Red tide is the name given when the water, more specifically coastline water, develops a red tint. This red color is attributed with a plume is microalgae called Karenia brevis. The water conditions will usually be suitable for a massive increase in the population of these microalgae.
Dinoflagellates are the primary cause of red tide. When conditions are right (usually during instances of coastal upwelling, when cold, nutrient rich water rises to the surface), these algae bloom, causing a rapid rise in their population. They give the water a golden or red tint, and can produce a neurotoxin which is hazardous to marine life and to humans (after ingesting shellfish or other marine predators that have consumed the toxic plankton).
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