karenia brevis

There’s a massive red tide blooming off the coast of southwestern Florida and it appears to be growing.

The red tide is patchy, but researchers say it stretches an amazing 60 miles wide and 90 miles long in the Gulf of Mexico.

Just a few weeks ago it was reported to be 50 miles wide and 80 miles long.

Even at its new size it’s not the most colossal bloom recorded in this part of the world, but it is the biggest since 2005, according to Hayley Rutger, a spokeswoman with Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium.

“They are part of the natural system of the gulf, so we do get used to seeing them,” she said. “This one is large, but not the largest we’ve ever seen.”

This particular type of red tide, sometimes called “Florida red tide,” occurs when a microscopic algae called Karenia brevis (or K. brevis for short), begins to multiply out of control.

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-florida-red-tide-algae-bloom-20140811-story.html