The W.M. Keck Foundation funds the program that documents the linkages among deformation, venting behavior, fluid chemistry, and microbial activity along the boundaries of tectonic plates. The central theme of this program is to discover how large-scale processes in the Earth affect very small processes. The hydrothermal vent system at Endeavour is an excellent place to start because previous experiments have discovered that the temperatures of hot fluids gushing out of some hydrothermal vents change in response to nearby earthquakes.

These earthquakes are caused by large-scale tectonic forces and changes in venting can strongly affect the vent-based biosystem (from microbes all the way up to tube worms and crabs). By studying earthquakes together with vent fluid chemistry, temperature, and biology, we can begin to understand the processes that link the tectonic plate-scale forces to life at the vents.nt of the deep oceans into homes and classrooms around the world.