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.