Mote says cold weather snap will not impact red tide

Updated: Nov. 28, 2018 at 5:31 PM EST
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SARASOTA (WWSB) -The Suncoast is experiencing unusually cooler temperatures, but could the cold snap help break up the algae bloom?

Mote Marine Laboratory said red tide thrives in warmer temperatures.

"Laboratory studies, they have found that Karenia Brevis likes it best between 60 and 86 degrees. Now that isn't always true in the natural environment, but that seems to be the sweet spot as far as laboratory goes," said Mote's Program Manager of Environmental Health, Dr. Tracy Fanara.

And although the Suncoast has experienced chillier temperatures the last few days, the water temperature for Sarasota County beaches still remains between 70 and 72 degrees.

"Just because the air temperature reaches below 60 degrees doesn't necessarily mean that the water column and throughout the water column will be below that sixty degree mark," Fanara said.

Mote said in order for the water temperature to change we would have to experience cold temperatures for a long period of time.

"Because Karenia Brevis has such a wide temperature range that it can exist and thrive in, you would really need sustained and cold temperatures to make that water temperature get in those levels where Karenia Brevis is stressed," said Fanara.

But one Lido Beach beach goer said today's beach experience was better than other days at the beach earlier this week.

"It wasn't real bad but you'd have a dry feeling in your throat and today is fine. It's a little cool, but the sun is out," said Chicago visitor, Glen Rybacek.

Mote said the change in respiratory effects is due to the winds.

"We still do have a patchy bloom of Florida red tide throughout the Southwest Coast . However, if cells are present and there's offshore winds we might not be experiencing the effects of respiratory irritation or seeing dead fish wash up," Fanara said.

Mote said they are continuing to collect data about this bloom every day but they can’t say how much longer this red tide bloom is expected to last.

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