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Algal Bloom

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  1. #Overview
  2. #Red Tide
  3. #External Links
  4. #References  


Structure Retrieved from Plant Management in Florida Waters.

Algal Blooms occur in both fresh and saltwater environments when certain species of algae out-compete other organisms and reproduce rapidly, often forming visible discolored patches on the surface of the water that can produce toxins detrimental to other organisms (#Texas Parks and Wildlife and #CDC). The blooms can block sunlight and deplete oxygen in the water which causes distress to other organisms (#CDC). The Dead Zone, where the Mississippi River empties nutrient rich water into the Gulf of Mexico, occurs every spring and is an example of an algal bloom (#Yoon, 1998).

They can be caused by certain factors. A higher concentrations of nutrients (phosphorous and nitrogen especially) often from agricultural run-off can trigger a bloom. Also higher temperatures, a change in water quality, nutrients, sunlight, or other factors can lead to harmful algal blooms (#Texas Parks and Wildlife).

"Red Tide"

The term "Red Tide" has become a misnomer referring to algal blooms as the algae have nothing to do with tides and the coloration is entirely dependent on the phytoplankton that cause the bloom and can be red, green, orange, or brown (#WHOI. During a bloom, the pigment in the plankton become visible to the naked eye. The scientific community has began to refer to "red tides" as "harmful algal blooms (HAB)" recently.

Structure Retrieved from



Carol Kaesek Yoon. "A 'Dead Zone' Grows in the Gulf of Mexico". The New York Times. January 20, 1998.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. "Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)".

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. "Toxic Blooms: Understanding Red Tides".

Centers for Disease Control. "Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)".

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