Researchers outline latest red tide research at Boca Grande forum

Red tide continues to be on the minds of many in Southwest Florida. And leading experts gathered at the end of this week to outline the latest research on it and what’s being done to stop it.

Researchers with Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium spent Friday afternoon on Boca Grande talking about funding, the latest research and technology to combat red tide.

“The impacts were so bad that I think people are really curious about what were the causes,” said Dr. Cynthia Heil, the director of the red tide institute at Mote.

Nearly 200 people came out to the Boca Grande Community Center to hear directly from the experts.

“Science has advanced to the point where we can actually think about ways that we can get rid of the cells preventing blooms or controlling blooms or getting rid of them,” Heil said.

Heil shared specifics about what researchers are focused on.

“We’re investigating different compounds different technologies that could kill the cells and remove the toxins or even suppress the aerosol formation,” Heil said.

The peak of 2018’s red tide bloom in Southwest Florida still haunts locals.

“Saw all of the devastation along the beach and dead sea life, and the smell,” said Tricia Mansfield on Boca Grande.

“It smells; it makes you Cough; it chases people off the beaches,” said John Thompson on Boca Grande.

While conditions have improved for now, people want to find out how blooms can be prevented in the future. Mote lab is partnering with five other institutions to find out what expands and ends a bloom, and why the conditions got so bad in 2018.

“A lot of people care about the environment and the well-being of a beautiful place like Boca Gande,” Heil said.

Reporter:Erika Jackson
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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