Photo taken at: Saint Petersburg, Florida
“Karenia brevis” is the toxic algae responsible for causing “red tide” and killing hundreds of marine life including some endangered animals along the Florida coast earlier this year, and it’s unlikely to disappear any time soon. In a letter published by the journal “Environmental Science & Technology,” researchers stated that “climate change will severely affect our ability to control blooms, and in some cases make it nearly impossible.” Karenia brevis has shown it can thrive in high temperatures, but grow exponentially faster with the presence of more carbon dioxide. The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide surpassed 400 parts per million in 2015 and will continue to rise in the future. In addition, nitrogen rich runoff, shallow coastal waters and saltier water caused by droughts all make the survival rate for algae much higher than usual. Aside from it’s deadly encounter with marine life, red tide also causes respiratory problems for residents close to the affected areas and hurts the local economy because of the putrid smell of dead animals along the coastline. Have you experienced the red tide?