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Karenia brevis, Low Oxygen, and Benthic Mortalities in Florida

A microscopic view of Karenia brevis (photo: FWRI)

A microscopic view of Karenia brevis (Credit: FWRI)

In August 2005, the Harmful Algal Bloom Event Response Program supported the state of Florida in mapping low oxygen and high Karenia brevis abundance to investigate the underlying cause of reported benthic mortalities. Researchers from Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute and the University of South Florida sampled surface and bottom water at 28 stations spanning from the mouth of Tampa Bay north to Pasco County. The cruise results, combined with ancillary data, suggested that a combination of factors associated with the Karenia bloom created an expansive low oxygen region that caused animal mortalities in an area of over 2,100 square miles of hardbottom communities and patch reefs.

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