Florida red tide is caused by naturally occurring algae, and when its concentrations exceed normal “background” levels, people can experience varying degrees of eye, nose and throat irritation while at the shore or on the water. Many factors, including algae distribution, currents and winds, can determine whether effects are noticeable.

Learn more about the health effects of red tide and a new exciting red tide initiative at Mote Marine Laboratory during Mote’s free Science Café, “Beach Conditions and Health Conditions – Human Impacts of Florida Red Tide” from 6-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23, at the Johann Fust Community Library in Boca Grande, Florida.

Mote Staff Scientist, Dr. Tracy Fanara, and Dr. Jeffrey Humbarger of the Boca Grande Health Clinic will they share their expert knowledge and will be available for questions.

Lite bites and drinks will be provided.

At Mote, Fanara manages the Environmental Health Program, investigating the effects of marine and freshwater chemicals on public health. She oversees Mote’s Beach Conditions Reporting System, which provides twice-daily condition updates for 31 beaches along Florida’s Gulf coast via www.visitbeaches.org and a free app available in the App Store.

“Environmental health is about the study of human-made effects on the environment and ecosystems as well as the effect the environment has on human health,” Fanara said. “During the Science Café, we will take a deeper look at the relationship between red tide, human health, and the importance of scientific communication to the public.”

Mote Science Cafés are casual, community-based discussions between scientists, community experts and the general public. Guests can ask questions and help the discussion develop in fascinating ways. Topics are designed to help guests discover relationships between everyday things and our marine world.

Fellow Café speaker Humbarger joined the staff at the Boca Grande Health Clinic. Humbarger joined the staff at the Clinic in 2011. He is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Humbarger is originally from Archbold, Ohio. He received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Adrian College in Michigan and his MD at the University of Cincinnati. His internal medicine residency training was completed at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, CA. Humbarger worked at the Community Health Clinic in San Ysidro, California, then in private practice with the Alvarado Medical Group in San Diego. Prior to coming to Boca Grande, Humbarger was at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville from 1996 through summer 2011. He served as a consultant in the Division of Executive and International Medicine within the Department of Internal Medicine. Humbarger serves as the Boca Grande Clinic’s Medical Director.

This Boca Grande Science Cafe is generously sponsored by Jeanie and Bayne Stevenson.