Red Tide Essay

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Red Tide My fiancé finds it amusing that I am always coming up with excuses on why I don’t like going to the beach. I find ocean water to be disgusting and I hate getting sand all over my body. I mean come on, what doesn’t end up in the ocean. I’ve seen some pretty nasty stuff get thrown in rivers all which have a similar destination; somewhere near a public beach. I believe I have an even more valid reason to skip out on the whole lets go swimming in ocean water. I call it “Death by Red Tide”. So what is Red Tide? Red tide is a common name for harmful algae bloom which is primarily found in the Gulf of Mexico. It occurs when colonies of algae (simple ocean plants that live in the sea) grow out of control while producing toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, shellfish, marine mammals and birds. The term red tide is misleading in the name. Red tides are only occasionally red, also appearing as orange, brown, and even green and they never occur literally as tides, which are the rises and falls of the sea. Some cases of red tides do not show any change in the color of the water at all. This makes a red tide very hard to predict or find. HABs have been reported in almost every U.S. coastal state, and their occurrence may be on the rise. One of the best known HABs in the nation occurs nearly every summer along Florida’s Gulf Coast. In this case, the mortalities are caused by exposure to a potent neurotoxin called brevetoxin which is produced naturally by the marine algae Karenia brevis. This affects the central nervous system of fish so that they are paralyzed and can't breathe. As a result, red tide blooms often result in dead fish washing up on beaches. Red tides often occur when fresh water runoff creates a stratified surface layer above colder nutrient rich waters. Fast growing algae quickly strip away nutrients in the upper layer, leaving nitrogen

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