Karen Kubena, Ph.D.
Summer 2017 (Team Full)
Students have the chance to be a co-author in a paper, may have the opportunity to tour and possibly stay on a historical sailing vessel, present at conferences, and receive directed studies course credit in Nutrition
For those with an interest in the biology/microbiology/biochemistry/hard science side of the project, previous lab experience is preferred. I am looking for a mixture of talents as this is a multi-disciplinary project. In particular, students majoring, or with an interest in, biochemistry/microbiology, visualization, food science, meat science, viticulture, nutrition, marketing, history, anthropology, chemistry, and biology are sought after in this team. However, all interested individuals are welcome to apply.
This project hopes to understand the effects of shipboard diet on the health of sailors by determining the nutritional intake of seamen on 17th-century English ships. Previous attempts to gauge the nutritional value of shipboard diets were based on historical documentation instead of laboratory data. In this project, shipboard food will be replicated using the exact ingredients and methods of preparation from the 17th century, including non-GMO ingredients, the exact species of plant or animal, and the same butchery methods and cuts of meat. Archaeological and historical data will be used to replicate the salted pork and beef, ship biscuit, wine and beer, and other provisions aboard Warwick, an English race-built galleon that sank in 1619. Then, a trans-Atlantic voyage will be simulated by storing the food in casks and keeping these in a ship’s hull for three months. Every ten days, representative samples of food will be sent for nutritional and microbial analysis. Lastly, this project compares laboratory results to data that has already been derived from human remains on wrecks such as Mary Rose (1545) and Vasa (1628). This project also has broader impacts because it is hypothesized that certain microbes found on the experimental food may be novel strains of probiotics, which can be cultured for today’s health industry. The results of the project will be featured in an exhibit at the Texas Seaport Museum in Galveston.