Elena Ormeño Lafuente

JPEG - 24.3 ko

Research scientist (CN) CNRS
Section 30, INEE (Institute of Ecology and Environment)

IMBE UMR 7263 (Mediterranean Institute of marine and continental Biodiversity and Ecologye), AMU, CNRS, IRD, Avignon Université.
Campus St Charles

DFME Team : Diversity and functionning, from molecules to ecosystems


Academia background

  • 2003-2006 : PhD in Environmental Biosciences, Aix-Marseille University (AMU), IMBE, Marseille (France)
  • 2002-2003 : Master PhD in Environmental Biosciences, Continental environments, Aix-Marseille University (AMU), IMBE, Marseille (France)
  • 1998-2002 : Bachelor degree, University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH), Madrid (Spain).


  • Since 2010 : Research scientist at CNRS, INEE, Research unit : IMBE
  • 2010 (9 months) : postdoctoral researcher at University of Liège, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (Belgium)
  • 2008-2009 (2 years) : Postdoctoral researcher at University of California Berkeley (USA)
  • 2006-2007 (1 year) : half-time assistant professor, Aix-Marseille University (France)
  • 2007 (6 months ) : half-time assistant professor, Univ. Castilla la Mancha, Tolède, Fire Ecology Lab (Spain)

Research interests

My research interests are related to global change impacts on plant metabolism and the eventual consequences of such impacts on both, fundamental ecological processes (trade-offs between defense and growth, plant protection) and major environment issues of our society including air pollution and fire risk.

These last 8 years an important part of my research has focused on climate change (amplified drought) impact on Biogenic Volatile Organic Compounds of Mediterranean species and consequences on plant development (growth, defense), air pollution and plant flammability. Increases of BVOCs (emission and storage) have indeed numerous environmental consequences as they account for tropospheric pollutant precursors under specific conditions (light and presence of NOx mostly coming from traffic), supplementary defenses against abiotic stressors partly own to their antioxidant properties, and flammable components in dead (litter) and living plants.

The importance of these volatile metabolites as major precursors of secondary pollutants was first highlighted in the ’60. My research aims to assess both, the sources of BVOC emissions and the environmental stress conditions that favor such emissions. As a whole, these works contribute to better understand biosphere-atmosphere exchanges through BVOC emissions. I carry out most of these investigations through interdisciplinary programs in collaboration with atmospheric chemistry laboratories.

Specific metabolites stored in plants are well known in behavioral ecology studies, for their deterrent effect on herbivorous feeding on plants due to their toxicity when stored in high amounts in plants. My research aims to demonstrate that storage of these compounds also act as drivers of ecosystem functioning by favoring plant flammability. I carry out these investigations in collaboration with fire ecology laboratories.

Investigating the sensitivity of plant metabolism to global changes and the eventual consequences on the environment (air pollution, fire hazard) are of especial interest in Mediterranean ecosystems, where species are rich in BVOCs, aridity is predicted to be strengthened in the near future and VOC-driven secondary pollution (including O3 and secondary organic aerosol formation) is a major issue.

Research projects

Participation into 24 research projets especially as a task leader, but also as co-principal investigator, principal investigator and participant. The projects I have been involved in the last 5 years are shown below.


PDF - 87.9 ko

Publications Indexed in JCR

P1- Larchevêque M., Baldy V., Korboulewsky N., Ormeño E., Fernandez C. Compost effect on bacterial and fungal colonization of kermes oak leaf litter in a terrestrial Mediterranean ecosystem. Applied Soil Ecology 2005, 30 : 79-89.

P2- Ormeño E., Baldy V., Ballini C., Larchevêque M., Périssol C., Fernandez C. Effects of environmental factors and leaf chemistry on leaf litter colonization by fungi in a Mediterranean shrubland. Pedobiologia 2006, 50 : 1-10.

P3- Ormeño E., Fernandez C., Bousquet-Mélou A., Greff S., Morin E., Robles C., Vila B., Bonin G. Monoterpene and sesquiterpene emissions of four typical Mediterranean species, through calcareous and siliceous soils in south of France. Atmospheric Environment 2007, 41 : 629-639.

P4- Ormeño E., Bousquet-Mélou A., Mévy J-P., Greff S., Robles C., Bonin G., Fernandez C. Effect of intraspecific competition and substrate type on terpene emissions of some Mediterranean species. Journal of Chemical Ecology 2007, 33 : 277-286.

