Microbes are often thought of as individual cells. However, in their natural habitats, they typically exist in the context of other cells, be they of the same or different species. How these cells interact in space and time is key to their ecology and evolution. In this perspective, we consider the implications of this in terms of the future of microbiological research.
This article is part of the special issue "Microbiology: how to bridge mechanisms and phenomenology" edited by Suckjoon Jun.