Researchers at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota can continue studying the effects of red tide – thanks to the renewal of a seven and a half million dollar federal grant. Mote will share the money – awarded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences – with seven other organizations, including the Florida Department of Health & the U-S Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
The ongoing effort seeks to discover how humans are affected by red tide toxins to develop a treatment. Mote Senior Scientist - Barbara Kirkpatrick – says the study’s next phase takes place this weekend on Sarasota’s beaches.
“We’re going to be running another red tide exposure study with the asthmatic group we’ve been following for the last 3 years to identify the response asthmatics have after a one hour beach exposure to the Florida red tide aerosols.”
Kirkpatrick says the grant is worth a-quarter-million-dollars annually over the next five years to Mote – but more money than that will be spent here in southwest Florida…because it’s such a good place to study red tide.
The next round of field studies on red tide gets underway today in Sarasota…thanks to the renewal of a 7-million-dollar federal grant.
Researchers at Mote Marine Laboratory are conducting the local study. It’s part of a broader effort into red tide’s human impact – and ways to reduce its effects. Mote Senior Scientist - Barbara Kirkpatrick – says there’s still much debate over the human impact on red tide.
“It is part of the natural environment…I think the big question is are things we’re doing along our coastline making these natural blooms last longer and/or become more intense.”
This weekend’s Sarasota study involves bringing a group of asthmatics to the beach for one hour where red tide is present - to see what effect, if any, it has on them. Kirkpatrick doesn’t expect science will ever get rid of red tide – she’s hopeful the day will come when it can be managed… almost like an allergy.
Friday, 22 September 2006 01:00
Red Tide Health StudyWritten by WGCU Newsroom