Published: Fri, August 17, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Are man-made pollutants a 'booster shot' for Florida's toxic red tide?

Are man-made pollutants a 'booster shot' for Florida's toxic red tide?

"This includes making additional FWC biologists and scientists available to assist in clean-up and animal rescue efforts, more than $100,000 for Mote Marine Laboratory and $500,000 for VISIT FLORIDA to establish an emergency grant program to help local communities continue to bring in the visitors that support so many Florida families and businesses", Scott said. It is the second emergency order issued by Scott this summer. The red tide has made breathing hard for locals, scared away tourists, and strewn popular beaches with the stinking carcasses of fish, eels, porpoises, turtles, manatees and one 26-foot whale shark. One restaurant developed a "Fish Kill" cocktail - a blue-green drink featuring floating Swedish Fish - with proceeds going to a clean water activist group. Beaches have been littered with dead sea life as a result of the naturally occurring toxic algae.

The FWC released a new map Wednesday showing the continued spread of red tide along Florida's Gulf coast. Piles of dead fish have been found along the West Coast of Florida.

Many of the Facebook pages said the events were meant to "show that we do not, and will not stand for our lovely beaches, wildlife, homes and livelihoods to continuously be destroyed and impacted by the water released" from Lake Okeechobee.

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Along with Scott's action comes a $900,000 grant to Lee County, home to Ft. Here's what to know about red tide in Florida.

This summer's red tide has already caused the deaths of hundreds of sea turtles, as well as large fish like goliath grouper and even manatees.

Scientists are still trying to understand what causes red tides - and when this one might finally go away. The theme park has treated 10 manatees at its critical care facility and is prepared to take more, as the flotilla of karenia brevis powers the red tide into a tenth month. Researchers also continue to study whether pollution and human activity may be intensifying the effects of red tide.

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"We lack a consistent set of observations offshore in what we believe to be the formative region for these blooms", said Robert Weisberg, professor of physical oceanography at University of South Florida College.

How does red tide affect wildlife?

Red tides occur on an nearly yearly basis off Florida, starting out in the Gulf of Mexico where swarms of microscopic algae cells called Karenia brevis feed on deep-sea nutrients and are sometimes carried by currents close to shore, usually in the fall.

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