Red Tides Research Paper

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Effects of Red Tides on Ecosystems
Background Info:
Harmful algal blooms, or more commonly known as red tides, occur when a dinoflagellate colony grows out of proportion. Dinoflagellates are a type of algae and protist responsible for releasing a chemical that acts as a neurotoxin (called brevetoxins) in many organisms. This results in neurological effects in animals, birds, and other marine life. Red tides are not considered a new phenomenon, as they were first documented in the 1700s in the Gulf of Mexico, and in the 1840s in Florida’s Gulf Coast. These blooms have occurred throughout the U.S. and Mexico Gulf Coasts and the Atlantic Coast to North Carolina, although they are most prevalent along the south-west Florida Coast. Red tides are
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Manatees are mammals known to live for about 50-60 years, but unfortunately, they were short-lived and died after ingesting/inhaling toxins, which later affected their organs. In the cases of the deceased manatees, it was found that severe renal, hepatic, cerebral, pulmonary, and nasopharyngeal congestion was found. Through the use of *immunohistochemical staining, traces of brevetoxins were found in the secondary lymphoid tissues, lung, and liver. Toxic algae in the water is recognized for moving through the air like a powder, which puts manatees at risk due to inhalation. Also, toxic algae may be found in the plants that they eat, affecting their gastrointestinal system. Previously, in 1982, over a 10 week period, 39 Florida manatees were found dead in the nearby waters of Southern Florida and in the lower Caloosahatchee River. Only two had died as a result of a boat accident. The rest were tested for the cause of death, and nonspecific lesions of hemorrhage and congestion were identified in the brain tissue. A HABs also concurred with these events. The links between these events theorized that the possible routes of exposure may have stemmed from the ingesting of filter-feeding ascidians. Moreover, unusually high…show more content…
Red tides are caused by a number of factors, including low salinity, warm surface temperatures, hydrographic and nutrient conditions, and other contributors. HABs can be toxic or nontoxic, and are distinguishable by the brown/red color in the water produced by dinoflagellates, a type of algae and protist. The toxins produced by red tides have a significant impact on human and marine life, causing respiratory, neurological, and gastrointestinal symptoms/problems, which can be fatal depending on the situation. For humans, particularly in asthmatics and those already with a history of respiratory problems, brevetoxins greatly contribute to respiratory complications and illnesses, which may require medical treatment. This is common for those that reside amongst red tides because they are constantly inhaling the brevetoxins in the atmosphere. Furthermore, neurological and gastrointestinal problems occur as a result of ingesting toxic shellfish, fish, molluscs, clams, and other marine life that have become infested by the brevetoxins. This leads to the different types of poisonings caused by fish, including PSP, ASP, DSP, and NSP, each having distinct symptoms according to the toxin they were produced by. Marine life has also been impacted by red tides, specifically by the harmful toxins that HABs produce, which has lead to the deaths of manatees, bottlenose dolphins,
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