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Water-Related News

Patchy Florida red tide detected in three Southwest Florida counties

Patches of Karenia brevis, a naturally occurring toxic algae known as Florida red tide, has been detected in low levels offshore from Sarasota, Lee and Pinellas counties.

The last terrible outbreak of the microorganism that turns the turquoise waters of the Gulf the color of Coca-Cola lasted from October 2017 to February 2019. It killed tens of thousands of sea creatures, including dolphins, sea turtles and manatees.

The algae can be fueled near shore by nutrient pollution associated with urban or agricultural runoff, according to Mote Marine Laboratory.

Wave action can break open red tide cells, releasing toxins into the air, leading to respiratory irritation.