CS16 Harmful Algal Blooms
Date: Wednesday, June 12, 2002
Location: Poster Session - VCC
 
KirkpatrickBA, Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota, USA, bkirkpat@mote.org
Fleming, L, E, University of Miami, Miami, USA, LFleming@med.miami.edu
Henry, M, S, Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota, USA, mhenry@mote.org
Clark, R, M, Florida Department of Health, Tallahassee, USA, Richard_Clark@doh.state.fl.us
Backer, L, F, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, USA, lfb@cdc.gov
 
THE USE OF ELECTRONIC MEDIA TO EDUCATE AND COMMUNICATE WITH THE PUBLIC DURING A HARMFUL ALGAL BLOOM
image
Mote Marine Laboratory's Website (www.mote.org) educates and communicates the research activities of the laboratory with the press, general public and scientists. From August to December 2001, the Florida west coast experienced a red tide bloom of the dinoflagellate, Karenia brevis, resulting in massive fish kills and reports of human respiratory irritation. During that time, the website functioned not only to inform the public of the status of the red tide, but also to solicit reports from the public concerning environmental conditions in their area, specifically fish kill and respiratory irritation. The website received 207 emails asking for more information and/or reporting local conditions. We reviewed the emails and identified two important issues: 1). The public would like more information and educational materials describing harmful algal blooms and 2). The information describing health effects and characteristics of the bloom provided by the local community was valuable to Mote scientists in tracking the location and intensity of the red tide. This method of public communication could be valuable in addressing other important environmental events.