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In the Vega Thurber Lab,

we explore the many

inventive ways that microbes shape 

aquatic ecosystems 


Our Research

Our research group is interested in investigating the diversity and function of microorganisms - from viruses to protists - in marine ecosystems. We study how environmental stress may alter these interactions, particularly in the context of invertebrate and vertebrate hosts. We rely on field-based experimental and bioinformatic approaches to investigate anthropogenic impacts on coral reef ecosystems around the globe. We use cutting edge -omics technologies to describe changes in microbial community structure and function. By integrating the fields of microbiology, coral reef ecology, animal physiology, viral ecology, and the evolution of symbioses, we gain a more complete understanding of marine microbiomes as a whole.

Our lab investigates how  bacteria, 
viruses, and other microorganisms

 interact with and regulate

marine ecosystems. 


Diversity: strengthens STEM, fortifies marine ecosystems

The convergence of human impacts on aquatic ecosystems will have lasting consequences on our relationship with the planet. As our population grows and pressure to utilize the services that these ecosystems provide follows, it becomes increasingly imperative to gain a systems-level understanding of marine microbiomes, which are essential to the governance of the biome as a whole. Our lab aims to contribute to this collective understanding by examining how the microbes that inhabit corals, metazoans (animals), and a variety of other microcosms respond to various types of nutrient influx, temperature extremes, new pathogens, or other stress.

By necessity, these questions cannot be addressed in isolation. We are a lab full of microbe-infested researchers with the collective goal of addressing relevant questions, engaging members of our community, and making our findings accessible to the public. 

We recognize that it is impossible to disentangle our science from ourselves as scientists - our diverse backgrounds and identities not only improve our research but also help us grow as individuals.  We work to acknowledge, celebrate, and respect these differences every day. To those facing prejudice, discrimination, and other injustices: we see you, we hear you, and we stand with you.


Science is Real

Love is Love


Black Lives Matter


Feminism is for Everyone


Immigrants are Welcome

It is our goal to continuously develop new tools and methods to investigate non-model systems. In order to do this, we often need fresh and collaborative perspectives.

Funding &


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News & Resources

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