From: Associated Press
Published August 17, 2005 12:00 AM

Red Tide Bloom Strikes Off Florida Coast

TAMPA, Fla. — An unusually fierce red tide bloom this summer has choked off oxygen and killed undersea life in a region of the Gulf of Mexico bottom about 10 miles off the coast of Florida, scientists said.


Red tide is formed when a microscopic algae reproduces at an explosive rate. The algae produces a neurotoxin that can paralyze or make breathing difficult for fish, manatees or even humans that inhale or ingest it.


During a three-day expedition last week, researchers from the state's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute and the University of South Florida sampled 28 spots from the mouth of Tampa Bay north to Pasco County, on the north side of the Tampa metropolitan area, and from along the shore out to 30 miles offshore. Preliminary results of the research were reported Monday.


However, some spots where divers had reported no life during earlier investigations are starting to see fish return, institute spokesman Jeremy Lake said.


"Some of them are starting to heal," he said.


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Source: Associated Press


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