Mote and FGCU partner on red tide research
Sarasota marine laboratory and Florida Gulf Coast University collaborate to address harmful algal blooms.
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium and Florida Gulf Coast University signed an agreement Thursday to start a partnership that addresses impacts of harmful algal blooms to Florida’s environment, economy and quality of life.
The memorandum of understanding, signed by Mote President and CEO Michael P. Crosby and FGCU President Michael V. Martin, sets the framework for future collaboration on an issue that pummeled the region last year with a widespread red tide bloom that lasted 18 months.
Karenia brevis is a single-celled plant-like organism that is carried to shore through environmental conditions such as wind and ocean currents. Scientists debate whether nutrient pollution, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, allows it to reproduce close to shore.
The toxic algae prefer warm and calm salt water. When the red tide cells die, they emit a brevetoxin that kills sea life, including 589 sea turtles during the last episode — the most in any single red tide event — along with 213 manatees and 153 bottlenose dolphins since July 2018.