Sonia Michaud

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Current research and/or projects

Our research team investigates toxic marine phytoplankton, or toxic algae. Our work has focused specifically on saxitoxin and derivatives of saxitoxin, a paralyzing toxin produced by the algae Alexandrium tamarense, and on domoic acid, a toxin that causes amnesic poisoning and is produced by species belonging to the genus Pseudo-nitzschia. These species are present in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The other area of our research is climate change. We are studying two marine biogenic gases that affect climate. Dimethyl sulphide, or DMS, is a sulphur compound that is found throughout the oceans. DMS oxidation may help cool the planet. We are also looking at nitrous oxide, or N2O. The oceans are a natural source of this powerful greenhouse gas, which also has an ability to destroy the ozone layer.

Education and awards

Master in Oceanography, University of Québec at Rimouski, 1990