My role in MedSeA Villefranche:
During my time with the MedSeA Villefranche 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 and the outside water 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 community.
My thoughts on the trip:
I must say, the weather has changed for the worst compared to the last experiment! Corsica in summer was sunny and warm everyday with only a few wind events. Villefranche in winter is cold, rainy, and windy! I will also only be in Villefranche for a short time (less than 2 weeks) because I am trying to write my thesis and graduate this year! With that said I am so happy to see everyone and get to work with this wonderful group of scientists again!
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. 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.