I am a 4th-year Integrated sciences student integrating microbiology and environmental sciences. Integrated sciences is already a strange program most people are unfamiliar with, but within my program, Integration with environmental sciences is very rare. Within microbiology, there is a solid environmental niche; the rest of microbiology is devoted to medical or pathological studies surrounding microbial interactions with humans. This beginning dogma of studying things close to humans first and the environment second comes from the root that microbiology was foundational to the beginning of medicine. Now that we understand the importance of microbes to our biogeochemical cycles, it is time to expand the field of microbiology to represent the global diversity of microbes better. I have a vision of a field of microbiology that is not focused on medical or human relations to microbes and takes a universal ecological approach to study this unique branch of the tree of life.
I want to change how microbiologists relate to microbes and encourage an environmental approach to studying microbes worldwide. I think more grants should be made to support the growing field of environmental microbiology, and we should take a larger stand to advocate for better integration of environmental sciences. Environmental microbiology should also be advocated more to younger microbiology students to present the diversity of microbes to the next generation of microbiologists. I believe that this push for diversity in the study field would also push for more innovation relating to microbiology.
Having more environmental microbiologists concerning soil studies would help us develop the future of agriculture for Canada. We need to invest in soil studies and environmental microbiology; this is the best way to study soil as an ecosystem holding life rather than a medium to grow plants.
I had never realized this issue but you're totally correct and we need to make this field more well known. Microbes fill up our entire environment, why don't more people study them? Super cool degree Maya!
Thanks for touching on the importance of environmental microbiology. After our Week 6 class, I am definitely beginning to see (through personal research and other resources) how strong of a role microbes play in the environment. I agree in that more grants and programs can be made to support the field of environmental microbiology even at UBC!
Hi Maia, I am studying biology and majoring in public health and I've found a similar problem where human and environmental health don't intertwine as much as it should. There is a relatively new field called One Health which looks at this specifically, so far it's only taught at 3 universities (UBC being one of them) but I think it's really cool and hopefully will start to become more common soon. If you're interested in that intersection I reccommend checking it out!