What is Red Tide?

Red tide has recently occurred on the coast of Florida. It generally disappears by spring. It has been found since the 1800s in the Gulf of Mexico. Swimming in or near the red tide waters can cause skin irritations, rashes, irritated eyes and burning.

What is Red Tide?

Red tide is an algal bloom. The ocean plants living in the sea grow uncontrollably and cause a bloom. The bloom caused by red-coloured algae is called red tide. It is harmful to fish, and marine mammals, and also has harmful effects on humans.

What is the cause of Red Tide?

Red tide is caused by a toxic algae species known as Karenia brevis. It occurs when the algae multiply in large numbers and form blooms, resulting in the water turning reddish-brown. The algae produce brevetoxins, which are fatal for aquatic life and capable of making humans sick. It could also block out the sunlight and deplete the water’s oxygen levels. It was responsible for the deaths of over 2,000 tonnes of marine life between 2017 and 2018.

When does red tide occur?

It occurs during summer and spring when the sunshine is apt. During this time, the water is warm and slow-moving. Also, the water is rich in nutrients as the rivers are free from ice and are adding more nutrients to the sea. The algal bloom is always more in the areas where there is a mixture of brackish and marine water.

Does Algal Bloom occur in India? Why does the west coast have more algal bloom than the east coast of India?

Yes. The west coast of India is more prone to algal bloom. Algae like diatoms, cyanobacteria, haptophytes, and raphiphytes cause an algal bloom in India. Most of the algal blooms occur during the retreat of southwest monsoon and also during the pre-monsoon period. The temperature and the conditions are more favourable than that of the east coast. East Coast is more nutritious than the west coast as it has more number of rivers draining. But the temperature and water current are more suitable on the west coast. So more algal blooms occur on the west coast of India.



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