Researchers link ocean microbes and atmosphere

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Researchers say the aerosols created by ocean spray can affect cloud formation and the way sunlight is dispersed across the ocean surface. A new study suggests microbes in the ocean could affect the chemistry of ocean spray, and influence the interplay between sky and sea.

As detailed in the journal ACS Central Science, scientists have demonstrated that bacteria on the ocean's surface can affect the molecular makeup of sea spray droplets. As microbes break down phytoplankton, they release proteins, sugars and lipids, which can become airborne when they're trapped in aerosolized water droplets created by breaking ocean waves.

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