Article open access publication

Isoprenoid emission response to changing light conditions of English oak, European beech and Norway spruce

Biogeosciences, Copernicus Publications, ISSN 1726-4189

Volume 14, 18, 2017

DOI:10.5194/bg-14-4045-2017, Dimensions: pub.1091816167,


Holst, Thomas (1) (2)

* Corresponding author



  1. (1) Lund University, grid.4514.4
  2. (2) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU







Abstract. Light is an important environmental factor controlling biogenic volatile organic compound (BVOC) emissions, but in natural conditions its impact is hard to separate from other influential factors such as temperature. We studied the light response of foliar BVOC emissions, photosynthesis and stomatal conductance on three common European tree species, namely English oak (Quercus robur), European beech (Fagus sylvatica) and two provenances of Norway spruce (Picea abies) in Taastrup, Denmark. Leaf scale measurements were performed on the lowest positioned branches of the tree in July 2015. Light intensity was increased in four steps (0, 500, 1000 and 1500 µmol m−2 s−1), whilst other chamber conditions such as temperature, humidity and CO2 levels were fixed. Whereas the emission rate differed between individuals of the same species, the relative contributions of compounds to the total isoprenoid emission remained similar. Whilst some compounds were species specific, the compounds α-pinene, camphene, 3-carene, limonene and eucalyptol were emitted by all of the measured tree species. Some compounds, like isoprene and sabinene, showed an increasing emission response with increasing light intensity, whereas other compounds, like camphene, had no significant emission response to light for most of the measured trees. English oak and European beech showed high light-dependent emission fractions from isoprene and sabinene, but other emitted compounds were light independent. For the two provenances of Norway spruce, the compounds α-pinene, 3-carene and eucalyptol showed high light-dependent fractions for many of the measured trees. This study highlights differences between compound emissions in their response to a change in light and a possible light independence for certain compounds, which might be valid for a wider range of tree species. This information could be of importance when improving emission models and to further emphasize the discussion regarding light or temperature dependencies for individual compounds across species.

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