Elena Ormeño Lafuente

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Research scientist (CR1) CNRS HDR

Section 30, INEE (Institute of Ecology and Environment) - INSU (Institut national des sciences de l’Univers)
ORCID # 0000-0002-3265-5883

IMBE UMR 7263 (Mediterranean Institute of marine and continental Biodiversity and Ecology), AMU, CNRS, IRD, Avignon Université.
DFME Team : Diversity and functionning, from molecules to ecosystems

Address : AMU, Centre of Saint Charles, Case 4. Cedex 03 Marseille



Current position : Research scientist at CNRS at IMBE, INEE, since 2010.

Academia background
2020 : Habilitation to Direct doctoral Research (HDR), Aix-Marseille University (France). Title : « Environmental implications of plant specialized metabolites : interdisciplinary approach ».
2006 : PhD in Environmental Biosciences, University of Provence, IMEP, Marseille (France). Title : « Strategies of four Mediterranean plant species to emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) ».
2003 : master PhD in Environmental Biosciences, University of Provence, IMEP Marseille (France). Title « Influence of internal and external plant factors on litter colonization by fungi in Mediterranean ecosystems ».
2002 : bachelor degree, University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH), Madrid (Spain).

Other Positions held
2010 : postdoctoral researcher at University of Liège, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (Belgium).
2008-2009 : postdoctoral researcher at University of Berkeley in California (USA).
2006-2007 : half-time assistant professor, Aix-Marseille University (France).
2007 : half-time assistant professor, Univ. Castilla la Mancha, Toledo, Fire Ecology Lab (Spain).

Research interests

My research interests are related to global change impacts on plant specialized metabolism and the eventual consequences of such impacts on both, fundamental ecological processes (trade-offs between defense and growth, plant defense, litter degradation, plant-organism interactions) and major environmental issues of our society including air pollution and fire risk. I carry out these works at different scales, from the leaf cell to the atmosphère through and interdisciplinary approach (chemical ecology, plant ecophysiology, fire ecology and atmospheric chemistry).

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These last 10 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 some of these investigations through interdisciplinary programs in collaboration with atmospheric chemistry laboratories.

Specialized 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 acts as a driver 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 flammable metabolites (BVOCs, cuticular metabolites), 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.


44 publications including 38 publications indexed in peer-reviewed papers listed in Scopus, Hindex : 18, Number of citations : 960 - 1230 (depending on the source)

Publications indexed in the JCR

Italic style refers to PhD/Master thesis students I have supervised or partly trained.


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, doi.org/10.1016/j.apsoil.2005.02.010.


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


P21- 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.


P22- 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.

P23- 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.

P24- 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.


P25- 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.


P26- 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.

P27- 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, doi.org/10.5194/acp-17-7555-2017.

P28- Valor T, Ormeño E, Casals P. Temporal effects of prescribed burning on terpene production in Mediterranean pines. Tree Physiology 2017, 37 : 1622-1636, doi : 10.1093/treephys/tpx069.


P29- Saunier A, Ormeño E, Havaux M, Wortham H, Ksas B, Temime-Roussel Brice, Blande J.D, Lecareux C, Mevy JP, Bousquet-Mélou A, Gauquelin , 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.

P30- 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.


P31- Romero B, Fernandez C, Lecareux C, Ormeño E, Ganteaume A. How terpene content affects fuel flammability of wildland-urban interface vegetation. International Journal of Wildland Fire 2019. doi.org/10.1071/WF18210.

P32- Santonja M., Bousquet-Mélou A, Greff S, Ormeño E, Fernandez C. Allelopathic effects of volatile organic compounds released from Pinus halepensis needles and roots. Ecology and Evolution 2019, 00:1–13. doi.org/10.1002/ece3.5390.


P33- Ormeño E, Viros J, Bousquet-Mélou A, Mévy JP, Tonetto A, Saunier A, Fernandez C. Exogenous isoprene confers physiological benefits in a negligible isoprene emitter (Acer monspessulanum) under water deficit. Plants-Basel 2020, doi.org/10.3390/plants9020159.

