Red Tide Lecture Being Held at Captiva Yacht Club

provided to Santiva Chronicle

The Captiva Island Yacht Club will host a red tide lecture from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, as part of its environmental education program. Dr. Mike Parsons, Professor of Marine Science at Florida Gulf Coast University, and Dr. Cindy Heil, Director of Red Tide Institute at Mote Marin Labratory, have conducted decades of research on red tide and will be the featured speakers.

Learn how nutrient pollution and climate change affect red tide. The discussion will include the 2015-17 red tide bloom and ongoing studies to determine why the bloom was so lengthy and intense. About a year ago, toxic red tide was very much in the news because of its severity, long duration and large-scale kill of the marine life, respiratory problems in humans, and the financial loss from the decline in tourism.

So far this year, red tide has not been in the news that much although algae blooms have been reported in the Collier county and more recently in the Lee County at Fort Myers Beach, in San Carlos Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Whether they grow explosively in the next few weeks will depend on whether the environmental conditions in the Gulf are conducive to its growth.

Red tide is caused by a microscopic single-celled organism called Karenia brevis. It was first identified in Florida in 1947 but has been present in the Gulf of Mexico for centuries. It is the causative agent of red tide, which occurs when the organism multiplies to higher-than-normal concentration. It is alleged that recent severity of red tide can be attributed to warmer Gulf waters due to global warming and higher concentration of nutrients in the water. Under such favorable conditions, the organism multiplies rapidly and produces algal blooms that release toxins harmful to marine life and human populations along the coasts.

Considering the seriousness of the problem, researchers at various institutes, including Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota and Florida Fish and Wildlife Institute, are investing methods to mitigate it. A lot of progress has been made, but so far there is no concrete solution

The US Congress recently approved $6.25 million to study how red tide blooms affect human health. A consortium of researchers are working on this problem. In addition, Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law SB 1552 approving $3 million per year for the next five years to research the causes and impacts of red tide. in a partnership between the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute and Mote Marine Laboratory.

Parking at the Captiva Yacht Club is limited and carpooling is encouraged. Seating is on a first-come first-served basis. For more information, call 239-472-4133, ext. 2.

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