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Volunteers Take Water Samples to Help FWC Track Red Tide

Florida Fish and Wildlife has been using water samples to monitor red tide for 60 years.

“We have four analysts that will analyze the water for the red time organisms,” Karen Henschen, a biological scientist with FWC, said.

Researchers are testing what you and I can’t see, so they put the samples under a microscope.

“We send all the supplies to the volunteers. The shipping, the bottles wit the preservative, when they ship it we get it the next day,” Henschen said.

And they want volunteers not just from Southwest Florida for red tide research.

“The volunteers are the backbone of the monitoring program,” Henschen said.

The organisms they see help them determine three things:

  1. Red tide location
  2. How harmful the bloom is
  3. Water quality

They currently have over 600 volunteers, and it’s all to create a map that shows red tide concentrations.

“It has the exact coordinates of where it came from so they will know where red tide is, and you can see by all the red dots where the highest concentrations are,” Henschen said.

Volunteers are asked to college water samples up to two times a month from docks, piers, or bridges. Ninety water sample kits have been sent out since June.

If you are interested in learning more about how to volunteer, click here .

RELATED: Lee County Issues Second State of Emergency Over Red Tide

Reporting by Brittany Muller

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