Welcome to the Florida Red Tide and Human Health Studies Website. This Website provides information concerning Florida Red Tide and its toxins, and our research studies, as well as important links, for scientists, our Red Tide Study participants, and the general public.
What are red tides or HABS?
Red tides or Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) are blooms of marine and freshwater algae. These HABs or red tides appear to be increasing in incidence, time length and geographic spread. Researchers are investigating their causes, including possible man-made influences and the effects of changing ocean temperatures, currents and weather patterns associated with global warming.
What is Florida Red Tide?
Toxic red tides have been observed in Florida at least since the 1840s. Since that time, there have been multiple documented episodes with fish kills in the Gulf of Mexico, the East Coast of Florida, and up to the North Carolina coast.
In Florida, red tides are often the result of “blooms,” i.e. the multiplication of a single-celled algae or dinoflagellate called Karenia brevis (formerly known as Gymnodinium breve and Ptychodiscus brevis). These particular organisms produce natural and very powerful neurotoxins called Brevetoxins.
Brevetoxins can cause extensive fish kills, as well as mortality of marine mammals and birds. Humans experience neurotoxic shellfish poisoning (NSP) when they consume shellfish contaminated with brevetoxins and respiratory effects when they breathe aerosolized red tide toxins.