Location: Bowdoin / Earth and Oceanographic Science / activity / 2010 / Satellites, Buoy Help Oceanographer Locate Red Tide in Green Waters

Earth and Oceanographic Science

Satellites, Buoy Help Oceanographer Locate Red Tide in Green Waters

Story posted October 28, 2010

Collin Roesler's method for spotting red tide sounds downright counter intuitive—she looks for green water. Not just any green, but a certain shade of blue-green that indicates the proliferation of a phytoplankton associated with Alexandrium fundyense, the major cause of red tide.

The term "red tide" is used colloquially to describe proliferations of phytoplankton that discolor the water red. However, it is also used to describe the occurrence of toxic algal events, even in the absence of red waters. In the Gulf of Maine, the term is used to indicate the occurrence of paralytic shellfish poisoning and subsequent shut downs of shell fishing. These events are extremely difficult to predict. Scientists don't fully understand the environmental factors that lead to a full-scale "bloom." Continue reading »

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