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
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
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.
Return to Report
For more information, contact: