The project REVMICNAT is an international effort, led by DR. E. Bapteste, funded by the CNRS as a ‘Réseau Thématique Pluridisciplinaire’, which investigates the ‘microbiomic revolution’ from an epistemic and scientific perspective.
REVMICNAT emerges from the recognition that microbiome studies, i.e., the studies of interacting microbial communities, themselves in interaction with animal or plant hosts and with their environments, has been unraveling the evolutionary, functional and ecosystemic importance of microbes, the oldest, most abundant life forms on Earth. Invisible for a long time, microbes (archaea, bacteria and viruses) are now seen as significant biological players, sometimes as opponents but also, increasingly so, as partners in the development of human societies. In other words, because microbes are (almost) everywhere, in us, on us and around us, and active, microbes necessarily feature, either directly or indirectly amongst the objects of studies of many fields, which otherwise may essentially appear as separate fields, since they are centered on distinct objects and questions.
By unraveling microbiome ubiquity and the diversity of their historical and former environmental impacts, microbiome studies are now becoming an inspiring source of new knowledge non only about our past but also because microbiome studies bear a transformative potential, still to be defined, or may even provide unexpected unifying principles towards, maybe, a global ‘microbiomic revolution’, which, if it occured, would simultaneously deeply transform our knowledge and practices, our relationship to nature, in many disciplines. Therefore, the REVMICNAT project will achieve a broad, pluridisciplnary analysis on the transformative extent of recent findings made on microbiomes. Lawyers, philosophers of sciences and philosophers of the environment, biologists, artists and scientific writers will meet, share their viewpoints and their experiences, to evaluate together the consequences of the wealth of discoveries made about microbiomes. Together, they will define a ‘before’ and an ‘after’ the recognition of microbiomes in their own fields.
Sharing these experiences and viewpoints will not only allow to identify the specific impact of microbiome studies on each of this field, but also possible shared trends induced by microbiome studies, while providing a big picture of the conceptual rethinking that comes with the realization that many species, ours included, do not live alone, but always surrounded and shaped by microbiomes.