More than 100 scientists from 25 countries came together to address global, regional, local, and human pressures interactively affecting continental margin biogeochemical cycles, marine food webs, and society. Continental margins cover only 12% of the global ocean area yet account for more than 30% of global oceanic primary production. In addition, continental margins are the most intensely used regions of the world's ocean for natural commodities, including productive fisheries and mineral and petroleum resources. The land adjacent to continental margins hosts about 50% of the world's population, which will bear many direct impacts of global change on coastal margins. Understanding both natural and human-influenced alterations of biogeochemical cycles and ecosystems on continental margins and the processes (including feedbacks) that threaten sustainability of these systems is therefore of global interest.