Tiny Plastics, Big Problems

Event Information

Share this event

Date and Time



Alice Moulton Room, Gerstein Science Information Centre

9 King's College Circle

Toronto, ON M7A 1A5


View Map

Event description
Join researchers from the U of T Trash Team & Rochman Lab for a panel on microplastics.

About this Event

What exactly are microplastics? Are all microplastics created equal? Should we be worried about these tiny plastics in our environment? Most importantly, what can we do to help?

Join researchers from the U of T Trash Team and Rochman Lab for a panel discussion on microplastics to learn what we know (and don’t know… yet) about microplastics. Learn their personal stories about how they became interested in the topic, plus what they feel is the most important thing to understand when talking about plastic pollution and our growing problem with single-use waste.

Learn more about our moderator & panelists:

Moderator: Susan Debreceni, U of T Trash Team Outreach Assistant

Susan is passionate about connecting individuals with meaningful opportunities and spent the last decade supporting a national network of community volunteers through the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. She is now thrilled now lend her outreach expertise locally with the U of T Trash team. She will be guiding and mentoring our student team as we continue to bring waste literacy to local schools and the general public.


Alice (Xia) Zhu – MSc Student

Alice is thrilled to be working on the issue of microplastics. Alice’s research involves collaborating with the San Francisco Estuary Institute to monitor microplastics in the San Francisco Bay, to model the sources of microplastics entering the Bay, and to propose policies to help protect the Bay from further pollution.

Lisa Erdle – PhD Candidate

Lisa researches the effects of microplastics on animals that are part of a Great Lakes food web. In her work, Lisa collaborates with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) as well as Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) to better understand how microfibers – one of the most common types of microplastics – impact fish and invertebrates through physical and chemical processes.

Kennedy Bucci – PhD Student

Kennedy’s research focusses on the biological and ecological effects of microplastic pollution in freshwater environments. She is currently collaborating with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MECP), studying the chemical and physical effects of various microplastics on freshwater fish. Her research goals include investigating the ecosystem-level effects of microplastic pollution using experimental mesocosms.

Rachel Giles – PhD Student

Rachel uses field and laboratory approaches to understand how mixtures of anthropogenic contaminants impact wildlife in urban streams, in two urban areas: the Greater Toronto Area and Northern Vietnam. She collaborates locally with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and the Sinton Lab to understand how benthic macroinvertebrate communities respond to salt-laden urban runoff during the winter months. Internationally, she collaborates with Ocean Conservancy (US) and The Center for Marinelife Conservation and Community Development (Vietnam) to investigate how litter and inorganic contaminants impact invertebrate communities. This multi-stressor, community-focused approach complements current research that recognizes the aforementioned contaminants that have harmful ecological effects.

To learn more about the U of T Trash team, follow them on twitter or visit their website:

Where is the event taking place?

Gerstein Science Information Centre (University of Toronto, St George Campus)

9 King's College Circle, Toronto, ON M7A 1A5

Alice Moulton Room, 2nd Floor

Nearest subway stop: Queen's Park Station


Event is open to everyone.

Priority will be given to currently registered University of Toronto students, faculty, staff, and researchers.

Doors open at 5:45pm. Light refreshments will be served.


1. What are my transportation options for getting to and from the event?

Gerstein Library is at a six minute walk from the Queen’s Park subway station. Once you enter the building, you can take the elevators up to the second floor. Signs will be present to guide you to the event space (the Instruction Lab).

2. What accessibility support is present?

The library has a separate accessible entrance (left of the main entrance, under the blue canopy). Users press the doorbell and may have to identify themselves through the intercom before the door will open. The event venue can be found on the 2nd floor, Instruction Lab where the back row of workstations are accessible by wheelchair.

There are accessible and all-gender washrooms present on: the main floor (near room 1230); 1-below (near accessible entrance) and the 2nd floor.

Any questions? Email

Proudly supported by Gerstein Science Information Centre, University of Toronto Libraries.

This event is part of Science Literacy Week.

Share with friends

Date and Time


Alice Moulton Room, Gerstein Science Information Centre

9 King's College Circle

Toronto, ON M7A 1A5


View Map

Save This Event

Event Saved