Anthropogenic inputs of pollutants such as heavy metals into the marine environment have increased their levels to large extents within past a few decades. These pollutants tend to accumulate in the bottom sediments. As a result, ecosystems such as seaports or other industrialized coastal areas that have chronic inputs of metals have highly contaminated sediments. This characteristic has led to concerns over the ecological effects that may be associated with sediment quality. Of particular concern are toxic effects and the potential for bioaccumulation of metals in biota exposed to the sediments. The availability of heavy metals to the biomass of a polluted region is the prime concern both in terms of the prediction of the effects of metal pollution on an ecosystem and in terms of possible human health risks. With growing interest on environmental issues, several intriguing questions related to heavy metals are often raised. This review addresses the basic concepts, sources, speciation, mode of action, levels, analytical measurement, bioavailability, bioaccumulation, biological role and toxicity of heavy metals in the marine environment. Lead, Cadmium, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Iron, Mercury, Arsenic and Barium are selected because these metals are common and are often at measurable levels in marine samples. An attempt has been made to answer the queries presented by the environmentalists working on various aspects of heavy metal pollution in the marine environment.