Seasonal signatures in SFG vibrational spectra of the sea surface nanolayer at Boknis Eck Time Series Station (SW Baltic Sea)
The very thin sea surface nanolayer on top of the sea surface microlayer, sometimes just one monomolecular layer thick, forms the interface between ocean and atmosphere. Due to the small dimension and tiny amount of substance, knowledge about the development of the layer in the course of the year is scarce. In this work, the sea surface nanolayer at Boknis Eck Time Series Station (BE), southwestern Baltic Sea, has been investigated over a period of three and a half years. Surface water samples were taken monthly by screen sampling and were analyzed in terms of organic content and composition by sum frequency generation spectroscopy, which is specifically sensitive to interfacial layers. A yearly periodicity has been observed with a pronounced abundance of sea surface nanolayer material (such as carbohydrate-rich material) during the summer months. On the basis of our results we conclude that the abundance of organic material in the nanolayer at Boknis Eck is not directly related to phytoplankton abundance alone. We speculate that indeed sloppy feeding of zooplankton together with photochemical and/or microbial processing of organic precursor compounds is responsible for the pronounced seasonality.