Water quality consortium targets red tide
Marine scientists are building a monitoring system they hope will better protect humans, animals and ecosystems from toxic algal blooms in the Gulf of Mexico.
The top target is red tide, caused here by Karenia brevis, but water quality scientists involved with the project have also documented previously unknown species that are potentially harmful to the marine ecosystem and people living along the Gulf Coast.
The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System is working with Gulf Coast states, Mexico and various universities and laboratories to better predict blooms, which are fed by agriculture and urban stormwater run-off.
Algae is a natural part of the marine ecosystem and is an important part of the food chain, but some species can cause harm when their numbers get too high.
Excess nutrients from developed landscapes feed these blooms and make them more frequent and intense, water quality scientists say.