A new research program is taking a comprehensive look at the continental shelf at the mouth of the Amazon, the world's largest river. This paper describes the objectives, the design, some preliminary results, and the future plans of the program, which is called A Multidisciplinary Amazon Shelf Sediment Study (AmasSeds). The participants in the program's research group are listed at the end of this article.

Among the initial findings from AmasSeds are observations of mammoth pulses of water (and sediment) discharge on weekly time scales from the Amazon, and documentation of the advection of this material over 1000 km over a couple of weeks. The study has also measured suspended sediment concentrations that affect seawater density and biological productivity, and revealed shoreline erosion even while billions of tons of sediment are being supplied. In addition, iron and manganese cycling has been found to be so extensive that it controls seabed chemistry. Finally, the project has identified a major environmental change that occurred several hundred years ago.