Red Tides On The Gulf Thesis

Length: 8 pages Sources: 20 Subject: Business - Miscellaneous Type: Thesis Paper: #19411407 Related Topics: Oceanography, Marine Pollution, Plant Cell, Mexico
Excerpt from Thesis :

brevis blooms are not a new phenomenon, and fish kills that result from red tides caused by K. brevis in the Gulf of Mexico have been described in the scientific literature since 1960 or so and have been reported anecdotally for more than two centuries (Naar et al. 2002). In this regard, Backer and her associates (2005) emphasize that, "The human health effects from consuming shellfish with high concentrations of brevetoxins in their tissues have been well documented. However, there is very little information describing human health effects from environmental exposures. It is ironic that we know the least about the aspects of the Florida red tide problem that poses the greatest public health hazard in terms of number of people affected" (645). Today, K. brevis blooms are monitored closely in order to mitigate the foregoing health hazards that are related to the consumption of shellfish and shellfish harvesting is banned in those instances where the densities of K. brevis exceed 5,000 cells per liter of seawater (Landsberg and Steidinger 1998).

A study by Brand and Compton (2007) analyzed K. brevis samples that were taken from the region near the southwest coast of Florida between Tampa Bay and Sanibel Island during the period between 1954 to 2002 to identify corresponding spatial and temporal patterns. According to these researchers, "K. brevis was found to be approximately 20-fold more abundant within 5 km of the shoreline than 20 -- 30 km offshore. Overall, K. brevis was approximately 13 -- 18-fold more abundant in 1994 -- 2002 than in 1954 -- 1963" (Brand and Compton 232). During the period 1954 to 1963, K. brevis blooms took place mostly during the fall months; by contrast, during the period between 1994 and 2002, blooms were prevalent during the fall months as well as winter and spring (Brand and Compton 2007). In this regard, Brand and Compton speculate that the increased concentrations of nutrients in the ecosystem are probably responsible for this increased prevalence of bloom events due in large part to the increased presence of humans and associated activities in this region over the past 50 years (Brand and Compton 2007).

Effect on Other Marine Plants.

Although the HABs caused by K. brevis have been shown to represent a serious health threat to benthic organisms as well as other aquatic and terrestrial life, including humans, less is known about the effect on marine plants. It is reasonable to suggest, though, that K. brevis can contribute to a toxic environment that may harm or even kill various marine plant species. In this regard, Woofter et al. (2005) emphasize that, "Aquatic species are of particular relevance because K. brevis is a fragile dinoflagellete that readily breaks, releasing toxin directly into the water or upon contact with inert or living objects" (12).

Differences between Red Tide in the Gulf of Mexico and Elsewhere.

The term "red tide" is used to describe any type of harmful algal bloom (Bankoff 2002) and while the red tides created by K. brevis are the most commonplace in the Gulf of Mexico, there are at least 22 other known species of toxic dinoflagellates, some of which are also responsible for such HAB occurrences elsewhere around the world (Aguirre, Ostfield, Tabor, House and Pearl 2002). According to Russell (1998), "These blooms are extremely toxic, both to the marine life feeding upon them and to people who eat contaminated shellfish. Over the past decade, the number of such single-celled algal species has soared from 22 to 55 around the globe" (36). Many researchers attribute to explosion in the numbers of harmful algal species to increased human activities along coastal regions of the world. In this regard, Aguirre and his associates (2002) note that, "Outbreaks of certain species in this group, and of various species among the newly recognized toxic dinoflagellates, are strongly correlated with nutrient pollution in quiet, poorly flushed coastal embayments and estuaries" (230). Other regions besides the Gulf of Mexico that experience red tides (or so-called brown tides or even green tides) are characterized by elevated levels of human population and corresponding nutrient pollution that results from inadequately treated sewage and other sources of effluents (Aguirre et al. 2002). According to these researchers, "Some species, such as the toxic Pfiesteria complex and many toxic cyanobacteria, are known to thrive in degraded waters overenriched with nutrients. Other species, such as the toxic Pseudonitzschia complex, are most abundant in waters that have...


