Elena Ormeño Lafuente

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Research scientist (CR1) CNRS HDR

Scientist Director of the ANAEE-Europe in natura plateform O3HP

Section 30, INEE (Institute of Ecology and Environment) - INSU (Institut national des sciences de l’Univers)

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


ORCID # 0000-0002-3265-5883

Academic formation and positions held

Academic degrees

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).

Positions held

Since 2020 : scientific director of the AnaEE-plateform O3HP
Since 2010 : research scientist at CNRS (IMBE UMR 7263)
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 (mainly climate change but also air pollution, prescribed fire) 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 (also referred to as Specialized of Secondary Plant Metabolites) 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.


49 publications including 43 peer-reviewed papers indexed in the JCR, 2 book chapters and 4 publications in non-indexed journals/conference proceedings, Hindex : 20, Number of citations : 1130 (Source : Scopus)

Publications indexed in the JCR

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


P43 – Saunier A, Greff S, Blande J, Lecareux C, Baldy V, Fernandez C, Ormeno E. Amplified drought and seasonal cycle modulate Quercus pubescens leaf metabolome. Metabolites In press.

P42 – Viros L, Fernandez C, Ormeno E. Plant Flavonoids in Mediterranean species : a focus on flavonols as protective metabolites under climate stress. Plants 2022. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11020172.

P41 – Saunier A, Ormeno E, Moja S, Fernandez C, Robert E, Dupouyet S, Despinasse Y, Baudino S, Nicolè F, Bousquet-Mélou A. Lavender sensitivity to water stress : Comparison between eleven varieties across two phenological stages. Industrial Crops and Products 2022. https://doi:10.1016/j.indcrop.2022.114531.

P40 – Marion A, Morin J, Ormeño E, Dupouyet S, D’Anna B, Boiry S, Wortham H. Nitrous acid production and uptake by Zea mays plants in growth chambers in the presence of nitrogen dioxide. Science of The Total Environment 2022. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.150696.


P39 – Ganteaume A, Romero B, Fernandez C, Ormeño E, Lecareux C. Volatile and semi-volatile terpenes impact leaf flammability : differences according to the level of terpene identification. Chemoecology 2021. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00049-021-00349-1.

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 2021. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7533.

P37- Marion A, Morin J, Gandolfo A, Temime-Roussel B, Ormeño E, d’Anna B, Wortham H. Nitrous acid formation on Zea mays leaves by heterogeneous reaction of nitrogen dioxide in the laboratory. Environmental Research 2021, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2020.110543.


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, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-020-01697-4.

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, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2020.117815.

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, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2020.118242.

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, https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9020159.


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. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.5390.

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. https://doi.org/10.1071/WF18210.


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. https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-15-4711-2018.

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. https://doi.org/10.1111/pce.13331.


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

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, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-17-7555-2017.

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.


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.


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.

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.

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.


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.


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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.


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.

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

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.

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.


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.

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.

Book chapters

P1- Ecologie chimique, le langage de la nature. Chabreuil A., y Lefebvre V (Eds). Cherche midi (Publs) 2012.

P2- 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”. Springer, In press. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-82385-6

Publications in non-indexed journals, conference proceedings
P1-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.

P2- 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.

P3-Ormeño E., Fernandez V. ¿Qué sabemos sobre los terpenos ? Investigación y ciencia. 2012, 1-9p.

P4-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 CSS3 (Committee of Ecological System Sciences) at IRD(Institute of Research and Develpoment) since 2020 (evaluation and recruitment of researchers)
  • Appointed member of the sustainability committee at IRD since 2020 (recruitment of researchers)
  • Member of the Doctoral School work group since 2020 at Aix-Marseille University committed to evaluate and improve Doctoral train programs
  • 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)
  • Mentor for Young Researcher Woman within the Program « Against Woman Discrimination » supported by the Woman & Science Association and the vice-presidency for Equality Woman-Men from Aix-Marseille University (AMU). Since 2021
  • Responsible of DFME team webpage (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 3-PP Systyem, IRGA 840-Licor), data acquisition systems, dynamic plull-push systems for gaz exchange studies and gaz calibration systems.

STUDENT TRAINING (21 students in the last 10 years)

  • Mentorship of 4 PhD students (Thibaud Legros since December 2021 ;Justine Laoué since October 2020 ; Justine Viros2017-2020 ; Amélie Saunier 2013-2017 ;
  • Advisor of 4 PhD students (Teresa Valor 2015-2016 ; Aurélie Marion 2018-2020 ; Candice Dubuisson 2018-2020 ; Anne-Cyrielle Genard 2010-2013)
  • Mentorship of 7 Master thesis/Engineer internship (Alexis Balembois, 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)


  • Guest Editor for Plants-Basels  : Special issue« Metabolomic and Morphological Adaptations of Forests under Climate Change »
  • Examiner in 9 PhD defense committees : Aix-Marseille University and University of Montpellier (France), University of Copenhagen (Denmark), Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona, University of Valladolid and University of Seville (Spain).
  • Service as a pre-examiner (Master degree in Aix Marseille University).
  • National and 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 Biology).
  • Participation to organisation of International Congresses : American Geophysical Union, European Geophysical Union, World Allelopathy Congress.
  • Participation to 43 congress of which 2 prices to the best presentation and 7as invited speaker.
  • Reviewer for 25 journals

Research projects

I have participated into 30 research projects of which 19 since 2010 :

  • 6 as principal or 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.

LITTERVOC, Co-PI, 2020-2024, 4 years, national consortium project, involving 11 staff members. Funding organisms : CNRS_EC2CO, Région Sud-PACA et Entreprise (AtmoSud). 150 k€. Coordination with Catherine Fernandez. PhD student supervised : T. Le Gros (since 2021).

METAPHORES, PI, 2020-2023, 3 years, international consortium project involving 20 staff members. 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. 180 k€. PhD student supervised : J. Laoué (since 2020).

MANGHALO, co-PI, 2020-2022, 3 years, national consortium project involving 10 staff members. 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€. Main coordinateur Anne Bousquet-Mélou (Associate professor Aix-Marseille Univ).

CORVOLIM, PI, 2017-2019, 2 years, national consortium project involving 7 staff members. Inventory of Volatile Organic compound emissions from LItter of Mediterranean vegetation : application to air quality. Funding organism : CNRS-BiodivMex-Mistrals-ADEME. 17 k€. PhD student supervised : J. Viros (defended thesis in 2020).

HONO-CORN, task responsible, 2016-2020, 4 years, national consortium project, involving 4 staff members. 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, 2016-2020, 4.5 years, international consortium project, involving 5 staff members. 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, 2016-2019, 3 years, international consortium project involving 5 staff members. 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, international consortium project, task responsible, involving 8 staff members, 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). PhD student supervised : A. Saunier (thesis defended in 2017).