NATO Advanced Research Institutes are designed to explore unre- solved problems. By focusing complementary expertise from various disciplines onto one unifying theme, they approach old problems in new ways. In line with this goal of the NATO Science Committee, and with substantial support from the u.s. Office of Naval Research and the Seabed Assessment Program of the u.s. National Science Founda- tion, such a Research Institute on the theme of Coastal Qpw!llinq and Its Sediment Record was held September 1-4, 1981, in Vilamoura, Portuqal. The theme implies a modification of uniformitarian thinking in earth science. Expectations were directed t so much towards find- ing the key to the past as towards explorinq the limits of interpret- inq the past based on present upwelling oceagraphy. Coastal up- wellinq and its imprint on sediments are particularly well-suited for such a scientific inquiry. The oceanic processes and conditions characteristic of upwelling are well understood and are a well- packaqed representation of ocean science that are familiar to qeolo- gists, just as the maqnitude of bioproduction and sedimentation in upwellinq reqimes --among other bioloqical and geoloqical processes-- have made oceagraphers realize that the bottom has a feedback role for their models.