Franco Biondi | Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences




I am a tree biologist with a specialty in dendroecology, which is the study of tree rings and the formation of wood to infer ecological changes. Working with students and colleagues, I have studied tree-dominated landscapes in the western United States, Mexico, and southern Europe. I am now involved in grant-funded projects aimed at understanding the environmental factors of the intra-annual characteristics of dark circles. Studies by DendroLab staff focus on examining the relationship between wood form and function in coniferous species in the western United States. We use automated point dendrometers, wood anatomy and cell phenology to discover the extremely complex links between dendrochronology, wood science, tree physiology, forest ecology, measurement and allometry. These new activities also include national and international collaborations, the latter with scientists in Canada, Germany, France, Finland, Switzerland and Italy.

My teaching responsibilities are closely related to my experience and my research interests. At UNR, I have taught several courses, from introductory undergraduate courses to graduate seminars. I have also developed, proposed and implemented some new classes on climate and environmental change.

Since 2010, I have been working as a specialist editor for Ecosphere, the open access journal published by the Ecological Society of America. I am also a specialist editor for the Paleoecology section of Frontiers in ecology and evolution.


  • Physical geography (GEOG 103; formerly known as “Global Environmental Geography”): Spring 2001, Spring 2002, Fall 2003, Fall 2004, Fall 2005, Spring 2008, Fall 2009
  • Climate change and its environmental impacts (GEOG / ATMS 121): fall 2008, fall 2010, fall 2011, fall 2012, fall 2014, fall 2015
  • Field methods (GEOG 314): fall 2001, fall 2002, fall 2004
  • Ecology of natural resources (NRES 217): spring 2018, spring 2019, spring 2020
  • Understanding the climate (GEOG 321): spring 2006, spring 2009, fall 2010, fall 2011
  • Regional and global issues in environmental sciences (ENV / NRES 467) Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020
  • Spatial analysis (GEOG 416/616; formerly called “Spatial analysis in geography”): spring 2001, spring 2003, spring 2005, spring 2009, spring 2010, spring 2012, spring 2015, spring 2016
  • Climatology (GEOG 421/621): autumn 2000, spring 2002, spring 2004
  • Geography of past environments (GEOG 437/637): fall 2002, spring 2010, fall 2012
  • Geography colloquium (GEOG 490/690): spring 2012
  • Advanced geography – Climatology (GEOG 701r): Fall 2005
  • Advanced climatology (GEOG 721; formerly called “Seminar in advanced climatology” with the code GEOG 720): fall 2001, fall 2003, spring 2008, fall 2010, fall 2012, fall 2016

Honors and awards

  • Research and Innovation Leadership Researcher 2020, University of Nevada, Reno
  • Visiting Fellow Haury 2018, Tree Ring Research Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson
  • 2017 Member of the accreditation committee, Fakultät Wissenschaftszentrum Weihenstephan für Ernährung, Landnutzung und Umwelt, Technische Universität München, Germany
  • 2015 Visiting professor (“Poste Rouge”), Laboratory of Functional Ecology and Environment (EcoLab), University of Toulouse III, France
  • 2014 Bullard Visiting Fellow, Harvard Forest, Petersham, Massachusetts
  • 2013 Visiting researcher, Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Switzerland
  • 2013 CIRES Visiting Fellow, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • 2013 Expert Witness Training Academy participant, William Mitchell College of Law, Saint Paul, Minnesota
  • 2011 Fulbright Senior Specialist in Environmental Science, University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy
  • 2008 Hyung K. Shin Award for Excellence in Research, College of Science, University of Nevada, Reno
  • 2008 Senior Ecologist, Professional Certification Board of the Ecological Society of America (ESA)
  • Outstanding Researcher Award 2008, Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno
  • 2007 Foreign member of the doctoral program in “Scienze e Tecnologie per la Gestione Forestale e Ambientale”, University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy
  • 2007 Blaustein Visiting Fellowship, Stanford University, School of Earth Sciences
  • 2007 Visiting professor, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPF), Chair of forest ecology
  • 2006 Committee of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 2002 NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award
  • 2001 AAG Paper of the Year Award
  • 1992 McGinnies Graduate Scholarship in Arid Lands Studies, University of Arizona
  • 1992 Andrew E. Douglass Fellowship, Tree Ring Research Laboratory, University of Arizona
  • 1985 Fulbright Prize


My long-term goal is to understand the drivers of tree and forest growth in current, past and future environments. I pursue this goal using instrumental and indirect recordings (mainly tree rings), with an emphasis on field observations, digital calibration, and automated sensors to relate temporal and spatial scales. My experience and interests focus on climatic and forest dynamics, in particular in mountain watersheds. This places my work at the intersection of ecology, climatology, biogeography and hydrology.

My thesis work on forest growth trends in Arizona had both regional and global relevance. At the regional level, he provided evidence of the impact of fire suppression on the ecology of the southwestern coniferous forests, ultimately contributing to landscape conservation plans. Overall, this showed the importance of placing twentieth century models in a longer historical perspective to disentangle the impact of land use changes (in this case, European colonization) from settlement and settlement dynamics. other factors. From 1994 to 2000, I conducted research at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography on past climate using indirect recordings of terrestrial tree rings and oceanic sediments (varves). At Scripps, I also set up a research program in dendroclimatology and set up the dark circles laboratory which I then transferred to UNR. My recent studies focus on the quantification of climate variability and tree growth in mountain ecosystems of the Great Basin of North America. Particular emphasis is placed on understanding responses to disturbances (forest fires, land use changes) in relation to climatic dynamics and the distribution of woody species at the watershed level.

From 2008 to 2013, I was the state-wide lead for the Ecological Change component of an NSF-EPSCoR project titled “Nevada Infrastructure for Climate Change Science, Education and Awareness”, which was funded for a total of $ 15 million. As part of the research infrastructure funded by this large multi-investigator project, we created the Nevada Climate-Ecohydrological Assessment Network (NevCan), which includes valley-to-crest instrumental transects designed to measure changes in atmospheric variables. , hydrological and ecological, including the spatial and temporal processes that control and are recorded by the growth of timber of species below and above the treeline.


Laurea, University of Florence, Italy, 1985
MS, University of Arizona, Tucson, 1987
Doctorate, University of Arizona, Tucson, 1994


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