P34- Ormeño E, Ruffaul J, Gutigny C, Madrigal J, Guijarro M, Hernando C, Ballini C. Increasing cuticular wax concentrations in a drier climate promote litter flammability. Forest Ecology and Management 2020, doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2020.118242.

P35- Viros J, Fernandez C, Wortham H, Gavinet J, Lecareux C, Ormeño E. Litter of mediterranean species as a source of volatile organic compounds. Atmospheric Environment 2020,doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2020.117815.

P36- Saunier A, Ormeño E, Piga D, Armengaud A, Boissard C, Lathière J, Szopa S, Genard-Zielinski AC, Fernandez C. Isoprene contribution to ozone production in a context of climate change in French Mediterranean area. Regional Environmental Change 2020, doi.org/10.1007/s10113-020-01697-4.

P37- Marion A, Morin J, Gandolfo A, Temime-Roussel B, Ormeño E, d’Anna B, Wortham H. Laboratory study of nitrous acid (HONO) production on corn leaves by heterogeneous reaction of nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Environmental Research. In press.

P38- Viros J, Santonja M, Temime-Roussel B, Wortham H, Fernandez C, Ormeño E. Volatilome of Aleppo Pine litter over decomposition process. Ecology and Evolution. Accepted with minor revisions.

Book chapters

P39- Participation à l’ouvrage collectif intitulé « Ecologie chimique, le langage de la nature. Chabreuil A., y Lefebvre V (Eds). Cherche midi (Publs) » 2012.

P40- Gros V., Lathière J., Boissard C., Jambert C., Delon C., Staudt M., Fernandez C., Ormeño E., Baisnée D., Sarda-Estève R. Dans « Emissions from the Mediterranean vegetation. In : Atmospheric Chemistry and its impacts in the Mediterranean Region”. 2020. In press.

Publications in non indexed journals, conference proceedings

P41-Larchevêque M., Baldy V., Korboulewsky N., Fernandez C., Ormeño E. Compost amended on a degraded Mediterranean soil : effect of microbial colonization of kermes oak leaf litter. Waste Management and the environment 2004. Tome II. De V. Popov, H. Itoh, C.A. Brebbia et S. Kungolos (Eds). WIT press, p. 233-242. Acte de colloque.

P42- Ormeño E., Fernandez C., Greff S., Bonin G. Contribution of some Mediterranean plants to BVOC in the atmosphere of an open and a closed environment. Preliminary study. Air pollution 14th : International Conference on monitoring and management of Air Pollution. 2006, p. 629-636. Acte de colloque.

P43-Ormeño E., Fernandez V. ¿Qué sabemos sobre los terpenos ? Investigación y ciencia. 2012, 1-9p.

P44-Kalogridis C., Gros V., Bonsang B., Sarda-Esteve R., Genard AC., Boissard C., Fernandez C., Ormeño E., Bonnaire N., Baisnée D., Lathière J. Meteorologie. Etude des composés organiques volatils biogéniques dans une forêt méditerranéenne. La Météorologie, 2016, n° 93.



  • Elected member of the CCS3 IRD since 2020 (in changer of carrier research evaluation and recruitment)
  • Member of the Doctoral School work group since 2020 at Aix-Marseille University committed to evaluate and improve Doctoral train programms
  • Elected member of the CCU at IMBE since 2014 (CCU : Consultative committee of IMBE)
  • Elected member of the CSU at IMBE 2012-2016 (CSU : Scientific committee of IMBE)
  • Responsible of webpage DFME team (formed by 26 permanent staff) since 2017
  • Responsible of somme instrumental tools from the Common Chemical Ecology Service at IMBE since 2010 including Infrared-Gaz-Analyzers (Ciras 4-PP Systyem, IRGA 840-Licor), data acquisition systems, dynamic plull-push systems for gaz exchange studies, gaz calibration systems.

