Unicellular marine cyanobacteria are abundant primary producers that underlie the entire marine food web. These essential microbes are fundamental players in global biogeochemical processes, fuelling marine ecosystem productivity, which in turn provides protein for over 1 billion people. They encode a diverse range of predicted nutrient uptake systems that are highly conserved, suggesting these transporters are critical factors in their global distribution and success in diverse marine ecosystems. Using our pioneering combinatorial approach, we will undertake systematic functional characterisation of these nutrient uptake systems and determine their physiological and ecological importance. Our integrative science will provide a molecules-to-ecosystems understanding of cyanobacterial nutrient acquisition, which will serve as a prototype that can be extended to other marine microbes.