The significant red tide bloom that has hit Florida has garnered the attention of the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science. They are providing the State funding to pay for offshore monitoring of the bloom’s development, movement and toxicity. NCCOS’s algal bloom Event Response Program is funding the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to monitor the outbreak.
The bloom started in September and now stretches for 100 miles along the southwest Florida coast. Red tide has been named the culprit by the media in the deaths of seven tons or more of fish around Sarasota alone. Three counties have closed their shellfish beds as a precautionary measure.
Cell count data is being provided to NOAA’s harmful algal bloom forecasters by researchers to help refine their accuracy. An experimental control method involving seeding the water with natural silicates, which stimulate blooms of harmless diatoms that compete with Karenia for the same nutrients, is being tested.