MAL12-BG | Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky Medal Lecture by Daniel J. Conley and BG Division Outstanding ECS Award Lecture by Eliane Gomes Alves
Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky Medal Lecture by Daniel J. Conley and BG Division Outstanding ECS Award Lecture by Eliane Gomes Alves
Convener: Lisa Wingate
| Thu, 18 Apr, 19:00–20:00 (CEST)
Room E2
Thu, 19:00

Session assets

Orals: Thu, 18 Apr | Room E2

Chairperson: Lisa Wingate
BG Division Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award Lecture
On-site presentation
Eliane Gomes Alves

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are important mediators of forest-atmosphere interactions, regulating plant performance and atmospheric processes. Amazonian forests comprise the dominant source of VOCs to the global atmosphere. Yet, there is a poor understanding of how VOC emissions vary in response to ecophysiological and environmental controls in Amazonian ecosystems and even less understanding of how ecosystem emissions respond to climate extremes and land use change. I will summarize my work on VOC emissions from different ecosystems and scales in the Amazon and point out that VOCs can be indicators of forest stress and, therefore, a possible metric of forest vulnerability. First, I will present the state-of-the-art of VOC emissions and their interactions with the climate system in the Amazon. Next, I will demonstrate how these interactions can differ when considering different forest types and environmental stresses, including extremes of heat and drought. Finally, I will highlight the recent progress of VOC emissions investigated in the so-called "Amazon arc of deforestation" and indicate the potential of VOCs as a metric of forest vulnerability in climate modeling.

How to cite: Gomes Alves, E.: Volatile Organic Compounds: mediators of forest-atmosphere interactions and indicators of forest vulnerability, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-1832,, 2024.

Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky Medal Lecture
On-site presentation
Daniel Conley

My fascination with the biogeosciences started with the investigation of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) enrichment of lakes stimulating the growth of diatoms leading to increased sedimentation and eventual depletion of dissolved silicate from the water column. At that time most research on the global Si cycle was focused on weathering and had not explored the complexity of the terrestrial biogeochemical cycle. Our research demonstrated that diatoms and phytoliths, e.g. biogenic silica that accumulates in the living tissues of growing plants, are transported from lakes and rivers on the continents into the oceans. The emerging understanding is that the flux and isotopic composition of dissolved silicate delivered to the ocean has likely varied over time mediated by a fluctuating continental pool.


An important question we addressed was if reductions of P and N could reduce eutrophication and degradation of freshwater and marine ecosystems. Our analysis explored the rationale for only P or only N reductions and concluded that dual–nutrient reduction strategies were needed for aquatic ecosystems. A focus on only P or only N reduction should not be considered unless there is clear evidence or strong reasoning that reducing the inputs of only one nutrient is justified in that ecosystem and will not harm downstream ecosystems.


The depletion of dissolved oxygen in bottom waters is one of the common responses of aquatic ecosystems to eutrophication. A classic example is the semi-enclosed brackish Baltic Sea. Our research has shown that the Baltic Sea is the largest anthropogenically induced hypoxic area in the world, which has increased 10-fold during the last century due to increased nutrient inputs. Concurrently, the coastal zone has experienced increasing hypoxia during the same period with the Baltic Sea coastal zone containing over 20% of all known sites suffering from hypoxia worldwide. Our research has highlighted the continuously growing problems of hypoxia and anoxia with eutrophication.


Altered global biogeochemical cycles is not only a feature of the Anthropocene but ongoing geological processes. Our recent research has focused on the use of silicon isotope signatures of unaltered sponges and radiolarians to estimate dissolved silicate drawdown as a proxy for the changes in the productivity of diatom communities in the Mesozoic oceans and how the ocean chemistry changed with the evolution of diatoms. Our major results to date suggest that dissolved silicate has been low in the oceans for at least the last 100 million years because of the extreme efficiency of dissolved silicate uptake by diatoms reducing ocean concentrations.


My continued enchantment with biogeochemical processes and collaboration with other creative scientists has lead to uncovering new biogeochemical pathways which stimulates the drive to learn more about how ecosystems operate.

How to cite: Conley, D.: Reflections regarding our biogeochemical studies in lakes and marine environments, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-12020,, 2024.


  • Eliane Gomes Alves, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Germany
  • Daniel Conley, Lund University, Sweden