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Red tide experts: latest bloom an example of longer-lasting, stronger blooms

An intense and widespread red tide, that seemed to go away after Hurricane Ida, now stretches from the Panhandle to Charlotte County; and with red tide blooms being stronger than they were just 50 years ago, summer blooms may become more common.

Although red tide (Karenia brevis) season is October to February, blooms are possible during the hotter summer months.

Some scientists say although red tide naturally occurs in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, modern blooms are not natural as they're fed by man-made nutrient sources like farming and urban development.

"They’re more prevalent in the late summer and fall but we’ve had red tide for any month of the year," said Larry Brand, a professor and researcher at the University of Miami. "Some years we get essentially no red tide, although it’s getting more and more rare. And we don’t really understand that."