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.