Trevor Platt made several distinguished contributions to oceanography and theoretical ecology. He provided a full description of the photosynthesis/irradiance relationship for phytoplankton. He applied spectral analysis to the spatial distribution of plankton and studied the dynamics of marine food chains as a function of organism size.
He also measured phytoplankton production in the ocean using satellite observations, with an approach based on his own bio-optical theory of primary production in the sea.
Trevor was active in international science planning and coordination, taking a particular interest in capacity building for scientists from developing countries. He was a Jawaharlal Nehru Science Fellow of the Government of India.