P5- Ormeño E., Fernandez C., Mévy J.P. 2007. Plant coexistence alters terpene emission and content of Mediterranean species. Phytochemistry 2007, 69 : 840-852.

P6- Ormeño E., Bousquet-Mélou A., Greff S., Bonin G., Fernandez C. Water deficit stress induces different monoterpene and sesquiterpene emission changes in Mediterranean species. Relationship between terpene emissions and plant water potential. Chemosphere 2007, 67 : 276-284.

P7- Ormeño E., Baldy V., Ballini C., Fernandez C. Production and diversity of Volatile terpenes from plants on calcareous and siliceous soils : effect of soil nutrients. Journal of Chemical Ecology 2008, 34 : 1219-1229.

P8- Fernandez C., Voiriot S., Mevy J-P., Vila B., Ormeño E., Dupouyet S., Bousquet-Melou A. Regeneration failure of Pinus halepensis Mill. : the role of autotoxicity and some abiotic environmental parameters. Forest Ecology and Management 2008, 255 : 2928-2936.

P9- Larchevêque M., Ballini C., Baldy V., Korboulewsky N., Ormeño E., Montès N. Restoration of a Mediterranean post-fire shrubland : plant functional responses to organic soil amendment. Restoration Ecology 2009, 18:729-741.

P10- Fernandez C., Monnier Y., Ormeño E., Baldy V., Greff S., Pasqualini V., Mévy JP., Bousquet-Mélou A. Variations in allelochemical composition of leachates of different organs and maturity stages of Pinus halepensis. Journal of Chemical Ecology 2009, 35 : 970-979.

P11- Ormeño E., Céspedes, B., Sánchez, I.A., Velasco-García, A., Moreno, J.M., Fernandez, C., Baldy, V. The relationship between terpenes and flammability of leaf litter. Forest Ecology and Management 2009, 257 : 471–482.

P12- Ormeño E., Olivier R., Mévy JP., Baldy V., Fernandez C. Compost may affect volatile and semi-volatile plant emissions through nitrogen supply and chlorophyll fluorescence. Chemosphere 2009, 77 : 94-104.

P13- Fares S., Park J.Hoo, Ormeño E., Drew R. Gentner, Megan McKay, Loreto, F. Karlik J. Goldstein A.H. Ozone uptake by Citrus trees exposed to a range of ozone concentrations. Atmospheric Environment 2010, 44 : 3404-3412.

P14- Ormeño E., Gentner D.R. Fares S. Karlik, J. Park, JH, Goldstein AH. Sesquiterpenoid emissions from agricultural crops : correlations to monoterpenoid emissions and leaf terpene content. Environmental Science & Technology 2010, 44:3758-64.

P15- Ormeño E. Goldstein, A. Niinemets, U. Extracting and trapping biogenic volatile organic compounds stored in plant species Trac-Trends in Analytical Chemistry 2011, 30 : 978-989.

P16- Olivier R, Lavoir AV, Ormeño E, Mouillot F, Greff S, Lecareux C, et al. Compost spreading in Mediterranean shrubland indirectly increases biogenic emissions by promoting growth of VOC-emitting plant parts. Atmospheric Environment 2011, 45 : 3631-3639.

P17- Olivier R, Staudt M, Lavoir AV, Ormeño E, Rizvi SH, Baldy V, et al. Direct and indirect impact of sewage sludge compost spreading on Quercus coccifera monoterpene emissions in a Mediterranean shrubland. Environmental Pollution 2011, 159 : 963-969.

P18- Fares S, Gentner DR, Park JH, Ormeño E, Karlik J, Goldstein AH. Biogenic emissions from Citrus species in California. Atmospheric Environment 2011, 45 : 4557-4568.

P19- Fares S, Park JH, Gentner DR, Weber R, Ormeño E, Karlik J, Goldstein AH. Seasonal cycles of biogenic volatile organic compound fluxes and concentrations in a California citrus orchard. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 2012, 12 : 9865-9880.

P20- Lavoir AV, Ormeño E*, Pasqualini V, Ferrat L, Greff S, Lecareux C, Vila B, Mévy J.P, Fernandez C. Does prescribed burning affect leaf secondary metabolites in pine stands ? Journal of Chemical Ecology 2013, 39 : 398-412. *Co-first author.

