Project HERBVRE was a collaborative effort between the Vega Thurber lab and the lab of Dr. Deron Burkepile at Florida International University (Now at UC Santa Barbara). The acronym's original meaning has been lost with time, but some say it stands for "Habitat Enrichment & Removal: Bacteria, Viruses, & Reef Ecology". The project quantified the effects of eutrophication and large herbivore removal on the benthic community of the reef on both microscopic and macroscopic scales. Results from this study were published in Global Change Biology, Nature Communications, and other journals.

Herbivore Project Site & Methods

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Figure 1A-E. (A) Our study site, Pickles Reef, is located offshore of Key Largo, FL, USA. (B) Schematic of overall experimental design. (C) Example of an experimental 9m2 plot, containing two herbivore exclosures and two exclosure controls. (D) Exclosures can be opened during sample and data collection. (E) Syringe sampling of a bacterial community associated with coral mucus.