Red Tide Rangers learn about toxic algae

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

Warm temperatures and calm seas are the perfect breeding ground for what is perhaps one of the most irritating scourges of the sea: red tide, a naturally occurring algae that occasionally proliferates in high enough concentrations to become a literal irritant to people, and a death knell for some marine life.

Scientists aren’t quite sure why red tide blooms have been increasing in frequency over the years, but they are certain that the number of bloom events is, indeed, increasing, explained Tony Reisinger at the UTRGV Coastal Studies Lab on South Padre Island Tuesday morning.


And Reisinger, who is the Cameron County extension agent – coastal and marine resources with Texas Sea Grant at Texas A&M University and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, would know about red tide. He, along with Shelbey Bessette, program manager at the UTRGC Coastal Studies Lab, School of Earth, Environmental and Marine Science (SEEMS), were at the Coastal Studies Lab Tuesday conducting a training session for would-be “Red Tide Rangers” — citizen scientists interested in helping officials gather data on the toxic algae.

“This training is sponsored the NOAA HAB workgroup and by University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley SEEMS Laboratory, Texas Sea Grant, and the Texas Coastal Naturalist Program,” Reisinger said.

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