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Toxic Algal Blooms Kill Record Number of Manatees

2013 is shaping up to be a particularly deadly year for the endangered Florida manatee, whose population is estimated at around 5,000 animals. More than 460 dead manatees have been documented in the first three months of this year.

Exposure to a toxic algal bloom, known as red tide in southwest Florida is partially to blame for these threats. Red tide is a naturally occurring event, but this outbreak has persisted since September 2012. Manatees are affected by red tide neurotoxins when they breathe, and even more so when they eat seagrass coated by the algae. The toxins cause seizures that can result in drowning when the animals cannot lift their snouts above the water to breathe.

 
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Controlling Curly-Leaf Pondweed - Curly-leaf pondweed is a unique invasive aquatic plant that begins growing in late fall and continues to grow under the thick ice. In the spring curly-leaf is typically the first plant to appear and the effects of the die off in summer increases the phosphorous concentrations which in turn provide the necessary nutrients for algae to grow.


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