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Red tide
  • Published Date:
    May 2004
  • Language:
    English
Filetype[PDF - 81.35 KB]


Details:
  • Corporate Authors:
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.)
  • Description:
    Algae are vitally important to marine ecosystems, and most species of algae are not harmful. However, under certain environmental conditions, microscopic marine algae called Karenia brevis (K. brevis) grow quickly, creating blooms that can make the ocean appear red or brown. People often call these blooms “red tide.”

    K. brevis produces powerful toxins called brevetoxins, which have killed millions of fish and other marine organisms. Red tides have damaged the fishing industry, shoreline quality, and local economies in states such as Texas and Florida. Because K. brevis blooms move based on winds and tides, pinpointing a red tide at any given moment is difficult.

    Red tides occur throughout the world, affecting marine ecosystems in Scandinavia, Japan, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific. Scientists first documented a red tide along Florida’s Gulf Coast in fall 1947, when residents of Venice, Florida, reported thousands of dead fish and a “stinging gas” in the air, according to Mote Marine Laboratory. However, Florida residents have reported similar events since the mid-1800s.

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