• Daniel Crawford, M.A.

    University of Alaska - Anchorage

    A scientist at heart, my passion for learning and discovering is lifelong. From my roots in the Midwest to my new home in Alaska, the natural world has always been my refuge and (during field season!) my office. I am privileged to have the opportunity to create data that allows humans to uncover the stories that trees have to tell through the practice of dendrochronology.


    I am invigorated by the chance to share the findings of current research, or communicate the scientific take on the natural world more broadly - always with clarity for general audiences in mind. Let's do what we can to break down barriers to knowledge, and make our collective understanding of our planet accessible to all!

  • Education

    University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
    University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Class of 2015


  • Tree-ring Research

    University of Minnesota

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    Earlywood Vessel Area in Minnesota Bur Oak

    My master's thesis involved leveraging ultra-high-resolution images of bur oak tree rings to calculate the size of vessels, the small interconnected tubes that transport water from the roots to the crown of the tree. I investigated potential climatic influences on vessel area, as well as the modulating role of tree height.
    Poster Presentations:
    Anatomy, Allometry, and Climate; Assessment of Multiple Quercus macrocarpa Tree Ring Parameters at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, MN
    American Geophysical Union, 2019 Annual Meeting
    San Francisco, CA
    View the poster here.
    Oral presentations:
    Straws in the Ground: Bur oak quantitative wood anatomy at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, MN.
    Undergraduate Arboriculture guest lecture, Feb 11, 2020
    University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
    Earlywood vessel area of Quercus macrocarpa as a potential proxy for climate in Minnesota.
    Association of American Geographers, West Lakes Division, 2020 Annual Meeting
    La Crosse, WI
    Written thesis can be viewed here.
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    Dendrochronology on the Upper Mississippi River floodplain

    What do the growth dynamics of these species look like? How is growth modulated by climate and/or streamflow? How might the makeup of these forests look different in the coming decades? These questions and more were addressed using standard dendrochronology (and a bit of quantitative wood anatomy!) of several hardwood species growing in the floodplain of the mighty Mississippi, along the Minnesota/Wisconsin border.
    Findings of this work were presented as part of a webinar series curated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. A recording of the presentation can be viewed here.
    Downloadable version of visual aids can be found here.
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    False Rings in Northern Minnesota Red Pine

    While ring-width and related metrics tell us a lot about temperature and precipitation, the presence of features within rings can inform us about extreme events in certain years. False rings are one of these features, and have been shown to correspond to competition characteristics, insect outbreaks, and moisture stress, among other things.
    Poster presentations:
    A False Ring Chronology of Red Pine (Pinus resinosa) in Superior National Forest, MN
    Crawford, Daniel & Kipfmueller, Kurt
    Association of American Geographers 2015 Annual Meeting-April 23, 2015
  • Turning data into music

    The art of sonification

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    We know that the earth is warming, but effective change is going to be slow unless we can communicate the issue to as many people as possible. Climate scientists often rely on maps, graphs, and numbers to illustrate the science of climate change. Daniel worked with Scott St. George in the Department of Geography to create A Song of Our Warming Planet, which converts NASA global climate data from 1880 to the present into a series of notes played on the cello. Bringing another of the five senses into the practice of scientific communication can help to convey the message to a wider audience than scientists have been able to reach before.
    View the project here.
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    The story of climate change is not the same everywhere. 135 years of temperature measurements show that the poles are warming faster than anywhere else on the planet. This composition transforms NASA climate data from four different regions of the northern hemisphere into music. If you listen closely, you can hear how dramatically the Arctic temperatures have changed over time relative to the rest of the hemisphere. In this piece, the cello represents the tropics, the viola represents the mid latitudes, the 2nd violin represents the upper latitudes, and the 1st violin represents the Arctic.
    View the project here.

    Publications, posters, public speaking, and teaching


    MA in Geography (July 2021) University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

    Thesis Title: “Earlywood vessel area analysis of Quercus macrocarpa tree rings at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve in Minnesota”
    Recipient: CLA Graduate Fellowship
    Advisor: Dr. Daniel Griffin


    BS in Geography (May 2015) University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
    Thesis Title: “A false ring chronology of three red pine (Pinus resinosa) sites in Superior National Forest, MN”
    Recipient: Outstanding Graduating Senior in Geography
    Advisor: Dr. Kurt F. Kipfmueller


    BS in Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management (May 2015) University of Minnesota – Twin Cities Environmental Sciences Specialization
    Advisor: Dr. Dylan Millet


    1. Griffin, D., Porter, S. T., Trumper, M. L., Carlson, K. E., Crawford, D. J., Schwalen, D., & C. H. McFadden (in press). Gigapixel macro photography of tree rings. Tree ring research.
    2. St. George, S., Crawford, D., Reubold, T., and Giorgi, E., 2017. “Making climate data sing: using music to communicate fundamental concepts in climate science.” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 98(1): 23-27.


