(Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology) In a long-term study, marine scientists from Bremen for the first time observed the colonization of a deep-sea mud volcano after its eruption. Only slowly, rich life develops around the crater. The first settlers are tiny organisms that eat methane escaping from the volcano. Thereby, they keep this greenhouse gas from reaching the atmosphere. The present study describes how the colonization of the mud volcano proceeds and when the tiny methane-munchers get going.