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Common algae bloom in Caloosahatchee not major concern, experts say

Researchers recently spotted a different type of algae growing in the Caloosahatchee River. From appearance, onlookers might assume it’s red tide, but it’s not.

Researchers confirmed Akashiwo sanguinea, another type of algal bloom, is present now in parts of the Caloosahatchee River. Luckily, this does not pose a major water quality concern.

“No, people don’t have to worry about this one,” said Dr. Mike Parsons, FGCU professor and marine expert.

Parsons said it’s likely the water has not been moving very often recently, sitting stagnant  and allowing for the Akashiwo to grow and bloom.

“It seems to have sprung up in a couple different pieces this time,” Parsons said. “But it’s not unusual.”

Scientists say, when this algae mixes with other elements in the water, there can be a reddish appearance.

“We sent NOAA the chlorophyll data,” said Dr. Rick Bartleson, a research scientist with Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. “And they sent us a satellite image of how wide an area the chlorophyll is spread around the river.”

While different types of algal blooms are common annually, it won’t stop scientists from keeping a watchful eye over them.

Bartleson told us Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation and FGCU have a new grant from the federal government to work on a model that would better predict algal blooms and hopefully prevent them.

While researchers say the algae isn’t a threat to humans or pets, there are still factors to be aware of.

“One thing these blooms can do is they can really draw down oxygen levels,” Parsons said. “So then you get the low oxygen that leads to fish kills.”

Reporter:Stephanie Byrne
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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