2002:230). Red tide events caused by other species have also been reported in the near-shore fishing zones off the Philippines (Bankoff 2002). Although the causes of red tides elsewhere in the world may be different, their bottom-line impact is much the same as that experienced in the Gulf of Mexico. For example, Harris (2002) reports that, "Among the most visible evidence of deterioration of the marine environment is the notable increase in frequency and scale of red tide occurrences along the coastal areas of China and South Korea over the past few decades. In particular, in the 1990s in the seas adjacent to South Korea, red tides not only occurred along seashores more frequently but also spread extensively to the open seas" (172). The adverse health consequences of these HABs are less well-known than those in the U.S., but the economic impact of these red tide events on these Asian nations was shown to be enormous (Harris 2002).


The research showed that Karenia brevis (formerly Gymnodinium breve) is a marine dinoflagellate that is responsible for creating the red tides that develop in the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, it was shown that K. brevis produces brevetoxins, the powerful toxins that cause neurotoxic shellfish poisoning. The research also showed that the brevetoxins produced by K. brevis represent a serious health threat to numerous aquatic wildlife species including fish, waterfowl, and marine mammals as well as terrestrial life including human beings. Finally, the research showed that harmful algal blooms or red tides are not unique to the Gulf of Mexico, but they have become more frequent and have tended to last longer than in years past, due in part to the increased levels of human activity along the coastal regions where they take place. Virtually all of the studies reviewed emphasized the need for additional research in this area and given the potential health and economic threat represented by red tides, such research should take place sooner rather than later.

Works Cited

Aguirre, A. Alonso, Richard S. Ostfeld, Gary M. Tabor, Carol House and Mary C. Pearl.

Conservation Medicine: Ecological Health in Practice. New York: Oxford University

Press, 2002.

Backer, Lorraine C., Barbara Kirkpatrick, Lora E. Fleming, Yung Sung Cheng, Richard Pierce,

Judy A. Bean, Richard Clark, David Johnson, Adam Wanner, Robert Tamer, Yue Zhou

and Daniel G. Baden. (2005). "Occupational Exposure to Aerosolized Brevetoxins during

Florida Red Tide Events: Effects on a Healthy Worker Population." Environmental

Health Perspectives 113(5): 644-45.

Baden, Daniel G., Andrea J. Bourdelais, Henry Jacocks, Sophie Michelliza and Jerome Naar.

(2005). "Natural and Derivative Brevetoxins: Historical Background, Multiplicity, and Effects." Environmental Health Perspectives 113(5): 621-22.

Bankoff, Greg. Cultures of Disaster: Society and Natural Hazards in the Philippines. London:


Brand, L.E., and A. Compton. (2007). "Long-term increase in Karenia brevis abundance along the Southwest Florida Coast." Harmful Algae 6.2: 232-52. Web Of Science. Web. 29

Sept. 2009. .

Bricelj, V.M., L. Connell, K. Konoki, S.P. Macquarrie, T. Scheuer, W.A. Catterall and V.L.

Trainer. (2005, April). "Sodium channel mutation leading to saxitoxin resistance in clams

increases risk of PSP." Nature 434(7034):716.

Cohen, Jonathan H., Patricia A. Tester and Richard B. Forward, Jr. (2007). "Sublethal effects of the toxic dinoflagellate Karenza brevis on marine copepod behavior." Journal of Plankton Research 29(3):301-15. Web Of Science. Web. 29 Sept. 2009.


Fleming, Lora E., Lorraine C. Backer and Daniel G. Baden. (2005). "Overview of Aerosolized

Florida Red Tide Toxins: Exposures and Effects." Environmental Health Perspectives

113(5): 618-19.

Fleming, Lora E., Barbara Kirkpatrick, Lorraine C. Backer, Judy A. Bean, Adam Wanner, Dana

Dalpra, Robert Tamer, Julia Zaias, Yung Sung Cheng, Richard Pierce, Jerome Naar,

William Abraham, Richard Clark, Yue Zhou, Michael S. Henry, David Johnson, Gayl

Van De Bogart, Gregory D. Bossart, Mark Harrington and Daniel G. Baden. (2005).

"Initial Evaluation of the Effects of Aerosolized Florida Red Tide Toxins (Brevetoxins)

in Persons with Asthma." Environmental Health Perspectives 113(5): 650-52.

Freeman, Kris. (2005). "Seasick Lungs: How Airborne Algal Toxins Trigger Asthma

Symptoms." Environmental Health Perspectives 113(5): 324.

