Red tide in Charlotte County. WINK News

Third kind of algae found amidst the deadly red tide

We know two different types of algae have been causing the surface of our canals and creeks to turn green, and dead fish to wash ashore along the beaches.

Now, scientists have found a third kind of algae called oscillatoria, and it thrives in extreme environments like with the presence of dead decaying fish and marine life.

Lloyd Vanhoose is visiting from Punta Gorda, and said, “Just another open wound. It keeps getting worse and worse. When’s the last straw? How much worse can it get?”

Florida Gulf Coast University ecological professor Serge Thomas says we’re in the perfect breeding ground for the algae to form, “Oscillatoria is a little bit different, it’s actually a colony. It’s made of little pieces of algae of cyanobacteria that actually chain together.”

“It likes the extreme environment so wherever there’s a lot of nutrients, ” Thomas said. Nutrients that are running right out of the mouth of Caloosahatchee River and weather patterns are giving this organism life.

Thomas says we have multiple problems, “The source of the nutrient is decaying fish, decaying algae, human direct fertilizers.”

Right now though it’s still too early to tell the effects it will have on our environment and health.

Visitors and locals like Vanhoose say this is an environmental catastrophe that needs to be fixed, “I don’t think it’s an algae problem, I don’t think it’s a red tide problem. I think it’s a pollution problem. I think we’re the ones to blame.”

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