International Course on Wood Anatomy & Tree-Ring Ecology



15. Dezember 2023, 01:00


Pontresina, Hotel Morteratsch

Organisiert von:

Holger Gärtner, Alan Crivellaro





This 22nd international course on "Wood Anatomy and Tree-Ring Ecology"
will be held in Hotel Morteratsch, Pontresina, Switzerland

Date: December 10 to 15, 2023

Teachers: Holger Gärtner, Alan Crivellaro


The aim of the course is to submit basic theoretical information about the anatomy of woody plants and especially ecological wood anatomy.

This will be done by demonstrating "the reality" (anatomical features) on the base of more than 370 micro sections which are prepared for each participant.

A very important part of the course is the additional teaching of different anatomical preparation techniques.

More detailed information about this wood anatomy course can be found in the following reports about previous courses held in Switzerland and the US:

Report: 2nd International Winter School on Wood Anatomy of Tree Rings

Tardif J. (2003): Wood Anatomy of Tree rings. Report from an international course. IAWA Journal 2003, Vol. 24, p. 86

Report on the 1st Summer School at Tucson, AZ, May 2005

Speer J. (2007): Wood Anatomy and Tree Rings. Wood Anatomy Workshop in Tucson Arizona. IAWA Journal 28, p. 103-104

Report: 8th International Winter School on Wood Anatomy of Tree Rings

Remie M, Weijers S, van Overeem B (2009): Report on the "8th international winter school on wood anatomy of tree rings", switzerland 2008. IAWA Journal 30, p. 97-98

Report: 10th International Winter School on Wood Anatomy of Tree Rings

Thresher D. (2010): Report: International Winter School on Wood Anatomy of
Tree Rings 2010. Dendrochronologia 28, p. 259-260

At the end of the course you should be able to start your own dendroecological projects dealing with anatomical features.


We stay at the Hotel Morteratsch(Pontresina) in double rooms.

Address: Hotel Morteratsch, 7504 Pontresina, Switzerland

Breakfast, lunch, diner and coffee breaks are included.


The closest airport is Zürich (ZRH).

From there you take a train to Zürich main station - Chur - Samedan - Pontresina - Morteratsch

The train station is called Morteratsch, two stops after Pontresina

More details can be found at:


For registration, or in case of any questions, please send an email to: Holger Gärtner

Subject: "Wood Anatomy Course 2023"
Please include your full address!

More information about payment will follow.


You will find a lecture room equipped with 20 microscopes for theoretical lessons based on more than 370 micro slides, two microscopes equiped with cameras and computers, cell analysis software "Image J", a fully equipped laboratory with different types of microtomes (GSL1 and WSL-Lab-microtomes), and a set of chemicals.

The lecture room is equipped with a PowerPoint-projector. We also provide a new script for the course, presenting all micro sections discussed during the lessons.

Bring with you, if possible:

  • interesting material: cores, discs
  • very pointed tweezers (Pinzette)
  • microscope slides (Objektträger), cover glasses (Deckgläser) and razor blades. (We will also provide some)
  • you can bring your own computer


Sunday 10 Dec Arrival
08.00h - 12.00h:

12.00h - 13.00h:

13.00h - 18.00h:

18.30h - 19.30h:

20.00h - 21.00h:
Lectures, demonstration of plant- and wood anatomical basics

Lunch break

Practicing anatomical techniques, field work, excursions


Participants give short presentations about their research
Thursday~16:00-18:00 Participants present their micro sections in a special session

Friday, 15 Dec


Lectures and Topics

  • Lectures are based on more than 370 prepared microscopic slides to be discussed during the lessons.
  • Specific features are discussed using microscopes


Basic anatomical cell and tissue types

  • Construction of different stem types: without secondary growth, succesive cambia, bilateral working cambia.
  • Introduction to taxonomic wood and bark anatomy
  • Seasonal growth: cell production, lignification
  • Construction of twig, branch, stem and root
  • Different growth forms as herbs, dwarf shrubs, shrubs, trees, liana, e.g., monocotyledones, dicotyledones: conifers, angiosperms
  • Intra-annual tree-ring features.
  • Influence of physiological disturbances to wood structure, e.g., in extreme cold and hot climates in deserts and cold timberlines, frost and drought events, extreme light shortage.
  • Influence of defoliation by insects mistletoes and human activities
  • Influence of mechanical stress e.g., by avalanches, rock fall, floods, erosion, animals, forestry.

Image analysis

Practical work


Practicing anatomical techniques

  • storing and preparation of material for microscopic inspectionhandling microtomes
  • using different staining procedures
  • making permanent microslides
  • observation in different optical instruments
  • microscopic photography
  • There are several sliding microtomes, chemicals and microscopes  available for each participant
  • Discussion of specific technical and scientific problems.

You work on your own material. We also offer material showing characteristic features.