FGCU researchers dive in Gulf for red tide answers

Although the effects of red tide are not present on the surface of local waters, questions still linger for scientists in the water’s deep.

FGCU researchers went diving in the Gulf of Mexico in search for answers to red tide that could be found below the surface Thursday.

“Just try and collect data and show that this is what’s happening over time these are all the effects that it’s causing,” FGCU research Adam Catasus said.

Catasus was part of the research team that dove in near the Edison Reef. Almost 40 feet down, Catasus and his teammates hoped to put sensors at the bottom of the Gulf.

“When we get down, we’re trying to deploy,” Catasus said. “And they pretty much continuously collect data, temperature, salinity, conductivity and light.”

The research scientists are analyzing what is happening on the bottom of the ocean and in the reefs, not only what is present in the water.

“Red tide is still out here,” Catasus said. “It’s calmed down quite a bit. It’s been farther north, but by continuously collecting this data we’ll be able to see how conditions change — when red tide comes back, not if red tide comes back.”

FGCU Professor Dr. Mike Parsons leads the research team. The sensors his team install in the Gulf will allow his team to measure potential changes occurring.

Dr. Mike Parsons, a professor of Marine Science at Florida Gulf Coast University studying red tide. Photo via WINK News.
Dr. Mike Parsons, a professor of Marine Science at Florida Gulf Coast University studying red tide. Photo via WINK News.

“We do a lot of work diving and doing work on the bottom, artificial reefs, Parson said. “And that’s an area that people haven’t really researched well in terms of red tide.”

Parsons and his team look to take the initiative through research and gaining a greater understanding about red tide in Southwest Florida. Parsons told WINK News he hopes to continue this kind of research in the Gulf for years.

“Just trying to figure out what’s the best way for this region to be more productive economically and ecologically,” Parsons said.

Reporter:Brooke Shafer
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