Florida’s red tide: Scientists seek solution to toxic algae crisis


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Scientists are searching for an answer to the pink tide disaster that has been devastating marine life on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The naturally occurring poisonous algae bloom, which was declared an emergency by Gov. Rick Scott on Monday, has littered seashores with lifeless sea life.

When he issued the emergency order, Scott additionally introduced funding and sources to fight the disaster, together with over $100,000 for Mote Marine Laboratory.


The Sarasota-based lab has developed an ozone therapy system to take away the microscopic plantlike organisms which are chargeable for the pink tide.

“Mote’s ozone therapy system was developed, patented, and is presently used to take away Karenia brevis cells and toxins from seawater coming into Mote Aquarium and Mote’s animal hospitals. Scientists are presently preforming a canal check in Boca Grande, involving two ozone methods,” the lab tweeted Tuesday.

Chatting with Fox Information’ Tucker Carlson, Dr. Richard Pierce of Mote Marine Laboratory described this yr’s pink tide as a really major problem. “It’s one thing that has occurred earlier than, nevertheless it’s one thing that we have to get a greater deal with on,” he stated. “Now we’re beginning to look extra at what could be completed about really controlling it.”

“A pink tide, or dangerous algal bloom, is a higher-than-normal focus of a microscopic alga (plantlike organism),” explains the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fee, in a assertion. “In Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, the species that causes most pink tides is Karenia brevis, usually abbreviated as Okay. brevis. To differentiate Okay. brevis blooms from pink tides attributable to different species of algae, researchers in Florida name the previous the ‘Florida pink tide’.”

The realm is not any stranger to pink tide occasions. “Purple tides had been documented within the southern Gulf of Mexico way back to the 1700s and alongside Florida’s Gulf coast within the 1840s,” explains the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fee. “Fish kills close to Tampa Bay had been even talked about within the information of Spanish explorers.”


This summer season’s pink tide has already triggered the deaths of lots of of sea turtles, in addition to massive fish like goliath grouper and even manatees. In locations like Longboat Key, greater than 5 tons of lifeless fish have been faraway from seashores.

This week, 9 lifeless dolphins had been present in Sarasota County. Marine biologists are investigating whether or not the deaths are associated to pink tide.

Purple tides may trigger respiratory irritation for people. “For individuals with extreme or continual respiratory circumstances, equivalent to emphysema or bronchial asthma, pink tide could cause critical sickness,” officers clarify.


As Florida makes an attempt to deal the pink tide algae bloom on its Gulf Coast, a freshwater bloom on the opposite facet of the state has triggered blue-green poisonous slime to look within the St. Lucie River. A pattern taken from the river on Aug. 2 contained excessive ranges of the toxin microcystin, in accordance with officers. The EPA notes that, whereas the liver is the first goal of microcystin, it is usually a pores and skin, eye and throat irritant.

In contrast to the pink tide, the bloom just isn’t naturally occurring. Nutrient air pollution from agricultural and concrete runoff causes nearly all of freshwater cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae blooms, in accordance with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fee.

Heavy rains in Could triggered Lake Okeechobee to discharge water containing blue-green algae into rivers and canals. The brilliant inexperienced sludge oozed onto docks, dams and rivers.

Final month, Gov. Scott declared an emergency to fight algae blooms attributable to Lake Okeechobee water discharges.

The Related Press contributed to this text.

Comply with James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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