FORT MYERS, Fla. — On Friday, a ribbon cutting welcomed Florida Gulf Coast University's (FGCU) newly built Water School building, which was packed with scientists working to solve real-time problems for Southwest Florida.
“This is actually a culture of the red tide organism,” Doctor Emily Brown, a scientist at the Water School walked me through new pieces of technology, designed to detect red tide.
“ This is going to help us take water samples where we maybe suspect red tide or where it looks like the red tide may be traveling,” said Dr. Brown.
Dr. Brown works with Doctor Mike Parsons, a Professor of Marine Science at FGCU's Water School.
"It allows us to interface Fish and Wildlife Commission with other agencies that really need this information and we are here often at ground zero so we can really supply that information,” said Parsons.
Ground zero for red tide, where on Friday, the toxic blooms were impacting waterways across Southwest Florida.
It's a task Parsons encourages the public to help with.
"Just reporting if they see something strange if they see fish kills it be really helpful and then there is also the public support with our elected officials,” said Parsons.
We asked Parsons if elected officials should be doing more with red tide
“ You need to have that communication going back and forth, so they are familiar with you and they trust you and they respect what you have to say as well as me becoming familiar with them,” said Parsons.
That familiarity between faculty, scientists, and students, for the greater good.
“You're going to get really great faculty members just because we are able to bounce ideas off each other and that always drives scientists to want to come nearby…when you get great people, we like to join together," said Dr. Brown.