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The Phenomenon Of Red Tide Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 1944 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Red tide is a phenomenon that affects the water by coloring it red and cause a death of a marine organisms because of increasing the CO2 in the water. So, in this paper we will discuss the problem of red tide and how much it affects the marines and human life. Also, we will look at some possible ways in how we can reduce the effects. Then, we will focus on the red tide phenomena when it appears in UAE coasts, and how the UAE government reacts on it.


There are many organisms which are living in the marine ecosystem and there are many problems that can affect the organisms in the ocean or sea. One of these problem is red tide which caused by microscopic marine algae. Algal blooms may occur in freshwater as well as marine environments .In general we can say that red tide occur throughout the world, and it affecting marine ecosystems in many places like Scandinavia, Japan, the Caribbean, Florida and South Pacific. Also, it is not recent problem or issue because the first time when scientist first documented a red tide in 1947 along Gulf of Florida. However, similar event appear in Florida since the mid 1800s. As a result, red tide result in very big amount of loses around the world by killing the marine organisms, causes diseases to human, and loss in economics. So, we will focus on understanding the red tide problem and its effects and then suggests some possible solutions to reduce its impact. Thus, what is the impact of the red tide and what are the ways to reduce it?

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Definition of Red Tide:

Microscopic marine algae:

Figure sea colored red by red tide phenomena

Planktonic organisms are the main cause that makes the sea water colored red; they are organisms found on the surface of the sea (as the figure1 shows). Algae is one type of planktonic organisms which is good source of food for other marine organisms .There are toxic and non toxic types of microscopic marine algae. Red tide is appears when one type of harmful algae or more than one type are increase in its number suddenly. This type of microscopic marine algae is called Karenia brevis (K. brevis) and it can change the color of the water to reddish-brown color and produce a toxic substances called breventoxin. This (K. brevis) algae can grow quickly and then cover large area of sea’s surface. So, the color of the sea will change to red color then it called red tide. But some time (K. brevis) creating bloom that make ocean appear red or brown and in other time the color could be green, blue, purple yellow or orange and the water can even remain to be at its usual color. So, these different color of red tide is depend on the type of harmful algal bloom but the most common color is red so, it called red tide. The harmful algal blooms (HABs), which are algal bloom events involving toxic or otherwise harmful phytoplankton such as dinoflagellates of the genus Alexandrium and Karenia.

In addition, the toxic algae which case red tide can be divided into three main groups which contain about 300 types of micro marine algae. The first group can produce toxins vital and represents 25% of this type of algae and it affect on fish and people’s health. The second group can reduce the amount of the oxygen from the water that has red tide. The third group combines the two previous groups.

Algal bloom formation :

Nutrient sources can play an important role in affecting algal bloom formation, because algae tend to grow very quickly under high nutrient availability. So, when these materials like particularly phosphorus , excess carbon and nitrogen come from agricultural soils to water that contains algae help to a sudden rise in the number of algae and other plankton .But each alga is short-lived, and the result is a high concentration of dead organic matter which starts to decay and then algal bloom start Concentrated and deposited on the outer surface of the water, whether in the oceans and seas or rivers and its concentrations may reach millions of cells per milliliter. Also, sudden and quick appearance of harmful algal bloom is resulting from coastal upwelling. And this harmful algal bloom (HAB) is causes negative impacts to other organisms because it can produce natural toxins.

Time of appearance:

Red tide can appear at any time and on any month of the year but most likely to occur on August-November. So, some scientist said that it most common in summer and fall, but they have been reported in every month of the year in different places.

Red tide can be transported from one place to another and that can happen when it transported inshore or along shore by tide, wind and currents. The red tide phenomenon experienced by most of the beaches in the various maritime zones which normally remain a maximum of three days, but if found suitable support such as factory, waste and sewage and so they remain active and will become more aggravated.

We consider the phenomenon of red tides as an environmental problem because it can transported by wind and cause many breathing problem for the people and there are many other bad affect for it on the marine organisms like it can produce toxins which affect the nervous system in fish.

The impact of Red Tide:

First, the impact of red tide on marine organisms:

Fisherise is something important to human because it provide him with food necessary for life and when you see the ( red tide ) This expansion is a proliferation of algae and plankton in a huge quantity and bulky as it helps increase the amount of the fish in the sea and oceans as well as marine organisms staged feed these fungi. AS a result, lead to the death and tunnel of large quantities of fish all kinds on the beach; thus, there are three main reasons for that:

Natural destruction:

Because of the large number of the algae and plankton on the water the gills of the fish cloge with marine plankton as a result, lack the ability of fish to extract oxygen.

