This is the start of a blog by the new ‘coastal pathogens group’ at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health in Cornwall, UK, headed by Will Gaze and Michiel Vos. (I will dedicate a later post to our precise affiliation: it’s complicated!) Will has started his work as a senior lecturer this September; I will start full-time from January. Previously, Will worked at the University of Warwick, UK and I plied my trade at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology in Wageningen, The Netherlands. Joining the fold are Research Fellows Lihong Zhang and Pawel Sierocinski. Our joint research will focus on bacteria and viruses (including viruses of bacteria) found in the seas, estuaries, lakes, streams, sewage, sludge, soils, animals and people of Cornwall. Who are they, where are they, what do they do and why do some of them evolve to be dangerous to us? Watch this space!