Florida Beaches Hit With Toxic 'Red Tide' As Giant Seaweed Blob Nears

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by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Mar 19, 2023 - 01:55 PM

Some of Florida's top beaches are at risk of a dual catastrophe as poisonous algae bloom, commonly referred to as 'red tide,' is causing the death of wildlife and poses a health threat to people. Now, a massive 5,000-mile-wide blob of seaweed is passing through the Caribbean and up into the Gulf of Mexico and could soon wreak havoc on Sunshine State beaches. 

"It could be two problems turning into a bigger one," Mike Parsons, a marine science professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, told CBS News

The algae causing the red tide is a single-celled organism called "Karenia brevis." It can reproduce in large numbers and create massive blooms that transform the water into an eerily reddish-brown hue -- hence 'red tide.' 

Karenia brevis produces a type of toxin known as "brevetoxins," which have fatal effects on marine life and birds. Human contact with these red tide organisms can cause skin irritation and even coughing or congestion problems. 

And if that wasn't enough. A seaweed blob spanning more than 5,000 miles is headed for the shores of Florida.

"The blob is currently pushing west and will pass through the Caribbean and up into the Gulf of Mexico during the summer, with the seaweed expected to become prevalent on beaches in Florida around July, Dr. Brian Lapointe, a researcher at Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, told CNN. 

The combination of red tide and seaweed blob is likely to cause problems for beachgoers and potentially harm the tourism sector in the state this summer.