To study how Tampa Bay, Florida, has changed over time, the prehistorical conditions and natural variations in the bay environment are being evaluated. These variations can be tracked by examining the sediments that have accumulated in and around the bay. The prehistorical record, which pre-dates settlers' arrival in the Tampa Bay area around 1850, provides a baseline with which to compare and evaluate the magnitude and effects of sea-level, climate, biological, geochemical, and man-made changes. These data also are valuable for planning and conducting projects aimed at restoring wetlands and other estuarine habitats to their original state. In addition, the data provide a basis for judging efforts to improve the health of the bay.