UCF Researchers Studying Ways to Combat Red Tide Blooms
As thousands of spring breakers flock to Florida’s beaches, a toxic algae bloom known as red tide is also making its way to the coastline.
Red tide is a microscopic algae that can be devastating for beachside communities, killing fish and other marine mammals.
But a team of researchers from the University of Central Florida (UCF), along with Mote Marine Laboratory and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, is working to combat red tide using a new tool.
The UCF research, funded by a $190,000 Florida Sea Grant, is bringing new light to the fight against red tide.
The team used yellow, six-foot-wide test tubes called limnocorrals to study red tide and come up with a way to fight back against it.
Clay treatment was added to the water in the tubes to get rid of the red tide.
According to Dr.
Kristy Lewis, this is the first successful test of any action to reduce red tide in open water in the U.S.
While the research is ongoing, Dr.
Lewis says this could be one tool in their toolbox to combat red tide.
“It’s not the end-all or the silver bullet, but we have zero strategies to fight red tide,” she said.
Ultimately, if this becomes a wider use, it can be put on big ships or used by crop-dusting planes if it’s a really big bloom.
The UCF research has been ongoing for four years, starting with tiny test tubes, and so far, there’s been no harm to other organisms.
The researchers want to ensure that people who live, work, and play on the coast can get back to their normal activities as quickly as possible.
Kristy Lewis says they’re ready to use this concept to fight red tide now, but they’ve got to go through more testing to make sure it’s safe for the environment.
For now, the UCF research brings hope that there could be a solution to combatting red tide in the future.