Ecology has evolved many subdisciplines whose members do not necessarily communicate regularly through attending the same meetings or reading and publishing in the same journals. As a result, explanations of ecological processes are often limited to a single factor, process, or group of organisms, and this limited approach may fail to provide the best understanding of how communities and ecosystems are assembled and function. Specifically, there is a need to bring together information on the interplay of top-down and bottom-up influences on complete communities consisting of both macroorganisms and microorganisms. A number of examples from the recent literature illustrate the problems encountered in achieving this goal. These include declining fish populations, estuarine eutrophication, the complex origin of a toxic dinoflagellate bloom, and the interactions of microorganisms and macrooorganisms in marine planktonic food webs.