Biology Alumnus to Discuss the Fungus that Defeated the British Navy

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Publication Date: 2/24/2009

On March 2 at 3:30 p.m., the Biology Seminar Series will present Dr. Jonathan Schilling ’95, Assistant Professor of Bioproducts/Biosystems Engineering at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, who will speak on “Serpula lacrymans: A Fungus that Defeated the British Navy.”  Schilling’s talk will take place in Frazier Jelke-B.

The British Navy and other fleets through several centuries suffered severe, sometimes devastating losses to S. lacrymans, known traditionally as the “dry rot” fungus. Today, S. lacrymans remains the most destructive wood-degrading pest in buildings in temperate climates. In his talk, Schilling will discuss origins of this fungus and detail research on the specific role of calcium versus elemental “impurities” in context of fungal physiology.

A biology major at Rhodes, Schilling received a Ph.D. from the University of Maine and master’s degree in environmental studies from Longwood University.