Drain and oxygen consumption:

When the proliferation of algae and plankton are too exhausted food shortages, therefore the fish and marine organisms will die and decay and tunnel on beach and also the number of bacteria will increase.

Direct poisoning:

Some algae produce toxic substances vital breakdown of the nervous system in fish, leading to them to death and tunnel.

Second, the impact of red tide on the Humans:

Diseases of the respiratory system:

This is produce by inhalation human to the drizzle of the sea which is loaded with toxins released by algae and plankton and the symptoms are burning sensation in the nose and throat , Tingling in the tongue and lips , Also they can be infected by asthma and allergies in the chest.

Injury of the digestive system and food poisoning:

Symptoms is vomiting or nausea, cramps and severe diarrhea and that is achieved by eating fish that contain their body on toxic algae m Also can infected with human food poisoning by eating fish caught in the time of red tide for the content of toxic substances in their bodies on the other hand the human can be poisoned through the sea of toxic algae and plankton and that for the countries that rely on sea water desalination and directly exposed to poison.

Complete paralysis:

That achieved through human consumption of shellfish and toxins that are concentrated inside do not disappear in the cooking causing diseases people may die or suffer other diseases.

Diseases and skin burns:

Algae and plankton secrete some secretions may cause burns and fungal skin especially for beach goers.

Ways for reducing the impact of the red tide:

Obviously, That Human activities led to the corruption of the marine environment .thus led to many damages to him and other organisms. So, it’s time to take serious actions to reduce the damage of red tides through some of the items which help to overcome the red tide:

1 — Work on the application of the laws which governing the establishment of tourist resorts.

2- Wastewater treatment and Subtractions signing an agreement between the countries that overlooking on the same coast to coordinate among them.

3- Experience and exchange information so as not to affect the fisheries.

4- Spread awareness among citizens and fishermen through the media.

5- Continuous training for workers in the fish farms, and using the modern methods in nutrition.

6- Establishment the follow-up programs on the short periods of time.

7- Punishment throws the waste of agricultural and industrial in the sea and try to use the minimum of fertilizer.

8- Spray mud over the areas that show the plankton or algae that cause red tide.

Red Tide in the UAE:

Figure 2.Red tide caused the death of 1200 tons of fish

Red tide causes several problems along the UAE coasts. People who lived in coastal areas suffered from a large amount of fish deaths and caused a bad smells. In late of 2008, red tide phenomenon has been visited the UAE coasts. In addition, statistics shows that the red tide caused the deaths of 1200 tons of fish in August 2008 (as the figure2 shows).

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The researches that have been done by the Ministry of Environment and Water in some water samples taken from different areas shows that there are eight species of algae causes the phenomenon of red tide. These species included some types that are toxic to fishes. As a result, it caused the deaths of large quantities of fish and crustaceans on the shores of the east coast. According to Dr. Salem Aldahri- the director of environmental federal authority- said that the result of the chemical analysis confirms increasing of phosphate salts concentration and Nitrate in the water; these are the main Nutrients that Stimulates the growth of algae that causes the red tide phenomenon. Thus, the UAE hosted at that time experts from the Regional Organization for Protection of Marine Environment to discuss this phenomenon to reduce the effects and to stop the intensity increasing it to neighboring countries. However, the physical researches results that the marine environment of the UAE was ideal to the growth of algae that causes the red tide. Also, the temperature was suitable, as well as the high concentration of dissolved oxygen in surface water and low oxygen concentration in the depths. Furthermore, the Ministry of Environment and Water has taken since the start of the phenomenon several measures in order to reduce its negative impacts in UAE coasts. In 2003, the major red tide problem was recorded in the UAE in Mussafah Channel; where a huge amount of fish deaths. As a solution of that problem they opened the channel in order to have better circulation of water. Furthermore, there are several reports published in newspapers said the phenomenon has plagued neighboring emirates Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah for months, killing hundreds of tones of fish. Moreover, Dubai beaches which is a great tourist’s destination. Thus, red tide caused significant problem in the economy Dubai. So, the UAE government gives instructions to fishermen not to fish during the red tide duration. Furthermore, they made workshops and lectures to fishermen and the public people about the impact of the red tide and advise them to avoid swimming and diving in the sea especially children; because the ratio of the CO2 is very high. Also, sitting in the beach will cause itchy rash in the skin.


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