Ep. 145: Dynamite-Throwing Fungi, Itasca Research Station & How Decomposition Builds Character (feat. Prof Jonathan Schilling)

Today on Mushroom Hour we have the privilege of interviewing Professor Jonathan Schilling from the University of Minnesota. Jonathan has been on the faculty at the University of Minnesota since 2006, and is currently a professor in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology in the College of Biological Sciences. In addition to teaching and researching all things fungal, he is the Director at the Itasca Biological Station & Laboratories in northwestern Minnesota. This field station for science is tucked into thirty-two thousand acres of old growth boreal forests within the second oldest State Park in the United States. The station also sits next to a lake, Lake Itasca, which is known as the headwaters of the Mississippi River. He assumed that position in 2018. Adding these duties to his job was, in his words, "a reflection of my deep connection and commitment to nature that was forged in the mountains of West Virginia as a kid, along the entirety of the Appalachian Trail as a young adult, and among family and friends in a Saint Paul neighborhood who have shown how important community is to conservation.   


  • Drawn into the Boreal Forest   
  • Role of Fungi in Forest Acid Deposition   
  • Basics of Wood-Rotting Saprobic Fungi   
  • White Rot, Brown Rot & Soft Rot Fungi   
  • Historical Contingency and Succession in Wood Rot   
  • Fungi in the Carbon Cycle   
  • Jonathan’s Lignin Uncertainty   
  • Patterns in Distributions of Wood Rot Fungi   
  • Pre-White Rot Fungi Coal Formation Hypothesis   
  • Wood Rot 2 Step - Fungi Throwing Dynamite & Avoiding the Blowback   
  • Itasca Research Station   
  • Community Science & Assembling the A Team   
  • Advice for Pursuing Studies in Mycology    
  • Decomposition Builds Character   


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