Getting to Know the Red Tide

What is a red tide?

Harmful algal blooms, or the HABs, take place whenever colonies of the algae that occupy the sea and the freshwater grow uncontrollably while causing poisonous or harmful effects on humans, fishes, shellfishes, marine mammals, and also the birds. The human diseases brought by HABs, although rare, may be destructive or perhaps even fatal.

Although many individuals name these blooms ‘red tides,’ the scientists would rather use the terminology harmful algal bloom. Among the best recognized HABs in the country manifests almost every summer throughout FloridaĆ­s Gulf Coast. This particular bloom, similar to many HABs, is due to microscopic algae that generate toxins that kill fishes thereby making shellfishes harmful to eat. All the toxins might also turn out the surrounding air hard to breathe. Just as the term implies, the bloom of algae frequently changes the water red.

Definitely, not all of the algal blooms are dangerous. The majority of blooms, in fact, are advantageous since the small plants are foods for animals in the sea. As a matter of fact, they are the main source of energy which fuels our ocean food web.