Mari Mäki's defense on 24th May

Mari Mäki is defending her PhD thesis "Volatile organic compound fluxes from northern forest soils" on 24th of May at 12 o'clock, in Viikki, auditorium B5 (Latokartanonkaari 7).

The opponent of the dissertation is Senior Scientist Rainer Steinbrecher (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology), and Professor Jaana Bäck will act as a kustos.  The dissertation will be published as a part of Dissertations Forestales series, and can already be found in E-thesis services

Dissertation summary:

Emissions of biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) cool down the global climate via their impacts on aerosol and cloud formation. Climate change will likely have a major impact on BVOC fluxes from the biosphere, including soils, due to temperature-driven plant biosynthesis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), compound volatility and microbial activity. Soils are a poorly quantified source of VOCs, where the diversity of driving factors creates high spatial and temporal variability in soil VOC fluxes.

The aim of this study was to analyse the magnitude and variability of forest floor VOC fluxes, to determine the role of the boreal forest floor in the forest stand BVOC exchange and to estimate plant ecophysiological and microbiological processes, which drive forest floor VOC exchange. Forest floor VOC exchange was determined using a steady-state flow-through chamber technique coupled with mass spectrometry in the boreal and hemiboreal climates.

We revealed that the boreal forest floor contributes significantly to forest stand fluxes, but its importance varies between seasons. The forest floor accounted only a few per cent of the total forest stand fluxes of monoterpenes in summer, while in spring and autumn it could be up to 90%. The forest floor VOC exchange was stable between years, while fluxes had clear seasonal dynamic. Monoterpenes and oxygenated VOCs originated from fresh litter, microbial activity, and ground vegetation VOC biosynthesis. Air inside soil layers was found to contain diverse compounds. Forest floor VOC fluxes varied strongly depending on climate and tree species.

Atmospheric chemistry may be strongly affected by soils during periods when plant-related BVOC biosynthesis and fluxes are low. In the future, we need continuous and simultaneous VOC exchange measurements from forest floors and forest stands in various ecosystems and climate zones. The global budget for soil VOC emissions should also be defined based on existing studies.