Leaching material from Antarctic seaweeds and penguin guano affects cloud-relevant aerosol production

Manuel Dall'Osto, Ana Sotomayor-Garcia, Miguel Cabrera-Brufau, Elisa Berdalet, Dolors Vaqué, Sebastian Zeppenfeld, Manuela van Pinxteren, Hartmut Herrmann, Heike Wex, Matteo Rinaldi, Marco Paglione, David Beddows, Roy Harrison, Conxita Avila, Rafael P. Martin-Martin, Jiyeon Park, Andrés Barbosa

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Within the Southern Ocean, the greatest warming is occurring on the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) where clear cryospheric and biological consequences are being observed. Antarctic coastal systems harbour a high diversity of marine and terrestrial ecosystems heavily influenced by Antarctic seaweeds (benthonic macroalgae) and bird colonies (mainly penguins). Primary sea spray aerosols (SSA) formed by the outburst of bubbles via the sea-surface microlayer depend on the organic composition of the sea water surface. In order to gain insight into the influence of ocean biology and biogeochemistry on atmospheric aerosol, we performed in situ laboratory aerosol bubble chamber experiments to study the effect of different leachates of biogenic material - obtained from common Antarctic seaweeds as well as penguin guano - on primary SSA. The addition of different leachate materials on a seawater sample showed a dichotomous effect depending on the leachate material added - either suppressing (up to 52%) or enhancing (22–88%) aerosol particle production. We found high ice nucleating particle number concentrations resulting from addition of guano leachate material. Given the evolution of upper marine polar coastal ecosystems in the AP, further studies on ocean-atmosphere coupling are needed in order to represent the currently poorly understood climate feedback processes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number154772
JournalThe Science of the Total Environment
Early online date29 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2022


  • Antarctic
  • Atmospheric marine biogeochemistry
  • Sea ice-atmospheric interactions
  • Sea spray aerosols


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