Ecosystem-Atmosphere Interactions – Rinnan Lab

The Rinnan Lab explores the controls on the exchange of biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) between ecosystems and the atmosphere. We use state-of-the-science techniques for measurement of BVOC emissions from plants and other photosynthetic organisms; emissions and uptake by microbial communities in soil, water and plant tissues; and BVOC exchange at the ecosystem scale. We conduct experiments in the laboratory and in the field to assess the biological processes related to BVOC production, consumption and transformations.

Riikka Rinnan is a professor in the Terrestrial Ecology Section, Department of Biology and the director of the new Center of Excellence, Center for Volatile Interactions (VOLT), at University of Copenhagen, Denmark. For other group members, scroll down on this page.

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VOC production and consumption is soil, cryptogams and water

  • Characterization and quantification of VOC emissions from soil, litter, mosses, lichens, freshwater and marine waters with laboratory and field measurements
  • Separation of VOC production and consumption using e.g. stable isotope labelling approaches
  • Identification of the environmental factors controlling the processes
  • VOC uptake by micro-organisms, and the role of microbial community composition
  • Effects of climate change and biotic stress
  • Process modeling

Funding by the Danish National Research Foundation for the Center of Excellence (Center for Volatile Interactions, VOLT, 2023-2029) and the European Research Council consolidator grant Tundra biogenic volatile emissions in the 21st century (TUVOLU) (2018-2024), and H2020 Marie Curie Actions.

Plant-herbivory interactions and volatile defenses

  • Using mountain birch forest as a model system, to assess effects of insect herbivory on volatile emissions from mountain birch leaves, stems, forest floor and the entire forest ecosystem
  • Experimental studies evaluating relationships between defoliation levels and VOC emissions
  • Characterizing seasonal trends in leaf, stem and forest floor emissions
  • Eddy covariance measurements to study ecosystem-scale VOC emissions under varying insect herbivory pressure
  • Using tower-based remote sensing approaches (RGB and thermal images; spectral indices, such as NDVI, PRI) to assess temporal dynamics of the canopy
  • Using drone-based remote sensing approaches to assess spatial dynamics in the forest

Funding by the Danish Council for Independent Research | Natural Sciences.

Arctic ecosystem ecology and ecosystem-atmosphere interactions

  • Environmental and plant trait-based controls on BVOC emissions from tundra shrubs
  • BVOC emissions from soils and permafrost, coupling to soil respiration and methane fluxes, and the role of microbial community composition
  • BVOC uptake by soil microorganisms, coupling to soil respiration and methane oxidation, and the role of microbial community composition
  • Bidirectional exchange (emissions and uptake) of BVOCs in tundra ecosystems under climate change and the effects of changing plant community composition
  • Insect herbivory effects on birch and willow volatile defenses, and their interactions with climate change
  • Ecosystem-scale BVOC fluxes measured by eddy covariance techniques
  • Effects of climate change and biotic stress on BVOC emissions at the regional scale, assessed by modeling approaches

Funding from the European Research Council consolidator grant Tundra biogenic volatile emissions in the 21st century (TUVOLU) (2018-2024).










  • Jiao Y., Kramshøj M., Davie-Martin C.L., Albers C.N., Rinnan R. (2023) Soil uptake of VOCs exceeds production when VOCs are readily available. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 185: 109153.
  • Seco R., Holst T., Davie-Martin C.L., Simin T., Guenther A., Pirk N., Rinne J., Rinnan R. (2022) Strong isoprene emission response to temperature in tundra ecosystems, PNAS 119 (38) e2118014119.
  • Rieksta J., Li T., Michelsen A., Rinnan R. (2021) Synergistic effects of insect herbivory and changing climate on plant volatile emissions in the subarctic tundra. Global Change Biology 27: 5030-5042.
  • Baggesen N., Li T., Seco R., Holst T., Michelsen A., Rinnan R. (2021) Phenological stage of tundra vegetation controls bidirectional exchange of BVOCs in a climate change experiment on a subarctic heath. Global Change Biology 27: 2928-2944.
  • Rinnan R., Iversen L.L., Tang J., Vedel-Petersen I., Schollert M., Schurgers G. (2020) Separating direct and indirect effects of rising temperatures on biogenic volatile emissions in the Arctic. PNAS 117 (51) 32476-32483.
  • Tang J., Schurgers G., Rinnan R. (2019) Process understanding of soil BVOC fluxes in natural ecosystems: a review. Reviews of Geophysics, 57: 966-986,
  • Li T., Holst T., Michelsen A., Rinnan R. (2019) Amplification of plant volatile defence against insect herbivory in a warming Arctic tundra. Nature Plants 5: 568–574.
  • Kramshøj M., Albers C.N., Holst T., Holzinger R., Elberling B., Rinnan R. (2018) Biogenic volatile release from permafrost thaw is determined by the soil microbial sink. Nature Communications 9: 3412.
  • Albers, C.N., Kramshøj M., Rinnan R. (2018) Rapid mineralization of biogenic volatile organic compounds in temperate and Arctic soils. Biogeosciences 15: 3591-3601.
  • Kramshøj M., Vedel-Petersen I., Schollert M., Rinnan Å., Nymand J., Ro-Poulsen H., Rinnan R. (2016) Large increases in arctic biogenic volatile emissions are a direct effect of warming. Nature Geoscience 9: 349–352.

