Name: Quinton Smith
Will red tide harm humans if it is not stopped?
Red tides are caused by a microscopic algae called a dinoflagellate.
This plant is toxic to humans in large quantities, but may not be
to some of the sea animals that eat it. The toxin from the
dinoflagellates builds up in the tissues of the animals that
eat it, like bivalves (clams, oysters and mussels), crustaceans (lobster
and things like crabs) or fish, and when we eat these animals,
that's when we get sick. Don't worry too
much, though, humans don't get sick from this very often.
What is a "red tide?"
Well, when conditions are just right in the ocean for these plants
to grow, they "bloom", that means they grow and reproduce VERY fast.
These plants have a red "eyespot", and pretty soon, there are so many
of them that the water starts to look red! Often, when the tide comes
in, it carries with it many dead animals that are poisoned by this
algae, and we end up with a stinky mess on the beach!
Tom F Ihde
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Update: June 2012