Review of Florida red tide and human health effects

Lora E. Fleming, Barbara Kirkpatrick, Lorraine C. Backer, Cathy J. Walsh, Kate Nierenberg, John Clark, Andrew Reich, Julie Hollenbeck, Janet Benson, Yung Sung Cheng, Jerome Naar, Richard Pierce, Andrea J. Bourdelais, William M. Abraham, Gary Kirkpatrick, Julia Zaias, Adam Wanner, Eliana Mendes, Stuart Shalat, Porter HoaglandWendy Stephan, Judy Bean, Sharon Watkins, Tainya Clarke, Margaret Byrne, Daniel G. Baden

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


This paper reviews the literature describing research performed over the past decade on the known and possible exposures and human health effects associated with Florida red tides. These harmful algal blooms are caused by the dinoflagellate, Karenia brevis, and similar organisms, all of which produce a suite of natural toxins known as brevetoxins. Florida red tide research has benefited from a consistently funded, long-term research program, that has allowed an interdisciplinary team of researchers to focus their attention on this specific environmental issue-one that is critically important to Gulf of Mexico and other coastal communities. This long-term interdisciplinary approach has allowed the team to engage the local community, identify measures to protect public health, take emerging technologies into the field, forge advances in natural products chemistry, and develop a valuable pharmaceutical product. The review includes a brief discussion of the Florida red tide organisms and their toxins, and then focuses on the effects of these toxins on animals and humans, including how these effects predict what we might expect to see in exposed people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-233
Number of pages10
JournalHarmful Algae
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Brevetoxins
  • Florida red tide
  • Harmful algal bloom (HAB)
  • Karenia brevis
  • Marine toxin diseases
  • Neurotoxic fish poisoning
  • Neurotoxic shellfish poisoning (NSP)
  • Red tide
  • Respiratory irritation
  • Shellfish poisoning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science


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