Composite Red Tide Vulnerability Index (CRTVI): Assessing and Communicating Vulnerability of Coastal Communities to Red Tide in Florida

Principal Investigator

Several types of naturally occurring harmful algal blooms (HABs) exist, including those caused by the marine dinoflagellate Karenia brevis, commonly known as “red tide” events. Red tide events most often occur in the ocean and nearshore coastal waters, producing dangerous toxins that are detrimental to people, plants, animals, ecosystems, and communities in and around the affected bodies of water.

Excess land-based nutrients flowing into estuaries and coastal waters in storm water runoff exacerbate the growth and the duration of red tide events. Informed decision-making associated with coastal resource management and HAB mitigation requires the comprehensive assessment of short- and long-term socioeconomic impacts of HABs.

Leveraging resources and information from complementary efforts underway at the University of Florida (UF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this project will create a Red Tide vulnerability index for Florida counties based on previous work funded through Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) and NOAA in identifying relevant metrics as well as further development of information on both Red Tide measurement as well as how Red Tide impacts different human activities.

To accomplish this objective, we will:

  • Collaborate with University of Florida, and others, to gather the necessary data to create and visualize the index
  • Write a manuscript about the Red Tide vulnerability index
  • Develop a plan to communicate with stakeholders to describe when and how the index can or should be used.