An understated player of Climate Change - increased air humidity - impact on volatile signaling compound emission at northern forests


    Global climate simulations predict increased atmospheric humidity (AH) for northern latitudes. Water vapor, as an effective
    greenhousegas, can magnify the rise in temperature even more. There is large uncertainty of the impact of elevated AH on
    the production of biogenic volatile compounds (BVCs) by plants, which in turn, might contribute considerably to changes in
    atmospheric chemistry. The aim of this project is to clarify the impact of increased AH and diffuse irradiation to carbon
    assimilation, allocation and consequently BVC emissions from northern forests. This study will combine a unique free-air
    manipulation experiment of increased AH in a temperate forest with analysis of long-term data of plant responses to natural
    variation in AH. A broad selection of environmental and plant parameters (incl. BVCs, growth, photosynthesis, leaf pigment
    and nitrogen content, tree hydraulics) will be measured during the period of shoot development in spring, to clarify the impact
    of seasonality and physiological constraints on the emission of BVCs. Increased AH appears to influence photosynthesis,
    transpiration and foliage nutrient supply in trees and previous research by the applicant has revealed that changes in light
    use efficiency (LUE), nitrogen and carbon allocation into pigments result from differences in irradiance and temperature, but
    BVC emissions are not well predicted by current carbon-allocation and climate models. This project hypothesizes that control
    and humidified trees vary in LUE due to differences in sink-source limited growth and resultant differences in allocation of
    carbon to synthesis of pigments or to BVCs. As an outcome of this project, the feedback mechanisms between carbon
    production, allocation and BVC emissions will be analyzed and the link between air humidity and BVC production will be
    proposed as an important agent of climate change. The project will substantially elaborate the professional competence and
    perspectives of the applicant.
    Short titleBioVOLHum
    Effective start/end date01/01/201924/12/2020