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'A transregional and interdisciplinary study of the societal impact of the shipworm epidemic in the North Sea region in the eighteenth century'

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 SHIPWORM project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the SHIPWORM project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "SHIPWORM" about.

floating    repair    hull    ended    southern    area    hulls    infrastructure    did    hydrodynamic    harbour    epidemic    biologists    east    countries    crisis    environment    examples    techniques    balance    few    innovation    coast    faced    tested    expensive    optimisation    had    flooding    republic    shipworms    brink    interdisciplinary    destroyed    dutch    copper    lodged    boards    reforms    1730    turn    archival    scavenges    transregional    made    societal    name    engineers    analysing    innovative    fanaticism    manifold    political    solutions    tank    efficiency    uncoated    submerged    profit    eighteenth    mass    executions    returning    coated    biology    sheathed    representing    ranged    wood    dikes    afloat    environmental    determines    international    societies    reacted    homosexuals    century    ing    netherlands    damaged    shipping    scientific    ships    coastal    keep    western    spawned    religious    ship    disaster    water    structures    economic    mollusc    tide    deadlock    wooden    resistance    power    reaching    man    contaminated    towing    minimise    ecological    shipworm    sea    degree    north    tar    subsequently    receive    indiamen    marine   

Project "SHIPWORM" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: BREST
postcode: 29238

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country France [FR]
 Total cost 185˙076 €
 EC max contribution 185˙076 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2017
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-ST
 Starting year 2018
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2018-09-01   to  2020-08-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

This transregional and interdisciplinary research proposal analyses the impact of the shipworm epidemic on coastal societies along the North Sea in the eighteenth century. The shipworm is a mollusc that scavenges floating or submerged wood in a marine environment. Lodged in the wooden hulls of returning East Indiamen, the shipworm was brought to Europe around 1730. Within a few years the shipworm had destroyed man-made wooden structures all along the North Sea coast. North-Western Europe faced an ecological disaster; the Low Countries were on the brink of flooding as the shipworms destroyed the wooden dikes, expensive harbour infrastructure was damaged beyond repair and numerous ships had to receive new hulls in order to keep afloat. The implemented solutions and reforms to minimise the shipworm’s effects were manifold and often had far reaching consequences. As such the shipworm’s societal impact was wide-ranged, as it spawned – to name a few examples – religious fanaticism resulting in mass executions of homosexuals in the Dutch Republic, political reforms in the Southern Netherlands, scientific interest in marine biology, a new international balance of power and innovative techniques in ship hull optimisation. This study is based on archival research and on an interdisciplinary approach in collaboration with marine biologists and hydrodynamic engineers. This approach determines the degree of innovation in shipping and its resulting economic efficiency. Boards representing copper sheathed, tar coated and uncoated ship hulls will be contaminated with shipworms and subsequently tested in a towing tank to measure the ships’ water resistance. The shipworm epidemic was an environmental crisis that had a large impact on the North Sea area. Through analysing several case-studies this research aims to show how and why these societies reacted as they did, why some ended up in deadlock and why others were able to turn the tide and profit from this crisis through innovation.

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The information about "SHIPWORM" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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