Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Biogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) play crucial roles in ecosystems at multiple scales, ranging from mediating soil microbial interactions to contributing to atmospheric chemistry. However, soil VOCs and how they respond to environmental change remains understudied. We aimed to assess how 2 abiotic global change drivers, soil warming and simulated nitrogen (N) deposition, impact soil VOC emissions over time in a temperate forest. We characterized the effect of warming, N deposition, and their interaction on the composition and emissions of soil VOCs during the growing season of 2 consecutive years. We found that chronic warming and N deposition enhanced total VOC emissions at certain times of the year (as high as 332.78 µg m–2 h–1), but that overall VOC composition was not strongly affected by these global change treatments. However, certain compounds, particularly sesquiterpenoids and alkanes, were sensitive to these treatments, with their emissions increasing under both chronic warming and N deposition. Moreover, specific signature VOCs—α-pinene, β-thujone, β-caryophyllene, and 2,4-dimethylheptane—were consistently found under chronic warming and N deposition. This suggests that emissions of specific VOC classes/compounds may increase under global change.


Soil Biogeochemistry and Microbial Ecology

Publication Date


Journal Title

Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene


University of California Press

Document Type



© 2022 The Author(s)


This is an open access article published by University of California Press in Elementa in 2022, available online: