Plastic for Dinner – why are micro plastics a threat to our ocean environment?

Questions about the role that micro plastics are playing in marine ecosystems – learn more by reading, thinking and questioning. 

Scientists have measured the amount of micro plastic in the marine environment to be 3500 pieces per cubic metre.

Micro plastics are so small that they cannot be simply sieved out of the water.

Microplastics are not dissolved in ocean water.  Micro plastics are micrometer sized pieces of plastic debris from fabric, plastic overwrap and manufacturing processes.

“Aside from clogging up the digestive tracts of marine life, plastic also has a potentially more sinister side: it tends to adsorb pollutants like PCBs from the water column, thus acting as a potential vector to move pollutants from the water column into the food chain. Aside from potentially devastating effects on marine life, human health may also be compromised. For example, one study found that European consumers could be ingesting approximately 11,000 microplastic particles annually through shellfish consumption, with unknown impacts on human health. Tiny plastics are a huge problem because (1) their high surface-area-to-volume ratio and chemical makeup increases the likelihood of pollutant adsorption, (2) they are ubiquitous and creatures that eat particles in that size fraction tend not to be the brightest on the planet (thus lacking strong discriminatory powers), and (3) there is no known way to clean them up.”

“The small particle size of microplastics means that they can’t just be sieved out of the water without also sieving out all of the marine life (like the above planktonic snail or juvenile mussel) or other natural particles (like the above bit of pumice, on which marine life may be living). In addition, while many plastics float, many other plastic particles are neutrally or negatively buoyant and are found within the water column or on the ocean bottom.”


Learn more about the environmental threat to marine ecosystems.


Meet the 7 Base Units in the SI


In the System International method of measurement there are 7 base units that are used to measure natural phenomena.  Introducing the 7 base units – your new best friends.

SI base units

The above base quantities have SI base units. They include:

  • kilogram for mass
  • meter for length
  • second for time
  • Kelvin for temperature
  • Ampere for current
  • mole for amount of substance
  • candela for luminous intensity

Welcome Back – Learn more about how the sound of ice and star wars lasers are the same


Remember to stay curious in 2018 –

Norad Santa Tracker – Learn more about how technology can assist you on monitoring Santa’s progress

Does Santa exist?

Does Santa Like Rich-Kids Better?

All excellent questions; however, not sciency enough.  You might not yet believe but you can track the big guys progress.  

Install the app and enjoy the Winter Vacation.  There is no formal Science 10 vacation homework other than to stay curious and ask questions.

How are the International Space Station and Santa’s Sleigh the same?

Explore the North Pole while you wait for the Big Day



What did you want to learn more abut in 2017?

Science starts with seeing – start doing science!

Simple science hacks to make your own solar eclipse viewer

A pasta strainer (colander) will do in a pinch. Remember – never stare directly at the sun.

The ability to ask a question is what makes people special.  

The top science Google search for 2017 highlight some of the amazing science related themes of 2017.

2017 is the year people asked Google how

Hurricane Irman

The Solar eclipse

Stay Curious Pilgrims.

How to make slime

Chemyland Slime – the worlds top science grade slime

Time for Slime – America Chemical Society


Welcome to Ballard Power Systems

Learn more about Ballard Power Systems and Hydrogen Fuel Cells;


Hydrogen Vs Electric – Which is the more energy efficient choice?

The Chemistry of Phthalates – should you change what you use for cosmetics

Learn more about the chemistry of phthalates

Geneskool Needs You – Volunteer and become a Science Ambassador

Geneskool needs you:
GeneSkool has two volunteer opportunities for students: 
1) The students can become our ambassadors to promote our events in their high schools and get volunteer hours. No meeting is required, they only need to fill in a form and send their resume to .  The form can be found at They can also contact us through Facebook: if they have questions 
2) The students can join us to develop an app that connects students and mentors, requires some knowledge and interest in coding. They can send us an email if they are interested! 

Genome BC

Question Show – become a questioning Allstar and submit your science question to be answered by an expert

Do you have questions?  Science questions anyone?  Submit your science questions to Quirks and Quarks and have a science expert answer your questions.

Questions can be submitted online via this link


Learn more about Canada’s Top Science Show – How the Zika Virus mutated and became a terrifying Plaque


Zika virus (ZIKV) has evolved into a global health threat due to its unexpected causal link to microcephaly. Phylogenetic analysis reveals that contemporary epidemic strains have accumulated multiple substitutions from their Asian ancestor. Here, we show that a single serine to asparagine substitution (S139N) in the viral polyprotein substantially increased ZIKV infectivity in both human and mouse neural progenitor cells (NPCs), led to more significant microcephaly in the mouse fetus, and higher mortality in neonatal mice. Evolutionary analysis indicates that the S139N substitution arose before the 2013 outbreak in French Polynesia and has been stably maintained during subsequent spread to the Americas. This functional adaption makes ZIKV more virulent to human NPCs, thus contributing to the increased incidence of microcephaly in recent ZIKV epidemics.
A single mutation in the prM protein of Zika virus contributes to fetal microcephaly
Science  28 Sep 2017:
DOI: 10.1126/science.aam7120

GMO’s in Action: Learn more about how genetically modified mosquitoes are being used to protect against contracting the Zika Virus

Learn more about GM Mosquitoes and Disease Vectors