“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to see it, does it make a sound?”

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Perhaps she is also listening to falling trees (img: Carlton)

In this picture, Dr. Ann Marie Carlton from Rutgers University is scouting out the SEARCH site location.  Notice that the site features both pines and a young understory.  Many of the SOAS investigators will be studying properties of biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) released from these plants.  Isoprene (C5H8), for example, is a common example of a BVOC.

If you don’t know what BVOCs are, think about lemons.  Have you ever squeezed a lemon and then smelled it?  Does it smell like citrus?  That lemony citrus smell comes from limonene, a BVOC that is naturally released from the rinds of lemons.  Likewise, many plants naturally release BVOCs such as isoprene.