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New study: Human activity intensifies red tide

Graphical abstract

SBEP Executive Director Dr. David Tomasko, with researchers from the University of Florida and Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, co-authored a recent peer-reviewed article in the journal Science of the Total Environment titled "Nitrogen-enriched discharges from a highly managed watershed intensify red tide (Karenia brevis) blooms in southwest Florida."

Offshore processes explain how red tides begin offshore and move toward shore. Yet as blooms meet with the coast, human-contributed nutrients, specifically nitrogen, can influence bloom intensity and duration. This paper uses computational methods to connect discharges from the Caloosahatchee River to intensified red tide blooms in Southwest Florida between 2012 and 2021. The authors traced human influence on bloom intensity to Lake Okeechobee, which discharges to the Caloosahatchee River, and the Kissimmee River basin, which drains into Lake Okeechobee, indicating that watershed-scale nutrient management will likely be necessary to reduce human impacts on red tide blooms in Southwest Florida.

The full paper is available for download from SBEP's Technical Reports page.

Full press release from University of Florida News: "Human activity 'helped fuel' red tide events, new study shows"