The U.S. launched the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS) in the late 1980s to study the ocean carbon cycle. An ambitious goal was set to understand the controls on the concentrations and fluxes of carbon and associated nutrients in the ocean. A new field of ocean biogeochemistry emerged with an emphasis on quality measurements of carbon system parameters and interdisciplinary field studies of the biological, chemical and physical process which control the ocean carbon cycle. As we studied ocean biogeochemistry, we learned that our simple views of carbon uptake and transport were severely limited, and a new "wave" of ocean science was born. U.S. JGOFS has been supported primarily by the U.S. National Science Foundation in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Energy and the Office of Naval Research. U.S. JGOFS, ended in 2005 with the conclusion of the Synthesis and Modeling Project (SMP).