Red Tide

Florida wildlife officials say a red tide bloom persists along the southwest Florida coast and some fish kills have been reported.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the organism responsible for red tides is a natural part of the ecosystem but it can bloom to high concentrations when conditions favor it. Over the past week, samples were collected offshore in Collier, Lee, Hillsborough, Sarasota, Charlotte and Monroe counties.

Scientists are warning that a red tide is reemerging along the state’s southwest coast even after a recent cold front knocked it back.

National Oceanographic and Atmpspheric Association

Satellite images this month show a harmful red tide algal bloom festering in the Gulf of Mexico-- mere miles away from the shorelines of Southwest Florida. But birds have been telling us this for over a month.



Right now, if a researcher wants to confirm there’s a red tide outbreak – you know, that algae bloom known as Karenia brevis that turns water red or brown, kills marine life and makes a horrible stench – they have to take a water sample, bring it back to the lab, put it on a microscope, and literally count the number of algae cells.

Noble Upchurch via Flickr Creative Commons

The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that red tied may have contributed to the deaths of 70 pelicans in St. Petersburg early this year. The Times cites an FWC investigation that says a toxin from red tide was found in some of the dead birds.

Nutrients found in fertilizers and human and animal waste are believed to feed the algae blooms that cause red tide outbreaks.