USA 30 years and had long predicted a catastrophic blaze in the Gatlinburg area prior to the November fires that burned through more than 17,000 acres in the area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Grissino-Mayer splits his time between being a climatologist and a biogeographer as well as a primary researcher. He was introduced to tree-ring research in 1985 while a graduate student at the University of Georgia.
Throughout his career, Grissino-Mayer has also developed a 2,200-year reconstruction of annual precipitation for the American Southwest, worked on numerous reconstructions of fire regimes, and used dendrochronology (tree-ring dating) to help historical archaeologists more accurately chronicle cultural history.
The professorship is named for James R. Cox, whose gifts to the university through his sister and nephew, Charlotte and Jim Musgraves, helped establish professorships in 2002 for faculty in the arts, theater, biological and physical sciences, architecture, and forestry and wildlife studies. Recipients are chosen by a committee for their excellence in teaching, scholarship and service.
Previous recipients include Suzanne Lenhart, professor of mathematics; Tricia Stuth, associate professor of architecture; and Paul Armsworth, associate professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.