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Last updated: September 15, 2016

Northwest District Envirofact Northwest District - Envirofact/Algae


Red Tide

Kingdom: Protista
Phylum: Pyrrophyta
Order: Dinoflagellata
Species: brevis


Karenia brevis via Electron Micoscope at Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission


Florida's coastlines may experience offshore blooms of this toxic algae which are driven by currents and wind which may bring them in-shore causing noticeable affects to beachgoers and Florida's exposed wildlife. People may experience respiratory effects from toxins know as brevetoxin when Red Tide cells are aerosolized by winds and waves. Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning (NSP) occurs when people eat shellfish that are contaminated by brevetoxin. Fish Kills often accompany Red Tide blooms as well as bird mortalities when fish are the birds' food source. Other marine populations can also be affected by exposure to the Red Tide toxins, such as dolphins, sea turtles and manatees.

For more information visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website at http://myfwc.com/research/redtide/ 



Kingdom: Eubacteria

British distribution: Evidently widespread.
World distribution: Widespread.


Species of Oscillatoria occur in a diverse range of conditions, in damp soil or on dripping rocks, in freshwater, in the sea and in hot springs. Some are tolerant of high levels of organic pollution and some are shade-tolerant and able to survive in water below blooms of green algae. In water they may be benthic or planktonic. O. rubescens is a red species that can form conspicuous red blooms in eutrophicated lakes.
Oscillatoria is implicated in irritation of skin and mucous membranes suffered by people swimming off tropical coastlines.

Original photograph at × 500 magnification, from material ex culture.

Van den Hoek, C., Mann, D.G., & Jahns, M.M. (1995). Algae: an introduction to phycology, Cambridge University Press.

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