To most of us the link between the increase in intensity, frequency and size of the red tide blooms here in Florida and fertilizer run off is obvious. After Red Tide is an algae, algae is a plant and fertilizer makes plants grow. However our state government and the research groups it sponsors (like F.W.R.I., Mote Marine, S.T.A.R.T.) continually say there is “no evidence” that suggests a link between runoff polluted with fertilizer and red tide. Well The Red Tide Coalition has found some more of this evidence that they can’t seem to find.
In the study: by Andrew R. Solow, (Senior Scientist and Director, Marine Policy Center, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Source: Oceanus magazine) published in 2004, much evidence is presented connecting Harmful Alagal Bloom (of which Red Tide is one) and “Dead zones” in oceans.
The study included numerous water testing over many years as well as analysis of satelittle imagery.
The conclusion he draws is:
“Once they reach the ocean, nutrients stimulate the growth of tiny marine plants called phytoplankton or algae. When the concentration of nutrients is too high, this growth becomes excessive, leading to a condition called eutrophication. ” By the way fertilizer is a nutrient for a plant (poison to animals though).