Most residents along Florida’s Gulf Coast are well aware of the phenomenon known as red tide. Just recently, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported that the red tide organism — Karenia brevis — was measured at bloom concentrations in southwest Florida. And in early October, it was recorded at background levels in northwest Florida. Red tide blooms are not an uncommon sight for those of us who reside in Tampa. Such blooms occurred over the course of 14 months in 2017-2018 and were apparent in 17 months in 2005-2006. A severe bloom that occurred in 2012-2013 killed hundreds of manatees and scores of other marine life. Significant blooms also occurred in 2015-2016 and 2016-2017, with smaller blooms in other years. And it’s not a recent phenomenon. Written descriptions of red tide events in the Gulf of Mexico reach back to the era of Spanish exploration in the New …
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