At present, Dr Michel and Dr Lepoint share their time between their own research and numerous academic collaborations on a local, national or international scale. In each of these projects, Dr Michel and Dr Lepoint are involved in stable isotope analysis, data treatment and interpretation and publication of results.
Dr Michel and Dr Lepoint operate an IsoPrime100 Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer coupled with two inlet systems, an Elementar vario MICRO cube for elemental analysis and an Aglient GC-MSD (7890A Gas Chromatograph + 5975 Mass selective detector) coupled to a GC5 combustion interfacefor compound-specific isotope analyses.
The key theme of the ULg stable isotope laboratory is marine ecology and how natural or anthropogenic fluctuations in animals’ trophic processes can, through cascading effects, exert a wider influence on other organisms. A major research area for the laboratory is to understand the trophic interactions among Antarctic zoobenthos and how stressors linked to climate change impact upon them. Here, Dr Michel have discovered how the increase of sea ice cover can severely disrupt processes which govern the local food web to the detriment of the local invertebrates living there. The team have also studied how organisms in the Antarctic can adapt their feeding strategies to cope with changes environmental conditions and prey availability.