The sea surface microlayer (SML) is the boundary layer between the atmosphere and ocean, and even though it is less than one millimetre thick, it controls exchange between the atmosphere and the ocean. The Cunliffe Group are collaborators in a multidisciplinary study dedicated to better understanding the sea surface microlayer and air-sea interactions and which link diverse scientific approaches including atmospheric deposition, aerosol chemistry, gas and heat exchange, sea surfaces as microbiological habitats, and the application of new technologies for in situ surveys.
Kimberley Bird, PhD Student with the Cunliffe Laboratory at the MBA recently took part in the Air to Sea cruise in the South Pacific to collect and filter seawater samples from the SML, underlying surface bulk water and water column for analysis back in Plymouth using a combination of traditional microbiology alongside modern molecular and genetic techniques.
The data generated from our samples along with the physical and chemical data collected by our collaborators during cruise will tell us which microbes are present and active in the SML, and help us to understand what functions they are carrying out and how they interact with their surrounding environment and each other.]
You can read more about this work here.