Research

I study the interaction between the biosphere -the plants- and the atmosphere -the air- through the analysis of the emissions by vegetation. This interdisciplinary research embraces diverse fields such as plant phisiology, ecology, atmospheric chemistry and meteorology.
My main focus of research so far have been several carbon-based chemical species that are mainly found in gaseous form in the atmosphere. They are called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), and can be emitted into the atmosphere either by natural or by anthropic sources.
The effects of climate change processes, in particular drought, on biogenic VOC emissions has been an important part of my research throughout my career.

Examples of VOCs


Methanol

Acetaldehyde

Acetone

Benzene

Isoprene

Current research at IDÆA

Right now I have moved back to Catalonia and will start a new position as a Ramón y Cajal researcher at IDÆA-CSIC in Barcelona. I plan to continue with ongoing projects in Scandinavia and find new challenges in my new institute.

Research at the University of Copenhagen

I was involved in the measurement of biogenic VOCs from Arctic vegetation, helping in laboratory measurements and particularly leading ecosystem-scale eddy-covariance measurements in tundra and subarctic forest sites in Sweden and Norway. A planned expedition to Siberia was unfortunately cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. The ICOS station in Abisko, Sweden, with our PTR-TOF-MS box and the helicopter that transported it to the site A shallow post-glacial lake, Villasjön, where we measured the eddy covariance fluxes of VOCs, near Abisko (Sweden)

Research at UCI

Dragon trees inside the UCI Fluxtron I was involved in the design and construction of the UCI Fluxtron, a facility to measure VOC fluxes "simultaneously" from several individual plants that can be subjected to different stressors such as high temperatures, drougth, ozone fumigation, etc.

 

 

 

  In addition, I took part in multiple field campaigns involving the use of real-time chemical ionization mass spectrometers (CIMS), such as iodide-CIMS to measure several chlorinated radicals and PTR-TOF-MS to measure VOCs. I deployed these instruments on board of a passenger aircraft turned-into-a-flying-scientific-laboratory in the Seoul metropolitan area (South Korea) and on board an icebreaker research vessel that brought us all to Antarctica (and thankfully, back grom there as well) through the roughest seas on the planet. The NASA DC8, the flying laboratory with all the sampling inlets sticking out of its side, just landed Installing the inlet for the PTR-TOF-MS on the Araon icebreaker, just hours before sailing towards Antartica from New Zealand

Postdoc research

Flux tower in Tapajós, Pará, Brazil After the leaf-level studies during my Ph.D., for my postdoc I wanted to change the scale of measurement. That is why I moved across the Atlantic ocean to learn the techniques that allow us to quantify VOC emissions at the canopy level. I conducted Eddy Covariance measurements of VOC fluxes in an oak forest in the Ozarks region of Missouri (USA), in pinus forests in the semi-arid climate of Israel, and also in the Amazon forest of Brazil.

I also started to introduce myself into atmospheric chemistry, with several collaborations involving laboratory chamber experiments and field campaigns. Among these campaigns, I have measured the short-lived OH radical in Alabama (USA) and Amazonas (Brazil). MOFLUX tower in Missouri USA Panoramic view from the top of the tower in Alabama (USA); on the right-hand corner you can see us working on the instruments

Ph.D. thesis research

Several factors affect the oxVOC exchange, especially the concentration gradient and their physico-chemical characteristics My Ph.D. thesis introduced me into the VOC world. During that period I focused on leaf-level exchange (emission and/or uptake) of not-so-well-known short-chain oxygenated compounds such as methanol, acetaldehyde, acetone, acetic acid...
I worked mainly with the widespread Mediterranean trees holm oak (Quercus ilex L) and aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis L), the biogenic emissions of which have been historically less characterized than for other temperate climate tree species.

During this period I also joined a field campaign in and around the city of Barcelona. I was in charge of measuring the VOC mixing ratios in the city air and also in a holm oak forest that received the influence of the urban air. Plant and leaf chamber studies at CREAF, Barcelona