For complete list of publications, see










PTR-TOF-1000 ultra (Ionicon)

proton-transfer-reaction time-of-flight mass-spectrometer

We conduct experiments with real-time analysis of VOCs in the laboratory and in the field. We have two PTR-TOF-1000 ultra-instruments; one with Selective Reagent Ionization technology. Our instruments are used in incubation studies and climate chamber experiments under controlled conditions and also in field measurements. Our PTR-TOF-MS instruments have been operated in several tundra locations, e.g. in Abisko, Northern Sweden and at Finse Alpine Research Station in Norway, measuring eddy covariance fluxes.

GC-MS (Agilent), TD100-xr (Markes)

gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer coupled with a thermal desorber

We  analyze volatiles by trapping the volatiles (~C5-C25) in adsorbent cartridges and Hisorb probes, which are later analyzed by GC-MS after thermal desorption. We currently have two TD-GC-MS systems dedicated for VOC analytics.

Reach-in and custom-built climate chambers

We use climate chambers in experiments assessing effects of environmental factors on plant, soil or water systems. We have eight Aralab FitoClima 1.200 chambers in which we can control the CO2 concentration, humidity, light and temperature. We also have six custom-built climate chambers with Valoya LED lighting and a built-in system for gas flux monitoring that allows for temperature manipulation from below freezing to 30°C.


Antaris II near infrared reflectance spectrometer, Thermo Scientific

An instrument used mainly for fingerprinting chemical composition of solid samples.








Gases from bacteria and plankton affect the climate – new research center seeks to calculate by how much


Professor Riikka Rinnan is in final contract negotiations with Danish National Research Foundation

Riikka Rinnan to start new Center of Excellence at the University of Copenhagen


Innovative ecosystem model shedding light on Arctic climate change

Insects, climate change and plant defences - unravelling the connection

Klimakrøller podcast, "Flygtige forbindelser feat. Riikka Rinnan"


Riikka Rinnan from CENPERM receives one of the Elite Research Prices 2020

Riikka Rinnan's talk at the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters: Climate change in the Arctic – when tundra becomes volatile

Elite Research Price recipient Riikka Rinnan


More fragrant Arctic with stressed plants

Amplification of plant volatile defence against insect herbivory in a warming Arctic tundra

Arktis' blomster er begyndt at dufte. Det er skidt nyt

Stigende temperaturer i Arktis får planter til at udskille langt flere duftstoffer – det er skidt nyt for klimaet og planterne selv


DR P1 Kulturen. Permafrosten tør.

New permafrost gas mystery

Forskere fra Københavns Universitet er stødt på nyt permafrostmysterie

A new permafrost gas mystery

Smalltalk i permafrosten


There's Something in the Air: Release of Volatiles from Arctic Vegetation Increasing

Arctic plants help cool the planet

Plant gases could slow Arctic climate change

Plantestoffer kan modvirke klimaændringerne i Arktis

Changed eucalyptus scent could threaten koalas

Forandret eukalyptus-duft mulig trussel mod koalaen

Muuttuva tundrakasvillisuus on ilmastonmuutoksen kysymysmerkki

Lämpenevä tundrakasvillisuus muuttaa lähialuettaan


Träd kan prata och hjälpa eller stjälpa klimatet


Kloni istih rastlin – žive price podnebnih sprememb


Arktiske planter kan påvirke klimaet


Det lugter langt væk af klimaforandringer








If you are interested in making a project in biosphere-atmosphere gas exchange, plant ecophysiology or plant-soil interactions, you are welcome to contact Riikka Rinnan! If you have a general idea of the topic, we can develop it into an exciting project. Quite often, we also have ready-made plans that are only waiting for the right person to arrive. There are both laboratory- and field-based, as well as modeling,

Every summer we send field assistants to exciting locations, for example in Greenland or Northern Sweden. Contact Riikka Rinnan for possibilities!





Name Title Phone E-mail
Amy Samantha Smart Postdoc +4535329771 E-mail
Annika Engroff PhD Student +4535328220 E-mail
Daniel Charles Thomas Postdoc +4535333416 E-mail
Jolanta Rieksta Postdoc +4535326922 E-mail
Kajsa Emilia Roslund Academic Research Officer +4535336940 E-mail
Neel Lindsby PhD Fellow +4535324310 E-mail
Riikka Rinnan Professor +4535330296 E-mail
Roger Seco Guest Researcher +4535335341 E-mail
Yi Jiao Postdoc +4535322271 E-mail
Yue Gao Visiting PhD Student   E-mail

Name Title
Birgitte Kortegaard Danielsen PhD fellow
Simon Nyboe Laursen PhD fellow
Miguel Ángel Salinas García PhD fellow
Georgii Stoletov MSc student
Emma Nilsson Duegaard MSc student
Toke Due Sjøgren MSc student


Professor Riikka Rinnan
Director of Center for Volatile Interactions (VOLT)
Professor in Ecosystem-Atmosphere Interactions

Terrestrial Ecology Section
Universitetsparken 15
DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark

Mobile: +45 51827039