Twin Cities Seminar

Terrestrial Fungi with Aquatic Legacies - Fungi in Biofiltration and Buffers


Dr. Jonathan Schilling
Associate Professor, Dept. of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering

April 21, 2017


Fungi are a Kingdom of organisms with a fantastic range of scales, in terms of their size and their life spans. These organisms also participate in biofilms within complex communities (100s of taxa), a role we are only beginning to understand in the light of modern molecular tools such as high-throughput DNA sequencing. In this talk, I will introduce you to the filamentous fungi that decompose plant tissues, and to the molecular methods helping shed light on their roles in biogeochemistry and biotechnology. I will specifically include examples from my research on the role of these decomposer fungi in capturing hydrophobic compounds, degrading aromatics (including xenobiotics), and translocating nutrients, in addition to their critical role in recycling plant-bound carbon. Finally, I will introduce some opportunities for cultivating (literally) these desirable outcomes, and the potential for fungi at the terrestrial/aquatic interface to improve water quality.

Dr. Schilling’s work has largely been focused on decomposer organisms, mostly fungi, for the past 20 years. He is an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Bioproducts & Biosystems Engineering. He is also a Resident Fellow at the Institute on the Environment, and a member of both the BioTechnology Institute and the Microbial & Plant Genomics Institute. Jonathan loves to forage for mushrooms and is an avid backpacker who through-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 1996 and is currently mastering paddle-portage in the great north woods.