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Environment

Coalition Of Researchers Conclude Five-Year Red Tide Study

Researchers may have a better understanding of red tide blooms. These harmful algal blooms are becoming more persistent. That’s why the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission—along with a group of research partners— recently published a five year red tide study.

Florida Fish and Wildlife teamed up with researchers from six agencies and universities—including Mote Marine, the University of South Florida and the University of Miami.

They spent about five years studying the ecology and oceanography of red tide in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. This included four 14-day cruises and lab research. The comprehensive study closely monitored nutrients, as well the physical forces, causing red tide blooms.

Matt Garrett, a research associate with Florida Fish and Wildlife, said now scientists have a stronger base of information when it comes to understanding red tide.

“One of the ultimate goals of the whole project was to gain information to try to mitigate the effects of red tides,” he said. “One of the goals was to try to improve our predictive power of red tides—where they are going, when they might get there and how intense they will be.”

Garrett said the research builds on years of information. He said the red tide phenomenon is still too complicated to completely understand and predict, though.

The final study listed ways to manage existing blooms, ways to prevent blooms in the long run through nutrient reduction, as well as a way to create three day forecasts for red tide blooms.

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Red Tide Bloom.
FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute / Creative Commons
Red Tide Bloom.

Water samples to be tested.
FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute / Creative Commons
Water samples to be tested.

Red tide samples being collected.
FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute / Creative Commons
Red tide samples being collected.

FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute / Creative Commons