Microbial communities are everywhere and their properties have critical impact on our lives and our planet. But where do these community properties come from? Ultimately these properties, such as diversity, stability, resilience, function and dynamic evolution arise from the interactions of the constituent microbes with each other and their environment. But how do we connect understanding of the physiology of individual microbes in the lab to the seemingly overwhelming complexity of microbial communities in soil, marine or human environments? What role do model systems play? Are there general principles? How do we connect the different levels of organisation?
These are big questions with no clear answers. But what happens if we lock you up for one week with experts in fields such as molecular systems biology, game theory, microbial physiology, ecology, metagenomics, bioinformatics and evolutionary biology, each providing their perspective on these microbial community properties? It may not give clear answers, but lots of new ideas, insights, perspectives, friends and research directions, we expect. More than enough reasons to follow this course!