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Breakdown: What is red tide & why it is on the rise

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 2:54 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -Harmful algal blooms happen when colonies of algae or simple plants that live in the sea and freshwater grow out of control. These algae produce toxins that can have harmful impacts on people and marine life. Thnakfully, the illnesses that are caused by these harmful algae bloom don’t happen often but when they do they can be debilitating or even fatal according to studies.

These harmful algae bloom are referred to as red tides but many scientists like to use harmful algal bloom. One of the well known harmful algal bloom happens just about every summer along Florida’s Gulf Coast according to a study. This bloomis caused by microscopic algae that produce toxins that can kill fish and make shellfish dangerous to eat according to studies. When the toxins are present in the ocean, it can make the air around it hard to breathe. The bloom of algae can turn the water red or brown.

Harmful algal bloom have been spotted and reported in every U.S. coastal state according to studies and researchers believe that it could be on the rise. This is a concern because it impacts people’s health and marine life.

According to studies not all algal blooms are harmful and many are beneficial because the tiny plants are food for animals in the ocean. According to studies, they are the major source of energy and food for oceans. Only a small amount of algae are harmful not only to sea life but also to mammals, birds and people.

A small percentage of algae, however, produce powerful toxins that can kill fish, shellfish, mammals, and birds, and may directly or indirectly cause illness in people.

Many scientist believe that climate change could be the reason for the potential increase in red tide.

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