999.

“Research is central to the University’s mission,” said Marc Johnson, executive vice president and provost at the University, Nevada’s land-grant educational institution since 1874.


Jeff Crawford
Geography Student Awarded NSF Dissertation Grant

Geography student Jeff Crawford was recently awarded a Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation. The $12,000 grant was made through the Geography and Spatial Sciences Program and is intended to provide financial assistance for doctoral students to complete fieldwork and purchase necessary equipment for their studies. The grant will allow Crawford to examine the role of indigenous land use on the forest structure and fire regimes of northwestern California over the past 4,000 years.

Specializations Include

physical geography (including environmental impact analysis)

cultural and international studies

urban and regional planning (including the analysis and management of growth)

cartography and computer mapping

geographic information systems (GIS)



geography of water resource

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Nevada State Climatologist

The State Climate Office conducts research as well as collects, archives, and disseminates climate and weather information for the state of Nevada. The Climate Office also provides online data services (, weather and climate analysis products, educational outreach, student internships, and media information services.