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Despite impediments to travel imposed by global political and health concerns, 332 scientists and students from 32 countries gathered in Washington, D.C. in early May to celebrate the conclusion of the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS), and to assess both its accomplishments and the future course of research in ocean ecology and biogeochemistry.

Launched in 1987 under the auspices of the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), JGOFS became the first core project of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) 2 years later as its first field studies were getting underway. Global in scope and multinational and interdisciplinary from its inception, JGOFS adopted two major goals: to understand the processes controlling the cycling of carbon and other biogenic elements in the ocean and their exchange with the atmosphere and the sea floor, and to advance our capacity to predict the response of ocean systems to anthropogenic perturbations.