The recent availability of extensive metagenomic sequences from various environmental microbial communities has extended the postgenomic era to the field of environmental microbiology. Although still restricted to a small number of studies, metaproteomic investigations have revealed interesting aspects of functional gene expression within microbial habitats that contain limited microbial diversity. These studies highlight the potential of proteomics for the study of microbial consortia. However, the application of proteomic investigations to complex microbial assemblages such as seawater and soil still presents considerable challenges. Nonetheless, metaproteomics will enhance the understanding of the microbial world and link microbial community composition to function.