Scientists link dolphin deaths to red tide

- Red tide continues to plague the waters along Florida's Gulf coast and is inching farther north, according to Wednesday's update from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 

RELATED: Clearwater Beach officials trying to stay ahead of red tide, fish kill clean-up

High concentrations of the Karenia brevis algae was found in or offshore as far north in the Tampa Bay area as northern Pinellas County, which is seeing an increase in cell concentrations since last week. 

Dead fish began washing up on Clearwater Beach Wednesday, and red tide along with dead fish have been detected in Madeira Beach, south of Clearwater Beach. 

Aerial surveys also show the algae bloom extending 10 miles or more offshore in some areas off the coast of Pinellas.

Meanwhile, Mote Marine Laboratory scientists say they are concerned by the number of dolphin deaths, some of which have now been directly linked to red tide.

The death toll for bottlenose dolphins sits at about 50 in less than two months, across seven counties where red tide has wreaked the most havoc.

NOAA has called it an "unusual mortality event," or UME, for Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, and Collier counties.

As part of the UME, Mote Marine's Stranding Investigations Program Manager Gretch Lovewell, will be assisting NOAA with its special investigation, collecting samples of dead dolphins to be tested.

It's information they hope can help solve current problems, and future issues as well.

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