Blue-green Algae (Cyanobacteria)
Cyanobacteria is one of the oldest types of lifeforms on Earth and is found primarily in freshwater systems. There are thousands of species of cyanobacteria and many are known to produce a variety of toxins.
Cyanobacteria is a photosynthetic microorganism that processes sunlight, nitrogen and phosphorous to live. They can regualate their position in the water column for optimal light and thrive in warm, nutrient-rich fresh or brackish water with low turbulence.
Microcystis and Anabaena are two of the most common cyanobacteria found in estuarine systems today. These bacteria are known to produce cyanotoxins dangerous to humans and animals. Microcystin and Anatoxin are classes of hepatoxin and neurotoxin, affecting the liver and brain, respectively.
Human and animal exposure to Cyantoxins comes in three primary forms of contact:
- Dermal contact
- Inhalation or aspiration from aerosolized surface water
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Harmful Algal Blooms
Red tide continues to make its way across southwest Florida waterways. Some areas are not feeling the full effect, though many beaches are seeing some traces of the bloom. “It’s pretty dynamic where it’s at,” said John Cassani with Calusa Waterkeeper.
Red tide is appearing up and down the Southwest Florida coastline, so Lee and Collier counties have both issued health alerts for the blooms. They say to stay away from the water, especially if you have breathing issues, and don’t try to remove the dead fish yourself.
Scientists are saying a red tide bloom that’s lingered along the coast for a few weeks is now being fed by nutrients running off the landscape in the wake of Hurricane Ian. Red tide (Karenia brevis) is a naturally occurring organism in the Gulf of Mexico that sometimes blooms to toxic levels.
You don’t have to be in the water or right by a bloom to be affected by it. Research shows you can be miles away and airborne toxins can be present. Manny Aparicio, Calusa Waterkeeper board member explains the effects of a red tide bloom.
Since Hurricane Ian, red tide has been blooming across Southwest Florida. Most beaches in SWFL have been closed due to potential debris threats in the water, but The Calusa Waterkeeper reported that blooms are now present in both Naples and in Sanibel.
A red tide bloom that’s been lingering off the coast of Sarasota and Charlotte counties has made it to Lee County waters, where fish kills are being reported at some local beaches. Red tide (Karenia brevis) is a naturally occurring organism that can become deadly when conditions are right.
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