It’s not red tide, it’s not seaweed. It’s trichodesmuim and it’s a different algae. It has negative effects on humans and it’s headed towards the Suncoast. 

Trichodesmium blooms, otherwise known as sea sawdust, get the nickname, sea sawdust, because that’s what it looks like.

The newly recorded algae, helps shade red tide, and also feeds the red tide Nitrogen.

“The only reason why people get concerned with trichodesmium, is its ability to fix nitrogen. And thus its ability to potentially make a red tide off shore, you know maybe 100, 200, 300 miles, maybe make that red tide bigger”, said David Tomasko.

Tomasko, Director of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, says on top of red tide being exposed to the algae, red tide can also come in contact with nitrogen loads from humans, and expand even further.

The algae is not directly harmful to humans, but it simply enhances red tide concentrations.

“When you have trichodesmium, it’s making nitrogen out of the atmosphere, which is 78 percent nitrogen. And it’s shading it, a little bit. So these guys can get nitrogen, and they don’t have to worry about being overly exposed to sunlight”, said David Tomasko.

Trichodesmium was recently discovered just a few weeks ago off shore of the Tampa Bay area. Concentrations have also been discovered in Manatee.

Trichodesmium is indirectly harmful to fish by helping raise red tide concentrations.  

The algae is caused by new iron introduced into the water. Iron is found in Saharan dust that settles into the Gulf.