Monica received her B.S. in Biochemistry and Pharmacy (1998) and M.S. in Atmospheric Chemistry (2003) from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. From 2003 through 2005 Monica participated in two field campaigns with the Biosphere-Atmosphere Interaction Group (BAI) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). The first of these campaigns was the CELTIC campaign at the Duke Forest. The project focused on how sesquiterpene and isoprene emissions from trees react to different environmental stimuli. The second field campaign with the BAI group was at the University of Michigan Biological Station. It was during this campaign that Monica was first introduced to the Biological-Atmosphere Research and Training IGERT Program run out of the University of Michigan.
Since the fall of 2004, Monica has been enrolled in a PhD program in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at the University of Colorado. With the assistance of her mentors, Carol Wessman (University of Colorado) and Alex Guenther (NCAR), Monica has been studying the role of landscape structure on biosphere-atmosphere interactions. Specifically she is examining the effects of tree location (forest edge vs. inside forest) on biological volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) emissions. Using the results of her experiments, Monica will try to improve the current atmospheric BVOCs inventories by including the effects of landscape fragmentation. She now spends her summers participating in the BART program and completing her fieldwork in Pellston, Michigan at the University of Michigan Biological Station.
The role of landscape structure on biosphere-atmosphere interactions: Enhancing the knowledge of regional BVOC's emissions
Understanding the role that landscape plays in the production of biogenic emissions is important for air quality management. The aim of this project is to study biogenic emissions from a landscape ecology point of view. It is known that light and temperature are factors that control the emissions of terpenes. Therefore, it is possible that a more fragmented landscape will produce more emissions, if the BVOC's emitters happen to be on the edges and receiving more solar radiation. Using the land-cover as a tool of determining where the emissions are produced will bring a new perspective for the atmospheric scientist. Taking in consideration the position of the plants (inside the forest or in the edge of the forest) may show that it is necessary to take in consideration the tree positioning to create an accurate BVOC's emission inventory for use in atmospheric models. We will determine how BVOC's are distributed within different species, and correlate the spatial (and temporal) distribution of the emissions with those plants. We will be scaling leaf-level measurements to regions, via landscape composition and structure by combining parameters such as leaf area indices (LAI), biomass, vegetation coverage, and canopy layering with emissions rates and algorithms in a spatial model. The model will give us the possible outcomes of a landscape change in biogenic emissions, and will help us with future management decisions