Mote researchers from many different disciplines investigate Florida's red tide to understand how blooms form, dissipate and affect human and animal populations. Our holistic approach to understanding red tide is necessary to understand the environmental impacts of this naturally occurring organism. It is also the key to managing and mitigating the effects of red tide on coastal residents and Florida visitors.
Mote-FWRI Cooperative Red Tide Program
This cooperative effort between Mote Marine Laboratory and the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission helps to mitigate the adverse impacts of Florida red tide along the Florida Gulf coast. The Program goals include:
- Protecting public health, the economy and living natural resources through increased education and outreach
- Mitigating the effects of red tide by monitoring and tracking Karenia brevis
- Supporting bloom modeling and forecast efforts by providing information on the environmental factors that influence K. brevis
- Investigating toxin persistence in recreationally harvested shellfish
This partnership has resulted in the regular collection of water samples for analysis in Southwest Florida and the Florida Keys and routine coastal surveys from Tampa Bay south to Estero Bay. These human-conducted surveys are augmented with autonomous missions conducted by underwater robots that can provide continuous sampling along the coast. By combining these on-the-ground efforts with imagery from satellites and modeling of water currents in the Gulf of Mexico developed by the University of South Florida, FWRI is able to develop regular red tide status updates to inform the public about red tide events. Learn more at myfwc.com/redtide
Other tools for public outreach include the Beach Conditions Reporting System, in which trained observers at beaches provide twice-daily updates of red tide conditions that the public can view online. Mote also works with the students at the Ringling College of Art and Design each year to develop new outreach materials — like the videos below — for the public.