The Canada-Wide Science Fair was recently held and, as usual, there were some terrific projects from some terrific young minds. One in particular was a project by Grade 9 Havergal student Mikaela Preston called “A Population Dynamics Study in Algal Bioreactors.” Preston, working with Dr. Brad Bass at the University of Toronto and representing Ontario (York Region) in the fair, won the platinum award. She had learned that most research on algae as a possible source of biofuel is based on the study of specific strains or monocultures. But would algae growth benefit by mixing strains? That’s what Preston wanted to find out, so she went ahead and grew two different types together and found that, yes, the different algae strains grew better together than apart, suggesting that mixing strains may be a better and ultimately more economic approach to producing biofuels from algae.
Congrats Mikaela, let’s hope 10 years from now you’re leading research in this important area. We need kids like you that are engaged in their energy future.
Team Ontario walked away with the fair’s top prizes, including “Best in Fair,” platinum awards in each of the junior, intermediate and senior levels, and 13 Gold Awards.