What is Red Tide?

Red Tide under a MicroscopeDictionary.com defines red tide as: A bloom of dinoflagellates that causes reddish discoloration of coastal ocean waters. Certain dinoflagellates of the genus Gonyamlax produce toxins that kill fish and contaminate shellfish. This is an accurate description but it is a little lacking.

Red Tide also kills fish, crustaceans, sea mammals (like manatees and dolphins), and birds. It causes mild to sever respitory distress in humans. It may also cause respirtory distress on other animals, but no research has been done on that to date to our knowledge. Also unstudied are the long term effects on humans exposed to red tide toxins for long term periods (like lifegaurds).

Red tide kills by paralyzing.

Here’s a vid clip of what it does to neighborhoods, canals, waterfront property etc. whereever it goes:

Red tide is a common name for a phenomenon known as a harmful algal bloom, an event in which estuarine or marine algae accumulate rapidly in the water column, or “bloom”. These algae, more correctly termed phytoplankton, are microscopic, single-celled, plant-like organisms that can form dense, visible patches near the water’s surface. Certain species of phytoplankton contain photosynthetic pigments that vary in color from green to brown to red, and when the algae are present in high concentrations, the water appears to be colored red. Not all algal blooms are dense enough to cause water discoloration, and not all discolored waters associated with algal blooms are red. Additionally, red tides are not typically associated with tidal movement of water, hence the preference among scientists to use the term algal bloom.

The term “red tide” is most often used to describe a particular type of harmful algal bloom common to the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and is also called “Florida red tide”. This type of bloom is caused by a species of dinoflagellate known as Karenia brevis, and these blooms occur almost annually along Florida waters. The density of these organisms during a bloom can exceed tens of millions of cells per liter of seawater, and often discolor the water a deep reddish-brown hue.

The most conspicuous effects of red tides are the associated wildlife mortalities among marine and coastal species of fish, birds, marine mammals and other organisms. In the case of Florida red tides, these mortalities are caused by exposure to a potent neurotoxin produced naturally by Karenia brevis, called brevetoxin.

It is unclear what causes red tides, but the frequency and severity of algal blooms in many parts of the world have been linked to increased nutrient loading from human activities. The growth of marine phytoplankton is generally limited by the availability of nitrates and phosphates, which can be abundant in agricultural run-off. Coastal water pollution produced by humans and systematic increase in sea water temperature have also been implicated as contributing factors in red tides. Other factors such as iron-rich dust influx from large desert areas such as the Saharan desert are thought to play a major role in causing red tides. Some algal blooms on the Pacific coast have also been linked to occurrences of large-scale climatic oscillations such as El NiƱo events. While red tides in the Gulf of Mexico have been occurring since the time of early explorers such as Cabeza de Vaca it is unclear what initiates these blooms, and how large a role anthropogenic and natural factors play in their development.

Unclear what causes the blooms? Let me expand:
It’s true that Harmful Algal Bloom are a naurally occuring in phenomena. However despite several Florida government sponsored organizations and the Governemnt of Florida themselves insistently repeateding that:

  • Red Tide Is not on the increase
  • The evidence suggests there is no link between fertilizer polluted run-off and red tide

This web site and other organizations have learned:

  • Red Tide is definetly on the increase, here’s just one study with evidence of that. Look throughout this site there are more.
  • The Evidence actually suggest there is a link between red tide and fertlizer-laden runoff. Here’s one study with evidence of that, Again, look throughout this site or do a search with your favortie search engine, you’ll find more.
  • The Government of Florida as knowingly and intentionally and repeatedly lied about these two things and probably more. Here’s just an example of them being caught red handing lying about the connection between red tide and pollution. Again look through this web site, there are more.
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