The top few millimeters of the ocean, where properties are most altered relative to deeper water, are often referred to as the sea surface micro-layer (SML). This thin layer holds properties and dynamics that differ considerably from the deeper ocean, and it is where a great variety of interactions between physical, chemical, biological and photochemical phenomena take place. Due to extreme conditions at the air-sea interface, the sea surface is believed to be the place where life on planet Earth has originated. The micro-layer is involved in the heat and momentum transfer between the ocean and atmosphere and plays a vital role in the uptake of greenhouse gases by the ocean

The objective of this project is to develop a modular autonomous surface vehicle (ASV), having the capability to sample the SML, and consequently, perform analysis of surfactant films and the biological communities residing within the micro-layer. This will be a unique vehicle in Portugal, and one of the first control-autonomous vehicles in the world to perform micro-layer sampling procedures. The vehicle will be able to interact and sample the micro-layer simultaneously with other underwater autonomous vehicles and airborne autonomous vehicles