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The blue dots represent the locations in Southwest Florida, from Tampa Bay to Collier County, where samples are routinely collected by FWRI staff and collaborators.

Routine Monitoring

The Fish and Wildlife Research Institute’s (FWRI) HAB group monitors more than 100 locations around the state weekly, twice-monthly or monthly to detect nuisance, harmful and toxic algal blooms, including Florida red tide. FWRI staff coordinates sample collection with state agencies, local governments and private citizens participating in a volunteer offshore monitoring program.

Water samples collected from shore, bridges, piers or boats are returned to the FWRI laboratory in St. Petersburg where researchers examine them under a microscope for HAB species. All data are entered into the HAB historical database.

Researchers report monitoring results to managers who can then take appropriate actions, such as closing shellfish harvesting areas, as necessary, to protect human health. Information related to the Florida red tide organism, Karenia brevis, is posted each week on FWRI's Red Tide Status Web page.

This routine monitoring and event response chart shows the number of samples collected and processed between 2005 and 2012.

Event Response

In addition to routine monitoring, HAB staff respond to possible blooms throughout Florida. Following reports of discolored water, respiratory irritation, fish kills, or dead or stranded marine mammals, HAB staff lead sampling trips or coordinate sampling with the same collaborators they rely on for routine monitoring. This event-response effort varies from year to year, depending on the frequency and duration of blooms.

Blooms of the Florida red tide organism can last a few weeks or more than a year. Notice in the chart that event-response sampling efforts were the greatest in 2005 and 2006, when there was a long-term K. brevis bloom.