Are the discoveries of microbiology leading to a revolution in biology? (2016-2017: Jagiellonian University Internal Grant K/DSC/003898)
Recent discoveries in the field of microbiomics have had an enormous impact on our understanding of the relationships between symbiotic microorganisms and multicellular organisms. For instance, it is now known that within our body there are at least as many cells of microorganisms as human cells, and it is no longer controversial to say that they are responsible for the proper functioning of our body. This has led some to argue that these discoveries are revolutionary, and that it is time to revise our classic concept of the organism and develop a more inclusive one. In the course of this project I have evaluated these discoveries and their impact on the concept of the organism to verify whether they are indeed revolutionary or whether they perhaps constitute only ordinary discoveries, in which case it is an exaggeration to argue that biology is undergoing a revolution.
What is a population? A Darwinian perspective (2015-2017: Grant Preludium 2014/15/N/HS1/02447)
In recent decades philosophers and biologists have tried to provide answers for such interesting questions as ‘what is a gene?’ or ‘what is a species?’. However, certain issues have been overlooked. One such issue is population, which has not received enough philosophical attention. The aim of this research project is to elaborate this concept philosophically. As there is only one theory (i.e. the theory of evolution) with the capacity to unify biology, in this project I focus on understanding what makes a group of organisms a population from an evolutionary perspective. Then I use my framework to provide novel insights into the origin of endosymbiosis and into certain aspects of speciation, such as understanding the role of symbiotic microorgranisms in the origin of new species of multicellular organisms.