We have a bloom of red tide occurring now spreading from Sannibel down to the keys.When the wind is blowing onshore the red tide can be particularly irritating. The plant like organism is a phytoplankton called Karina brevis and produces a toxin that affects the central nervous system of fish, birds, mammals and other animals. It kills by paralyzing. For myself, my throat and eyes become irritated and I find it hard to breathe without coughing.
According to a report from PEER, red tides have grown 15 fold from the 1950's in the coastal waters of SW Florida. They go on to say that of the world wide species of algae that produce harmful blooms 70 out of 100 are indigenous to Florida; 50 marine/estuarine species and 20 freshwater. The blooms have been made worse by the excess amounts of nitrates and phosphates running off from our landscapes. Personally, I prefer the sea grass and the other organisms that thrive in our marine ecosystems without the added fertilizers.