Learn about Florida red tide blooms — including the challenging bloom of 2017-18 — during a Boca Grande red tide forum featuring scientists, university professors and wildlife rehabilitators.

The free public forum, co-hosted by Mote Marine Laboratory and the Barrier Island Parks Society, will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. Nov. 16 in the Boca Grande Community Center Auditorium (131 1st St W, Boca Grande), followed by a reception with light bites and wine in the Center’s Woman’s Club room. Speakers from Mote, Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, University of South Florida and Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program will each give a 10- to 15-minute presentation and then participate in a 20-minute panel discussion.

The event is free and RSVP is not required. Any updates will be posted at mote.org/boca.

The Boca Grande community has faced some daunting impacts from the 2017-2018 bloom of Florida red tide (Karenia brevis), ranging from large-scale fish kills and other wildlife mortalities to significant respiratory irritation among beachgoers and impacts on the tourism economy.

The area has also been an important site for research designed to better understand and address blooms — for instance, Mote’s recent pilot test of an ozone-treatment system for red tide mitigation in a dead-end canal and enhanced water sampling and analysis efforts offshore of Boca Grande by FWC in collaboration with Mote.

The area has also been at the center of many public discussions emphasizing great questions — for example, how does Florida red tide differ from the freshwater blue-green algae that may be carried from Lake Okeechobee to the Charlotte Harbor estuary? Can the two influence each other?

These and many other questions will be discussed with the goal of educating and empowering residents, including returning seasonal residents seeking to catch up on this summer’s red tide happenings.

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