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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 31 Jul 2019

Submitted as: research article | 31 Jul 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).

Characterising the surface microlayer in the Mediterranean Sea: trace metals concentration and microbial plankton abundance

Antonio Tovar-Sánchez1, Araceli Rodríguez-Romero1, Anja Engel2, Birthe Zäncker2, Franck Fu3, Emilio Marañón4, María Pérez-Lorenzo4, Matthieu Bressac5,6, Thibaut Wagener7, Karine Desboeuf3, Sylvain Triquet3, Guillaume Siour3, and Cécile Guieu7 Antonio Tovar-Sánchez et al.
  • 1Department of Ecology and Coastal Management, Institute of Marine Sciences of Andalusia (ICMAN-CSIC), Puerto Real, 07190, Spain
  • 2Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences (IFM-GEOMAR), Kiel, Germany
  • 3Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques (LISA), CNRS UMR 7583, Université de Paris, Université Paris-Est-Créteil, Institut Pierre Simon Laplace (IPSL), Créteil, 94000, France
  • 4Departamento de Ecología y Biología Animal, Universidad de Vigo, 36310 Vigo, Spain
  • 5Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
  • 6Sorbonne Université, CNRS, Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche, LOV, F-06230, Villefranche-sur-mer, France
  • 7Aix Marseille Univ., CNRS, IRD, Universitéde Toulon, MIO UM 110, 13288, Marseille, France

Abstract. The Sea Surface Microlayer (SML) is known to be enriched in trace metals relative to the underlaying water and to harbor diverse microbial communities (i.e. neuston). However, the processes linking metals and biota in the SML are not yet fully understood. In this study, we analyzed the metal (Cd, Co, Cu, Fe, Ni, Mo, V, Zn and Pb) concentrations in aerosol samples, SML (dissolved and total fractions) and in subsurface waters (SSW; dissolved fraction at ~ 1 m depth) from the Western Mediterranean Sea during a cruise in May–June 2017. The bacterial community composition and abundance in the SML and SSW, and the primary production and Chl-a in the SSW were measured simultaneously at all stations during the cruise. Residence times of particulate metals derived from aerosols deposition ranged from a couple of minutes for Co (2.7 ± 0.9 min; more affected by wind conditions) to a few hours for Cu (3.0 ± 1.9 h). Concentration of most dissolved metals in both, the SML and SSW, were well correlated with the salinity gradient and showed the characteristic eastward increase in surface waters of the Mediterranean Sea (MS). Contrarily, the total fraction of some reactive metals in the SML (i.e. Cu, Fe, Pb and Zn) showed negative trends with salinity, these trends of concentrations seem to be associate to microbial uptake. Our results suggest a toxic effect of Ni on neuston and microbiology community’s abundance of the top meter of the surface waters of the Western Mediterranean Sea.

Antonio Tovar-Sánchez et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Antonio Tovar-Sánchez et al.
Antonio Tovar-Sánchez et al.
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