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Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (2007)

Exchange rates and content of VOCs in Mediterranean soils ; their responses to drought and warming and their linkage with biotic factors

Asensio Abella, Mª Dolores

Titre : Exchange rates and content of VOCs in Mediterranean soils ; their responses to drought and warming and their linkage with biotic factors

Auteur : Asensio Abella, Mª Dolores

Université de soutenance : Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Espagne)

Grade : Doctoral Tesis 2007

Living organisms exchange trace gases with the atmosphere. These gases named biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) are very important for the global tropospheric chemistry and the global carbon cycle (Fehsenfeld et al, 1992 ; Singh and Zimmerman, 1992). Plants produce a variety of hydrocarbons of which the most representative and abundant group is isoprenoids. Isoprene, monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes represent a small proportion of the diverse group of isoprenoid plant products. In addition to isoprenoids, several other volatile organic compounds are emitted by plants, for example methanol, methyl jasmonate, ethylene and many organic oxygenated carbon compounds. Biosphere and atmosphere show multiple regulation feedbacks in their processes. On one hand plants play an important role in the low atmosphere chemistry. The atmospheric photo-oxidation of the emitted VOCs leads to two important products in the lower atmosphere, ozone and organic aerosol, which have important consequences for air quality and climate. On the other hand, the earth’s global climate, i. e. the changes in the variability or average state of the atmosphere over time, is affecting biosphere activities in turn. Hence, it is important to estimate biogenic VOC fluxes to the atmosphere and their variations under the climate warming and the increased drought projected for the next decades by climatic and ecophysiological models. Most of the research about non methane VOC fluxes has focused on fluxes from the above-ground part of the plants at different levels, from canopy to foliar/flower/stem level. However, until the last years, information about VOC fluxes from the below-ground parts of the plants was very scarce. We were interested in the soil atmosphere trace gas exchange of CO2 and non methane biogenic VOCs. The principal method used to measure soil fluxes in this work is a variant of the enclosure method. The mode of operation was dynamic. A steady stream of air is pumped though the chamber, and the gas emitted from the soil is measured directly in the air stream or adsorbed in a suitable trapping material for subsequent release and analysis. The general objectives of this PhD thesis were 1) to characterize Mediterranean soil VOC contents and exchange, particularly monoterpenes because of their important role on ecology, plant physiology and atmospheric chemistry, but also other VOCs, and 2) to assess the possible changes in soil VOC and CO2 exchange rates under the global environmental change towards more arid and warm conditions in the Mediterranean region. The major conclusions are the following ones : Total VOC and monoterpene exchange rates from soil surfaces are low. There is relatively low soil emissions contribution to total biogenic monoterpene emissions to the atmosphere on a land area basis. Soil VOC and monoterpene uptake rates were also low, though comparable with some foliar uptake rates. Further studies are needed to corroborate these results and the possible importance of the soil VOCs sink in chemistry-climate models. Results suggest that the water availability reduction and the increase of temperature expected in the next decades might greatly affect soil VOC exchange rates to the atmosphere, but longer-term studies are needed to discern the response of soil VOC exchange rates to climate change. We found that drought and high temperatures tended to increase soil VOC emission rates. Results suggest the causes may be more the physical effects on soil features and VOCs volatility than the effects on soil roots and microorganisms activities. However, results also showed that drought reduced soil CO2 fluxes, while high temperature increased them. Thus, drought and warming are affecting several biological below-ground and above-ground processes which could affect soil VOCs exchange. The final effect of climate change is not clear but uncoupling effects to different processes are thus likely to occur

Mots Clés : Soil ecology – Drought —VOC

Présentation (Tesis Doctorals en Xarxa)

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Page publiée le 24 mars 2009, mise à jour le 31 janvier 2019