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  • Final Report Summary - EXPLO3RVOC (Ecophysiological control by Mediterranean forest ecosystems on the exchange processes of ozone and reactive Volatile Organic Compounds with a polluted atmosphere)

Final Report Summary - EXPLO3RVOC (Ecophysiological control by Mediterranean forest ecosystems on the exchange processes of ozone and reactive Volatile Organic Compounds with a polluted atmosphere)

The main goals of EXPLO3RVOC were to set up laboratory and field sites to fulfill the main objectives of the project:
Objective 1: Characterization of VOC emission and deposition processes from soils and plants, exploring antioxidant effects of BVOC in a polluted atmosphere.
Objective 2: Plant physiological control on ozone deposition sinks, and negative effects of ozone exposure to vegetation.
The main goal of the research was for the first time aimed at characterizing ecophysiological plant response to environmental pressure, highlighting the role of BVOC in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum, with novel investigations at leaf scale, ecosystem scale (Eddy Covariance technique with PTR-MS to study emission and canopy deposition of VOC including those with anthropogenic origin), and use of measured emission factors to parameterize and implement an emission model at landscape/regional scale.
The two main objectives have been fulfilled with the following steps successfully achieved:
-Field installation of equipment and start of monitoring greenhouse gas fluxes: ozone, CO2, CH4, H2O. - These long term measurements produced significant results in terms of quantification of Greenhouse gas balance in a key Mediterranean forest ecosystem in the Italian coast. Thanks to the experimental efforts, the EXPLO3RVOC experimental site is now the only Italian forest site candidate as a level I site for ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observatory System), a EU strategic ESFRI aimed at collecting long-term observations in European forest and agricultural ecosystems. The research initiated within EXPLO3RVOC is meant to continue for the next years.
-Recruitment of a PhD full time involved in the objectives of EXLO3VOC. The candidate successfully completed a PhD thesis in June 2016 entitled: “Bi-directional exchange of greenhouse gases and pollutants between a Mediterranean Holm oak forest and the atmosphere”. The work has been particularly appreciated by the PhD commission and the successful doctorate has now high potential for continuing a research career with a PostDoc.
-Initiation of intensive field campaign measuring fluxes of VOC with PTRMS in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum. Two intensive field campaigns were carried out at the experimental field site in Castelporziano. Thanks to collaboration with the National research Council, we brought a PTRMS (proton Transfer Reaction Mass Spectrometer) on site to explore concentrations and fluxes of VOC in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum in key vegetative seasons.
-Laboratory experiments at CREA and CNR laboratories to test fluxes and uptake of VOC and their reaction products in the atmosphere. Successful manipulative experiments on Mediterranean plants revealed leaf capacity to emit BVOC and at the same take scavenge from the atmosphere relevant secondary products of atmospheric pollution.
-Dissemination activities in international conferences and national open science conferences.
-Publication of papers on international Journals.
EXPLO3RVOC has launched the future research directions of Dr Fares lab, now composed of 5 members: a new PhD student, two postdoctoral scientists and two field technicians which are helping with long time measurements of GHG fluxes, database collection, modelling plant-atmosphere interactions.

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