Articles | Volume 6, issue 6
18 Jun 2009
 | 18 Jun 2009

The ACCENT-VOCBAS field campaign on biosphere-atmosphere interactions in a Mediterranean ecosystem of Castelporziano (Rome): site characteristics, climatic and meteorological conditions, and eco-physiology of vegetation

S. Fares, S. Mereu, G. Scarascia Mugnozza, M. Vitale, F. Manes, M. Frattoni, P. Ciccioli, G. Gerosa, and F. Loreto

Abstract. Biosphere-atmosphere interactions were investigated on a sandy dune Mediterranean ecosystem in a field campaign held in 2007 within the frame of the European Projects ACCENT and VOCBAS. The campaign was carried out in the Presidential estate of Castelporziano, a peri-urban park close to Rome. Former campaigns (e.g. BEMA) performed in Castelporziano investigated the emission of biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOC). These campaigns focused on pseudosteppe and evergreen oak groves whereas the contribution of the largely biodiverse dune vegetation, a prominent component of the Mediterranean ecosystem, was overlooked. While specific aspects of the campaign will be discussed in companion papers, the general climatic and physiological aspects are presented here, together with information regarding BVOC emission from the most common plant species of the dune ecosystem. During the campaign regular air movements were observed, dominated by moderate nocturnal land breeze and diurnal sea breeze. A regular daily increase of ozone concentration in the air was also observed, but daily peaks of ozone were lower than those measured in summer on the same site. The site was ideal as a natural photochemical reactor to observe reaction, transport and deposition processes occurring in the Mediterranean basin, since the sea-land breeze circulation allowed a strong mixing between biogenic and anthropogenic emissions and secondary pollutants. Measurements were run in May, when plant physiological conditions were optimal, in absence of severe drought and heat stress. Foliar rates of photosynthesis and transpiration were as high as generally recorded in unstressed Mediterranean sclerophyllous plants. Most of the plant species emitted high level of monoterpenes, despite measurements being made in a period in which emissions of volatile isoprenoids could be restrained by developmental and environmental factors, such as leaf age and relatively low air temperature. Emission of isoprene was generally low. Accounting for the high monoterpene spring emission of the dune ecosystem may be important to correct algorithms at regional and ecosystem levels, and to interpret measurements of fluxes of volatile isoprenoids and secondary pollutants.

Final-revised paper