Published: Mar 07, 2013 10:35 PM EST
Updated: Mar 07, 2013 11:59 PM EST

FORT MYERS, FL--Red tide has killed thousands of fish and sea life along our coast this year and we're learning a southwest Florida teenager's invention could stop the deadly effects of the toxic algae.

Amanda Podlasek's journey started five years ago when the Canterbury student visited a beach that was affected by red tide.

"I was walking along the beach and I saw all these dead fish along the beach," said Podlasek.

Then she saw her favorite animal, a sea turtle, lying dead right in front of her.

"and I thought something must be done about this," she said.

So Podlasek started collecting data about what types of species naturally filter harmful toxins from the water.

"Instead of using a different animal from outside our local area, why not use ones we have locally," she said.

Podlasek finally she created an invention made plastic crates and fiberglass plates.

Think of it as a small home for filter feeding species like tuna-kits, clams and oysters. They live inside the crate and naturally filter red tide.

"It is part of our natural cleaning system," said Cantebury science teacher Kelly Etcheverry.

Podlasek's teacher was amazed after the crates were placed in fish tanks filled with water containing high levels of red tide.

Within 24 hours, test results showed virtually all red tide levels were non-existent.

"It is her recognizing something in nature that is beneficial and can be used to our benefit," said Etcheverry.

On a larger scale, Podlasek thinks her design could make a huge impact.

"I believe that these should be used for every single boat dock that we have here in our local area," said Podlasek.

Podlasek has also won multiple awards for her research.

   

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