So there was this one time when my girlfriend was on her monthly red tide dilemma. She was so sad and weak the whole week so I decided to bring her to the mountains on the weekend.
We camped there on saturday evening and spend the morning chasing sunrise. On the upper hill of our campsite are a bunch of pine trees. She almost instantly run towards them and hug them. Apparently that’s her way of healing herself. Hahaha! She can be like a child sometimes, you know. All I did was took a bunch of picture while she goof around while the rest of the world was in deep slumber.
The appearance of a red is never a good thing. People dread these tides because not only does it look like some horrific biblical omen, it smells terrible and causes schools of fish to choke and die. But what is a red tide and what causes them?
A red tide is an algal bloom. It consists of a type of algae called dinoflagellates.
The bloom occurs when conditions are optimal for the algae. This means the temperatures are perfect, salinity is at good levels, and there is an excess of nutrients. These extra nutrients are usually from agricultural runoff (fertilizers washing into the ocean). The algae is in such excess that it chokes fishes gills causing mass deaths. Shellfish like clams and mussels are filter feeders and will become contaminated by the algae making them toxic to eat. There is no way to control an algal bloom, we just have to wait for the conditions that caused it to return to normal levels (usually this means all of the excess nutrients getting used up)and the algae to die.
Because of the mortality and contamination the bloom causes it has very bad effects on local economies. Some blooms can also give off gases that can cause nausea in the people near it, also making it unsafe to swim in which in turn effects the tourism in these areas. Work is being done to reaserch these blooms to forecast when and where they will occur (like the weather) so that people can prepare for the effects it has.
Now I want to be very clear on one thing: NOT ALL ALGAL BLOOMS ARE HARMFUL. Often they are helpful: they provide extra food for larger organisms that we fish for and eat. The difference between a harmful algal bloom and a non-harmful one is dependent on the type of algae that is blooming.
This rare phenomenon of magnificent glowing water is a side effect of blooming red algae, also known as red tide - Which can turn entire beaches scarlet and murky during the day, and beautiful neon blue at night…
Red tides, a common term for the more proper name of “harmful algal blooms” (HABs), occur when colonies of algae—simple ocean plants that live in the sea—grow out of control while producing toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, shellfish, marine mammals and birds. The human illnesses caused by HABs, though rare, can be debilitating or even fatal. As the name suggests, the bloom of algae often turns the water red.
But not all algal blooms are harmful. Most blooms, in fact, are beneficial because the tiny plants are food for animals in the ocean. In fact, they are the major source of energy that fuels the ocean food web.