The toxic red tide that’s decimating Florida’s marine life

07 August, 2018, 00:28 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • The red tide algae is deadly to fish and cause irritation in humans

Political broadsides continue over who is to blame for ongoing water-quality problems across South Florida, as Gov. Rick Scott on Friday ordered more action to address red tide in coastal communities.

Experts suggest an excess amount of nutrients, coming from inland Florida and dumping into the Gulf of Mexico from rivers, could be making this year's bloom more persistent.

Mote Marine Laboratory's phytoplankton ecology team, along with the Florida Wildlife Research Institute and Harmful Algal Bloom researchers, conducted a red tide survey along the Florida Gulf coast on Wednesday.

Red tide is the name given to the blooms of a species of microorganisms that have a distinct red colour.

There have already been at least 490 manatee deaths this year as well, with 80 of them likely caused by red tide.

"This whale shark was definitely exposed to the bloom, and we know brevetoxins (are deadly)", spokeswoman Kelly Richmond of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission told the Washington Post. The state's governor has declared a state of emergency. "We're even seeing large loggerhead sea turtles being effected, and that's because this red tide has lasted into the nesting season".

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For people with severe or chronic respiratory conditions, such as emphysema or asthma, red tide can cause serious illness.

The Miami Herald reported the blue-green algae outbreak had grabbed national attention.

Most algae blooms are beneficial to the ocean, providing a source of food for marine creatures.

Higher than normal concentrations are called blooms and the toxins in them can kill fish, crabs, and other marine life.

The toxin in red tide is dispersed into the air when bubbles in sea foam pop, Fanara said.

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