Research

I study the interaction between the biosphere -the plants- and the atmosphere -the air- through the analysis of the emissions by vegetation. This interdisciplinary research embraces diverse fields such as plant phisiology, ecology, atmospheric chemistry and meteorology.
My main focus of research so far have been several carbon-based chemical species that are mainly found in gaseous form in the atmosphere. They are called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), and can be emitted into the atmosphere either by natural or by anthropic sources.
The effects of climate change processes, in particular drought, on biogenic VOC emissions has been an important part of my research throughout my career.

Examples of VOCs


Methanol

Acetaldehyde

Acetone

Benzene

Isoprene

Current research

Right now I am involved in the design and construction of the UCI Fluxtron, a facility to measure VOC fluxes "simultaneously" from several individual plants that can be subjected to different stressors such as high temperatures, drougth, ozone fumigation, etc.

Postdoc research

Flux tower in Tapajós, Pará, Brazil After the leaf-level studies during my Ph.D., for my postdoc I wanted to change the scale of measurement. That is why I moved across the Atlantic ocean to learn the techniques that allow us to quantify VOC emissions at the canopy level. I conducted Eddy Covariance measurements of VOC fluxes in an oak forest in the Ozarks region of Missouri (USA), in pinus forests in the semi-arid climate of Israel, and also in the Amazon forest of Brazil.

I also started to introduce myself into atmospheric chemistry, with several collaborations involving laboratory chamber experiments and field campaigns. Among these campaigns, I have measured the short-lived OH radical in Alabama (USA) and Amazonas (Brazil). MOFLUX tower in Missouri USA

Ph.D. thesis research

Several factors affect the oxVOC exchange, especially the concentration gradient and their physico-chemical characteristics My Ph.D. thesis introduced me into the VOC world. During that period I focused on leaf-level exchange (emission and/or uptake) of not-so-well-known short-chain oxygenated compounds such as methanol, acetaldehyde, acetone, acetic acid...
I worked mainly with the widespread Mediterranean trees holm oak (Quercus ilex L) and aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis L), the biogenic emissions of which have been historically less characterized than for other temperate climate tree species.

During this period I also joined a field campaign in and around the city of Barcelona. I was in charge of measuring the VOC mixing ratios in the city air and also in a holm oak forest that received the influence of the urban air. Plant and leaf chamber studies at CREAF, Barcelona