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Third species of algae, fueled by decomposing fish, found in SW Florida

SANIBEL – There's a third type of algae lurking in local waters.

The good news is that it's not toxic. The bad news is that it can impact marine life and put off an unpleasant odor.

Oscillatoria algae

"We’ve been seeing this really bright green species called Oscillatoria, and it seems to be prevalent based on the availability of new nutrients from decomposing fish," said Rick Bartleson, a water quality scientist for the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation.

You read that right: one type of algae, red tide, has caused massive fish kills in Southwest Florida since October, and now the dead fish are fueling a completely different species of algae.

"If it’s floating upside down it’s brown and if you flop it over its green," Bartleson said. "We don’t know of any toxin (associated with this species)."