USF STUDY: Blame Ocean Circulation for Severity of Red Tide
By Sunshine State News // April 20, 2019
$17.3 million spent to combat outbreaks of red tide
(SUNSHINE STATE NEWS) – Red tide off Florida is virtually gone now, showing up at near-undetectable levels. Nevertheless, at the University of South Florida, serious work on Karenia brevis, the harmful algae that causes red tide, is ongoing and producing studies of some significance.
A new USF study was published Thursday in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, finding that while traces of the bloom are always present offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, it was the ocean circulation that made 2018 the worst year for red tide in more than a decade.
Karenia brevis is the algae that causes respiratory issues and was responsible for the massive fish kills last year particularly in Southwest Florida and subsequent tourism losses.
In the last year, local governments have spent $17.3 million provided by the state to combat outbreaks of red tide (salt water-occurring) and toxic blue-green algae (fresh water-occurring).
Though many in South Florida were playing “pin the blame on the scapegoat (agricultural runoff)” during 2018, they were wrong, USF scientists say.
By affecting the nutrient levels offshore, marine scientists at the University of USF showed that the ocean circulation played a controlling role in the severity of the occurrence.
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