P21- Kalogridis C, Gros V, Sarda-Esteve R, Langford B, Loubet B, Bonsang B, Bonnaire N, Nemitz E, Genard A-C, Boissard C, Fernandez C, Ormeño E, Baisnée D, Reiter I, Lathière J. Concentrations and fluxes of isoprene and oxygenated VOCs at a French Mediterranean oak forest. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 2014, 14 : 871-917.

P22- Gentner D.R. Ormeño E., Fares S., Ford T.B, Park J.P., Brioude J., Angevine W, Karlik J.F, Goldstein A.H. Emissions of biogenic gas-phase organic carbon from agriculture and their implications for air quality. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 2014, 14 : 5393-5413.

P23- Genard-Zielinski AC, Boissard C, Fernandez C, Kalogridis C, Lathière J, Gros V, Bonnaire N, Ormeño E. Variability of BVOC emissions from a Mediterranean mixed forest with a focus on Quercus pubescens at the O3HP. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 2014, 14 : 17225-17261.

P24- Genard-Zielinski AC., Ormeño E, Boissard C, Fernandez C. Isoprene emissions from Downy Oak under water limitation during an entire growing season : what cost for growth ?” PLoS ONE 2015, 15 : 431–446.

P25- Saunier A, Ormeño E, Wortham H, Temime-Roussel B, Lecareux C, Boissard C, Fernandez C. Chronic drought decreases anabolic and catabolic BVOC emissions of Quercus pubescens in a Mediterranean forest. Frontiers in Plant Science 2017, 8 : 8:71.

P26- Saunier A, Ormeño E, Boissard C, Wortham H, Temime-Roussel B, Lecareux C, Armengaud A, Fernandez C. Effect of mid-term drought on Quercus pubescens BVOCs’ emissions seasonality and their dependence to light and/or temperature. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 2017, 17 : 7555-7566.

P27- Valor T., Ormeño E., Casals P. Temporal effects of prescribed burning on terpene production in Mediterranean pines. Tree Physiology 2017, 37 : 1622-1636.

P28- Saunier A, Ormeño E, Havaux M, Wortham H, Ksas B, Temime-Roussel Brice, Blande J.D, Lecareux C, Mevy JP, Bousquet-Mélou A, Gauquelin T. Fernandez C. Resistance of native oak to recurrent drought conditions simulating predicted climatic changes in the Mediterranean region. Plant Cell and Environment, 2018, 10. doi : 10.1111/pce.13331.

P29- Genard-Zielinski AC, Boissard C, Ormeño E, Lathière J, Reiter IM, Wortham H, Orts JP, Temime-Roussel B, Guenet B, Bartsch S, Gauquelin T, Fernandez C. Seasonal variations of Quercus pubescens isoprene emissions from an in natura forest under drought stress and sensitivity to future climate change in the Mediterranean area. Biogeociences 2018, 15, 4711–4730, 2018. doi.org/10.5194/bg-15-4711-2018.

Non indexed publications

Ormeño E, Fernandez C. Effect of soil nutrient on production and diversity of volatile terpenoids from plants. Current Bioactive Compounds 2012, 8 : 71-79.

Science popularization

Ormeño E., Fernandez V. ¿Qué sabemos sobre los terpenos ? Investigación y ciencia. 2012, n° 428, 1-9 p.

Kalogridis C., Gros V., Bonsang B., Sarda-Estève R., Genard AC., Boissard C., Fernandez C., Ormeño E., Bonnaire N., Baisnée D, Lathière J. Étude des composés organiques volatils biogéniques émis par une Fforêt Méditerranéenne. La Météorologie 2016- n° 93.




  • Co-advisor of 2 PhD students (Justine Viros 2017-2020 ; Amelie Saunier 2013-2017)
  • Mentorship of 2 PhD (Teresa Valor 2014, 2015 ; Anne-Cyrielle Genard, 2010-2012,)
  • Advisor or Co-advisor of 4 Master thesis (Eleni Piriovolis, Caroline Gutigny, Justine Viros, Amelie Saunier)
  • Advisor or Co-advisor of 4 Licence research training (Eleni Piriovolis, Caroline Gutigny, Etienne Foucault, Loan Blanchetry)
  • Advisor or Co-advisor of 2 Bachelor research training (Elodie Quer, Robert Etienne)