Researchers may be on brink of solving deadly red tides

17 August, 2018, 00:54 | Author: Sherry Houston
  • Rick Scott and Bill Nelson

More than 450 stranded and dead sea turtles have been recovered in four affected counties this year, and the institute estimates that 250 to 300 died from red tide poisoning.

To qualify, the small business must have between two to 100 employees and be able to demonstrate economic or physical damage as a result of red tide.

The city of Sarasota has declared a state of emergency connected to this summer's outbreak of red tide and its effects on local beaches and businesses.

The algae can cause coughs and other respiratory distress in humans as breezes blow toxins inland.

Over the weekend, residents of the areas hardest hit by the red tide organized an event called Hands Across the Water to raise awareness about what the toxic tide is doing to the marine wildlife in their communities.

Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties are now under a state of emergency due to the toxic algae bloom, and his office added in a statement that "red tide is a naturally occurring algae that has been documented along Florida's Gulf Coast since the 1840s and occurs almost every year". Scientists from Mote Marin Laboratory are testing a system in a canal near Fort Myers.

Experiments carried out in huge 25,000-gallon tanks succeeded in removing all traces of the algae and its toxins, with the water chemistry reverting to normal within 24 hours, he said.

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What's being done about red tide?

Part of the reason why the red tide is so prominent this season is because there are some leftover blooms from past year, Bob Weisberg, a professor of physical oceanography at the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science, told ABC News.

The map above shows the shore being plagued by the red tide algae in Florida.

Richard Stumpf, an oceanographer who studies Red Tides for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said: "It's a bad bloom by any standard". "I don't think you're going to see much of an end to this until we get into the dry season".

But scientists say red tides in and of themselves are a natural phenomenon observed as far back as the 1600s.

Scott's emergency declaration helped increase funding meant to curtail and contain the problem.

Researchers are watching oceanographic conditions in the region carefully and using forecasting tools not unlike seasonal weather forecasts to predict how long this bloom will last.

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