    Global Energy Cultures; How Energy Shapes Our Everyday Lives, December 9-10, 2023. Doha, Qatar

    "Planetary Bands, Warming World"

    Information and Video: https://hiwaraat.qatar.georgetown.edu/energy/#day2  


    U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Hydrology and Aquatic Resources Conservation Webinar Series, November 18, 2020. [virtual]

    “Dendrochronology to inform management of floodplain forests in the Upper Mississippi River Basin

    Recording: https://fws.rev.vbrick.com/#/videos/895b4030-1356-444d-bfee-80e7cdd3ab8e


    Building Bridges Conference, March 7, 2020. Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN.

    Invited workshop: “Making climate data sing: Music as a tool for communicating data to the masses.”


    American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting, December 9-13, 2019. San Francisco, CA

    “Anatomy, allometry, and climate: Assessment of multiple Quercus macrocarpa tree ring parameters at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, MN”

    E-poster: https://agu2019fallmeeting-agu.ipostersessions.com/default.aspx?s=37-52-10-39-D4-EC-E7-88-98-61-61-08-56-BF-DC-35


    Minnesota Shade Tree Advisory Committee, October 17, 2019. St. Paul, MN

    The Past and Future of Bur Oaks in MN – Their Ecologial and Historical Significance

    Led interpretive nature walk through a wooded park in St. Paul and fielded questions from professional urban foresters


    Association of American Geographers, West Lakes Division Annual Meeting, November 1-3, 2018. University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, La Crosse, WI

    “Earlywood vessel area of Quercus macrocarpa as a potential proxy for climate in Minnesota.” Oral presentation


    Life Sciences & Society Symposium, March 12 and 17-19, 2016. University of Missouri, Columbia, MO.

    Invited guest to undergraduate composition seminar, performed “A Song of Our Warming Planet” and discussed the motivation/process to the conference audience


    Association of American Geographers, Annual Meeting, April 21-25 Chicago, IL.

    Poster presentation: “A false ring chronology of red pine (Pinus resinosa) in Superior National Forest, MN.”


    Will Steger Foundation: Summer Institute for Energy Education, August 4, 2014. Audubon Center of the North Woods, Sandstone, MN.

    Performed “A Song of Our Warming Planet” and led a discussion about climate communication using music.


    UMR Connects Speaker Series, July 8, 2014, University of Minnesota – Rochester, Rochester, MN

    Invited speaker to perform “A Song of Our Warming Planet” and discuss/field questions related to the intersection of climate science and the arts.


    Institute on the Environment – Frontiers in the Environment Series, November 20, 2013. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, St. Paul, MN

    Resonate! How 90 seconds of cello music is helping people connect with climate science”


    ScienceOnline Climate – August 14-16, 2013. Washington, D.C.

    Invited performance of “A Song of Our Warming Planet,” participated in discussion and Q/A with the conference audience.


    Summer 2019 – Fall 2019, Fall 2020 – Spring 2021, GEOG 1403, “Biogeography of the Global Garden.” Teaching Assistant.

                Instructors of record: Udya Thapa, Prof. Daniel Griffin, Prof. Kurt Kipfmueller.

    Taught up to 75 students per semester in lab sessions (in person until Spring 2020), assisted in development of content. Completed required tasks and grading according to weekly deadlines.


    Spring 2020, GEOG 1403, “Biogeography of the Global Garden.” Lead Teaching Assistant.

    Instructor of record: Prof. Kurt Kipfmueller.

    Coordinated a class of > 250 students and 7 individual TAs. Organized and led weekly TA meetings, fielded student concerns/complaints. Assisted in the online adaptation of the course following COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.


    February 11, 2020. FNRM 3501, “Arboriculture.” Guest lecturer.

    Instructor of record: Prof. Gary Johnson

    “Straws in the ground: Bur oak quantitative wood anatomy at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, MN”

  • Get in Touch!

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