In September of 2007 through January of 2008, a Karenia
brevis bloom occurred on the northeast coast of Florida, but
it was not the first time.
In 1946 and 1947 Karenia brevis, the organism
responsible for red tides and associated human and animal health
impacts was identified from a bloom occurring off the central west
Florida coast. In 1946 respiratory irritation and fish kills were
reported on the Jacksonville coast, suggesting that the red tides
could occur on Florida's east coast as well. However, it wasn't
until 1972 that the transport of K. brevis from the west
Florida coast to the east Florida coast via the Gulf Stream System
was documented when red tide came inshore in the St. Lucie and
Martin county areas. Transport of K. brevis from the west
Florida coast to the east Florida coast has since been documented
in 1977, 1980, 1983, 1990, 1997, 1999, and 2006.
The September 2007 through January 2008 bloom off the
northeast coast of Florida is not the first time red tide has
occurred in the Jacksonville area. In 1980 a K. brevis
bloom moved inshore at Jacksonville via a warm water meander and
was transported south along the coastline via inshore currents.
Respiratory irritation and fish kills were reported. The last time
a red tide occurred in the Jacksonville area was 1999. East Coast
red tides usually persist for a month or less.
The Gulf Stream System, which included the Loop and Florida
Currents and the Gulf Stream, plays a major role in the
distribution of red tide. Prevailing winds and currents can move
blooms from offshore to inshore. When blooms are held inshore by
winds and currents impacts to beach goers and coastal communities
are more acute.