COCOA BEACH, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Red-colored water from a Cocoa Beach canal along the Indian River Lagoon is likely caused by algal organism categorized as a "raphidophyte," according to University of Florida professor Dr. Edward Phillips. He said the algae, which is broadly called "red tide", is not harmful to humans.
"These particular organisms, I don't believe are toxic." said Dr. Phlips, who received a sample from a Cocoa Beach canal this week.
"There are some raphidophytes that are toxic, but this particular species, which we believe may be fibrocapsa, is probably not toxic."
But Dr. Phlips says it is harmful to fish and other marine life. On this day, the red tide bloom was limited to several canals, but in the water where it was growing, there weren't any fish jumping.
"There's usually manatees down there but today I don't even see them" said Henry Hadden, a Cocoa Beach resident. "Lately I don't even see dolphins or anything in the river."
Dr. Phlips says the Indian River Lagoon is suffering from these natural but unhealthy algae blooms because of excess nutrients in the water, which county experts believe come from sewage dumping, stormwater runoff, and buildup of dying organic muck.