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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.

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

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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