Sampling the Sea Surface Microlayer (by Alina)

While we wait for the mesocosms to be acidified, a Saharan dust plume came across the Mediterranean Sea. Since the sea surface microlayer is heavily affected by atmospheric influences, I took this downtime as an opportunity to get some samples outside the mesocosms in hopes of seeing large differences between the microlayer and the water column below with regard to trace metals.

I have devised a new sampling method to get microlayer samples for trace metals.  The sampler is a quartz tube that is dipped vertically into the water; then slowly raised out of the water vertically. The water that drips off the tube is, in theory, the microlayer and is collected into a funnel that is connected to a receiving bottle.

Cécile and I were joined by Karine and Clémence, who study aerosol formation from surface water bubble bursting, in a small Zodiac out into the Bay (well, Karine swam and Clémence took a kayak).  Once we got to the site right off the coast, Clémence and I switch places and soon I was sitting in the kayak with my bottles and microlayer sampling apparatus.  I have never thought of using a kayak before, but it is actually the easiest thing I’ve used so far (besides standing in a lab sampling from a tank, that was pretty easy)! At first Cécile was going to help hold things on the kayak, but we thought better of it after she hopped onto the kayak and nearly flooded us out of it. So, despite having soaking wet pants and my arm being very tired, sampling was great and I could not have asked for a better team!

Alina sampling for the microlayer trace elements

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