Professor Emeritus

Research Interests

Plant physiological ecology; forest-atmosphere exchanges of carbon dioxide, water vapor, ozone and energy; environmental and physiological control over the emission of isoprene and other biogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from forest ecosystems and the relationship of VOC emissions to atmospheric chemistry; coupling of biogeochemical cycles, especially those involving water, carbon and nitrogen; the evolution of C4 photosynthesis in plants. Two primary efforts in my lab involve (1) studies of forest carbon and water flux at the Niwot Ridge Ameriflux site, located near Boulder in a high-elevation subalpine forest, and (2) studies of the biochemical and physiological controls over isoprene, monoterpene and acetaldehyde emissions from forest trees in relation to future climate change and elevated atmospheric CO 2 concentrations. Our aims in the effort related to forest-atmosphere fluxes involve quantification of forest carbon fluxes and elucidation of the principal biological and environmental controls over spatial and temporal variability in forest carbon sequestration. This effort supports the broader aim of understanding the global terrestrial carbon cycle. Our aims in the effort related to the controls over isoprene, monoterpene and acetaldehyde emissions involve development of fundamental biochemically-based models to predict how forests affect air quality in a future environment characterized by higher global temperatures, more frequent extreme climate events, and higher atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations.

Selected Publications

Rosenstiel, T., Potosnak, M., Griffen, K., Fall, R. and Monson, R.K. (2003) Elevated CO 2 uncouples growth and isoprene emission in a model agriforest ecosystem. Nature 421: 256-259.

Monson, R.K. (2003) Gene duplication, neofunctionalization and the evolution of C4 photosynthesis. International Journal of Plant Science 164: S43-S54.

Scott-Denton, L.E., Sparks, K.L. and Monson, R.K. (2003) Spatial and temporal controls over soil respiration rate in a high-elevation, subalpine forest. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 35: 525-534.

Monson, R.K. (2002) Volatile organic compound emissions from natural ecosystems: a primary control over tropospheric chemistry. Israel Journal of Chemistry 42: 29-42.

Monson, R.K. , Turnipseed, A.A., Sparks, J.P., Harley, P.C., Scott-Denton, L.E., Sparks, K.L., and Huxman, T.E. (2002) Carbon sequestration in a high-elevation, subalpine forest. Global Change Biology 8: 1-20.

Monson, R.K. and Holland, E. (2001) Biospheric trace gas fluxes and their control over tropospheric chemistry. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 32: 547-576.