STUDENT TRAINING (18 students in the last 10 years)

  • Mentorship of 4 PhD students (Justine Laoué since October 2020 ; Justine Viros 2017-2020 ; Amélie Saunier 2013-2017 ; Anne-Cyrielle Genard 2010-2013)
  • Advisor of 4 PhD students (Teresa Valor 2015-2016 ; Aurélie Marion 2018-2020 ; Candice Dubuisson 2018-2020)
  • Mentorship of 6 Master thesis (Manon Panchot, Eleni Piriovolis, Caroline Gutigny, Justine Viros, Bastien Romero, Amélie Saunier)
  • Mentorship of 6 Bachelor research training (Eleni Piriovolis, Caroline Gutigny, Etienne Foucault, Loan Blanchetry, Elodie Quer, Robert Etienne)


  • Examiner in 6 PhD defense committees (Aix-Marseille University Marseille, University of Montpellier, University of Copenhagen, Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona, University of Seville).
  • Service as a pre-examiner (Master degree in Aix Marseille University).
  • Member of national/international peer evaluation committees of funding applications (e.g. European Science Foundation, ADEME, CNRS, Ile de France).
  • Referee for scientific journals (e.g. Air Pollution, Frontiers in Plant Science, Plant Biology, Atmospheric Pollution Research, Plant Cell and Environment, Global Change).
  • Congress organisation committee/chair : American Geophysical Union, European Geophysical Union, World Allelopathy Congress.
  • Participation to 42 congress of which 2 prices to the best presentation and 4 as invited speaker.
  • Reviewer for 22 journals

Research projects

I have participated into 29 research projects of which 19 since 2010 :

  • 5 as principal investigator,
  • 3 as co-principal investigator,
  • 11 as task leader.

The projects I am currently involved in and the main projects I have been involved in the last 5 years are shown below.

METAPHORES, PI, 2020-2023, 3 years, international project involving 20 people. METAbolomic and MorPHOlogical adaptations of a Downy oak forest to long-term rain REStriction in the field. Funding organism : CNRS_MITI (Interdisciplinary mission) & Direction Générale Déléguée à la Science au CNRS. 140 k€ + upcoming funding in 2021.

MANGHALO, PI, 2020-2022, 3 years, national project involving 10 people. Initial examination about MANGrove participation to biosphere – atmosphere exchanges : study of HALOgen and isoprenoid emissions from mangrove trees in Guyane and Martinique. Funding organism : Académie de Sciences, Institut de France. 60 k€.

CORVOLIM, PI, 2019-2021, 2 years, national project. Inventory of Volatile Organic compound emissions from LItter of Mediterranean vegetation : application to air quality. Funding organism : CNRS-BiodivMex-Mistrals. 17 k€.

HONO-CORN, task responsible involving 4 people, 2016-2020, 4 years, national project. Photosensitized reduction of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) on corn as a source of nitrous acid (HONO). Funding organism : ADEME-PRIMEQUAL. 183 k€. PI : Pr. Henri Wortham (LCE, AMU, Marseille).

CERVOLAND, task responsible involving 5 people, 2016-2020, 4.5 years, international project. Emissions and Reactivity of Volatile organic compounds in the Landes Forest. Funding organism : ADEME-PRIMEQUAL. 186 k€. PI : Associate Professor. Emilie Perraudin (EPOC UMR 5805 CNRS, Univ Bordeaux, France).

LANDEX, task responsible involving 4 people, 2016-2019, 3 years, national project with international collaborators. LANDEX Episode 1 Bilos : experimentation in the Landes forest. 186 k€. Funding organism : ADEME-PRIMEQUAL. 100 k€. PI : Professor. Eric Villenave (EPOC UMR 5805 CNRS, Univ Bordeaux, France).

ANR SEC-PRIME2, national project with international collaborators, task responsible, involving 8 people, 2013-2017, 4.5 years. Trade-off between SECondary and PRImary MEtabolism in MEditerranean forest under climate change. Funding organism : ANR. 686 k€. PI : Professor. Catherine Fernandez (AMU, IMBE, Marseille, France).