MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — Researchers at USF are discovering how the currents in the gulf contribute to red tide outbreaks.
Dr. Robert Weisberg said a zone about fifty miles west of Tampa Bay is where the red tide blooms form. He said a bloom will be big or small depending on how the ocean currents circulate nutrients into the zone.
"We were able to determine a relationship between circulation and the severity of red tide,” said Weisberg.
Weisberg also said Tropical Storm Gordon help moved the bloom to other parts of Florida.
“The 2018 bloom was one of those rare occasions where we had red tide on the panhandle, Florida's west coast and Florida's east coast,” said Weisberg.
Business owners experienced a loss in customers due to the severe red tide outbreak. Bob Slicker, Manager of Swordfish Grill, said his business was down 60% in September. He has since setup an emergency disaster relief fund for his employees.
"We started putting some money aside for our employees that should they get into a situation that we have a little something to help them pay their bills for a couple months,” said Slicker.
USF researchers are now deploying equipment offshore to determine if the 2019 bloom will be as severe as last year’s.