Sampling the Sea Surface Microlayer
The sea surface microlayer (SML) is the interface layer between the sea and air, which is a unique ecosystem for microbial life. Microbial assemblages can be present in the SML that are distinctive from underlying plankton, and have a diverse range of ecosystem functions including the control of air-sea gas transfer and organic carbon cycling. Because of the position of the SML, specialised sampling equipment and techniques are required to investigate the interface. The three most widely used techniques for collecting SML samples for downstream microbiological analysis are the mesh screen sampler, glass plate sampler and membrane sampler. In this chapter, we detail how each sampler is constructed and what appropriate materials are required. We explain how each SML sampler should be correctly deployed and used. The chapter discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each SML sampling method in relation to microbiological analysis. Finally, we also discuss other issues related to investigating the sea-air interface that should be considered, including the selection of an appropriate sampling platform and the use of standardised descriptive parameters.
Keywords:Glass plate sampler Membrane sampler Mesh screen sampler Neuston Sea surface microlayer Sea-air interface
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