Harris, Paul G. International Environmental Cooperation: Politics and Diplomacy in Pacific

Asia. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado, 2002.

Haubois, Anne-Gaelle, V. Monica Bricelj and Jerome Naar. (2007, June). "Transfer of brevetoxins to a tellinid bivalve by suspension- and deposit-feeding and its implications for clay mitigation of Karenia brevis blooms." Journal of Marine Biology 151(5): 2003-


Heil, H.C., and K.A. Steidinger. (2009, September). "Monitoring, management, and mitigation of Karenia blooms in the eastern…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Aguirre, A. Alonso, Richard S. Ostfeld, Gary M. Tabor, Carol House and Mary C. Pearl.

Conservation Medicine: Ecological Health in Practice. New York: Oxford University

Press, 2002.

Backer, Lorraine C., Barbara Kirkpatrick, Lora E. Fleming, Yung Sung Cheng, Richard Pierce,
Sept. 2009. <
Web Of Science. Web. 29 Sept. 2009.

Cite this Document:

"Red Tides On The Gulf" (2009, December 07) Retrieved December 7, 2022, from

"Red Tides On The Gulf" 07 December 2009. Web.7 December. 2022. <>

"Red Tides On The Gulf", 07 December 2009, Accessed.7 December. 2022,

Related Documents
Red Tides and Manatees the
Words: 1576 Length: 6 Pages Topic: Business - Case Studies Paper #: 93513386

Advances in molecular biochemistry have pushed the limits of the analytic measurements of brevetoxins and their metabolites in "certain substrates to nanogram levels, making it possible to isolate pure brevetoxins for use in the laboratory (Mini pp). During the 1996 prolonged red tide, the manatees' exposure to brevetoxins included chronic inhalation of the red tide toxin aerosol and ingestion of contaminated seawater over several weeks (Mini pp). Researchers, using

Environmental Impact of the Gulf
Words: 1595 Length: 6 Pages Topic: Transportation - Environmental Issues Paper #: 14052889

These are the organisms that are accountable for the development of red tides. These algal blooms later destroy additional aquatic species by interfering with their respiratory organs. Among the numerous species of microscopic algae that comprises the foundation of the aquatic food chain, about eighty-five species are said to be deadly (Carlisle, n.d). Recommendations Legislation should be passed to govern the maritime activities such as oil drilling and crude oil shipping

Mortality and Loss Processes in
Words: 3007 Length: 11 Pages Topic: Criminal Justice - Forensics and DNA Paper #: 29018025

" Because of the ability to reproduce in large amounts in a small amount of time, phytoplankton are considered as the first link in the food chain of nearly all marine animals. Phytoplankton provide food for a large variety of organisms, including the microscopic animals (such as the zooplankton), bivalve molluscan shellfish (like mussels, oysters, scallops, and clams), and small fishes (such as anchovies and sardines). To continue the food

Chemical Fertilizers on Aquatic Life
Words: 1543 Length: 5 Pages Topic: Agriculture Paper #: 24201871

In this regard, Getches (2004) emphasizes that, "Water supplies are finite and erratic. Rivers in the West range wildly in the amount of water they produce. Indeed, there is evidence that average supplies are becoming less reliable than in the past" (2). Conclusion. The research showed that chemical fertilizers represent a dual-edged sword for the sustainability of the world's population. On the one hand, their use has allowed farmers in industrialized

The Final Research Paper for Food Safety
Words: 2624 Length: 8 Pages Topic: Business - Ethics Paper #: 74226774

causes of foodborne illnesses include inadequate hand washing at any stage including the consumer, cross-contamination such as using the same cutting board for meat as cheese, improper storage temperatures such as a refrigerator that is not set cold enough, improper cooking temperatures, particularly regarding meat, the contamination of food by animal waste, which generally occurs in factory food production, and the contamination of soil or water supplies from natural

Yellow River of China the
Words: 2517 Length: 7 Pages Topic: Animals Paper #: 59381254

Another consequence of the exploitative use of water resources is the destruction of mangrove forests and the fragmentation of the habitats of endangered species. The United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna listed 189 endangered species in China among the 740 in the world. Sand content is quite high in the Yellow River. In the dry season, sand rises and flies up with the