Red Tide: How It Affects Marine Life

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Red Tide: How it affects Marine Life
Red tide in Florida is a reoccurring problem that threatens marine life every year. Red tide in Florida waterways has a negative impact on marine life because it produces toxins that are harmful to marine species. It lessens the amount of oxygen in the water which ultimately leads to the migration and death of many different marine animals. Millions of dollars are poured into red tide research and prevention every year to help predict when and where a red tide is going to form. All the while, millions of dollars are being lost due to a drop in tourism and bans on fishing as red tide wreaks havoc on businesses and marine life.
Red tide in Florida is caused by a high concentration of a microorganism called
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In most cases, large die-offs of dolphins and manatees were not found to be caused by a recognizable red tide bloom. However, when tested for toxins all of them tested positive for large amounts of breve toxins. This positive testing could have been from consuming fish that were infected such as baitfish. “Although this event did not coincide with an identifiable K. brevis bloom, breve toxins were found in all of the dolphins tested. Baitfish, Menhaden (Brevoortia sp.), containing high concentrations of breve toxins were the most common prey identifiable in dolphin stomach contents, revealing the source of the breve toxins” (Effects of Florida’s). The same thing happened in 2002 where thirty four endangered manatees died in Florida and again in 2004 when 107 bottlenose dolphins died off the Florida panhandle. “In the spring of 2002, 34 endangered Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) died in southwest Florida, and 107 bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) died in waters off the Florida panhandle in the spring of 2004. In both of these unusual mortality events, extensive water surveys revealed that only low concentrations of K. Brevis were present” (Flewelling, L. J., et al 755). Later on in that article it states that after extensive tests high amounts of breve toxins were found in both the dolphins and manatees systems which concludes that they were exposed and it was the…show more content…
This research is helpful because it will allow business owners and tourists know when a red tide will occur and when to stay away from waterways. Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done about the marine life until they are actually affected by it. The United States is working on creating a building to focus on the prediction of red tides:
Its goal is to improve existing models to explain more accurately and then predict the complex progression of a red-tide bloom. Successful forecasts could, for instance, allow fishermen to scoop up shellfish before a bloom takes hold, warn businesses to brace for a drop in beach tourism or alert managers to which environmentally sensitive areas they should be monitoring most closely (Schrope 24).
This 1.25 million dollar center for red tide prediction will hopefully be able to target a red tide bloom before it actually occurs, but for now the most that can be done is to monitor where the bloom will move based on wind and water currents. Continual research on why a bloom is formed and how it can affect marine life is always being

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