One hundred and seventy-four bottlenose dolphins have died on the west coast of Florida from July 2018 until June 20 as a result of a “red tide” of algae that affects the area, the National Oceanic Administration reported. the Atmosphere (NOAA).
NOAA, which has cataloged the situation as a High Mortality Event (UME), pointed out that not only bottlenose or bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) suffer the consequences of an excess of dinoflagellated algae in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico .
It is a natural microscopic algae (a plant-type microorganism) called Karenia brevis that produces a toxin that can affect the central nervous system of fish, birds, mammals and other animals.
When it is in high concentrations, the body can discolor water, which sometimes changes its color to red, light green or dark, or brown.
Manatees, turtles and all kinds of fish are dying from the concentration of Karenia brevis algae, according to NOAA.
The Karenia brevis is found almost exclusively in the Gulf of Mexico, but its existence has also been reported on the east coast of Florida and off the coast of North Carolina.
Algae blooms can last for days, weeks or months, and can also change daily due to wind conditions and marine currents.
The terrestrial winds usually bring them closer to the coast and the offshore winds move them towards the sea.
According to NOAA, since July 2018 there have been reported deaths of bottlenose dolphins in Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, on the southwest coast of Florida.
Studies conducted on dead dolphins revealed the presence of the “red tide” toxin in their organisms.
NOAA indicated that an independent team of scientists is being set up to coordinate efforts with the working group of marine mammals of the High Mortality Events (UME) to review the collected data and prepare an action plan.
The agency added that this is not the first time this has happened and that in 2005-2006 190 dolphins died from a “red tide”.
The “red tide” was officially registered for the first time in Florida in 1844.