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The complex causes of red tide make toxic blooms a challenge to predict, Tampa-area scientists say

Sign warning visitors of red tide
Daylina Miller
WUSF Public Media
Signs along Clearwater Beach warn visitors of red tide on March 14, 2023.

The outbreak of the harmful algal blooms has shown up in medium and high concentrations along the Gulf coast this month.

This week on Florida Matters, we talk with two experts on marine biology and ocean circulation about where red tide comes from, how it’s affected by pollution and hurricanes, and how scientists are monitoring it.

Red tide has killed tons of fish along Tampa Bay beaches this year.

When microscopic algae — such as Karenia brevis — multiply into a harmful algal bloom, it can discolor the water, hence the name red tide. Other than killing marine life, red tide can cause eye irritation, coughing and sneezing, and shortness of breath.

Although the algal outbreak has shown up in medium and high concentrations along the coast this year, beach goers told WUSF during spring break that they weren’t put off and the latest reports suggest the red tide may be decreasing.

Host Matthew Peddie talks with Bob Weisberg, distinguished professor emeritus at USF specializing in the physics of ocean circulation, and Thomas Frazer, dean of USF’s college of marine science.

You can listen to the full conversation by clicking on the “Listen” button above. Or you can listen on the WUSF app under “Programs & Podcasts.

Hi there! I’m Dinorah Prevost and I’m the producer of Florida Matters, WUSF's weekly public affairs show. That basically means that I plan, record and edit the interviews we feature on the show.
I am the host of WUSF’s weekly public affairs show Florida Matters, where I get to indulge my curiosity in people and explore the endlessly fascinating stories that connect this community.