Capstone Title

Gymnodinium breve as a Causative Agent in the Occurence of Florida Red Tides

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

First Advisor

Gary S. Kleppel

Second Advisor

Patricia Blackwelder

Third Advisor

Karl Schaum


Blooms of the dinoflagellate Gymnodinium breve commonly occur in the Gulf of Mexico, especially along the southwest Florida Coast. It is hypothesized that these blooms are the result of sudden population explosions due to increased mitotic division rates brought about by a combination of environmental conditions advantageous to the organism. Temperatures and salinities within the proper range and the availability of light and nutrients lend themselves favorably to initiation of the bloom. Hydrographic features such as winds, tides, currents and convergences act as concentrating and dispersal mechanisms. This paper examines these factors and presents data from the literature which documents red tide events over the past forty five years. It is apparent that red tides are often normal population increases that are confined or physically concentrated by various hydrographic features.

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