The 1988 Global Change Expedition/Coordinated Air-Sea Experiment/Western Atlantic Ocean Experiment (GCE/CASE/WATOX) was a multifaceted research program designed to study atmospheric and oceanic processes affecting the biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, and trace metals in the North Atlantic Ocean region. Field work included (1) a 49-day research cruise aboard NOAA ship Mt. Mitchell (Global Change Expedition) from Norfolk, Virginia, to Bermuda, Iceland, the Azores, and Barbados, (2) eight flights of the NOAA King Air research aircraft, four off the Virginia Capes and four near Bermuda (CASE/WATOX), and (3) a research cruise aboard the yacht Fleurtie near Bermuda (WATOX). Objectives of GCE/CASE/WATOX were (1) to examine processes controlling the mesoscale distributions of productivity, chlorophyll, and phytoplankton growth rates in Atlantic surface waters, (2) to identify factors controlling the distribution of ozone in the North Atlantic marine boundary layer, and (3) to estimate the contributions of sources on surrounding continents to the biogeochemical cycles of sulfur, nitrogen, and trace metals over the North Atlantic region during the boreal summer season. The individual papers in this and the next two issues of Global Biogeochemical Cycles provide details on the results and analyses of the individual measurement efforts. This paper provides a brief overview of GCE/CASE/WATOX.