Sea surface microlayers: A unified physicochemical and biological perspective of the air-ocean interface
2013 (English)In: Progress in Oceanography, ISSN 0079-6611, E-ISSN 1873-4472, Vol. 109, 104-116 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
The sea surface microlayer (SML) covers more than 70% of the Earth's surface and is the boundary layer interface between the ocean and the atmosphere. This important biogeochemical and ecological system is critical to a diverse range of Earth system processes, including the synthesis, transformation and cycling of organic material, and the air-sea exchange of gases, particles and aerosols. In this review we discuss the SML paradigm, taking into account physicochemical and biological characteristics that define SML structure and function. These include enrichments in biogenic molecules such as carbohydrates, lipids and proteinaceous material that contribute to organic carbon cycling, distinct microbial assemblages that participate in air-sea gas exchange, the generation of climate-active aerosols and the accumulation of anthropogenic pollutants with potentially serious implications for the health of the ocean. Characteristically large physical, chemical and biological gradients thus separate the SML from the underlying water and the available evidence implies that the SML retains its integrity over wide ranging environmental conditions. In support of this we present previously unpublished time series data on bacterioneuston composition and SML surfactant activity immediately following physical SML disruption; these imply timescales of the order of minutes for the reestablishment of the SML following disruption. A progressive approach to understanding the SML and hence its role in global biogeochemistry can only be achieved by considering as an integrated whole, all the key components of this complex environment.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 109, 104-116 p.
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-88673DOI: 10.1016/j.pocean.2012.08.004ISI: 000315059200008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-88673DiVA: diva2:613041
FunderEU, European Research Council