Red Tide

Pools of toxic algal bloom which sometimes occur when there is an upwelling of nutrient rich phytoplankton, turn the water an unusual  reddish brown colour.  These red tides cause depletion of oxygen in the water which is harmful to filter feeders and crustaceans.    Tons of of rock lobsters and other shellfish become casualties and the beaches fester with the die off of many of these species.

WPC:  Unusual

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14 thoughts on “Red Tide

    1. Hi Eliza, it’s a natural occurence when the the right conditions conspire – southerly winds cause an upwelling of ocean current bringing phytoplankton to the surface which if it proliferates / blooms causes hypoxia through lack of oxygen affecting fish, rock lobsters and filter feeders like mussels and oysters. It’s heart breaking seeing results of the die-off on the beaches 😦

      1. Yes – apparently there is a knock on effect – though there are toxic effects, some species die through the depletion of oxygen in the water. Not all of the dinoflagellates are lethal, guessing it depends which are ‘in bloom’. The bad news is that with ocean acidification and climate change there is likely to be a higher frequency of events where hypoxia is the threat. Man!!! It doesn’t bode well for the marine environment.

  1. Don’t want to ‘like’ this, but I do love your photos, especially the first one – what is the bird? I have heard of a red tide and that you shouldn’t pick mussels then, but I have never seen one. Amazing! Although I did see red pools of water up in Namibia, but I think that was caused by minerals.

    1. The bird is an African Oystercatcher – with it’s red legs and eyes it was quite striking against the red water. Yes the scene is disturbing – the garish colour and effect of the marine flora/ fauna die off very sobering. It’s a natural occurence when the southerly winds cause upwelling of sea nutrients -phytoplankton which proliferates. Some of the dinoflagellates are toxic and can contaminate filter feeders like mussels and oysters.

    1. Thanks Tina. It was quite surreal / the garish colour really emphasized the toxicity. The bird is an African oystercatcher. It really made a dramatic contrast. Fortunately the tides don’t occur that often.

  2. Wow, that is really red! Nice shots of a toxic environmental condition. We have red tide on the west coast but I have never seen that kind of color.

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