My research is directed towards a mechanistic understanding of marine plankton communities. Such systems are highly complex, with global impacts determined by the interaction of innumerable microscopic individuals. It is impossible to identify and describe each individual component, and so I have sought to develop models that capture the key physiological and ecological rules of organisation. Rather than asking "Who are the important players in the marine ecosystem, and what do they do?", I prefer to ask "How do fundamental microbial traits dictate large-scale ecosystem function?".