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FWO Hercules MZW: A walk on the wild side of stable isotope biogeochemistry (HERC46)
Since, 1986, the VUB stable isotope laboratory is active in the fields of geology, oceanography, environmental chemistry and planetary sciences. Its research documented the demise of the dinosaurs by meteorite impact; characterized Antarctic micro-meteorites; reconstructed climate changes over the last 10,000 years; or traced the effect of the CO2 pump in the Southern Ocean. This new project, which stems from increasing national and international collaborations, takes the VUB stable isotope laboratory on a new research path by venturing in fields such a bioarchaeology, ecology, forensics and the sources of urban pollution. With the acquisition of a new versatile platform of state of the art mass spectrometers, the VUB multidisciplinary team proposes to precisely document changes in seawater temperature recorded in million years old fossil shells; track the behavior of anthropogenic nitrogen injected into aquatic ecosystems; study how the ongoing climate change affects the strategy used by plants to harvest water; and identify where the people buried at Stonehenge came from. Other stable isotope applications to be developed will identify murder victims by measuring the isotope composition of their nails or hair; check where Trappist monks get the water they use to make beer; verify that this expensive artisan-cheese was really produced locally; and source the origin of the minute carbon particles we inhale in our polluted cities and that so strongly affect our health.
Date:1 May 2018 → 30 Apr 2022