What is a Rusticle? Meet Lori Johnston

Lori Johnston

Ground Effects Environmental Services & Droycon Bioconcepts

Microbial Ecologist

Lori Johnston comes to the cruise with an expertise in Rusticles.  As a microbial biologist Lori has studied rusticles from Titanic to Bismarck to U-166 examining bacterial evidence in rusticles that provide indicators regarding the deterioration of metals over time.  Rusticles are a rust colored icicle shape, created by bacteria.  As a pioneer in the field, Lori recovered the first rusticles off Titanic in 1998.  Since then she has studied over 15 shipwrecks for rusticles.

When asked about her favorite shipwreck she was torn. “Titanic for majesty and elegance.  Bismarck for its place in history and the magnitude of what we saw.  We could still see the swastikas on the deck, the torpedo skid marks along the wale, and outline of fire damage on the superstructure.  When we flew into the flight deck it was as if we went back in time.  It was surreal.”  As you can see Lori is passionate about rusticles and shipwrecks where they are found. “I’m a bit of a rusticle horder,” she chuckles, “I want them from every ship I visit.”

But, she isn’t on shipwrecks all the time.  Lori lives with her husband, Chris, an Environmental Engineer, and her three boys in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.  She studied Environmental Management at the Royal Roads University at Victoria, British Columbia and went on to study Biology and History at University of Regina in Saskatchewan.  While not doing microbial research she loves to cook and garden.  On the Gulf Cruise, Lori and our cook Liz have collaborated on several tasty dishes.

Rusticle mug modification