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  • Red tide

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    Red tide in a harbor, JapanRed tide is a common name for algae blooms, which are large concentrations of aquatic microorganisms (protozoans or unicellular algae such as dinoflagellates and diatoms). The upwelling of nutrients from the sea floor, often following massive storms, provides for the algae and triggers bloom events. Harmful algal blooms can occur worldwide, and natural cycles can vary regionally. The growth and persistence of an algal bloom depends on wind direction and strength, temperature, nutrients, and salinity. Red tide species can be found in oceans, bays, and estuaries, but they cannot thrive in freshwater environments. Certain species of phytoplankton and dinoflagellates found in red tides contain photosynthetic pigments that vary in color from brown to red. When the algae are present in high concentrations, the water may appear to be discolored or murky. The most conspicuous effects of red tides are the associated wildlife mortalities and harmful human exposure. The production of natural toxins such as brevetoxins and ichthyotoxins are harmful to marine life.

  • Siesta Beach

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    Siesta Beach Panorama illustrating the expansive width Roll-out mat aids walking SunsetSiesta Beach (sometimes known as Siesta Key Beach) is a beach located on Siesta Key in the U.S. state of Florida. The sand is 99% pure Quartz (Silica sand), soft and cool on the feet. The many awards it has earned include: "the whitest and finest sand in the world" (The Great International Beach Challenge, 1987) "The Best Sand Beach in America" (The Travel Channel, 2004) "The Best Beach in America" (Dr. Beach, 2011, 2017) 2015 awarded #1 U.S. Beach (TripAdvisor source Orlando Sentinel February 18, 2015)Siesta Beach is located on Beach Road on Siesta Key. Siesta Beach is known as one of the most beautiful beaches anywhere in the world. At the "Great International White Sand Beach Challenge" held in 1987, it was recognized as having the "whitest and finest sand in the world." Unlike beaches elsewhere that are made up mostly of pulverized coral, Siesta Beach's sand is 99% quartz, most of which comes from the Appalachian Mountains. Over time the feldspar and mica have been removed from the rock, leaving almost pure quartz. Even on the hottest days, the sand is so reflective that it feels cool underfoot. According to Harvard University geologists, it's estimated that the sand on Siesta Beach and Crescent Beach on Siesta Key is millions of years old, having its origin in the Appalachians and flowing down the rivers from the mountains until it eventually was deposited on the shores of Siesta Key. Shallow water depth in the near shore area together with year-round lifeguard protection, makes this one of the safest beaches in the county and great for small children. The southern portion of Siesta Beach is alternatively called Crescent Beach, which extends to the sea wall and Point of Rocks, an area with coral and active marine life. Siesta Beach is not only long, but also expansively wide, especially around the Siesta Key Beach Pavilion section. The beach is so wide the city installed walking mats to help beachgoers get to the shore, where they can then walk on firmer wet sand.

  • Karenia brevis

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    Karenia brevis is a microscopic, single-celled, photosynthetic organism that is part of the Karenia (dinoflagellate) genus, a marine dinoflagellate commonly found in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It is the organism responsible for the "Florida Red Tides" (coastal infestations), commonly referred to as red tides that affect the Gulf coasts of Florida and Texas in the U.S., and nearby coasts of Mexico. K. brevis has been known to travel great lengths around the Florida peninsula and as far north as the Carolinas. Each cell has two flagella that allow it to move through the water in a spinning motion. K. brevis is unarmored, and does not contain peridinin. Cells are between 20 and 40 μm in diameter. K. brevis naturally produces a suite of potent neurotoxins collectively called brevetoxins, which cause gastrointestinal and neurological problems in other organisms and are responsible for large die-offs of marine organisms and seabirds.

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