Article ID: CBB934389558

Levels of Selection in Biofilms: Multispecies Biofilms Are Not Evolutionary Individuals (2016)


Microbes are generally thought of as unicellular organisms, but we know that many microbes live as parts of biofilms—complex, surface-attached microbial communities numbering millions of cells. Some authors have recently argued in favour of reconceiving biofilms as biological entities in their own right. In particular, some have claimed that multispecies biofilms are evolutionary individuals (Doolittle in Biol Philos 28:351–378, 2013; Ereshefsky and Pedroso in PNAS USA 112(33): 10126–10132 2015). Against this view, I defend the conservative consensus that selection acts primarily upon microbial cells.

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Authors & Contributors
Charpa, Ulrich
Duchesneau, François
Dröscher, Ariane
Kim, Eun-Sung
López-García, Purificación
Pace, Norman R.
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Annals of the History and Philosophy of Biology
Aleph: Historical Studies in Science and Judaism
Minerva: A Review of Science, Learning and Policy
Cambridge University Press
Lexington Books
Princeton University Press
Cellular biology
Schleiden, Matthias Jakob
Golgi, Camillo
Woese, Carl R.
Holliday, Robin
Gadamer, Hans Georg
Foucault, Michel
Time Periods
21st century
19th century
20th century
20th century, late
Great Britain

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