My role in MedSeA Stareso
During my time with the MedSeA Stareso experiment, I will be sampling the sea surface microlayer (for full description, see “more about my research”) for trace elements. I have developed a new method for sampling the microlayer in which I will be utilizing to sample the mesocosms daily. I will also be taking sub-samples from the integrated water sampler developed by Cécile et al. to not only compare to my microlayer samples, but also contribute trace element data from the various elevated pCO2 mesocosms to the Stareso community.
My thoughts on the trip:
I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Cécile Guieu and her student Matthieu Bressac back in October, 2011, to test out my microlayer sampler and get real in situ samples from the Bay of Villefranche utilizing a mesocosm. They must have liked me since I was invited back to France for the MedSeA Stareso experiment! I am very excited to meet new people that come from all over Europe. As the one and only American participating in this experiment, I must say, I’m a bit nervous! However, being a part of this experiment is an opportunity of a lifetime and getting to spend a month in Corsica is, as the Americans say, awesome!
More about my research:
I am a graduate student from Florida State University in the Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science department. I work for Dr. William Landing, a biogeochemist, who focuses on trace element cycling in natural waters. My thesis research is centered on studying the sea surface microlayer. The sea surface microlayer (SML) is the air-sea interface, covering approximately 71% of the Earth’s surface. The SML is a unique environment in which biological, chemical, and physical properties are very different from the water column a few centimeters below. All deposition from the atmosphere to the oceans must pass through the SML via dry or wet deposition, making the SML an important microenvironment to study. The SML is thought to be enriched in trace elements versus the water column below. The goal of my research is to develop contamination-free sampling and analytical methods to study trace metal cycling in the SML, focusing on natural, more pristine waters. The study will specifically be looking for aluminum (Al), manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), cobalt (Co), nickel (Ni), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), cadmium (Cd), and lead (Pb). Many of these trace metals (Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, and Cd) are micronutrients with biological activity. Others (Al and Pb) are good tracers of natural or anthropogenic deposition to the ocean from aerosols. All the metals are associated with aerosols and play a large role in the biogeochemical cycling of material to the open ocean waters around the Earth.