In order to predict and control the impacts of contaminants to coastal ecosystems like the Chesapeake Bay, we must first understand the geochemical, physical, and biological factors that control contaminant transport, transformation, uptake, and fate. Some processes exert control over broad groups of contaminants; the importance of others varies with specific contaminants. Many of these processes are well known and are amenable to predictive modeling, while others are less well understood and require further attention and research. Most important for the future protection of the Chesapeake Bay, and other coastal ecosystems, will be a coordinated approach (both in the research that must be conducted and in the management decisions that must be made), linking scientists of many disciplines with those charged with ecosystem protection.

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