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.

I am especially focused on the impact of climate change, prescribed fire and air pollution on emission and storage of specific metabolites in Mediterranean species and consequences on tropospheric ozone pollution and plant flammability.

Increases in the production of specific plant metabolites (terpenes, phenolics, fatty acid derivates) account for a supplementary defense system against abiotic stressors partly own to their antioxydant properties and/or protection against evapotranspiration.

The importance of volatile metabolites (so called Biogenic Volatile Organic Compouds, BVOC) 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 favouring 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 feature a high chemical diversity of specific metabolites, plant species are submitted to climatic stress conditions and VOC-driven secondary pollution (including O3 and secondary organic aerosols formation) is a major issue.