Forum Explores Gulf of Mexico Red Tide Research and Seeks Public Input
Nationally and internationally known red tide experts will meet with the public to discuss the state of current scientific understanding on Florida red tide and respond to concerns during a moderated forum. The public forum will be held at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida, as well as at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Florida, on Thursday, July 20, 2006 from 6–8pm (EST).
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, working in conjunction with Mote Marine Laboratory and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, is sponsoring both the scientific meeting and the public forum.
A key element of this event is a survey hosted by Mote Marine Laboratory that will be disseminated prior to the forum. The survey is designed to allow residents and visitors to have a voice in the direction of future red tide research efforts. Interested members of the public may visit the Mote Marine website for more information.
By sharing opinions and concerns, the public will play an integral role in helping scientists to identify red tide research areas that need further exploration. Researchers and managers will incorporate public input into discussions at a scientific meeting that will precede the forum. A panel of scientists will then meet with the public to report their findings and respond to additional concerns during a moderated forum.
Because of space limitations, public forum participants must register for a seat by calling 941-388-4441, ext. 473. They should indicate whether they want to attend the event at Mote in Sarasota or at Florida Gulf Coast University in south Fort Myers.
NOAA has been supporting research to understand how, when, and why blooms occur through its Monitoring and Event Response for Harmful Algal Blooms (MERHAB) program, and by its involvement with other agency partners in the Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB) program, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Naval Research, and National Aeronautics & Space Administration. The agency has also been working to develop better methods of detecting and predicting blooms, and finding ways to reduce or prevent impacts on humans, coastal economies, and ecosystems. Considerable progress has been made, but a number of outstanding questions remain.