Tackling Florida's Harmful Algal Blooms

Florida Sea Grant supports research and extension efforts to improve our understanding of harmful algal blooms and develop recommendations to minimize the impacts to Florida’s environment, public health, and economy.

A surface bloom of the cyanobacteria, Microcystis. Ed Phlips

Florida is known for its water resources. It boasts beaches and estuaries on both coasts, thousands of miles of rivers, lakes, and springs. The state’s vast salt and freshwater resources also support populations of bloom-forming algae. Most of these algae are beneficial and are the foundation of the aquatic food web. However, dozens of species can form algal blooms, the rapid and substantial increase in algal biomass. Some of these blooms can become harmful through the production of toxins or by causing other negative impacts to the environment and aquatic ecosystem. These blooms are called harmful algal blooms (HABs).

Mitigating the impacts of HABs is complex due to the diversity of species and aquatic systems, the various chemical, physical, and biological interactions within these systems, and human activities and interactions within our watersheds. Florida Sea Grant agents and researchers conduct science-based research and extension activities to educate stakeholders and guide management actions to mitigate and control harmful algal blooms in the state’s waters.

State Resources for Monitoring & Reporting

The state of Florida has one of the country’s most robust monitoring and reporting programs for marine and freshwater HABs. Residents and visitors can use these resources to learn about the current status of HABs in Florida and be part of an informed citizenry:

Red tide visible along Sarasota’s coast during the summer of 2018. Ryan McGill

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Harmful Algal Blooms

& Initiatives

report cover page blue green algae

HAB State of the Science

The second Florida Blue-Green Algae State of the Science Symposium provided Florida’s blue-green algae research and management community a valuable forum for networking, collaboration, and engagement. This report offers a shared assessment of the current state of research and management, progress made since the inaugural symposium, and data gaps and research needs to more effectively tackle Florida’s diverse and complex cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms.

HAB Communications

Effective communication with the public is an essential component of a HAB mitigation plan. Communication tools can minimize the potential human health risks associated with HAB exposures and reduce the adverse economic impacts associated with real or perceived risks.

HAB Prediction & Forecasting

Remote sensing methods are increasingly being developed for HAB forecasting and monitoring. Working through the national Sea Grant network, a NOAA Sea Grant Liaison provides a pipeline between new research generated by the federal partners and community audiences.

Featured Agent

Dr. Lisa

Regional Specialized Extension Agent,
The Southeast

Florida Sea Grant


Faculty Experts

Looking for answers or resources on harmful algal blooms? Reach out to our faculty experts listed below.